BASKETBALL/Kings get milestone win on Jeremy Lin's triple-double
Taipei, Nov. 27 (CNA) The New Taipei Kings won their franchise-best fifth game in a row at the start of a season Sunday, trouncing the Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers at home 109-93 behind a triple-double by Jeremy Lin.
The victory over the Steelers at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium improved the Kings record to 5-0, the second longest winning streak by a P.LEAGUE+ (PLG) team at the beginning of a season, trailing only the Fubon Braves' six wins to start the PLG's inaugural 2020-21 season.
The five wins also topped the previous Kings record of four consecutive wins to start the 2022-23 season.
Lin led the Kings with his first triple-double of the season and fourth in his PLG career, recording 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
"Like Coach Ryan said, I can play quite a few different roles on this team," Lin said when asked about how he has been used by the Kings.
"[The Steelers] double-teamed me fast today and tried to limit the space I had, so basically [I] just made one dribble and dished the ball off for wide open shots," Lin said, giving credit to head coach Ryan Marchand, who has reminded him to simplify things.
The former NBA guard showed over the weekend the different roles he could play for last year's PLG championship series finalists.
While he exploded Saturday for a season-high 37 points against the Taoyuan Pauian Pilots, including 17 in the final quarter, the 35-year-old veteran logged a season-low in scoring against the Steelers while tallying season-highs in rebounds and assists.
Steelers head coach Chiou Dah-tzong (邱大宗) said Lin apparently slowed down following Saturday's game, and the Steelers contained him well in the first half, but Lin is capable of cracking the code no matter how opponents attempt to stop him.
"The rock was like a bait in his hand. He can attack the rim himself, and if you give him a little more attention defensively, he will create opportunities for his teammates ... I think that's the beauty of his game," Chiou said.
It was Lin's first game against Kaohsiung, the team he played for last season in his first PLG campaign and which he nearly led into the playoffs after joining the Steelers when they had a 2-17 record.
Lin said it would always be "tough" and "emotional" to face off against the Steelers because of their friendship.
Off the court, however, it seemed that Lin's magic may be waning. After contributing to a huge bump in attendance for the Steelers in the second half of last season, the Kings have yet to sell out any of their four home games this year.
It has drawn 4,086-5,235 people a game in an arena that has a capacity of 6,450 seats.
Attendance at PLG games in general has been unspectacular so far this season, with the only sellout the PLG season opener featuring the Taipei Fubon Braves hosting the Kings in front of 7,000 fans at the Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium.
The Kings will next host the Meralco Bolts of the Philippines Basketball Association on Wednesday in their second East Asia Super League game, before visiting the Steelers on Sunday.
Also on Sunday:
The Hsinchu Lioneers lost to the Braves 99-84 at home for their third straight drubbing.
The team has lost its first three games by an average of 19 points, and some of the Lioneers fans have already started to lose their patience, chanting "change the head coach" with less than a minute to go against the Braves.
The Hsinchu team's head coach is Lin Guan-lun (林冠綸), the only coach the Lioneers have known since the PLG began.
What could be worse than Sunday's loss was the potential loss of center Ivan Marinkovic and shooting guard Michael Efevberha in the coming weeks.
Marinkovic left the game early due to a palm fracture, while Efevberha dislocated his right ankle in the third quarter.
The Lioneers will visit Taichung to play the Formosa Dreamers on Dec. 3.
Meanwhile, in the T1 LEAGUE, Taiwan's other professional basketball league, the Taipei Mars recorded the franchise's first win by defeating the Kaohsiung Aquas 124-110 behind point guard Tin Sheng-ju's (丁聖儒) career high 27 points.
The game also marked the Aquas' third consecutive loss, who remained winless on the season.
Also victorious were the Taiwan Beer Leopards, who outlasted the Tainan TSG GhostHawks 120-112 at Taoyuan Arena to improve the team's record to 3-1, placing them second in the five-team league.
Forwards Lasan Kromah and Devin Williams combined for 50 points as the Leopards notched their third straight win, tying the franchise record.
Though it is still early, the Leopards seem poised for what could be their most successful season since they were founded in 2021.
The Taoyuan team finished the 2021-22 season with an 8-22 record, before falling to 6-24 last season despite the addition of eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard.
Howard left the Leopards during the offseason, but there have been rumors that the Leopards may announce the signing of another former NBA player soon.
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