In a move that most people in the U.S. were not aware at the moment it happened(5 AM CST), coach Kevin McHale switched Patrick Beverley into the starting lineup instead of Jeremy Lin for Thursday’s pre-season game against the Indiana Pacers, which turned out to be a 116-96 blow-out win for the Houston Rockets. Both players responded well, as Beverley played efficiently with the starting unit, shooting 4 of 5 from the field, and finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 26 minutes. Lin, meanwhile, had total control of the 2nd unit, and finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in 23 minutes.
While this was, after all, just the 2nd pre-season game, it could have a major indication as to how the Rockets lineup and rotations will look once the regular season begins. Beverley was able to play like his usual self: harassing George Hill and C.J. Watson on defense, and being a spark plug filled with energy and effort without having the burden to try and create anything offensively. James Harden, Chandler Parsons, and Dwight Howard took care of the scoring, although Beverley did finish in double digits.
Lin was able to play his game: having the ball all to himself, running pick-and-rolls, attacking the lane, and finishing at the rim, or dumping it off for an easy assist. He also played some shooting guard, with Aaron Brooks running the show, and has the potential to fill the void as the scorer the Rockets are looking for off the bench. Even with this performance, Lin will start when the Rockets face the Pacers again Monday afternoon(early Monday morning in the states) as all eyes and attention will be on him in Taiwan.
McHale stated before the game that his plan is to rotate Beverley and Lin as the starter for each pre-season game, but if both players can keep up this type of production in their new roles, then it would be hard to see how Beverley will not be the starter, and Lin as the sixth man when the Charlotte Bobcats come to Toyota Center on Oct. 30.