Jeremy Lin ‘good To Go’ Versus Clippers


Rockets guard Jeremy Lin went through Tuesday’s shootaround a day after leaving practice with a sprained left ankle and reported that he is “good to go” against the Clippers tonight.

“I feel good,” Lin said. “I can tell. We did some stuff in there (in the training room). I’ll be good to go.”

Lin stepped on Toney Douglas’ foot during practice on Monday and left the court. He watched the rest of practice while icing the ankle.

“I thought there was a high probability I’d be fine for today,” Lin said. “When it first happened, I had no idea. But after 30 minutes, I was like, “I should be OK.

“I’m fine. I think everybody is playing through something at some point in the season. You have to be able to just play. And we’re all used to it. Everybody is banged up.”

That would include Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who missed Monday’s game with a bruised right knee. The Clippers, however, have been the league’s deepest team, with Eric Bledsoe stepping in as the starting point in a rout of the Grizzlies.

Whether Paul, an MVP candidate, plays or not the Rockets needed the workout on Monday. The practice was the second Lin has left this season after turning his left ankle. He also played the next day after spraining his ankle last month. Lin, however, did not come out in favor of abolishing practices, though the Rockets schedule has come close to that, anyway. Monday’s workout was the Rockets’ first since Jan. 7 and will likely be the only practice until Jan. 22.

“We needed yesterday,” Lin said. “We’ve had slippage on the road, not being able to practice. Yesterday was good.”

When asked what the Rockets most need to take from the practice to the game, Lin cited the Rockets’ team defense.

“I’d say getting back to our shell defense, basically making sure the weakside is there,” he said. “We gave up a lot of layups and easy things like that. We’d rather have teams forced to kick it out or shoot a 3 or a contested 2, but not a layup. (The Clippers) love finishing at the rim. That’s why today is going to be a huge weakside defense game.

“Being able to neutralize their athleticism by being in the right place at the right time and being really team-oriented on defense in terms of having all five guys move weakside and strong side. And being high energy, just getting back to the way we played before we went on the road.”

The Rockets brought a five-game winning streak at home before losing all three games of the road trip, with the defense particularly coming apart in Philadelphia.

“We haven’t had many practices lately,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “With a young team, that affects you more than with a veteran team. We had some slippage in some areas.

“We better play packed in the paint and make them take jump shots. They can make jump shots. If they beat you making jump shots, you can live with that. You can’t live with them having highlight film dunks and layups.”

He will not, however, have make those improvements while replacing his starting point guard.

“He looked like he was moving OK,” McHale said. “I was concerned today he would be really limping and hobbling around. He wasn’t 100 percent. He went through shootaround, but shootaround and playing are different things. We’ll find out more tonight.”

That can be said about more than Lin’s ankle.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Photo: Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle Image 1of/89



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