Jeremy Lin showed that he can contribute just as effectively off the bench by delivering 14 points in just 23 on-court minutes during the Rockets’ exhibition game against the Pacers in basketball-crazed Manila.
Lin had started in last week’s pre-season game against New Orleans, but took his turn playing off the bench Thursday night under coach Kevin McHale’s pre-announced plan to alternate both starting point guards and power forwards in the pre-season. McHale had Patrick Beverly start as point guard and Terrence Jones as power forward while the usual starters Lin and Donatas Montiejunas played off the bench.
Lin contributed to the Rockets’ 116-96 win over the Indiana Pacers by making all 8 of his free throws and 3 of 6 from the field. He also managed to rack up 6 rebounds and 5 assists with 3 turnovers — impressive stats considering that he played only about two-thirds of his usual minutes as a starter.
James Harden led the Rockets with 21 points while new addition Dwight Howard was held down to 9 points after getting into early foul trouble. He also had four turnovers. Paul George paced Indiana with 17 points.
This was the first time an NBA game had been played in the Philippines which NBA Commissioner David Stern called an ideal host for NBA preseason games because Filipinos are “rabid fans in a wonderful way.”
“The NBA is always trying to find ways to take advantage of opportunities particularly in Southeast Asia, and the Philippines lead the way,” said Stern. “But we’re beginning to see activity around like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.”
Jeremy Lin’s best chance to shine early this season may come Sunday when the Rockets and Pacers will play each other again in Taiwan, his parents’ homeland. He is expected to be a starter in that game.