The Houston Rockets are cruising and Jeremy Lin is playing a big part in their wins. The Rockets defeated the Sacramento Kings 112-102 and Lin had his second straight double-double helping Houston keep pace with the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference standings. Does this mean Coach Kevin McHale has more faith in his point guard?
Lin finished the game with 15 points and 10 assists after playing 34 minutes against the Kings. It's the third straight time the point guard places 30-plus minutes and, coincidentally (or not), the Rockets are on a three-game win streak. In the previous two games, Lin didn't receive as much action. His numbers looked like those of a bench player as he played an average of 22 minutes in those two games scoring a total of 16 points with seven assists. The Rockets lost both of these matchups.
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However, with James Harden out, it seemed like Coach McHale had no choice but to put more faith in his second-year point guard. Lin had been removed late in games before, but that's when Harden would eventually turn it up and win games for the Rockets. However, this time, with Harden out of the lineup, Lin stepped up his game. In the game before, with Harden on the bench, Lin shot 8-16 from the floor and had a whopping 11 assists. Against the Kings, he shot 3-6 from three and finished with only two turnovers, which is always a good sign for Lin.
Overall, though the Rockets have a playoff spot on lock, they are trying to compete with the Warriors for the sixth seed as the winner of the sixth spot in the standings faces the Los Angeles Clippers. The seventh seed would face the Oklahoma City Thunder, though nothing is impossible, any team would rather face the Clippers over the defending Western Conference Champions.
A good sign for Lin, the Rockets and his fans is that he was able to score 15 points with Harden in the lineup. Harden finished the game with 21 points and he wasn't the high scorer, it was Chandler Parsons who led the group in scoring with 29 points in the evening.
With Harden and Parsons on target, Lin has more weapons. We all know how good Lin is a breaking down the defense. If Parsons and Harden can keep knocking down shots, Lin will continue to put up, not only big numbers with assists as he's handling the ball, but he can also score himself as he's a great finisher at the basket and find open lanes to penetrate to the hoop.
The Rockets are currently 42-33 and the face the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.