Apr 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin (7) celebrates after scoring during the first quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets: Should Jeremy Lin Start Game 4?


The Houston Rockets got a much needed victory in Game 3 over the Portland Trail Blazers, in large part because of James Harden‘s not-so-efficient 37 points and the solid point guard play of Jeremy Lin off the bench. Patrick Beverley gets all the publicity (and starts) because of his defensive abilities, but he’s not much of a distributor. Should Jeremy Lin start Game 4?

Lin is far removed from his “Linsanity” days of putting up 30 points, 10 assists and four steals, but while his statistics are struggling, he’s becoming a better facilitator. In Game 3, Lin played 33:24 and scored 13 (on 5-for-11 shooting) with four rebounds and a team-high six assists.

The starter (Beverley) scored 16 with nine rebounds and just one assist. The fact is, the Rockets play the pick-and-roll with Harden as the ball handler so much that Beverley doesn’t get much of a chance to rack up assists. However, when Harden and/or Dwight Howard aren’t on the court, things change.

Enter Lin.

We all know that Lin is best when he’s playing a confident style that allows him to freely create plays (also often in the pick-and-roll). The Rockets have run the pick-and-roll 19.79 percent of the time, which is the most run play by them. However, at a miserable .62 points per possession, they are dead last in the playoffs for that metric.

One of the problems with Lin in the pick-and-roll is that he doesn’t get the benefit of having Howard as his pick man as much as Beverley or Harden does. Instead, he gets Omer Asik, who is a solid player, but he’s not as good of a roll man (Howard is No. 5). During the regular season, Synergy Sports had Asik ranked No. 47 as the pick-and-roll man, averaging 1.07 PPP. The problem there is sample size — he took just 34 shots.

We can be sure that Lin would see an uptick in production if he were to start over Beverley. In addition, Beverley has shown the ability to knock down shots and could be a nice spark off the bench. The real problem we run into is defense.

Beverley can’t be expected to put up huge offensive numbers when he’s tasked with slowing Damian Lillard. Synergy has Beverley as the No. 120 overall defender, but he’s a sparkling No. 12 against the pick-and-roll ball handler. Lin is No. 223 overall and just No. 100 against the pick-and-roll.

The fact is, coach Kevin McHale would have to decide whether the defensive sacrifice would be worth whatever else Lin could bring to the table. Could Lin take some of the pressure off of Harden so that he could get better shots or would he simply knock Harden off his rhythm?

We know Harden is a guy who needs the ball in his hands and needs to take shots. We also know Lin is the same type of player in a sense that he’s not going to excel at being the off guard, running up the wings waiting for the ball.

While a lot of us would like to see better point guard play out of the Rockets and believe Lin is a better facilitator than Beverley, it just doesn’t fit the system. Lin succeeds without Harden out there and wouldn’t be the same guy. Bottom line, the Rockets should keep doing what they’re doing and ride this momentum into Game 4.



Tags: Houston Rockets Jeremy Lin

  • Dez

    Damn stratight. yes. Its about time someone discussed htis. Hes not built for bench. he can score triple doubles all day long if hes let loose.

  • John Smith

    Lin should’ve never been sent to the bench, period! Using the excuse of to accomodate Harden to send Lin to the bench is weak, especially when Harden doesn’t play well!

    • eddie1234

      If McFail is the coach of the USA team, PB will be the PG so that Lebron gets all the touches. LOL

      • plansmaker

        McFail will never be chosen as coach of Olympic of any kind…
        McHale is a slow learner, stubborn as mule and believes in his own myth as Boston Celtics legend.
        When told to turnover the key of Kingdom to Harden, he says, which key?

  • Awu

    Bev is better coming off the bench. Pick n roll Lin & Harden also gets Harden better shots instead of him forcing and jacking up tough shots when Lin is not on the floor. The 3 guard lineup works well against Blazers with Bev/Lin/Harden because Harden doesn’t play any defense at all. What the line up really should be the next few games is Lin, Harden, Parsons, Asik, Howard. If McFail plays that lineup, the Rox will have chance to steal this series away from the Blazers!

