Jeremy Lin Analysis – Hornets vs the Bulls 11/3/15

Late afternoon yesterday (11/2), a huge and generous JLin fan asked if there is any JLinportal member who lives in Charlotte that can attend the game and watch the interaction between JLin and his coaches plus teammates
This huge fan was so concerned that JLin might not be treated well that a ticket can be donated if there is someone who can help with onsite reporting.

Immediately, I thought of our friend JP at JLinForum who lives in Charlotte if he’s interested.
Within 2 hours we arranged to get the right ticket behind the Home Team bench purchased and delivered.
There was some technical difficulties but it was quite smooth.

It turned out Hornets had a great game to blow out the Bulls 130-105

Despite playing only 15 min in the blowout game, JLin played a crucial role to end the Bulls hope for a run

Here is the onsite reporting provided by JP with the helpful contribution of our anonymous JLin Fan!
Enjoy

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First of all, I would like to sincerely thank the unanimous fan who gave me free tickets to watch the game live. It was an awesome experience, and I’m extremely thankful. Now, let’s get down to business.

On my way home, I was a bit worried because I felt that I might not have anything interesting to write about. I was there when Houston visited the Hornets 2-3 years ago in Lin’s first year as a Rocket. I remember writing about how depressing and “down” Lin looked with his body language, and how he didn’t seem to have a great relationship with his coach, McHale. Obviously, we all saw what happened with the Lakers and Byron Scott, which I won’t talk about him, but needless to say it wasn’t anything like we expected it to be. And as you may know, I wrote an article when the Bulls came to Charlotte in pre-season and I mentioned how good the team looked, and how happy they were together. Specifically recalling the chemistry between Kemba and Lin, how they were hugging and laughing walking to the bench as the Hornets extended their 4th quarter lead by a bucket from Jefferson. It was definitively great to see that.

1. Uncertainly in 0-3 start
However, we all know how the regular season started. The Hornets were not looking that great, Jeremy Lin was not looking that great either. The team looked lost, but there was still a slim glimpse of hope that the Hornet could return to their pre-season style of play. And that hope kept steady as we witnessed the Hornets willingness to fight and never give up. Even though they lost the first 3 games, they were all relatively close, and the Hornets always kept fighting. So, there was that hope, but there was also that question of what exactly was going on. Was this just a pre-season fluke? Were the Hornets really just not that good? Can they be good? What’s going on with Lin? What about the Coach? Is there something going on behind the scenes that we just don’t know about? Did Lin made the right choice? And many other valid questions. But, I think it’s time that we put to rest all these questions.

I’m just another fan, a regular person, and I know some people might not agree with me. But after this game, there is not a doubt in my mind that this is the perfect place for Jeremy Lin. And the reason why I felt that I might not have anything interesting to write about, is because usually you want to find out if there’s something that we can’t see on camera. And the only thing I saw behind the cameras is that Lin is HAPPY, REALLY HAPPY. I mean, where do I begin.

2.Cheering Teammates & Coach Clifford’s play for JLin

Kemba cheering for Lin as he made big plays and vice-versa. Lin cheering for Lamb as he was making buckets. Coach congratulating Lamb with a “good shooting” before going to garbage time. Teammates encouraging each other, congratulating each other. Celebrations after almost literally every shot, no matter who made it. I mean, you want to talk about a team playing team basketball? This was the perfect example of it. There was nothing that I saw, not even a glimpse of egos or conflict in the team. Does Coach Clifford believes and supports Lin? 100%. There were more than a few times where Clifford would strike a conversation with Lin about the game. Remember that 2 for 1 at the end of the third quarter where Lin got the And-1 layup? All designed by Clifford. He told everyone to get out-of-the-way, open the floor and pretty much told Lin, the space is open, just drive to the rim and he did. I actually love Coach Clifford. Every single player seems to have great respect for him. Everyone was attentive and accepting of all his instructions and boy did he gave instructions. Clifford literally spent the whole game just standing up, I think someone needs to tell him that he can sit down once in a while, haha.

