Updated 08:04 PM EDT, Wed, Oct 22, 2014
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Jeremy Lin News: Recent NBA Games Show Why Houston Rockets Need "Linsanity" to Shoot More

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Jeremy Lin
(Photo : Reuters)

The month of March has not been particularly kind to Jeremy Lin this season.

Over the last seven games, Lin has only averaged about 11.3 points for the Houston Rockets; his shooting average is still strong at 44.6 percent, but considering that he was shooting nearly 50 percent over the first month of the season, it's still a dip.

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However, that's not because of any struggles in Lin's shooting. With the exception of an off night in Detroit on March 1, he's actually been hitting pretty accurately as the NBA season winds down.

Want proof? Take a look at some of the highlights from his team-leading 21-point performance during Thursday's Rockets loss to the Chicago Bulls:

And further still, let's take a look at his 7-for-17, 26-point shooting night during Houston's thrilling Sunday shootout win against the Portland Trail Blazers:

So, then, what's the problem? Why are his year-to-year numbers down from last year's March, when he was averaging 13.8 points on 48.2 percent shooting and a deadly 40.0 percent from three-point range?

The problem lies in his minutes and his shot attempts per game. Granted, Lin hasn't had it easy thanks to his dealing with a nagging back injury that has limited his playing time. However, things have been an upward climb for him with the ball coming to him less. Over the last month, Lin has only averaged 8.0 shots per game, the fewest that he's averaged at any point this season. That's not good, considering that Lin's history has shown him to be far more effective on the offensive side when he has more opportunities to shoot the ball. In November, when he was averaging a season-high 15.3 points, Lin got at least 9.9 shots with 30.1 minutes logged each night on the floor.

The Rockets have been doing well for themselves this month, having won five of their seven March games. But with a chance to dethrone the San Antonio Spurs as Southwest Division champs and move up in seed positioning for an easier opponent in the opening round of the NBA playoffs come spring, Houston can't afford to have any of their key pieces not firing on all cylinders. Lin may not be James Harden or Dwight Howard--or even Chandler Parsons--when it comes to the main pieces in Rockets coach Kevin McHale's fast-paced offense, but as the sixth man off the bench and one capable of contributing big when given the opportunity, Lin shouldn't be getting fewer shots and less playing time; he should be integrated back into the offense in a slightly more expanded role.

The reasons for Kevin McHale going with Patrick Beverley over Lin at the starting point guard spot are understandable. Beverley's a strong defender--a necessity considering the Rockets' knack for underperforming on "D" most nights--and he's athletic and a pretty good shooter in his own right. Beverley is good for the Rockets starting. However, the offensive punch and relentless attacking of the basket that Lin makes his bread-and-butter off of can galvanize the Rockets or keep their momentum going during critical points in the game.

And that's going to become necessary, especially when Houston needs to give Harden, Parsons and their starting five a breather when they face tough teams like Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors, Tim Duncan's Spurs or possibly Damian Lillard and the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers during the playoffs. Better to get Lin in shape to prepare for that eventuality now than pay for it with a chance to make the NBA Finals is on the line later.

ENJOY READING JEAN PAUL'S JEREMY LIN / NBA STORIES? CHECK OUT MORE HERE   

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