  • Tyrone Bowman

    I am not crazy about Beverley, but not a big Lin fan either. I wanted the Rockets to win Friday just to prolong the series. However, maybe I’m the only one who thought Jeremy traveled before passing the ball to the VCU guy. As well Houston hasn’t had trouble during the first quarters in this series. It’s been the second and fourth largely.

  • jian

    Jeremy lin should start the game. Mchale is not a good coach, lin’s offensive and passing ability more than makes up for the difference in defense and rebound advantage that beverley has. It’s the point guard position, I mean come on defense and rebound are what dwight howard is there for. If Mchale can’t see that the team is better off with lin starting, then he should get fired.

  • Intrep1d

    The Rockets won convincingly over Portland in a regular season game featuring a lineup of Lin, Harden, Parsons, Dwight and Asik. It hasn’t been tried yet during this series. Lin almost never exclusively plays with the second unit, even though that’s what people originally wanted him to do. He still spends most of his court time with Harden.

    • eddie1234

      Just do the math. How many minutes in a game? How many minutes does Harden play? There is no such thing as second unit? Do not let the media fool you.

  • Mus

    Lin starting isn’t going to solve the problem. Harden will still demand the ball and do iso plays, he will only pass with <5 seconds on the shot-clock if can't get a good shot.

    Lin starting doesn't mean he will immediately handle and run the offense. Harden is the main focus of the Rockets.

    I feel that Blazers as a team is slower than the Rockets. If there's transition and ball movement, Parsons will benefit, because he can't create plays for himself. Parsons is good at scoring when there's transition. Harden will also benefit because without transition, players on the court will focus on him and adjust themselves when he penetrate and uses "euro step". Last year during the postseason, in 6 games he gets 66FTA, and this year postseason in 3 games his FTA is 23, will below 50% (should be ~33). Players from opposing teams are adjusting to his iso and euro step penetration. Howard will also benefit if there's movement and transition, Howard lacked in post moves, so why not use his quickness and athleticism and run pick and roll to get Lopez in more foul trouble?
    Lin has that quick first step, his efficiency when going to the basket is one of the top on Rockets, he is also clutch.

    The keys are Harden's defense, and ball movement.

    • jcsantos

      The continuing use of Harden’s isos have hurt ALL team mates ever playing with him on the court, especially Bev with a lot of bad shooting nights and almost zero assists which is why I preferred Lin being bench so that he can at least avoid the same deduction in stats the other starters are experiencing. As long as Harden isos are in play, I don’t even want to see other players playing with him. No ball movement and gaping hole in defense.

      • Mus

        Lin AST dropped when he’s on the bench, hence less ball movement and transition. Even though he’s benched this year, he’s became very efficient with limited touches and time. Harden is a good player, but he’s doing too much in trying to pad his stats, this is what hurting him and the team.

        • jcsantos

          Not as dropped as Beverley’s near zero assists. His position in the bench allows him more opportunities to assist rather than playing with iso Harden.

          He can’t be efficient being made to stand at the 3-pt line almost all the time and having minimal chances to make an assist himself.

  • Maxwell Ogden

    Very interesting article. Jeremy Lin is a damn good basketball player that any team would benefit from having. I think it’s more important that he close the game than it is that he starts.

    Houston is in this delusional state where they need to get James Harden his 20+ shots and sacrifice efficiency. Lin will suffer from being on the court and having to wait for Harden to get his, so I say sixth man is best for now.

    • Todd DelGiudice

      Agree – Just happy he’s closing games and contributing in big ways in the clutch. He is cementing his career for years to come in the NBA with these performances.

    • Ric V. Avelino

      Yes. Better a sixth man than a starter playing a role that is not his PG real play. However, if Lin is given the free hand to be the court general then this will benefit Harden and Howard as well. This is if it is okay with Harden superstar that all the other Rockets will shine too because of Lin’s assists and playmaking which is to give the ball as to who is free and able.

