Jeremy Lin Excites NBA, Charlotte Hornets Defeat San Antonio Spurs

Jeremy Lin was once the toast of the NBA. Back in 2012, the New York Knicks were desperate, so then-head coach Mike D’Antoni decided to see what Lin could do before releasing him after his ten-day contract expired. Lin exploded and looked like the next big star in the National Basketball Association. Things have quieted down since then. Until Monday, that is. According to USA Today, Lin exploded for 29 points off the bench, which enabled the Charlotte Hornets to stun the San Antonio Spurs.

On Saturday night, the San Antonio Spurs shocked the NBA world when they were able to beat the red-hot Golden State Warriors. They managed to make Stephen Curry look like a regular human being. Some even said that the extremely confident guard appeared intimidated by the Spurs stifling and smothering defense. If you’re able to beat the Warriors that easily, then the Charlotte Hornets shouldn’t be that much of a challenge.

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker Kemba Walker [Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]Since the team lacked a legitimate NBA superstar, the Charlotte Hornets are often overlooked by fans. However, the team has been playing much better this season than anyone expected. The Hornets have quietly moved into a position where they could soon take the third seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. They’re neck and neck with the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, and Miami Heat right now.

Still, though, the Charlotte Hornets were not supposed to be able to compete with the San Antonio Spurs. When the first quarter ended, the Hornets had a grand total of seven points, so everyone was sure that the game would be a blowout victory for the Spurs, as predicted. The effort simply wasn’t there. It appeared that some of the Charlotte players might have believed they had no chance at beating San Antonio.

Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson Al Jefferson [Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]After the game, Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford was able to make jokes. He stated that he begged his players for effort. Clifford even joked that the players made more money than him and could easily get him fired by the Hornets. When the first quarter ended, it was highly unlikely that Clifford was in a playful mood. The changing of his mood began when the Hornets finally started playing like a team that could win.

In the game against the San Antonio Spurs, Jeremy Lin not only backed up Charlotte Hornets starting point guard Kemba Walker, he also played alongside him as well. When the Hornets signed Lin, Steve Clifford envisioned being able to use the two in a two-guard front, attacking both sides of the court with a single reverse pass. Lin chose Charlotte in free agency because they were the team that showed the most interest and were willing to let him play.

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford Steve Clifford [Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]Fortunately for the Charlotte Hornets, Jeremy Lin chose a great time to have a fantastic game. Kemba Walker only made two of the 11 shots that he took. Backup centers Al Jefferson and Frank Kiminsky III only made three of the 18 shots that they took. Nicolas Batum and Courtney Lee combined for 32 points, but the Hornets certainly were not going to beat the San Antonio Spurs without Lin going off for 29 points.

While a lot of people would love to see Jeremy Lin going on another tear through the NBA again, it’s highly unlikely to happen. The 6’3″, 200 pound guard has embraced his role as a supporting player in the National Basketball Association. That mentality should help Lin find a new team this summer when he opts out of his contract and becomes a free agent once again. This game helped raise his stock.

[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]