It was a working holiday for the Rockets. And Jeremy Lin was working overtime. And for good reason.
His individual game is in a slump. And look who visits Friday night to see it up close and personal.
Lin's ex-New York Knicks come calling. The franchise that rejected to re-up on Linsanity and refused to match the $25 guaranteed million that made Jeremy a Rocket.
The franchise without Lin enjoys their best start in more than a decade while Lin struggles in his introduction to Houston hoopdom
And he knows it.
"I've been exposed a lot early in this season and I have a lot to work on," Lin said following the Thursday practice session. "I'm young. I've started 30-something games in my entire career. That's what I have to keep in mind though I want everything to happen the way I want it to right now."
Lin isn't measuring to the hefty expectations at either end of the court. He's showing no explosiveness on the pick-and-roll, attack-the-rim game. He racked five turnovers Wednesday night against the Bulls, shot just 2-9 and his hovering right at 33% for the season.
Defensively he was burned repeatedly by Nate Robinson.
So much so that Lin was pulled for crunch time for the second time in four games. He watched another former Knick, Toney Douglas, deliver the money shot and key the comeback win.
So, the Linsanity craze that enveloped so many of the current Knicks early last season is not exactly sweeping through his current local. And remember that more a few of Lin's former mates wondered and questioned out loud the financial sense of the offer sheet deal required to keep Lin in New York.
"Everyone has their own specific contract and everyone has an opinion whether they're worth it or not," Lin said. "And for me it's just a matter of trying to become a better basketball player. And whether I'm overvalued, undervalued, whatever it may be, that's not really my concern as long as I try to reach my potential."
Active head coach Kelvin Sampson readily admits that Lin is laboring but also sees the necessary ethic to regain the proper gear.
"He continues to work, continues to look for way to get better," Sampson said. "He was one of the first guys here today. Today is Thanksgiving. It wouldn't surprise me if he's in the gym tonight. But the one thing he must do, he has to stay aggressive, he has to keep shooting and he has to keep attacking."