SAN ANTONIO — Jeremy Lin sat on the bench all night long, a scenario that last unfolded just days before “Linsanity” burst through the Big Apple for a two-month stint that proved unforgettable.
The Lakers’ 99-85 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday at AT&T Center featured all the elements that made this game forgettable. The Lakers (12-32) lost their seventh consecutive game. They had no answer for the Spurs’ stars in Tony Parker (17 points), Kawhi Leonard (15 points), Manu Ginobili (15 points) or Tim Duncan (14 points). But the game became notable for two reasons.
Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson received his first career start, posting 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, four assists and one turnover in 29 minutes. Clarkson’s appearance in front of his hometown came at the expense of Lin, who received the dreaded “DNP” because of a coach’s decision for the first time since Feb. 2, 2012. That was mere days before “Linsanity took off. So why did Ronnie Price, who went scoreless on four shot attempts in 19 minutes off the bench, play in front of Lin?
“I thought I’d give Ronnie more of a look tonight,” Scott said. “I know what Jeremy can do. The next game, it might be different.”
Or it might not. Who knows.
Lin has averaged 10.5 points on 43.6-percent shooting along with 4.5 assists in 25.7 minutes per game this season. But Scott has lamented about Lin’s inconsistency with his aggressiveness and playmaking. Lin will also become a free agent after the Lakers acquired him in a salary dump from Houston.
Lin left the locker room after talking to one reporter, while a majority of them were still interviewing Scott outside the door. Lin later said on Twitter he didn’t have any idea other reporters wanted to talk to him and would gladly answer questions after Saturday’s practice, which Scott eventually postponed. Reporters would have talked to Lin had they been alerted properly that the locker room was open during Scott’s post-game interview.
“He just has to keep doing the things he was doing when he was playing,” Scott said of Lin. “It’s not like I’m not going to play him again. It’s more of a case of changing the lineup.”