It was a perfect homecoming for Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei.
Lin, whose parents emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the 1970s, scored 17 points and went 3 for 4 from the 3-point line to help the Rockets overcome the Indiana Pacers 107-98 in an exhibition game played Sunday before a capacity crowd of 13,686.
James Harden led all Rockets scorers with 21 and had three 3-pointers of his own.
Paul George’s 19 points led the Pacers. George Hill contributed 17, but suffered what coach Frank Vogel called ”a mild ankle sprain” in a third quarter scramble. Vogel said that Hill’s condition will be monitored in the coming days.
Lin was clearly the crowd favorite and didn’t disappoint with a dazzling array of clutch shooting and pinpoint passing.
His play earned him accolades from Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who said that all the hard work Lin put in over the summer is giving him the boost he needs to cope with the immense pressure he feels at being one of the most closely watched NBA players in Asia.
”He puts so much pressure on himself,” McHale said. ”There’s an entire half of the world that seems to be pulling for him.”
After a seesaw first quarter, Houston pulled away to lead by 15 points at halftime but Indiana cut that lead to only two before fading in the final quarter.
McHale singled out Houston newcomer Omri Casspi for special praise. Casspi had had 13 points and nine rebounds, all but one on the defensive end.
”Omri is doing a really good job for us,” McHale said. ”He’s playing at a really high level.”