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September 27, 2017

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Lin piles up 12 assists as Rockets tranquilize Grizzlies 109-102

TAIPEI -- Linsanity struck again in Houston Wednesday as Jeremy Lin led the Rockets to a 109-102 preseason victory over the Memphis Grizzlies by dishing out 12 assists.

After struggling in his first three games with the Rockets in the preseason and sitting out the fourth game, Lin finally had a memorable game, helping to defeat the fourth-ranked Grizzlies in the Western Conference.

In the 30 minutes he spent on the court, Lin served as a playmaker in the offensive line, complementing 12 assists with five rebounds and four steals.

But the 24-year old point guard continued to struggle with his shooting, scoring just seven points with three of nine shots from the floor plus one free throw.

Overall, it was his best performance in warm-up games since he joined the Rockets this season, in terms of the amount of court time, the score, and the number of assists, rebounds and steals. Moreover, he had just one turnover, the fewest in his four warm-up games to date.

Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent, attributed his improved performance in part to his conversation with Rockets coach Kevin McHale a few days ago.

"It helped me a lot," Lin was quoted as having told the reporter in a post-game interview.

"Coach is a great person and so he was very honest with me. He just told me, 'Be yourself. Go out, have fun, play basketball. We don't want to put limitations on you,'" Lin said, adding that McHale's encouragement gave him the confidence he badly needed to be aggressive on the court.

On what the Rockets did well in Wednesday's game, Lin said it was "a good team effort in terms of running and spreading out and playing fast and free flowing."

The Harvard graduate also mentioned the team's slow start in the first quarter, saying it was one of those things where the young Rockets needed to come out with a little more energy, especially himself.

"We didn't do a great job of that, but I'm glad we recovered and tried to make it closer of a game," he added.

For his part, McHale said Lin played well in the game.

"He played well. I think Jeremy pressed a little bit. As much as he tells you guys he's 100 percent healthy, he's not 100 percent there yet. We had a long talk the other day and I told him to, 'Go play. Play fast. Get up and down the floor. Attack. Be aggressive. ... And he was better today," McHale said.

In the game against the Grizzlies, Houston shot 70.6 percent during the third quarter and used an 18-9 run to extend its lead to 12 at 85-73 with 10 seconds remaining in the quarter on three Carlos Delfino free throws. With 10:05 left in the fourth, there was a six-minute delay as the horn continued to blare throughout the arena. Game officials got the horn turned off and used airhorns for the remainder of the game.

The Rockets will next face the New Orleans Hornets Oct. 24 in their second preseason game.

Lin, who sparked a global craze known as Linsanity last season after coming off the New York Knicks bench and leading the team to a seven-game winning streak, signed a US$25 million three-year contract with the Rockets in Junly.

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