On This Date: Knicks beat the Cincinnati Royals

January 16, 1960: The New York Knicks blowout the Cincinnati Royals 

The Knicks blew out the Cincinnati Royals 132-106. The Knicks had 8 players in double figures as Willie Naulls led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jack George scored 20 points, Richie Guerin scored 16, and Jim Palmer scored 15 as well to lead the Knicks quarter.

The 1959-60 season began a stretch of several losing seasons for the Knicks. The team only started to win games once they drafted Walt “Clyde” Frazier. As a result, the Knicks fielded a roster with many players  that seem to fall out of place in team history.1

Jack George spent 8 years in the NBA as a point guard, with the last 2 years as a member of the Knicks. A native of Pennsylvania, George spent his first 6 seasons with the Philadelphia Warriors. Of his accomplishments, he won an NBA championship in 1956 with the Warriors and had 2 All-Star appearances. He was known for racking assists, as evidenced by being in the top 10 in assists during 6 of his NBA seasons. George passed away in 1989.

Jim Palmer spent 3 seasons in the NBA as a forward. He also spent two seasons with the Knicks and had relatively meager stats. He spent a season in the National Industrial Basketball League (NIBL) as part of the Peoria Cats.

The purpose of the league was to give mill workers an opportunity to play basketball as the league mostly consisted of employees of industrial companies. The league formed in 1947 with the teams from the National Basketball League that did not merge with the NBA. Due to increasing salaries in the NBA, many teams in the NIBL folded. As the sponsorships for the NIBL shifted away from industrial companies, the NIBL was renamed into the National AAU Basketball League (NABL).

Palmer also spent a season in the American Basketball League (ABL). The ABL formed in 1961 as a rival league to the NBA. It consisted of teams previously in the NABL. One of those franchise owners was the late George Steinbrenner of the Cleveland Pipers. One of Steinbrenner’s players was future Knick and NBA Champion Jerry Lucas. The ABL had some then-radical rule changes including the addition of the 3 point line, a 30 second shot clock, and a wider free throw line. Unfortunately, inconsistent attendance, lack of funding, expensive air travel, and rising debts led to the demise of the ABL as the league folded before 1963.

The Cincinnati Royals eventually moved to Kansas City and became the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. The team eventually moved to Sacramento in 1985 and is now known as the Sacramento Kings.


On This Date: Richie Guerin scores 57 points and Latrell Sprewell scores 49 points

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.