During the unfathomable run that propelled him to stardom with the New York Knicks earlier this year, Jeremy Lin was nearly perfect when games were on the line. Lin has since returned to reality, though, and with a chance to be the hero for his new team, the Houston Rockets, against the Miami Heat, he fired an airball from three-point range with 10 seconds left and his team trailing 111-110.
The Heat then went up 113-110 on two free throws, before James Harden missed a three-pointer for the Rockets at the buzzer, forcing Houston to swallow a bitter defeat.
“It didn’t come off right,” Lin said of his late misfire, according to the Houston Chronicle. “It didn’t feel good. Obviously, it’s my responsibility to hit that shot. It was a good shot for me, a quality shot, and it didn’t go in for me unfortunately in a crucial play of the game.”
Lin, the first NBA player of Taiwanese descent, went three-of-eight from the field, including two three-pointers, during his 34 minutes on court. He had nine points, six assists and a rebound along with two turnovers.
The Rockets came out flat, falling behind 22-5 7 minutes, 30 seconds into the first quarter, but then used an up-tempo offense to get back in the game, narrowing the Heat’s lead to 56-52 at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Lin hit a three-pointer and then fed Chandler Parsons for a fast-break layup, sparking a rally that saw the Rockets take their first lead of the game at 70-69 with 5:03 left in the quarter.
Houston extended their lead to 101-93 with five minutes left in the game and though Miami fought back, a Parsons’ three-pointer with 1:29 left put the Rockets up 110-106.
However, the Heat’s LeBron James responded with three points and a layup to put Miami up for good, with neither Lin nor Harden able to pull their side back.
Parsons led the Rockets with 25 points, while Harden had 22 after shaking off a slow start.
Omer Asik scored a double-double, with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while James scored a season-high 38 points, with 10 rebounds and six assists to lead his side to their sixth straight victory over Houston.
In other games on Monday, Boston’s Rajon Rondo had 20 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Celtics over the Chicago Bulls 101-95.
Rondo took advantage of Bulls point guard Nate Robinson for three quarters, helping the Celtics build a 12-point lead on 56 percent shooting. He extended his streak of consecutive games with 10 or more assists to 31, the longest in the NBA since John Stockton had 37 straight from Feb. 27 to Nov. 29, 1989.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Paul Millsap scored seven of his 34 points for Utah in the third overtime, while Al Jefferson had 24 points and 17 rebounds as the Jazz beat the Toronto Raptors 140-133 for their first road win of the season.
Mo Williams had 17 points and 14 assists, Randy Foye scored 20 points and Marvin Williams had 17 as the Jazz opened a four-game trip by avoiding their first 0-5 start away from home since 1987.
DeMar DeRozan matched his career high with 37 points, while Jose Calderon had 20 points and 17 assists for Toronto.
The Oklahoma City Thunder rallied to beat the winless Detroit Pistons 92-90 as Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 33 points to spark a fourth-quarter comeback.
Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings scored 33 points and Monta Ellis had 18 to lead the Bucks past the Philadelphia 76ers 105-96, while Nikola Pekovic scored 20 points before leaving with an injury in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 90-82 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
The Atlanta Hawks downed the Portland Trail Blazers 95-87 as Josh Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Kyle Korver added 16 points.
Goran Dragic scored 21 points in the Phoenix Suns’ 110-100 win over the Denver Nuggets.