Lin gets hurt, Rockets lose close Game 2 (Chinese)
OKLAHOMA CITY -- In this edition of the Mandarin Minute, Howard Chen AKA 陳定豪 discusses the Jeremy Lin injury and also the smallball the Rockets employed to near victory.
After a rough Game One where the Rockets lost 120-91, Houston switched up their strategy and their starting lineup. Patrick Beverley started in place of Greg Smith. The Rockets were going for more pacing and more spacing. This was accomplished as Houston constantly had four players on the floor at different spots on the perimeter, drawing the Thunder defense to space out as more room was created. By the end of the half, the Rockets were only down two, 57-55, with plenty of encouraging signs. James Harden had 17 points. Beverley was on pace for a triple double. Lin was on pace for a solid all-around game himself with seven points, four rebounds, and three assists. Kevin McHale's strategy was working.
Then, the injury winds swept over.
Lin actually got hurt in the first half, although he's not sure who he ran into. He suffered a muscle contusion to his right chest. He came on the floor for the start of the second half, but had to immediately leave for the locker room and could not return. He said after the game that he couldn't really run without it going crazy. He also said x-rays were negative, but that he's not sure about his Game Three status until he gets checked out by trainers on Thursday.
As for the game itself, with Lin out and Beverley plagued by foul trouble, the Thunder took advantage of a stretch when both point guards were out, scoring 11 straight points during that juncture as part of a 13-0 run (the last two points of the run came when Beverley was inserted back in). Beverley, Harden, and the rest of the Rockets scrapped back and made a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to take a 95-91 lead, only to see the Thunder overtake them in the end.
Harden had a very solid performance, scoring 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out six assists. Beverley also was stellar in his first NBA start, scoring 16 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing six assists himself.
There were plenty of encouraging things to take out of the performance, but the bottom line is that the Rockets trail the series 2-0 and obviously hope to reverse their fortunes as they head back to Houston.