    • Mike De Moor

      And you’re trying to appeal to these psychotic Lin fans, I know that’s the right move for PR reasons as a writer, but come on mang, listen to these fools… And the Rockets do need Harden to take over because he’s their best, most consistent and most explosive offensive player

      • Tomi Wing Yip Choi

        LMFAO!!! ITS THE FAIL WRITER FROM RANT SPORTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Maxwell Ogden

          I’ve never written for Rant Sports, so I assume that comment is not directed towards me?

      • Maxwell Ogden

        PR reasons? I’m not sure I follow. I also wouldn’t associate Harden with the word consistent.

  • jian

    Lin starting will be good for the rockets. Lin is more of a passing point guard than beverley. The offense runs much more efficiently than with beverley on the court. Have you seen some of the alley hoop passes Lin made for Howard in game 2? Lin is clearly not a scoring only point guard, and can coexist with Harden. Beverley is more of a scoring/ defensive spark that could help the rockets off the bench as the sixth man. Mchale do not see this because he is a mediocre coach and the rockets won’t succeed with Mchale.

    • mma_ko

      I rather have Lin running pt and Bev as SG on offense .. then under defense Bev guard the PG and Lin the SG – since Lin is taller. Bev would be like Shump. I will bet you that lineup will rock …. Harden 6th man … The OKC Thunder had their lineup right all along.

      • jian

        That’s all and good, but my point is Lin should play more than 25 minutes a game. He should play at least 35 minutes on a night with no overtime. Beverley never takes more shots than harden. If beverely were the shooting guard over Harden, he would have to pick up on the offense and shooting guards have to take more shots than Beverley does as a point man, so I don’t know if Beverley can score enough and scoring consistently enough to be the starting shooting guard and be the player that opponents want to stop from scoring.

  • Tim Nguyen

    He has to be involved for them to win, Game 2 he was a non factor (5 pts) and they lost.

    • jian

      But he had several key assists in the game. And alley hoop for howard. I don’t agree completely with Lin as sole problem. I would say harden needs to be able to score and be efficient scoring not shoot 28% at least over 30% per game for the rockets to win.

      • Tim Nguyen

        honestly the rockets have shown the ability to win with or without him….but if hes healthy and ready to go why not use him….let linsanity loose and watch the show….

        • jian

          Honestly, the rockets have shown the ability to lose without him. They have lost 2 games to portland already on home court. If lin don’t start and harden don’t perform, then they will lose the series plain and simple.

        • eddie1234

          If jlin did not play game one, Houston would have lost. He scored 7 out of 11 in OT. Gmae 2 they did not play him so they lost. Game 3 if jlin did not play, Daniels would not get an assist and they would have lost game 3 as we’ll.

          Have you been watching any of the games???

          • Tim Nguyen

            I’m a Lin fan but I am also a fan of the Rockets as well. They play at their best when everyone gets theirs and the focus isn’t on one person. For a team sporting Dwight Howard you would think their interior defense would be better… Honestly I see Houston and Portland as two very evenly matched teams….its going to be a dogfight the rest of this series….

    • jcsantos

      Why does everyone keep expecting Lin to contribute high stats with just 24 minutes, cut into every 4-6 minutes per quarter, and minimal touches to the ball?

  • mma_ko

    Here is a better idea – Harden should be the 6th man.

    • jian

      Problem, who is going to score for the rockets? I would have loved to have carlos delfino back, he can shoot and score.

      • eddie1234

        When Harden was out, other players score. The total scores was not lower and the record was not worst.

        • jian

          How long was Harden out? And that happened during the regular season, and the playoffs is better competition with more physical play. The rockets really don’t have a better option than hardens at this point. If the rockets have durant or lebron or dirk or steph curry I would say take a seat Harden. But the rockets don’t have a better go to player on the perimeter when they need a bucket.

          • eddie1234

            I would respectfully disagree. Look at his shooting percentage. Is it the highest on the team? The numbers speak for itself.

          • jian

            Look at it this way, some players can’t even get the shot off with more physical and more double team on him. Just like the turnover harden had that lin saved for the last shot. Being the go to scorer means more double team, more traps, more physicality. I’m not sure there is another player on the rockets that can handle it better than harden as the go to scorer.

