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BASKETBALL/Jeremy Lin lifts New Taipei Kings back to P.LEAGUE+ Finals

06/04/2024 04:56 PM
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New Taipei Kings combo guard Jeremy Lin tries to blow by his defender during Monday's game with the Formosa Dreamers in New Taipei. Photo: New Taipei Kings June 3, 2024
New Taipei Kings combo guard Jeremy Lin tries to blow by his defender during Monday's game with the Formosa Dreamers in New Taipei. Photo: New Taipei Kings June 3, 2024

Taipei, June 4 (CNA) The New Taipei Kings returned to the P.LEAGUE+ (PLG) Finals for the second straight season as Jeremy Lin (林書豪) erupted Monday for 33 points in the team's 97-88 home triumph over the Formosa Dreamers for a 4-2 series win.

Lin, who had averaged only 16.8 points in the series' previous five games, also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out six assists in nearly 42 minutes, all personal series highs.

His longest outing in the series before Monday was 40 minutes and four seconds in Game 2.

"If fatigue is here, I'm now more than exhausted," the 35-year-old veteran said in a postgame interview, raising his right hand a few inches above his head to describe how tired he felt.

Despite his big game, the former NBA combo guard credited a teammate for the win as he usually does, this time praising Lee Kai-yan (李愷諺).

"He set the tone for the team with his aggressive defense right from the tip-off. He wasn't just the MVP of the game but the team's most powerful engine," Lin said, adding that he was impressed by Lee's selflessness from the first day he joined the Kings.

New Taipei Kings point guard Lee Kai-yan (No.9) defends Formosa Dreamers point guard Lin Chun-chi (with ball) during Monday's game. Photo: P.LEAGUE+ June 3, 2024
New Taipei Kings point guard Lee Kai-yan (No.9) defends Formosa Dreamers point guard Lin Chun-chi (with ball) during Monday's game. Photo: P.LEAGUE+ June 3, 2024

Known for his tenacious defense, Lee played nearly 33 minutes Monday and focused primarily on containing Dreamers point guard Lin Chun-chi (林俊吉).

Lin played all 40 regular season games for the Dreamers, and averaged 15.5 points and 6.2 assists per game while contending for regular season MVP honors.

In Game 6, he had five points and five assists along with four turnovers.

The victory means the Kings will face the Taoyuan Pauian Pilots in the PLG Finals, and the two teams will also play in the East Asia Super League (EASL), a kind of East Asian basketball Champions League, in the 2024-25 season.

The Pilots secured their berth in the PLG finals on Sunday following a 98-94 win that knocked out the Hsinchu Toplus Lioneers 4-2.

The team from Taoyuan, which topped the six-team PLG during the regular season, will have home court advantage in the finals. The best-of-seven series will open on June 9 and would last until June 24 if it goes the full seven games.

Graphic: P.LEAGUE+
Graphic: P.LEAGUE+

Asked what the Kings' plan would be against the Pilots, Lee seemed more interested in just savoring Monday night's series-clinching win and not looking too far ahead.

"I just want to take a few days off and see what defensive mission the coaching staff gives me. All I need to do is do my best," he said.

(By Li Chien-chung and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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