Jeremy Lin has further boosted his bid for the Sixth Man of the Year honor with a signature performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Lin, who is just playing his second game since suffering an ankle injury against the Utah Jazz last week, started in place of Kemba Walker and put up 24 points, 8 dimes and 5 rebounds to spark the Charlotte Hornets to a big win against the defending Eastern Conference champ.
The former Harvard standout has already put himself in the discussion for the Sixth Man of the Year award with his solid play as a backup point guard, but this marquee game against LeBron James and company will surely boost his claim for the year-ender award.
Down 58-49 at the start of the second half, Lin along with Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist began to click together and slowly eat in the Cavaliers lead.
With the game still hanging in the balance, Lin scored six points down the stretch, including a dagger of a jumpshot at the 2 minute mark, to seal the win for the Hornets and end James 21-game personal winning streak against the franchise.
“Kemba, honestly, is irreplaceable. We all know that,” Lin told reporters via NBA.com. “(But) we feel like if everyone can chip in a little bit, we can try to make up for his absence.”
While there’s still a lot of basketball left to determine the best-performing reserves this season, the 27-year old Lin is very much in position to win the first year-ender award of his career.
Lin is averaging 12.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 27 minutes per game this year. He has also shown improvement on the defensive end as well, allowing head coach Steve Clifford to put him against the best scoring guards in the league in some nights.
This performance vs. the Cavs will surely wind up as one of the highlights this season for Lin, who is quietly redeeming himself after a nightmarish stint with the Los Angeles Lakers last year.
Photo Courtesy: Complex