Jeremy Lin Can Win Even Without Harden as Rockets Make Run for 6th Place in Western Conference

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Apr 03, 2013 03:48 PM EDT
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Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin reacts as Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin look to the referee during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Houston March 30, 2013. REUTERS/Richard Carson"

Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets are making a run at the playoffs and from the looks of it, unless a catastrophic drop, they will be in the postseason. Lin, continues to do what he can to help his guys make it. With just eight games remaining in the regular season as the playoffs start in two weeks, can Lin and the Rockets take over the sixth seed in the Western Conference Standings? 

Although Lin would more than likely prefer talks about being in first place, the Rockets look more than capable of climbing into the sixth seed as the NBA season is coming to a close. They are trailing the Golden State Warriors by just one game. The Rockets are currently 41-33, while the Warriors are 42-32 in the season. Both schedules present easy opponents. 

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For the Warriors, four out of their final eight opponents will be over .500. For the Rockets, five of their next eight are under .500. So what's the answer to the earlier question?

Yes, Lin and the Rockets can snatch the sixth seed away from the Warriors as they face weaker opponents and from the looks of it, the Rockets are in good hands with Lin, even when James Harden is sitting out. With no Harden, the Rockets destroyed the Los Angeles Clippers 98-81. Lin finished that game with 15 points, three assists and a block. Though he was off his assist game, he was penetrating and going to the line where he shot 6-8 after going 4-10 from the floor. He tied two other teammates for the team high in scoring after dropping 15 points.

Lin's game is assists, but when he's penetrating, it's a good sign for the Rockets as the penetration draws defenders and allows Lin to find the open man. When Lin is attacking, chances are great things are going to happen. He bounced back from this poor assist night and completed a double-double after dishing 11 assists and scoring 19 points. Once again, there was no Harden, so Lin took a bulk of shots. He finished the game 8-16. If he shoots 50 percent, you have to take it. 

As Harden heals, look for Lin to continue getting into double digits in scoring. They have the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers up ahead, which shouldn't pose a threat to this Rockets team that is rolling and 7-3 in their last 10 games. 

Lin has scored in double figures in the last two games, so look for him to continue doing the same as he gets more touches and shot opportunities. The key for him as always is making plays develop as he will always find the open man, penetrating which will collapse the defense and then finally, try hitting as many shots as he can. 

The winner of the sixth seed will probably face the Clippers, which is a good sign for the Rockets since the Oklahoma City Thunder are the second seed. 

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