If one long, weird game is to be believed, this sixth-man thing might just might work out for Rockets guard Jeremy Lin.

There was no doubt, after two overtimes and all kinds of odd twists, that it worked for the Rockets on Monday night at Toyota Center and just in time in a 110-104 win over the Toronto Raptors.

That part of the Rockets’ early-season experimentation has a long way to go before any conclusion can be reached, though coach Kevin McHale does seem to be cooling on the experiment of playing Dwight Howard and Omer Asik together.

But for one game, a game in which few could shoot straight, Lin came off the bench and gave the Rockets just what they needed, saving them from what would have been the worst of their homestand losses.

Lin scored 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting, giving the Rockets just enough of an offensive jolt.

“For any player, if you can get the defense at your mercy — if you can hit the shot and drive by them — there is really nothing they can do anymore,” Lin said after scoring more than he has in all but his two 38-point games. “I didn’t really shoot well at all in the first half. We were all in a funk. But then we broke through in the third quarter.

“I think I would say from a pure field-goal-attempt standpoint, this is the most aggressive I have been this year. I think once you get in a zone, you are in that zone, and there is nothing that can faze you at that point.”

On a night when the Rockets shut down the Raptors with their most complete defensive effort since the season opener, holding Toronto to 33.3 percent shooting (by far the worst for a Rockets opponent), they could not shoot well enough to make a 17-point second-half lead hold up.

Lin, however, was under standing orders to attack, and he followed them for 46 minutes, scoring the most points off the Rockets’ bench since Carl Landry had 31 in the 2009-10 season.

Lin did not have an assist, but he was not in the game to be a playmaker. With James Harden struggling with his bruised foot (he had 26 points on 7-of-19 shooting with a season-high 10 assists) Lin was there to score.

“Jeremy was in attack mode going in,” McHale said. “Jeremy is one of the few guys right now shooting with a little bit of confidence, and he made some shots.
“With Jeremy, we talked about it, about him coming off bench. I told him, ‘Hey, you have to just go out there and just play. You’ve worked hard all summer.’