On a day when the Houston Rockets really needed a spark of Linsanity, Jeremy Lin ’10 delivered.
The daughter of Rockets head coach Kevin McHale, Sasha, passed away on Sunday from complications from lupus at the age of 23.
In a show of solidarity for McHale, who has been on leave since November 10th for family matters, the team wore green patches with purple borders on their jerseys on Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors, as green was Sasha’s favorite color and purple is the color associated with the fight against lupus.
In what must have been one of the toughest games for McHale, Lin gave arguably his best performance of the season.
After showing shades of the old Lin against his former team the day after Thanksgiving, the Harvard alum posted a double-double against the Raptors, with 16 points and 10 assists, and recorded his best shooting game of the season, converting on seven of nine attempts, including a three-pointer. Lin also tallied four rebounds and three steals to help catapult the Rockets over the Raptors, 117-101.
"Right now, it's an emotional time for the whole team,'' Lin told the press after the game. "We're missing our leader. Right now, we're just focused on coming out and playing the way we're supposed to play. Hopefully, when he is watching, he can be proud of us.''
The Rockets flew to Minneapolis on Wednesday morning to pay their respects and offer condolences to McHale and his family before flying south that night in a quick turnaround to face their next opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder, which entered the game riding a two-game winning streak, extended its run to three games as it earned a decisive victory, 120-98, over the Rockets, dropping Houston to 7-8.
After his stellar performance on Tuesday, Lin couldn’t help teammate James Harden get even with the team that traded him before the season. The Crimson grad failed to have a repeat performance in the second game in as many days, recording just six points on seven attempts.
Lin also dropped eight dimes, while Harden, returning to OKC for the first time since his trade earlier this year, struggled in his homecoming, missing his first four attempts and shooting just 3-16 from the field after sinking nearly 50 percent of his shots against the Raptors.