So, for those fans wondering if there is some type of contempt between Lin and the Hornets, there is none of it. It’s actually the opposite. Lots of respect, humbleness, and truly just players buying in as a team, looking out for each other and enjoying each others success. If there is one image that can describe what I’m trying to say in words, it’s below.


3. The Game

So what about the game? I know most will talk about the Hornets threes and how many they made and how efficient they were. However, what won this game was the Hornets defense. They were aggressive from the opening tip, and that aggressiveness on defense translated into offense. The ball was popping all the time from man to man, just as everyone was buying on team defense, everyone was buying on team offense. I was one of those skeptical about P.J Hairston starting, but he did play great defense tonight. And even though I disagreed with Clifford’s statements about starting him, I’m now ok with it and it makes more sense now. And either way, Lin is playing way more minutes than Hairston and closing out games. One unit that I really like is Lin/Lamb/Batum/Zeller/Hawes, they can open the floor and all of them can pass and shoot, specially Lamb who went off tonight. Lamb just needs to improve his defense a bit, but other than that he had an amazing shooting night. Truly, this was a great team win and one they can build upon. They played the right way, took care of the ball, played great defense and moved the ball well. If there is one thing I could nitpick about is all those pump-fakes. I understand the “finding the best shot,” but some were really open shots and instead of shooting some players pump faked and drove to the basket. Which is fine, but when you are shooting 50%+ from three as a team, take the shot if it’s open. Again, that’s just nitpicking. If the Hornets play like this every night, that playoff picture is looking very likely.

4. Bad News & Good News
Speaking about Lin specifically I got some bad news which really is good news. In my opinion, Lin won’t have the breakthrough season we were hoping, in terms of padding stats. He probably won’t average 18 and 6. However, what Lin will have is a consistent role for the first time in 3 years. A coach that believes in him and trusts him. Teammates that care for each other instead of just themselves. And a really efficient season, with a specific role.

The main reason why I believe that Lin won’t be “padding” his stats is that the Hornets are buying into a team concept. Like Lin said in an interview, “You need to want to see your teammates succeed.” There are no egos here, just team basketball. And if we are honest with ourselves, we know that this is what Lin always preaches about and wanted. He really finds joy in seeing his teammates score or make good plays. Truly a team guy. The best thing? Most of his teammates, if not all, are the same way.

5. Nothing to Worry About
After this game, and after seeing all the interactions between the team, I can honestly say, there is NOTHING to worry about. Maybe Lin won’t close every single game this season, or some nights he might play less minutes than usual for whatever reason. But, the one thing I’m sure about, is that Lin is happy in this situation, and we should all be too!

Some other small observations.

– Michael Jordan was sitting court side next to the bench and watched the whole game. He looked excited with the Hornets win and congratulated Lamb as he was interviewed after the game.
– At the start of the game, Lin immediately put a rolled towel on his lower back. We have seen this in the last few seasons, so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.
– Kemba is truly the captain of this team. Always encouraging, and motivating his teammates. His chemistry with Lin off-court is great. They were communicating, congratulating each other and sharing smiles and laughs. Wish we could see them more on the court together.
– Frank can become a really great player in the future. He is definitively making a case for more playing time.
– Truly surprised at P.J’s defense. Did a great job in team AND individual defense tonight.
– Lastly, Lin’s efficiency. Like I said before, Lin will have a really efficient season this year. 15 pts, 4 asts and 5 rebs in only 19 minutes of play is as efficient as it gets!
– I’m extremely excited for this whole season, and hoping that we can make a run in the playoffs this year. After tonight’s game, I’m sure we will!

Thanks for reading, feel welcome to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. And one last time, THANK YOU, to the generous fan who donated the ticket for me to experience this game! And also thanks to JLinPortal.com!

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