When the NBA announced that the Houston Rockets would be heading to Taipei, Taiwan, to take on the Indiana Pacers in preseason action as part of the league's Global Games initiative, all eyes immediately turned to Jeremy Lin. After all, the 25-year-old Houston point guard, whose parents both hail from Taiwan, is the first Taiwanese-American player in NBA history and he has quite a few friends and family members in the country; while an up-and-down first season with the Rockets has dimmed his star's shine a bit in NBA circles, the passion surrounding Lin in Taiwan remains "as if it were February 2012 still," according to Brian Yang, the producer of the recently released documentary surrounding Lin's rise from an undrafted Ivy League prospect to a global phenomenon.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning here in the U.S., Lin repaid that passion with a performance that brought many of the 13,686 fans in attendance to their feet from just after the opening tip. Take a gander, in case you were sleeping (or maybe waiting to board an airplane):
Lin kicked off the Rockets' scoring with a 3-pointer, erased a Danny Granger drive with a chasedown block, notched a steal that led to a fast-break dunk and generally looked like an all-court force in the early going of the exhibition contest. His pace would cool a bit as the game wore on, but he'd still finish with 17 points on 6 for 8 shooting, including 3 for 4 from downtown, with four assists, three steals, two rebounds and that one big block in 35 minutes of play as Houston topped Indiana, 107-98, at Taipei Arena. (I, for one, will continue to focus on the little in-between floater he put up and in over Pacers center Roy Hibbert, for no particular reason whatsoever.)
One game after coming off the bench behind Patrick Beverley against the Pacers in Manila, Lin was again the star of the show despite a case of pre-game jitters, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
“I walked out and everyone was looking at me,” Lin said. “You’re walking out to warm up early and everyone is like ‘Aaaaagh.’ I was pretty nervous before the game, way more nervous than in the Philippines.” [...]
“(Rockets assistant coach) Chris Finch said it’s all your birthdays rolled into one,” Lin said. “You got an and-one, you got a dunk, you got a block.’ The crowd. The environment. It was a little bit of everything.
“I was like, “Oh my God, everything is going my way.”
And while Rockets supporters would surely love it if it all kept going Jeremy's way when live action commences in two weeks' time, this particular performance couldn't have come in a better place or in front of a better crowd. Check out some more, and slightly different, highlights from Lin's notable night here:
... and a bit more on the general circus-like atmosphere surrounding Lin's return to Taiwan here: