On This Date: The Chris Smith era ends

December 31, 2013: The New York Knicks waive Chris Smith

As perhaps an auspicious start to a new year, the Knicks waived Chris “Da Gawd” Smith, the brother of JR Smith, to re-sign Jeremy Tyler.

Da Gawd initially joined the Knicks 2012 Summer League team. The team gave him a training camp invite, but was cut before the season after suffering a season-ending left patella injury that required surgery.

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On This Date: Knicks acquire Moochie Norris

December 30, 2003: Knicks acquire Moochie Norris in a trade with the Houston Rockets

New GM Isiah Thomas made his first trade with the Knicks by acquiring Moochie Norris & John Amaechi for Clarence Weatherspoon. Originally a 2nd round draft pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Norris spent most of his career as a backup point guard with various teams in the NBA and the Continental Basketball Association. He spent the previous 3+ seasons with the Houston Rockets backing up Steve Francis.

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On This Date: Knicks waive DeMarco Johnson

December 29th 1999: Knicks waive DeMarco Johnson

In a sign of gutting the legacy of the Ed Tapscott/Ernie Grunfeld era, the Knicks waived DeMarco Johnson. Johnson was on the injured list and the Knicks wanted to free up his spot for Rick Brunson on the active roster.  

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On This Date: Knicks spoil Grant Hill’s MSG Debut

December 28, 1994: Grant Hill makes his MSG debut, but the Knicks prevail with the victory

The New York Knicks spoiled Grant Hill’s MSG debut with a 101-93 victory against the Detroit Pistons. Patrick Ewing led the Knicks with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Charles Smith also had a double double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. 

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On This Date: Knicks hire Red Holzman.

December 27, 1967: The New York Knicks hire Red Holzman as Head Coach

In a franchise altering move, the Knicks fired Dick McGuire and hired Red Holzman as head coach. McGuire – a native of the Bronx – spent 8 years playing point guard with the Knicks and was a 7-time NBA All Star. After a stint as player-coach and head coach with the Detroit Pistons, the Knicks hired him as head coach in 1965.

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On This Date: Reflecting on the history between the Knicks and Christmas Day

For me, Christmas Day has meant a few habitual traditions: watch the Christmas Day Parade, spend time with family, eat plenty of food, and watch basketball. Yes, basketball.

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On This Date: Knicks waive Slavko Vranes

December 24, 2003: The New York Knicks waived Slavko Vranes

In Isiah Thomas’ first official move as Knicks GM, he waived Slavko Vranes, picked 39th in the 2003 NBA Draft. Vranes never played a game with the Knicks despite suiting up in Summer League and preseason. Right patella tendinitis sidelined Vranes since opening day. At the time, Isiah desired players who could immediately contribute to the team and not long-range projects.

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Knicks Kicks of the Night: Weekend Edition – 12-20-19 vs. The Miami Heat & 12-21-19 vs. The Milwaukee Bucks

Over the Christmas weekend, The Knicks had one of their hardest back-to-backs this season as they faced the Miami Heat in South Beach and the Milwaukee Bucks back home at The Garden.

Marcus Morris, who is the Knicks Kicks of the Night MVP so far this season, stepped on the court in another edition of the Nike Kyrie 6 Preheat Collection. This time playing in the “Houston” color way, this shoe is becoming more popular among NBA athletes as an every game sneaker to play in this season. They retail for $130 and can be found on StockX.

PUMA athletes around the league this weekend started debuting the new PE editions of the PUMA Clyde Hardwood. On Saturday at The Garden, the Maple Mamba, RJ played in the New York Knicks PEs of the Clyde Hardwood. There isn’t any news on whether these would be released to the public but for now, you can shop for the rest of the PUMA Clyde Hardwood line on Puma.

On This Date: Latrell Sprewell returns to MSG to taunt James Dolan and Micheal Ray Richardson records a franchise record with 9 steals in a game

Decenber 23, 2003: Latrell Sprewell returns to Madison Square Garden to taunt James Dolan

Latrell Sprewell returned to Madison Square Garden as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves and got the last laugh in a 98-92 victory against the Knicks. Spree scored 31 points and combined for 84 points with Kevin Garnett & Sam Cassell1 in the victory.  

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On This Date: Knicks fire Scott Layden and hire Isiah Thomas

December 22, 2003: Knicks fire Scott Layden and hire Isiah Thomas

The Scott Layden era finally came to an end on this date in Knicks history. In Layden’s 4.5 years with the organization, the Knicks went 175-181, but had a decreasing record each season and missed the playoffs in the previous two seasons to his firing. 

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On This Date: Knicks rout Warriors in team-wide effort

December 21, 1971: The New York Knicks rout the Golden State Warriors in an embodiment of the team-first culture

The New York Knicks routed the Golden State Warriors 113-87. All five starters scored in double figures. Walt “Clyde” Frazier led the team with 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Bill Bradley and Dick Barnett scored 23 and 18 points respectively.

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On This Date: David Lee’s game-winning tip-in and Patrick Ewing suffers career-altering wrist injury

December 15, 2006: David Lee defies basketball odds with the game-winning and buzzer-beating tip in

On Trent Tucker’s birthday, David Lee not only defied the Trent Tucker rule, but also most basketball odds with an unbelievable tip in with 0.1 seconds left in double overtime to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 111-109 in double overtime. 

Lee flashed to the top of the key and immediately reversed back to the basket and juked out Gerald Wallace to receive the tip courtesy of a sidelines out-of-bounds pass from Jamal Crawford. Lee, being ambidextrous, deftly reversed and used his right hand to tip the shot in, sending Madison Square Garden in a state of paranoia.

The MSG broadcast crew of Gus Johnson & Walt “Clyde” Frazier previewed the Trent Tucker game and reminded the viewers of the rule.  Once Lee hit the shot, Gus Johnson went in his usual state of frenzy.  

The MSG camera crew focused onto Michael Jordan2 and close friend Ahmad Rashad as Knicks fans heckled them after the victory.  Additionally, Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley attended the game with Jordan.  Ironically all three players were active in the Trent Tucker game and re-witnessed history made again courtesy of David Lee.

December 20, 1997: Patrick Ewing suffers broken wrist in an injury that significantly alters the remainder of his career

In a franchise-altering move, Patrick Ewing suffered a broken wrist after attempting to receive an alley-oop pass in a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Bucks center, and future Knick, Andrew Lang fouled Ewing mid-air and sent him into a dangerous fall. Ewing suffered a dislocated bone and a few torn ligaments in his right wrist, his shooting hand. He immediately had surgery days after and expected to miss the remainder of the season.

This marked the first time Ewing spent a significant amount of the season injured since his sophomore campaign. Over the course of his Knick career to date, Ewing was always reliable and durable. This injury forced the Knicks to quickly consider life without Ewing and to build a foundation not dependent on him.

Despite the injury, the Knicks went 43-39 and made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals to face the Indiana Pacers in another rivalry matchup.  Defying most odds, Ewing made a remarkable comeback to return in Game 3 back home at MSG.  

Ewing’s return resulted in a triumphant victory in Game 3, but wasn’t enough to withstand the feisty Pacers roster. The Knicks lost the series in 5 games.

The wrist injury forever altered Ewing’s career. He was not able to regain his adept shooting much post-wrist injury. He suffered exponentially on offense and later suffered a torn Achilles in the 1999 playoffs. The Knicks acquired Sprewell & Marcus Camby before the 1998-99 season to prepare for life without Ewing.

Pass The Ball More: A deep dive into passes per game

It’s hard to deny the Knicks look like a different team offensively in the beginning stages of the Mike Miller era. The offense runs more north-to-south than east-to-west. Picks are set with a purpose and players finally operate with a level of space. After time out (ATO) plays are actually converted.

Sure, Elfrid Payton is healthy. Yes, there is often a team effort bump after teams fire their head coach. Yes, the team faced off against bottom feeder teams in the Golden State Warriors (sans Steph Curry and Klay Thompson), Sacramento Kings (sans DeAaron Fox), and a defense optional squad in the Atlanta Hawks, but there is more cohesion on offense. In 4 of 6 games in the Miller era, the Knicks had at least 24 assists total, with 30 against the lowly Hawks squad. This is not a bad total knowing that the Knicks scored 103 points in 2 of the 4 games and 124 against the Warriors.

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On This Date: Pat Riley receives boos in return to MSG

December 19th 1995:  Pat Riley receives boos in his return to Madison Square Garden as head coach of the Miami Heat

This date marked the official beginning of the Knicks/Heat rivalry on the basketball floor, as Pat Riley aka Benedict Riley aka Pat The Rat returned to MSG with a swarm of boos as the head coach of the Miami Heat. In the revenge game, the Knicks routed the Heat, sans Alonzo Mourning, 89-70.  

Patrick Ewing led the Knicks with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Future Knick Kurt Thomas had a double double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.  

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On This Date: Stephon Marbury scores game-winning finger roll against the Utah Jazz

December 18, 2006:  Stephon Marbury goes coast-to-coast to hit the game-winning finger roll against the Utah Jazz

Stephon Marbury lifted the undermanned Knicks team to an improbably 97-96 victory against Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz.  The Knicks dressed only 8 players for the game due to the suspensions from the melee against the Nuggets only 2 days prior.  4 players – Nate Robinson, Jerome James, Mardy Collins, & Jared Jeffries – were suspended for the game.  Additionally, starters Steve Francis & Quentin Richardson were sidelined due to injury. Continue reading →

One Thing I Need to See: Julius Randle at Center

Prior to David Fizdale’s dismissal, my biggest criticism of him as a coach was his inability (or refusal) to consistently put his players in positions for success. I’m not even referring to something as complex as installing an offensive “system;” I’m talking about simply evaluating his players’ strengths and weaknesses and rolling out lineups with complementary skill sets. That, to me, seemed like the bare minimum a coach could do, and yet it was a standard that felt out of reach night after night.

Mike Miller now walks into a situation where all he has to do is not play Kevin Knox at shooting guard and Knicks fans will rejoice (note: Knox played ~4 minutes at SG on Sunday night in Denver, during which the Knicks were +5….but the point stands). Beyond fixing the most egregious positional debacles, the Knicks still have several rotational adjustments they can make to potentially get more out of their players. One of those is playing Julius Randle at the five on offense.

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On This Date: Bob McAdoo scores then-Knick record 41 points off the bench

December 17, 1978:  Bob McAdoo returns from injury to score 41 points off the bench.

Bob McAdoo returned from injury to score a then-Knicks record 41 points off the bench in 42 minutes. McAdoo’s performance led the Knicks to a 111-105 victory against the Atlanta Hawks. McAdoo missed the previous 12 games with an injured toe. The scoring record off the bench lasted until the 2009-10 season when Al Harrington scored 42 points off the bench in a Halloween matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. Continue reading →

Knicks Kicks of the Night: West Coast Trip-Part 2- 12-13-19 vs. The Sacramento Kings & 12-15-19 vs. The Denver Nuggets

The rejuvenated Knicks are on the way back home after a hard fought 4-game west coast trip. On Friday, The Knicks and Marcus Morris went into Sac Town and pulled out a comeback win rallying from 16 points down to beat the Kings. On Sunday evening, The Knicks also played a tough game in the Mile High city, even coming back from 21 points down to take the lead vs. The Denver Nuggets.

Mook’s tip back with 9 seconds left helped our boys in the orange and blue close out the win against the Kings. Morris Sr. played in the Nike Kyrie 5 “Have a Nike Day” shoe from the Nike “Have a Nike Day” pack. This pack from Nike also includes the popular Air Force 1 and Air Max 97 silhouettes. The Nike Kyrie 5 “Have a Nike Day” shoe were released on June 8th. They retail for $130 and can be found on StockX.

In Denver on Sunday, #WHOLETEAMDOT aka Damyean Dotson broke out a PE edition of the Nike Zoom Freak 1. This is the first Nike signature shoe for Bucks superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Getting its ‘Freak” title after Giannis’ nickname ‘The Greek Freak”, which celebrates his Greek heritage. The first edition of the shoe was released on June 29th. You can shop for the Nike Zoom Freak 1 line on Nike, they retail for $120.