Jeremy Lin 29 Points Spurs

Many basketball fans have turned their attention to the collegiate game over the past week. Those people missed some heroic shooting performances from players hellbent on improving their team’s positioning in the playoff picture. As the regular season winds down, each of those valiant efforts seems to matter more than the last.

PointAfter breaks down the three hottest shooters of the week with interactive visualizations.

Note: All weekly statistics cover games between March 18-24.

Guard: Jeremy Lin, Charlotte Hornets

Jeremy Lin has actually had a pretty poor shooting season, posting field goal percentages below league-average in six of PointAfter’s seven shooting zones (the right corner being the lone exception). But he turned it on everywhere this week, even if his seven-day shot chart shows he still can’t drive effectively to his left very well.

Note: You can hover over each shooting zone to see Lin’s stats compared to the league average.

The clear standout performance from Lin came in Charlotte’s stunning win against the Spurs, which saw the Hornets rebound from a pitiful seven-point first quarter to win 91-88. Lin sparked that remarkable comeback, converting 11-of-18 shots (4-of-4 from beyond the arc) to pour in 29 points, including 15 on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor in the pivotal fourth quarter.

Lin averaged 22.3 points in three games this week for the Hornets, who have won 17 of 21 to solidify themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They have their backup point guard to thank for their signature win of the season.

Wing: Tim Hardaway Jr., Atlanta Hawks

Like their Southeast Division rivals, the Atlanta Hawks have also gotten hot down the stretch to climb up the Eastern Conference standings. And they’re getting major contributions from a guy who played in just four of the club’s first 35 games.

Tim Hardaway Jr. has shown why the Hawks traded away their first-round pick in last summer’s draft to acquire him. After showing development on the defensive end since a month-long D-League stint, Hardaway has evidently been granted the green light from downtown.

And why not? He’s sunk 49 percent of his three-pointers in March, and canned 11-of-20 treys in Atlanta’s three games this week to average 16.7 points on 60 percent shooting overall. His seven-day shot chart epitomizes the club’s contemporary preference for shots at the rim and from beyond the arc.

Hardaway’s recent hot streak has kept the Hawks rolling even though a bruised knee has limited Kent Bazemore lately. His emergence will let head coach Mike Budenholzer mix and match more aggressively down the stretch to give Bazemore and others some rest ahead of the postseason.

Forward/Center: Marcus Morris, Detroit Pistons

Detroit securing Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock, and Danny Granger (since released) in a trade with Phoenix for the mere price of a 2020 second-round pick was one of the offseason’s best under-the-radar moves. The Suns dumped those guys in an ill-fated quest to sign LaMarcus Aldridge, and gifted the Pistons a starting stretch-four in the process.

Morris has responded well to the increased usage in Detroit this season, providing them with spacing that long eluded them when Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Co. were still in town. The Pistons’ offensive rating has been nearly five points better with Morris on the floor.

His stroke has been quite streaky this season, but when he’s on, boy is he on. Morris boasted a blazing shooting line of 63.4/76.5/66.7 in Detroit’s four games this week, converting 13-of-17 threes. Detroit accordingly triumphed in all four contests, putting more space between themselves and the inexplicably disappointing Bulls.

The Pistons’ lead over Chicago for the No. 8 seed currently sits at 1.5 games with 10 to play. Morris’ form could greatly influence Detroit’s playoff aspirations, one way or the other.