Jeremy Lin had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in less than 19 minutes off the bench as the Charlotte Hornets routed Chicago Bulls 130-105 Tuesday to register their first win of the season.
Lin outshined starting guards Kemba Walker (13 points, 5 assists) and PJ Hairston (10 points) and provided the much-needed impetus for the second unit. Lin continued to improve his defensive acumen as the Hornets kept former MVP Derrick Rose to 2/8 shooting. Lin didn’t allow substitute point guard Aaron Brooks to find any rhythm, forcing him into constant foul trouble. Lin evoked a huge ovation from the home fans at Time Warner Cable Arena when he blocked a 6-foot shot from E’Twaun Moore. This is easily the best defense Lin has played since entering the league in 2010.
Checking into the game in the fourth minute of the first quarter, after Walker sprained his ankle, Lin made an instant impact, finding Nicolas Batum and Spencer Hawes for open threes. He barely played third quarter but returned to help his team stay ahead in the fourth. The Hornets led by 27 in the second quarter after scoring 13 out of 18 shots. This early momentum would end any hopes of a Bulls fightback.
Lin continued to shoot efficiently, draining 2/2 from deep and 4/8 overall. He finished with only the solitary turnover and a plus/minus rating of +21 – once again highlighting his efficiency and positive impact while on the floor. (Watch Lin’s highlights below)
For Hornets, Batum had 18 points from 28 minutes and Jeremy Lamb had 20 points from 26 minutes. Big Al Jefferson scored 14 points while Hawes added 13.
Lin’s underrated ball-handling skills, court vision and quickness were once again put on display. It’s probably only a matter of time before coach Steve Clifford entrusts Lin with the starting role.
The Hornets are now 1-3 while Bulls are 3-2 as the season rolls on. Charlotte will now travel to Dallas to face the Mavericks on Thursday.