Knicks-Timberwolves Preview

Jeremy Lin’s dizzying rise to NBA prominence continues.

Now, he’ll try to lead the New York Knicks to their longest

winning streak of the season.

Fresh off his most impressive performance yet, Lin takes the

floor again for the Knicks on Saturday night when they visit Ricky

Rubio and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the only meeting between

the clubs this season.

Previously seldom-used, Lin is averaging an improbable 28.5

points and 8.0 assists during New York’s four-game winning streak.

His 114 total points in that stretch are six more than he collected

in his first 38 career games with Golden State and the Knicks

(12-15) after going undrafted out of Harvard in 2010.

Lin’s 89 points since entering the starting lineup three games

ago are the most for any NBA player in his first three career

starts since the NBA-ABA merger.

He certainly didn’t look like a flash in the pan Friday, scoring

a career-high 38 points and adding seven assists in a 92-85 home

win over the Los Angeles Lakers. He outscored Kobe Bryant by four

points.

“I didn’t try to see this game as any different,” Lin said. “I

just try to make sure that when I get there on the floor, I play as

hard as I can and try to do everything I can to help the team

win.

“I’m not too worried about proving anything to anybody. As a

team we’re growing and trying to build on the momentum.”

Without worrying about it, Lin has proven plenty to Knicks coach

Mike D’Antoni.

“What he’s doing is amazing,” D’Antoni said. “He answered a lot

of questions (Friday). Can he make an outside shot? Can he pull the

trigger in a big moment? He hit two 3s that just broke the game

open. There’s so much stuff that he’s doing.”

Lin has helped the Knicks surge despite the absences of stars

Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Anthony is out with a

strained right groin, while Stoudemire isn’t expected back from

grieving the death of his brother until Tuesday at Toronto.

Improbably, New York is on the brink of its longest winning

streak since a seven-game run March 28-April 10, when Lin was

wallowing on the Warriors’ bench.

Lin and the Knicks get their first look at Rubio, whose flashy

play has earned him plenty of attention in his first NBA season

after being drafted fifth overall in 2009.

Fifth in the league with 8.7 assists per game, Rubio has

struggled a bit recently. He’s shooting 21.7 percent (5 for 23) in

his last three games, and had four of the Timberwolves’ season-high

28 turnovers in Friday’s 104-97 loss to Dallas.

Rubio has had eight turnovers and nine assists as Minnesota

(13-14) has suffered back-to-back losses.

“We threw passes away when we worked hard defensively and got

the ball back. We just threw it away like there was no value to the

ball,” coach Rick Adelman said, lamenting what he called a lack of

concentration.

Kevin Love finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds in his return

from a two-game suspension. The All-Star is averaging 29.7 points

and 19.0 boards over his last three games versus the Knicks,

including a 31-point, 31-rebound effort in last season’s home win,

the NBA’s first 30-30 game since Moses Malone in 1982.

The Timberwolves have won six of seven at home against New

York.