          • eddie1234

            I would say team basketball is the key, yes harden has the most scoring skill if he does not handle the ball. If he is the PG, then plays one on one, then takes a forced shot, then the coach should be fired.

            Again his percentage speaks for itself. He should not be the go to guy every time. His percentage is much too low. He is killing the team against the elite teams. If he must be the Goto man, they obviously would have lost game 3 and went out the door.

      • Tim Yeung

        Actually, the team has played very well during the season whenever Harden was out, and won most of their games. In fact, Parsons told the media during the season that the Rockets take their best shot when Harden is not on the floor. The very next day, McHale benched Parsons for pretty much the entire game for speaking the truth. And if you play teamball offensively, you get teamball defensively.

        • jian

          Regular season does not = playoffs. Harden shot 45% in the regular season, he is shooting less than 30% in the playoffs.

          • Tim Yeung

            That is even more reason to play Harden less and teamball more for the Playoffs. Also, during the regular season, Harden depended on refs to bail him out and get him on the FT line. He’s not getting these ref calls during the Playoffs.

          • eddie1234

            That is perfectly correct. Harden could not get to the free throw line by running into people. The refs are smarter in the playoffs.

          • eddie1234

            Jian, your information is wrong. Harden does not have 45 pct in shooting percentage in the regular season. Far from it.

          • jian

            http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/3992/james-harden

            It’s actually 45.6% to be exact.

    • Noel

      I hate his beard. Is he some kind of a fvcking Muslim or what?

  • Ray B

    You start your best 5 players. In a year or two, Lin will be an all star while Beverly will be fighting to stay on an NBA roster. That’s a promise.

    • Noel

      I don’t wanna sound like racist like that Clippers’ owner; but I prefer Lin to Beverley even just in looks. Beverley looks like a street bump selling drugs.

      • Mike De Moor

        That’s insanely racist

  • setrue

    Plain and simple, Jeremy Lin needs to be on the floor playing point guard. He is unselfish and is very fair in distributing the ball to any open teammate, i.e passing to Troy Daniels. Harden would have definitely shot it himself. Lin facilitates ball movement and team basketball which keeps the opposing team off balance. Play Lin more and Rockets can still win this series!

    • Noel

      Exactly. I absolutely agree. And during the last crucial moment of the game, Lin is more needed than any other players in the team. He can set up plays and assist. Make no mistake in fouling him ’cause he sure can sink those two free throws.

  • plansmaker

    Lin is by far the superior ball facilitator in Rockets uniform than any other players on the team. In fact Jeremy Lin is a much improved player than his Linsanity era. He does not shoot much off the bench these days. that role is reserved by McHale for James Harden. James Harden’s 37 points out of 35 shootings is not exactly stellar. its about 37% efficiency. His huge turnovers in playoffs is hurting Rockets.

    When Lin is off the floor, Rockets ball movement comes to stop. Chandler Parsons, Terrance Jones, Patrick Beverley all turn into James Harden wanna be. Forcing bad shots due to lack of ball movements and solid Blazers defense. Its like flirting with disaster with no one in charge on the floor.

    The irrefutable fact is that Rockets won game 3 is due to Jeremy Lin secured the loose ball with 11 seconds to go. He delivered a cross court pass to Troy Daniels for the winning shot. Without Lin and Daniels, Houston would have lost game 1,2 & 3. Is Lin important to Rockets success? He is very important due to the things he does best, to move the ball in offense.

    • Tim

      Let’s not forget that the loose ball Jeremy Lin came up with was a result of Harden trying to play ‘hero ball’ and he got stripped on a double team. Jeremy Lin fought hard to get that loose ball and then while Lin COULD have attempted a slashing drive to the rim, he saw a collapsing double team coming, so he CHOSE to pass the ball to an wide open player. Harden would NEVER have done that as Harden has some kind of “Hero Complex” where he has to be the one shooting every last second shot, when a REAL WINNER makes the choice to do what is necessary to WIN the game.

