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New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin reacts after teammate Carmelo Anthony scored against the Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 20, 2012. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters)
New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin reacts after teammate Carmelo Anthony scored against the Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 20, 2012. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters)

Robert MacLeod

Lin proving he belongs in the NBA Add to ...

It has been a little more than a month since the New York Knicks last swaggered into Toronto and Linsanity was at it's dizzying peak.

Since then, all that's happened is a losing skid, the return of a star player, a coaching change, and then a winning streak.

Oh yeah, Jeremy Lin is still proving that he can play and play well at the National Basketball Association level.

Welcome to the hurly-burly world of the Knicks, who are in town to play the Toronto Raptors Friday night at the Air Canada Centre.

Both teams had a shoot-around at the ACC Friday morning and once again a large media contingent was on hand, primarily to chronicle the movements of Lin, the New York point guard who appears to becoming a bit weary of all the attention.

Lin was sprawled out on the bench in the Knicks locker room when the media descended into the locker room to try to get a few words.

The point guard, already have spoken to one or two other reporters, took one look at the mass of media and wisely fled into the privacy of a back room.

“It's okay,” Mike Woodson, the interim New York coach, said a few moments earlier when asked if all the attention that Lin's presence on the team continues to generate is becoming just a bit old.

“It comes with the territory I think playing in New York and the fact that he had that run that was phenomenal. As long as it doesn't get to his head.”

Lin shot into prominence in early February when former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, desperate to shake up a sluggish Knicks outfit, inserted the relative unknown into the starting lineup.

With Lin in the driver's seat New York would go on to win seven games in a row and a star was born as the unsung Asian-American player generated a global following.

Just as fast, things started to turn sour for the Knicks.

Star forward Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup after recovering from an injury and D'Antoni struggled to find the proper chemistry to continue the surge.

The Knicks would go on to lose nine of their next 12 games and D'Antoni abruptly quit and Woodson, his assistant, was handed the reins.

Since then the Knicks have reeled off five wins in a row to once again lay claim to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

And Lin is continuing to play well, posting 18 points -- including a career-best 16 in the fourth quarter -- in helping to lead New York to a 82-79 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday.

“Jeremy Lin is a big part of the puzzle,” Woodson said. “He's a huge part of our team. He's been playing great basketball.

“I think the last two games he hasn't shot it that well. But he's made plays down the stretch coming home to help you win basketball games. That's all I care about.”

The Raptors will head into Friday's game without the services of backup point guard Jerryd Bayless, who is sidelined with a sore hip.

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