- Former NBA star chalks up 21 points, 13 assists and 6 rebounds in 95-80 win over Taishin Dreamers
- ‘It will be some memorable years going forward and I shall never forget my first game in Kaohsiung,’ Lin says
Former NBA star Jeremy Lin notched a double-double in his Taiwanese P. League+ debut to help Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers snap a four-game losing skid on Sunday.
The league’s bottom team had a slow start against Formosa Taishin Dreamers – who sit one place above them at fifth in the table. But a 10-0 run – with Lin sitting on the bench – towards the end of the opening quarter put the home team in front for good.
A five-point advantage entering the second quarter became a 56-35 lead for the Steelers soon before halftime, and they never looked back in front of a sold-out crowd.
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“We did not have much time to practice together, and physical fitness was the most difficult part,” Lin said after Steelers’ 95-80 win.
“Limiting our opponents to just 80 points made me feel so proud of my team. There was some hesitation on the court, some were split-second decisions.
“But it was my first time playing with these guys, so we learn as we play and it was a good step today.”
With a full house of 5,321 fans at the Fengshan Arena, the 34-year-old Lin chipped in 21 points, 13 assists and 6 rebounds in 41 minutes.
Fans were chanting “MVP” as Lin attempted free throws late in the fourth quarter.
“I probably never heard that before, and definitely not in the NBA too,” Lin said.
Despite rating his performance at “four or five out of a maximum of 10”, Lin took the chance to thank the fans.
“Thank you all for making this such a fun environment, I am really grateful,” he said. “It is emotional today, it will be some memorable years going forward and I shall never forget my first game in Kaohsiung.”
Steelers head coach Cheng Chih-lung said his plan was to limit Lin to 35 minutes, but he revealed the nine-year NBA veteran hoped to remain on the court to lead his new teammates.
“I did feel tired and I could not recall my last 40-minute game,” said Lin, who won the NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
“So I appreciate the coach for trusting me, it is meaningful to get a win in my first game in Taiwan.”
With only three wins in 20 games, the Steelers are still rock bottom in the league, with a big gap still to the Dreamers. The two teams will meet again on Saturday in Taichung at the Intercontinental Basketball Stadium.
Next up for the Steelers will be another away game with the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers – who have won all four of their meetings this season – on February 25.
The Steelers will then wrap up the February schedule with a much-anticipated visit to the league-leading New Taipei Kings.
The Lin brothers – Jeremy and Joseph – are expected to go head-to-head for the first ever time in a competitive game on February 28.
All 6,540 tickets for the clash at Xinzhuang Gymnasium are already sold out.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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