March 22nd 1985: Bernard King scores 45 points in a 118-113 victory against the Indiana Pacers
Bernard King dominated for the Knicks once again with 45 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in a 118-113 victory on the road against the Indiana Pacers. King scored 45 on 16-29 from the field and 13-15 from the foul line.
The Knicks held a 17 point lead in the 1st half, but the Pacers, led by Clark Kellogg, Vern Fleming, & future Knick mainstay Herb Williams, cut the lead to 7 by the end of the 3rd quarter. Ultimately, King proved to be too much for the Pacers to handle and the Knicks held onto victory.
This game was part of King’s historic season where he averaged 32.9 points per game. King’s efforts were remarkable despite the fact that the Knicks were 24-46. Unfortunately, this was the last full game King played as he suffered a devastating knee injury in the next day against the then-Kansas City Kings. The injury would sideline him for nearly 2 seasons and ultimately marked the end of his run with the franchise.
February 5, 1985: Knicks beat the Sonics on the road to break a 15-game road losing streak
In the midst of a tough 6-game road trip, with the first five games on the road, the Knicks snapped a 15-game road losing streak with a 110-108 victory against the Seattle Supersonics. Bernard King led the way for the Knicks with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists. King scored 14 in the 1st half and scored 12 points in the final 8 minutes of the 4th quarter to help win the game. Additionally, Darrell Walker, future Knick assistant coach, had 18 points and 8 assists and made crucial defensive stops in the clutch.
The victory marked the first Knicks road victory since beating the Cavaliers on November 21st. The victory also snapped a 3-game losing streak, but the team lost 11 of their next 13 games. Things took a turn for the worse on March 23rd when Bernard King tore his ACL. The Knicks didn’t win a game for the remainder of the season. The true silver lining was that their 24-58 regular season record ultimately led the Knicks to the #1 Draft Pick to select Patrick Ewing.
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.
In recent years, the NBA schedule makers were kind enough to place the Knicks back onto the Christmas schedule. The Knicks have played on Christmas in eight of the past nine seasons.
The Knicks have played the most Christmas Day games so far, with 52 games in the 72-year history of the NBA leading into this season. Most of the matchups were held in Madison Square Garden. The Lakers unsurprisingly are right behind the Knicks with 43 Christmas Day matchups.
The Knicks are 22-30 on Christmas Day. They have one more win than the Lakers (21-22) and have the most losses out of any team. It doesn’t help that the Knicks lost six of the eight previous matchups.
The Knicks held the first Christmas Day game in NBA history in 1947 against the Providence Steamrollers. The game was held at 9pm and broadcasted on WCBS. Stan Lomax and Bob Edge called the game. The Knicks won the game 89-75 in the original Madison Square Garden. Tommy Byrnes scored 20 points and Carl Braun scored 19.
The 1980s featured 2 of the most memorable Christmas games ever. Bernard King scored a then franchise-record 60 points in a 120-114 loss against the New Jersey Nets in 1984.
In 1985, rookie Patrick Ewing helped the Knicks overcome a 25-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics in double overtime.
The NBA decided to start the 2011-12 season on Christmas Day due to the lockout. The Knicks hosted the Boston Celtics and TNT broadcasted the game. The game marked the debut of Tyson Chandler. Carmelo Anthony & Amare Stoudemire combined for 58 points and Tyson Chandler blocked 6 shots in the 106-104 victory.
The most memorable moment came at the end when Bill (now Henry) Walker contested Kevin Garnett’s jumpshot to seal the victory. Garnett inexplicably choked Bill Walker after the buzzer. To no one’s surprise, the NBA decided not to punish Garnett for his actions.
Before the days of Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, the Davis duo, and Rik Smits, the Knicks & Pacers had drama-free games. For most of the 1980s, the Pacers mired themselves in the bottom of the standings while the Knicks made the playoffs for several seasons.
In this matchup, King scored 52 points, which marked a then-career high for him, along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists. He scored 52 points on 19-31 FGs and was 14-17 from the free throw stripe. This was the first of three 50 point games for him that season, including a 55-point effort the following February and a legendary 60-point outburst on Christmas day.
King forever remains one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. He possessed an uncanny explosiveness to drive to the rim, get to the foul line1averaged 10.0 attempts in the 1984-85 season and punished defenders with a deadly midrange shot. King was also able to do this with extreme proficiency, averaging more than 53% from the field during his Knicks tenure.
Even though King suffered a devastating ACL injury later in the season, his 1984-85 season – along with his Knicks tenure – was one of the greatest offensive performances seen in Knicks history.