Jeremy Lin Must Take Advantage of Weaker Opponents to Help Rockets' Playoff Push

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2013

February 23, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) dribbles the ball as Washington Wizards small forward Martell Webster (9) defends in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 105-103. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin has had some good days and bad days with the Houston Rockets this season, but the next few weeks are set up for the point guard to dominate.

Throughout the season, the Rockets have been one of the highest-scoring teams in the league. The young roster loves to run the floor and be aggressive, usually getting the better of poor defensive teams in shootout-type games.

These are the type of battles that Lin loves to get into. He has his faults, but he is perfect in a pick-and-roll offense when he also has room to drive to the lane.

He also succeeds when he is able to face a smaller point guard that allows him to get better vision of the court on offense.

Fortunately, there are some good looking games ahead.

Over the next couple of weeks, Houston has two games against the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, plus one against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Only Golden State is projected to be in the playoffs at this point, although that does not seem to be a problem for Lin. In his previous two games against the Warriors, he totaled 42 points, 19 assists and only two turnovers. Both of those games resulted in wins for the Rockets.

For the rest of the games, Lin gets to match up against smaller point guards that are not known for defense like Darren Collison, Goran Dragic and Ricky Rubio.聽

Expect the point guard to be able to get into the lane easier, leading to closer shots and a higher shooting percentage in these games. This will improve the Rockets offense dramatically and should lead to a better chance at victory.

Of course, this has not always been the case. Lin and the rest of the team struggled against weaker opponents last month in losses to the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings. At this point of the year, this is simply unacceptable.

Houston is currently 32-28, narrowly holding the eighth spot in the Western Conference with a 2.5-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers. Considering the talent on that next team, it will be a close race until the end of the year.

This squad cannot afford to miss opportunities like this. Things get tough at the end of March with games against the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers. The Rockets need to secure wins in the easier games to give them more breathing room later.

Obviously, James Harden plays a big factor in the team's success, but Lin needs to be the person to take pressure off him in the backcourt. The upcoming contests are tailor-made for this to happen.

Time is beginning to run out in the season. If the team wants to stay in position to cap the year with a playoff appearance, the time to step up is now.

Jeremy Lin must be a leader on this young team to make it happen.


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