February 1st 1984 was a day that forever lives in NBA History. A day that forever transformed a league ravaged with barren arenas, tepid enthusiasm for broadcast television, and rampant drug use amongst the players. The NBA was a league where bench clearing brawls was too often a norm. Most of the United States saw the Kermit Washington punch front and center. Furthermore, the rampant drug use led to alleged accusation of match fixing, especially by the Knicks in the early 80s. Fans lost interest in watching the games and owners and franchises were hemorrhaging money to the point where the league nearly faced contraction of 7 teams down to 16.
January 2, 2006: The New York Knicks win a triple overtime thriller against the Phoenix Suns
In one of the lone highlights of Larry Brown’s Knick tenure, the Knicks outlasted the Suns 140-133 in triple overtime. Stephon Marbury led the Knicks with 32 points and 10 assists in 54 minutes. Jamal Crawford scored 29 off the bench and had 7 rebounds and 7 assists each in 48 minutes of action.
January 1, 2010: Nate Robinson scores 41 points off the bench to lead the Knicks to an overtime victory against the Atlanta Hawks
In an appropriate beginning to a new year, Nate Robinson returned from a month-long exile in the doghouse to lead the Knicks to a thrilling overtime victory in Atlanta. Nate scored 41 points on 18-24 from the field and 3-5 from three. He also had 6 rebounds and 8 assists.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Cassell1the rest of the team only had 14 combined points in the victory.
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.
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.
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 then-minority owner and president of basketball operations for the Bobcats 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.
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.
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.
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 →
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 →
December 16, 2006: The New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets engage in the worst brawl since the Malice in the Palace
A game that was seemingly heading into a blowout loss for the Knicks turned into one of the most infamous days in team history. With 1:15 left in the game and the Nuggets up 19, Knick rookie Mardy Collins flagrantly fouled future Knicks JR Smith by the neck as he was driving to the hoop for a dunk. Continue reading →
December 14, 2003: Allan Houston passes Richie Guerin to be 5th all-time on the Knicks scoring list
Allan Houston passed Richie Guerin to become 5th on the Knicks all-time scoring list (10,392 points). Houston scored 39 points on 12-19 from the field and 12-12 from the free throw line to lead the Knicks to a 89-87 victory against the Washington Wizards in MSG. He hit the go-ahead basket with 18 seconds left. Continue reading →
December 13, 2009: Knicks sign Jonathan Bender to an NBA contract
Donnie Walsh went into his rolodex to sign former Indiana Pacers forward Jonathan Bender. It was Walsh, himself, who traded Antonio Davis to the Toronto Pacers for the rights to Bender, picked 5th overall in the 1999 Draft. Continue reading →
December 12, 2015: Carmelo Anthony scores 37 points to beat the Portland Trailblazers and snap a 4 game losing streak
Carmelo Anthony went on a hot streak and scored a season high 37 points in a 112-110 victory in Portland against the Trailblazers. Melo scored 37 on a very efficient 13-21 from the field and 9-9 from the free throw line. He also had 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 blocked shots. Continue reading →
December 11, 1959: Richie Guerin scores career-high 57 points in a victory against the Syracuse Nationals
Richie Guerin became the first Knick player to eclipse the 50 point mark by scoring 57 points in a 152-121 victory. In addition to the 57 points, Guerin had 12 rebounds and 8 assists.
The 57 points was a then-record high for any guard in the league. Only Elgin Baylor & Wilt Chamberlain, both of whom were big men, scored more points in the game. Ironically, Wilt scored 100 points against the Knicks in 1962. After the game, Guerin quipped that the 76ers were intentionally fouling the Knicks to give Wilt more opportunities to score.
Guerin’s 57 points remained a Knicks record until Bernard King scored 60 on Christmas Day in 1984. Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points in the 2013-14 season to hold the Knicks points record in a game.
Guerin was eventually enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
December 11, 2001: Latrell Sprewell scores a career high 49 points in a loss against the Boston Celtics
Fresh off Jeff Van Gundy’s abrupt resignation, Latrell Sprewell exploded for a career high 49 points in a 102-93 overtime loss against the Boston Celtics.
Sprewell scored 49 on 18-32 from the field and an impressive 6-10 from three. Paul Pierce, former Knick Erick Strickland, and rookie Joe Johnson all attempted to guard Sprewell at times and didn’t have luck doing so.
Despite the offensive outburst, it wasn’t enough to stop the Celtics in the loss. Spree had a chance at the free throw line to put the Knicks up by 4 and hit the 50 point mark with less than 9 seconds left in the 4th quarter. However, he only made 1/2 free throws and Antoine Walker tied the game with seconds left in regulation.
Spree was held scoreless in overtime and the Celtics outscored the Knicks 13-4 in overtime. Antoine Walker matched Spree with 42 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. Paul Pierce had an all-around game with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals, and 2 blocked shots.
December 10, 2011: Knicks acquire Tyson Chandler in a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks
The New York Knicks solidified their frontcourt defense by acquiring Tyson Chandler from the Dallas Mavericks in a three-team, sign-and-trade deal. The deal was made in December, on the second day of the preseason, due to the NBA Lockout. Chandler agreed to a 4-year, $58 million contract with the Knicks. Continue reading →