Right at the start of Sunday’s exhibition game in Taiwan, Jeremy Lin stepped up and knocked down a three.
Linsanity never really died in Lin’s ancestral home of Taiwan and by the end of the game Sunday it felt like New York at the peak of the craze.
That opening three sparked a first half where Lin made a steal and went coast-to-coast, hit a variety of shots and even blocked a Danny Granger shot. It was a fantastic first half and by the end Lin had 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting (3-of-4 from deep) and four assists. Lin has had a solid preseason and Rockets’ coach Kevin McHale talked about it.
“I think he’s really comfortable with who he is,” McHale said. “He’s lost weight. He’s quicker. He played well again tonight, but he’s played well in practice.”
It is possible Lin will fall to a sixth man role in Houston, but that is less about his play and more about fit — Patrick Beverly brings better defense to the first unit (and he has shot well this preseason), Lin would bring some pick-and-roll shot creation to the second unit. Whatever the role, if Lin’s game has matured the Rockets will take another step toward contender.
By the way, the Rockets won the game 107-98, James Harden had 21. Paul George had 19 points and George Hill 17 but the latter suffered a mild ankle sprain (as the team defines it).
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.
DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.
But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.
DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:
“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”
This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.
Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.
Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.
I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.