At the exact midway point of the NBA regular season, Jeremy Lin ’10’s Houston Rockets find themselves at a crossroads. By losing its sixth straight game Friday night in a 105-95 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Houston fell out of playoff standings. It currently sits a single hundredth of a percentage point behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the eight seed in the Western Conference.
Friday’s matchup was a tale of cat and mouse, the Rockets continually just short of making a competitive run against Indiana, always a few possessions out of real contention. Houston’s starting lineup combined for 15 turnovers, while the entire Pacers team recorded only 13 mistakes.
On the night, Lin tallied 10 points on four-for-seven shooting, including knocking down both of the shots that he took from beyond the arc. The Harvard alum also notched five rebounds and three assists.While Lin shot efficiently, several of his teammates struggled from the field, and the squad shot just 41 percent for the contest.
“We were never able to build a lot of momentum at any point in the game,” Lin explained following the game. “When we get down that much at some point in time everything has to go your way for you to be able to get back in the game. We can’t keep putting ourselves in a position where we have to play a near-perfect game. It’s not one thing that we have to fix, we just have to go back to the basics, play better defense and do a better job rebounding.”
It was Paul George for Indiana who truly torched Houston, putting up 31 points behind a 7-of-10 shooting performance from downtown. The third-year player also nabbed five steals, 3.6 more than his career average. Additionally, George had the assignment of covering James Harden, a player who has averaged over 26 points per game this season. On Friday night though, Harden was kept to 17 points on 26 percent shooting.
Lin and the Rockets will have little rest before starting the second half of their regular season Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. While its star player Kevin Love will be out due to injury, Minnesota enters Saturday’s contest only two and a half games back of Houston for the ninth spot in the West.