Lin Seeks Consistent Production

According to Scott, when Lin finds success on the defensive end, it bleeds over to his offensive performance.

With a game-high 18 points to go along with six assists, four steals and a pair of blocks, Jeremy Lin proved to be a key cog in the Lakers’ 101-84 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Now the trick is to sustain that production.

Lin has arguably been L.A.’s most hot-and-cold player, having seven games shooting above 60 percent, but also nine when he shot 20 percent or below. That lack of consistency can be seen throughout the point guard’s game, but lately he’s shown steadier production.

Lin has scored in double figures in each of his last five games, averaging 14.8 points on 51.0 percent shooting with 3.6 assists during this stretch. However, there has also been plenty of mistakes mixed in, including 2.6 turnovers and 2.6 fouls per game during this span.

“I think he’s getting more comfortable, and I think his confidence is coming back,” head coach Byron Scott said at practice Saturday. “I think he understands exactly what I want from him. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. And I know from the point guard position, you’re going to make mistakes, and I can live with that as long as those mistakes are made with the effort that he played with last night.”

That effort is what led to Lin’s perhaps best defensive game of his career. Facing off primarily against low-scoring rookie Elfrid Payton, Lin tied his season high in steals and recorded his best defensive rating (75) among games in which he played more than six minutes.

“I want to get in more passing lanes and get more steals,” Lin said. “When I first started playing, I was ranking (among) the top in the NBA in steals; trying to learn how to play defense and focus more on my guys taking me out of some of those opportunities. But I’m trying to get back more into it where I’m looking for steals, I’m hunting and trying to track guys down.”

According to Scott, when Lin finds success on the defensive end, it bleeds over to his offensive performance. That seems to be especially true with steals, as he has scored in double figures nine times in the 11 games with multiple swipes. He is also averaging 16.8 points and 6.8 assists in his four games with at least three steals.

“I think it goes hand-in-hand,” Scott said. “It really does. When you come out thinking about the defensive end of the floor and who you got to guard and the things you have to take away, it seems to ignite the offensive part of the floor for you.”

Lin claims his performance Friday stems from an increase in aggressiveness — something he has talked about since training camp. This could be true, as his plus/minus is a combined +22 in the seven games that he took at least 12 shots and -58 in nine games of fewer than six shots.

Scott agrees with his point guard’s self-assessment, and he wants to see Lin assert himself in other parts of his game as well.

“That’s the way he has to play for us,” Scott said. “I want him to be always under control and running the team, but there’s times when he has to be aggressive as well — and aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean you have to shoot the ball every time.”

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