Toronto: Jeremy Lin could be excused for wondering where all the mass hysteria he attracted last season has gone, but the Houston Rockets guard is not one to draw unnecessary attention to himself.
When Lin visited the Toronto Raptors in February he was a member of the New York Knicks, playing the best basketball of his career and the face of a global craze dubbed ‘Linsanity’ that transcended the sporting world.
But in Sunday’s 103-96 road defeat to a weak Raptors team Lin had a pedestrian seven points, a far cry from the 27 he had in February, when he made a game-winning three-pointer for the Knicks with under a second to play.
“If I could turn it on like a switch like that easy I would obviously turn it on but that’s not how it works,” Lin told a group of reporters that paled in comparison to the crowd he drew in February, when a special room was set up to accommodate the flood of media.
Houston’s offseason acquisition of Lin was made with hopes that he would build on the breakout run he enjoyed with New York, who only plugged him into their starting lineup after a rash of injuries.
Lin has shown flashes of brilliance that made him such an exciting figure, most recently a 38-point outburst over a solid San Antonio Spurs team last week that tied a career high for the 24-year-old Taiwanese-American, but he has failed to consistently deliver what the Rockets were hoping for when they lured him away from New York with a $25.1 million (Dh92.2 million), three-year contract.
Just more than a quarter of the way through the regular season, the man behind the Linsanity craze has averaged 11 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game for an Rockets team that has an 11-12 record and is ninth in a 15-team Western Conference where the top eight teams make the playoffs.
“I am not doing close to what I am capable of doing,” said Lin, who averaged 14.6 points in 35 games last season. “I’m my harshest critic and I’ll go ahead and say I’m doing terrible.”
It has been a whirlwind of a year for Lin, who was virtually an unknown bench player before going on an improbable multi-game stretch of greatness that made him one of the National Basketball Association’s most popular players and gave birth to the Linsanity phenomenon.
Regardless of his play, there will surely be plenty of eyes on Lin come Monday, when he plays his first game at the New York Knicks since his switch to Houston.
But while it may be a date many NBA fans circled on their calendar when the 2012-13 schedule was released, Lin just seems eager to move on and focus on winning games.
“Definitely ready to get it over with,” Lin said. “In some sense there will be some closure. I am thankful for those times because those were some great times but at the same time it’s [time for] the next chapter.”
Results from the NBA games on Sunday (home team in CAPS)
TORONTO 103 Houston 96
LA Lakers 111 PHILADELPHIA 98
Denver 122 SACRAMENTO 97
PORTLAND 95 New Orleans 94