According to Kevin McHale’s parallel theory of auto mechanics and playoff basketball, Jeremy Lin has now assembled one transmission amid the bright lights and the loud noises of the NBA’s postseason chop shop.

Lin didn’t do a particularly good job his first time under the hood, alas. In his first playoff game Sunday night at Oklahoma City, he was outplayed in every fashion by Russell Westbrook in the Thunder’s 120-91 victory over the Rockets in Game 1 of their Western Conference series.

But with some reflection and film study behind him, back in Houston for the first of back-to-back practice sessions at Toyota Center before Wednesday’s Game 2, Lin sounded as if he had put Game 1 behind him.

“I had a bad game. That happens,” he said. “It will get better.”

The Rockets, he said, “have been blown out before. But we’ve also blown other teams out. A loss is a loss. We’re down 1-0. We don’t feel there’s stuff that they did that was just, ‘Oh, man, we can’t make a series out of this.’ That’s not the case.”


McHale for the second day in a row went to his favorite analogy of the moment, which is that the difference in performance between playoff rookies and playoff veterans is like the difference in taking your car to a guy who has read about fixing transmissions and a guy who has actual repair experience.

“We’re reading manuals about (playoff pressure),” McHale said. “Those (Oklahoma City) guys, those guys have done it. Relax. Go play. You’ve gotta experience it.
“One good thing about Jeremy is that he’s a tough kid. He’s always bounced back. I assume he’ll play really well (in Game 2).”