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Jeremy Lin to play in Game 6 for Rockets Friday night

May 3, 2013, 2:06 PM EDT

Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin works against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook in the second half of their Game 1 NBA Playoffs basketball game in Oklahoma City. Reuters

Patrick Beverly has played well in the absence of Jeremy Lin (20 points one game, 14 points 8 assists the other). The Rockets backup point guard ignored the boos and has been a key part of the Rockets making this a series again.

But Lin will be back on Friday night for Game 6, according to the Houston Chronicle. This is a must-win Game 6 for the Rockets at home, as the Thunder lead the series 3-2.

Lin will come off the bench and play limited minutes, but the Rockets starting point guard for most of the season has been cleared to return from the chest contusion that kept him out the last two games. Coach Kevin McHale explained the plan.

“We’ll bring him off the bench and see how much juice he has in the tank. It’s hard to enter a series when you haven’t played in a while, but we’re going to try to keep what we have going. Jeremy, we’ll try to fit him in there, see how he is and see how his arm feels. If he gets hit or anything happens.”

This is not a huge game changer for the Rockets (although the Lin haters out there will blame anything that goes wrong in this game on him). What he provides is depth — the Rockets can run more bodies at a Thunder defense that has been pretty bad all series long. And it gives the Rockets another boost against the shorthanded backcourt of the Thunder (playing without Russell Westbrook).

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