      When you’re the team’s best player, you have PLENTY of games where you’ll be forced to take that last shot, but you shouldn’t be the one forcing that…..CIRCUMSTANCES should dictate when you take that shot and when you don’t. Make a solid play to get a shooter open and if things don’t work out, you find the OPEN man, PERIOD.

      • Ric V. Avelino

        The two of you should be the writers instead.

    • Noel

      It all comes down to the fvcking coach who has his preference. The longer Lin stays with this limping coach, the more doom is basketball career. Lin needs all the supports.

    • Ric V. Avelino

      Well said

  • Tim

    This article is suggesting what MANY fans have been suggesting since DAY 1 of the first game Lin started for the Rockets when they suddenly signed James Harden then promptly sent Jeremy Lin into the corner of the court without the ball in his hands.

    Honestly, this article is insulting saying “Lin is FAR removed from his Linsanity days where he got 30 points and 10 assists…” INSULTING. LIN HAS NEVER BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO HOLD THE BALL IN HIS HANDS AS THE #1 OPTION SINCE THE DAYS OF LINSANTITY YOU DOPE!!! And I’ll bet you money here and now, that if Lin was given that roll back as the #1 OPTION on his team, with the ‘green light’ to run the team as he wants, then you would DEFINITELY SEE 30 point, 10 assist nights from Lin again.

    Your article states that “he (Lin) is ‘becoming’ a better facilitator”……..HUH? THAT’S WHAT HIS BEST STRENGTH HAS ALWAYS BEEN DURING AND SINCE LINSANITY YOU DOPE!!!

    I’m tired of reading articles written by ‘so-called’ “experts” on basketball when they really aren’t “experts” at all or they are haters. Lin cannot seem to get a ‘fair’ assessment from the media since Linsanity.

    #1 – Lin hasn’t been given the opportunity to be a team’s leader since Linsanity.
    #2 – Lin is playing under a coach, Kevin McHale, who nearly ruined the careers of 2 other STAR point guards. Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic BOTH averaged statistics that were identical to Jeremy Lin’s stats today. Look at Lowry and Dragic’s production TODAY, AFTER they got off McHale’s team…..

    I have YET to read any sports writers give these two OBVIOUS points when analyzing Jeremy Lin for sports articles. These lazy (or BIASED) writers seem to either skip over these rather obvious facts or they IGNORE these facts to fulfill a biased negative against Jeremy Lin. I never saw media treat a player as disrespectfully as Lin has gotten treated over the last few years and the offseason after Linsanity. He’s NEVER been given a fair shake in the media and that is really sad because Lin is a good man and a talented player.

    • Noel

      Lin is being shortchanged. Lin is an all around player. He can dribble, steal, set plays, jump, rebound, score from outside and inside, excellent on free throws and most of all, a good team players. Harden? He only wants to shoot and play offense. No defensive skill at all. Asik? Kick him out.

    • Mike De Moor

      Yeah, you and the 31 people who thumb’s upped here are insane. He started for an entire season last year and wasn’t that good. I’m blown away by how thick you all are…. All of what you’re saying is wrong, and I’m shocked that you actually exist…. Everyone who read this is now dumber, because of you, Tim…. It’s never Lin’s fault, it’s always the coach or Harden. That’s denial.

      • Tim

        “He started for an entire season last year and wasn’t that good.”

        Who was handling the ball as dominant ball handler last year?

      • Tim

        Kyle Lowry:
        2011-2012 HOU = 14.3 PPG & 6.6 APG
        but wait, now in Toronto……
        2013-2014 TOR = 17.9 PPG 7.4 APG

        Goran Dragic:
        2011-2012 HOU = 11.7 PPG 5.3 APG
        but wait, now in Phoenix……
        2013-2014 PHO = 20.3 PPG 5.9 APG

        Jeremy Lin:
        2012-2013 HOU = 13.4PP 6.1 APG

        Do you see a statistical trend? Seems like it’s NOT LIN but MCHALE’s “System” that is the problem with Point Guards.

