After benching, Lin just happy to play again

LOS ANGELES -- Jeremy Lin was just happy to be out there again.

"I'm thankful I played," the Los Angeles Lakers reserve point guard said Sunday after a 99-87 loss to the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.

"A DNP will change your perspective on things."

Lin was referring to Friday, when he was a DNP-CD (did not play - coach's decision) in a road loss to the San Antonio Spurs, his first healthy scratch since Feb. 2, 2012, even before "Linsanity."

He entered Sunday's game late in the first quarter to cheers from the fans and finished with 14 points in 28 minutes against the Rockets, making just 2-of-9 shots but sinking 10-of-14 from the free-throw line. He added six assists against his former team.

Both before the game and after, Lin reflected on his roller-coaster season and more.

"In terms of my career, the only thing that's really been consistent is the amount of inconsistency that I've had in my life," Lin said. "I've gone from getting cut to the D-League to starting to playing heavy minutes -- a different role every week, it seems like. I've just got to keep trying to stay aggressive when I get out there -- if I get out there."

His healthy scratch in San Antonio was disheartening, of course.

"I'm human," he said. "I've got emotions, too. I show up and do my best to play and work hard and stuff, but it definitely hurts. It's discouraging sometimes. It's disappointing. All those emotions."

Lin and Lakers coach Byron Scott chatted Sunday morning about Lin's role, and it was the same message Scott has said all season: He wants consistency.

"The effort has been great," Scott said. "That hasn't been a problem with Jeremy. It's just a matter of being consistent each and every night, trying to get into a flow each and every night. That's what we talked about again today."

Lin has gone up and down more than an elevator since joining the Lakers.

He has been a constant target of praise and criticism from Scott and Kobe Bryant.

He has been moved from the starting unit to the bench.

He has gone from second-string point guard to third-string point guard, behind Ronnie Price and rookie Jordan Clarkson

And he has gone from playing heavy minutes to not playing at all, such as Friday.

"The only thing that you can really get used to is the fact that you don't know what's coming next," Lin said. "That's kind of been true this whole season."

None of it is fun, mind you, and Lin hasn't looked happy much if at all this season, even though he has done his best to present himself as upbeat.

Is Lin trying to use his minutes to make his case that he deserves more?

"No, we've been down this road before," he said with a laugh. "[Sunday night], I was just enjoying the game."

He repeated that message a few times.

"I was out there having fun just attacking and really just enjoying the experience of getting to play team basketball -- try to get everybody involved and do the best we can," he said. "It was fun. Losing is not fun, but just playing again is fun."

And that's what the season has been reduced to for Jeremy Lin.

He's just trying to have fun in a situation, and in a season, that is anything but fun.