Jeremy Lin's Strong Play Makes Rockets Dangerous Foe in NBA Playoffs

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IApril 7, 2013

Apr 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) brings the ball up the court during the third quarter against the Orlando Magic at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin is getting hot at just the right time to make the Houston Rockets a formidable NBA playoff contender.

The point guard has been on a tear the past four games, averaging 19.8 points and 9.3 assists per game in those contests. 

This latest surge of excellent play couldn't come at a better time for Lin and the Rockets.

Lin had struggled recently for Houston, scoring no more than eight points during a four-game stretch in late-March. His minutes were down, as well as his offensive efficiency, and the team struggled as a result. 

With just five games left on the team's regular-season schedule, the Rockets are currently the seventh-seeded team in the NBA's Western Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers are 2.5 games behind Houston, while the Golden State Warriors are 1.5 games ahead.

Lin's resurgence has the Rockets looking primed for a playoff matchup against either the first-seeded San Antonio Spurs, the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder or the third-seeded Denver Nuggets. All three teams feature high-octane offenses. Houston scores more points per contest than any team in the NBA, but the Thunder, Nuggets and Spurs follow at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4.

When Houston's offense is clicking, Kevin McHale's group is a well-oiled machine that is capable of scoring on any defense.

Lin is a key cog in this machine. 

The key for Lin going forward will be his shot selection and ball security. When he takes care of the ball and doesn't try to do too much by himself, the Rockets are a tough team to defend.

James Harden, Omer Asik, Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino are all capable of putting up big numbers on any give night. If Lin continues dishing out assists and lets his shooting game come to him, Houston has the offensive firepower to compete against the top teams in the West.

If Lin can perform in the postseason the way he's been playing of late, the Rockets have a legitimate chance to pull off a big upset in the first round and beyond. 


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