Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin, the NBA’s first player of Taiwanese descent, is likely to play longer than his teammates in an NBA preseason game against the Indiana Pacers that is to take place in Taipei today.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale said yesterday before a practice at the Taipei Arena that all his players will play for about 20 to 25 minutes in the Taipei game, with Lin expected to play “a little bit more” than the others.
“It’s an exhibition season for us. We want to look at different combinations and stuff. I don’t anticipate anybody playing too much longer than that,” McHale said.
Lin came off the bench in the NBA’s first-ever preseason game in the Philippines on Thursday, scoring 14 points, six rebounds and five assists in his 23 minutes on court, and giving the Rockets a push to win 116-96 against the Indiana Pacers.
McHale told reporters after the Manila game that he would change the starting lineups every game. He also promised that Lin would start the game in Taipei.
On his strategy for the game, McHale said it would be a good test for the Rockets because of their opponent’s big and strong frontline. He said the Rockets’ two big men, Omer Asik and Greg Smith, are unlikely to play, due to injury.
“We beat them [the Pacers] in the last game, so they will come up and play well. It will be a very competitive game, I’m sure,” McHale said.
Lin told reporters that he would focus on the team’s defense rather than individual matchups in today’s game, in which the Rockets point guard is expected to face tenacious defense from the Pacers’ George Hill.
“We’ve already had a defensive philosophy,” Lin said. “We feel like our defensive principles are more for everybody versus specific people.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel said he is trying to re-establish his team’s defense after allowing the Rockets to score 62 points inside the paint and shoot 53 percent from the field in the Manila game.
On the offensive side, the Pacers committed 19 turnovers and were held to only 39.5 percent shooting from the floor, with the Rockets playing a smaller lineup for most of the game.
Asked about any plans to limit Lin, Vogel said the Pacers “will not change too much from what they do” against Lin in the last game, because they already have a good defensive scheme.