Game 2: Atlanta Hawks vs Memphis Grizzlies

Jeremy Lin got over the hurdle of finishing his first NBA game after 555 days.

In an article by Howard Megdal, Lin was quoted that he hasn’t felt the rhythm of the game or felt right about his body after the long injury layoff.  Some days will be amazing and some days will be a grind.

Still, he’s returning from almost two years away, so while he isn’t close to 100 percent, Lin simply may not know what 100 percent is at this point. To him, it’s about rhythm, rather than maximizing speed, and he knows that isn’t back yet, either.

“I think it just takes time,” Lin said. “Some days it’s going to be amazing. Some days it’s going to be a grind. But no, it’s going to take time. I understand that, but I’m not really at a point where I’m trying to make excuses either. I just think I need to get continuing to work out, get my body right.”

His basketball IQ is as strong as ever, something he showed over his 14 minutes Wednesday night. He recognized Ron Baker was overplaying him and took a give-and-go backdoor route to the rim to punish him for it. The following possession, he stepped into a passing lane, picked off the pass and headed straight to the rim, utilizing strength over the circuitous routes he often took when he had quickness in abundance, drawing the foul.

And yet, there were the setbacks as well — Trey Burke pressured him in the backcourt on a possession late in the second quarter, ultimately forcing Lin into getting tripped up and turning it over. The Hawks called timeout, and after the respite, Lin was back on the bench, Young in the game.

“I asked Jeremy after the game, I said, ‘How do you feel?’”, Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce told assembled media in a back hallway of The Garden following the game. “I said, ‘You should feel great. You played more games than you played last year… Now we can move forward, now you’re good, you’ve gotten over this hump.’ He’s good, I’m glad that he was able to finish the game, feel good about himself. From a competitive standpoint, he doesn’t feel like he had a great performance, but that’s what we all should feel like after a loss.”

What Jeremy Lin understands now, in a way few players ever truly get it, is how little he can dictate the circumstances of his career. And so Lin has made the decision to find the joy in whatever he gets to do on the basketball court, to “ride the wave of my circumstance”, as he put it, knowing that he can work as hard as he did in his 20s at his craft, but a most improbable journey is entirely out of his hands.

“I think the older we get, the more we realize we just can’t control anything,” Lin said. “I mean not anything. There’s a few things, but when it comes to like you can do all the right things and it won’t matter if it’s not meant to be. So, if I have five years left, or eight years left, or only one year left, it’s going to lead whatever it will. And if I didn’t enjoy it, I feel like it was a waste. Even if I was healthy, I played well, if I didn’t enjoy it. If I didn’t really appreciate it, then I think I’ll have wasted it.”