NEW YORK, Dec. 29 (Ticker) -- Stephon Marbury's last two outings were the type of performances that made him the focal point of both franchises competing at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

NBA TV highlights from
Timberwolves-Knicks:
300k
Marbury scored 15 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, completely taking over the contest down the stretch, as the New York Knicks ran their winning streak to three games with a 100-87 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The 27-year-old Marbury spent his first two-plus seasons with Minnesota and was expected to team with superstar Kevin Garnett to give the Timberwolves an All-Star 1-2 punch. But despite his immense talent, he wore out his welcome and was traded to New Jersey in March 1999.

Marbury joined the Knicks in January and is being counted on to help New York shake its recent doldrums. In his last two games, he has flashed the brilliance that earned him two All-Star berths and made him the fourth overall pick in the 1996 draft.

Against Orlando on Monday, Marbury had 34 points in a road win. He may have been even better in this one, as New York snapped a three-game home losing streak against Minnesota.

Marbury made 12-of-19 shots while collecting 11 assists and seven rebounds. He is averaging 20.5 points and 8.8 assists over his last five contests.

"He's playing his game," New York coach Lenny Wilkens said. "For us to be good, he has to play his game every night. That means he has to be the aggressor. He can't hesitate. He just has to go for it."

"You have to pick your spots," Marbury said. "I was just taking what the defense was giving me. When I go to the basket, I am thinking about getting the contact because I know I am going to get hit."

Nazr Mohammed added 19 points as the Knicks shot a season-best 54 percent (39-of-72) and earned a split of the season series.

Former Knick Latrell Sprewell led Minnesota (16-11) with 22 points and Sam Cassell chipped in 20. Garnett had 17 points and 13 rebounds but was just 7-of-17 from the field.

"For us, of course KG (Garnett) was going to get his numbers," New York forward Tim Thomas said. "We just let KG do his thing, Kurt (Thomas) did a great job on him. That was our plan, to just let KG get rolling and get into a rhythm and not let the other guys beat us. Tonight, Kurt did a great job on KG and everybody else just stepped up trying to control the wing guys."

Cassell buried a 3-pointer with 5:01 remaining to give the Timberwolves an 83-81 lead. But Marbury scored nine straight points and 10 overall during a game-ending 19-4 run.

"Stephon made some tough shots," Cassell said. "He got in the lane and made some tough shots. He is a great ballplayer and he showed why tonight."

Marbury's last two big efforts have come with backcourt mate Jamal Crawford on the injured list with turf toe.

"I think what he is doing well is taking advantage of his strength and quickness," New York guard Allan Houston said. "When he makes up his mind, he puts so much pressure on the defense."

Sprewell scored 12 points in the third as Minnesota used a 13-5 run over the final six-plus minutes of the quarter to cut its deficit to 69-66. He was held scoreless in the fourth as the Timberwolves made just one basket in the final 4:54 en route to their fifth straight road loss.

"They made shots," said Sprewell, who was 9-of-23 from the floor. "They did a good job. Steph was really aggressive."

"We exerted so much energy to just get back in the game, and then Steph just got aggressive," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "He made some big plays and their big guys made some big shots off of Steph's looks."