Jeremy Lin hit a free throw with 4.9 seconds remaining to give the New York Knicks the lead in a 100-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in a National Basketball Association contest.
Lin, who has scored at least 20 points in each of the Knicks’ season-high five straight wins, tallied 15 points in the first half against five in the final two quarters. Still, his free throw put the Knicks ahead 99-98 and Bill Walker sealed the win with his own foul line point with one second left.
“It was an ugly one, it was a gutsy one, it was a road win,” Lin told reporters. “Everybody was tired. But that’s the duty of basketball. We never gave up. I struggled a lot tonight but I mean everyone who came in gave us a lift and picked us up.”
The Knicks are playing without the injured Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire who attended his brother’s funeral yesterday.
Kevin Love, who scored 32 points and pulled down 21 rebounds, missed a 23-foot 3-pointer that would have given the Timberwolves the win at the buzzer. Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Ricky Rubio scored 12 points.
Reserve Iman Shumpert had 20 points and Landry Fields had 19 for the Knicks, who were losing 62-54 at halftime after being behind by as many as 11 points.
“We knew that guys were tired and we knew that this was a hump game that we had to get over,” Fields said. “It was an emotional win for us.”
The combination of point guards Lin and Rubio drew 20,232 fans to Target Center in Minneapolis, the largest crowd since 2004.
The Knicks (13-15) are third, six games behind the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference’s five-team Atlantic Division.
The Timberwolves (13-15) are fifth in the Western Conference’s five-team Northwest Division, 8 1/2 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder.