Powerful performance by Lin hands Bulls worst gift on Christmas Day
By Ann Yu ,The China Post
December 27, 2012, 12:16 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Jeremy Lin's 20 points, 11 assists and James Harden's 26 points ensured there was little festive cheer in the Chicago Bulls' locker room, as the Houston Rockets ran to a blowout 120-97 victory on Christmas Day.
Chicago had not lost at home on Christmas Day in 15 years, but Rocket starters Omer Asik, Chandler Parsons, Lin and Harden each scored more than 20 points to give the Bulls a present to remember: their worst defeat of the season. The victory also took the Rockets' current winning streak to four games.
"If you can move your body and the ball, it's hard for the defense to get locked in," said Houston coach Kevin McHale.
Somewhat rattled at the beginning of the season, Lin appears to have found his pace over the last four games, shooting double-digit scores and getting two double-doubles. Although far from another bout of Linsanity, critics have said that the teaming of Lin and Harden has slowly proved to be a good match.
Lin's performance on Tuesday saw his fifth double-double of the season.
The Rockets pulled away early, ending the first half with a lead of 58-41. Lin scored 12 points in the second quarter while Harden scored 13. Lin began the quarter strong, managing to fast pass to Toney Douglas after a steal from Bulls guard Nate Robinson.
With elite player Derrick Rose still missing from the lineup, Robinson managed to pull in 27 points, while teammate Marco Belinelli scored 15.
The gap continued to widen in the third quarter, with the Rockets paralyzing the Bulls and preventing a string of scoring chances. At one point the lead grew to as large as 35 points. Former Bulls player Asik racked up 20 points and 18 rebounds on his first return to the United Center.
"It's a good example of what we can do," Lin said.
Although the Bulls managed to close the lead to 100-85 with eight minutes left on the clock, Lin's layup shot sent it to 102-85, and the Rockets got four more consecutive points before the Bulls scored again.
"We are a very young team, but are continuing to learn and believe in our system," McHale said after the game.
Harden, Asik and Lin were pulled with three minutes left in the game, after Harden put in a three-pointer, nailing his 26th point and lifting the score to 116-93.
The Rockets are now ranked sixth in the division, with a record of 14-12. They will be up against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, U.S. time.