Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin’s second post season is shaping up much like the first: almost non-existent.
The 24-year-old missed Houston’s Game 4 105-103 victory with a bruised chest injury, and is currently listed as a game-time decision for Game 5 Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Lin missed the playoffs last season due to a knee injury in his only year with the New York Knicks, and in three games this postseason has averages of 4.3 points on 25 percent shooting, and 2.6 assists.
Down 3-0, the Rockets avoided the sweep and made up for Lin’s absence with 27 points and 10 rebounds from forward Chandler Parsons, and center Omer Asik’s invaluable contribution of 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Ten turnovers and a four-for-12 performance limited Rockets guard James Harden to 15 points. In the three previous games of the series, Harden was scoring at a 28.6 points per game clip, doing most of his damage from the free throw line. In Game Four, he only attempted eight free throws, connecting on seven.
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The Thunder also found out what it was like to play without their star point guard Russell Westbrook, and suffered their first loss of these playoffs.
Kevin Durant was on fire throughout Game Four, shooting 12-for-16 from the floor for 38 points, along with eight rebounds and six assists. Though with Westbrook sidelined for the rest of the playoffs, Durant was given more opportunities to run the offense, and committed seven turnovers.
Second-year guard Reggie Jackson stepped into the starting line-up for Westbrook and scored 18 points, and veteran Derek Fisher totaled 12 points off the bench.
Thunder center Serge Ibaka also failed to reach double-figures in points for the first time in the series, totaling eight points and five rebounds. Previously, Ibaka was on a 15.3 point and 9.6 rebound pace.
The game tips-off at 9:30 p.m. and will be broadcast by TNT or you can watch their free live online stream at TNT Overtime here.
Betting Odds: Oklahoma City is favored by 8.5 points.
Over/Under: 208 points
Prediction: Houston found a way to keep Ibaka off the boards, and held the edge on offensive glass thanks to Parsons and Asik. If they can repeat that performance, and force the rest of the Thunder, not Durant, to beat them, the Rockets can push for a sixth game. But look for Durant to put together a blistering first half, and OKC to maintain its lead in the second half to move on.
Predicted Score: Oklahoma City 105, Houston 97