        • Mike De Moor

          no…. Dragic and Lowry were on the same team, so obviously the numbers are going to be lower when you have two great PG’s… look at Dragic’s numbers after Lowry got hurt and vice versa and they stack up pretty well with their production from this year… And Lin put up almost exactly the same numbers for McHale in 12-13 as he did for D’Antoni during Linsanity… McHale just lets everyone be who they are: is that the best method? No. Is it better than over coaching a group of people paid a heck of a lot more than him? Yes and hisstory has proven that

  • jcsantos

    Why are you talking about benching Beverley over Lin when they should be benching Harden for Lin! With Beverley and Lin:
    1. Minimized ball hogging
    2. Maximized ball movement
    3. Vastly improved defense (very important!)
    4. Minimized brick shooting
    5. Allow most players to step up with easy looks (Harden would never have passed to Daniels, who only had the chance because of Lin hustling for the ball and passing to him)

    • Noel

      Beverley and Lin could play together at the back court as point guards. Harden sucks. All he knows and does is to shoot. The moment he receives the ball, it’s all to himself even if other players like Lin are open. Harden also plays lousy defense.

  • Houstonrocketfan

    In Game 3, the secret of Rocket to win is to keep Jeremy on the floor. Especially in the Quarter 4 and Overtime. In the overtime, Jeremy Lin put up 4 points and when D12 and Harden were slowing down; Jeremy Lin stood up to grab the ball and pass to Daniel, Daniel finished the work with 3 point shooting and lead to 109-106. This is the turning point to break the ice and nail down the victory for Rockets.
    Jeremy Lin is a big time player. Daniel is a hero of the victory for Rocket and Jeremy Lin is the true PG at the critical time.

    • Noel

      Yes. Rockets need those crucial shots from Lin. Daniels was able to make that winning shot in the last game only because Lin passed the ball to him when Lin saw him open after Lin recovered a lost ball. More credit should even be given to Lin in that game than Daniels who just happened to be in the right place and the right time. Lin could have driven in to make the shot and fished a foul then shoot the two free throws; but he chose to pass it to Daniels.

      • Houstonrocketfan

        The most important thing is Jeremy Lin made the right decision and the victory tells the truth. If you see how does Jeremy pass the ball to Troy Daniels, you can see what is the level of Jeremy Lin basketball IQ. Nobody can question Jeremy Lin as a true PG.

  • young_voter

    LIn is not just a star. He’s a superstar.

    • Lin

      lets be honest here, I like lin and I do think if properly developed he could develop into a franchise point guard, but as the issue stands now with his marginalization by the Houston and the horrid coach McHale, i am happy as long as lin don’t become the goat for any of the rockets loss when its actually harden and parsons shot -chucking that is the liability..also lin is a much better defender than ppl give him credit for…he is quick to stay in front of his player..not like Beverly which is all hype and energy but often foul out or allow quicker gaurds to blow by for a layup..lin is a no show no nonsense but capable defender…look at how he shut liliard and parker etc..

      • Noel

        Lin is not only a good player, he has a very good attitude. He’s well liked even by the opposing team…always plays clean and a gentleman.

  • Speedz

    If Lin were to start then Harden will have to 1. Start playing defense 2. Share the ball. 3. Cap his allocated shots. 4. Perform something call off the ball movement which he used to do…

    But the most important thing of all McHale needs to go, because he never made Harden accountable for his actions and dont hesitate to point his finger at Lin if something goes wrong…

    When you look at the above its obviously easier to start Bev and let Harden have the green light…

  • Noel

    Why not? Lin should be given more playing time. He should be supported by the team and allow him to make those outside shots. He’s among the best free throw shooters seldom missing. I prefer Lin playing that that idiot Asik. Lin always passes the ball to Harden but Harden seldom or never passed the ball to Lin. Lin is a team player and a good assist artist while Harden is selfish. Lin should be given more breaks by the discriminating coach who seems to treat Lin like second class player at Rockets.

  • chrisbrown0384

    lin should not be playing in the nba

    • chrisbrown0384

      he blown soo many games for us this last one was the final straw..