May 22nd 1994: The New York Knicks finally defeat the Chicago Bulls to advance to the 1994 Eastern Conference Semifinals
Between 1988-1993, the New York Knicks had no answer on how to defeat the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Playoffs. On this date in 1994, the Knicks finally defeated the Bulls (albeit sans Michael Jordan) in Game 7 87-77 that marked their first ever playoff matchup victory against their rivals. The victory took all 7 games as each team traded home victories. The New York Knicks, with the #2 overall seed, had home court advantage in the series.
The Game 7 victory required herculean efforts from the Knick big men. The Bulls held Ewing scoreless in the 1st half due to foul trouble. However, Ewing exploded in the 2nd half and ended with 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 assists. Charles Oakley had a monster night with 17 points, 20 rebounds (11 on the offensive end), 4 assists, and 3 steals.
Greg Anthony also had a very productive game for the Knicks. Anthony scored 7 points, but was part of a crucial run where the Knicks scored 8 straight points in the end of the 3rd quarter. Due to Anthony’s performance, he played the final 15 minutes of the game.
With 2.1 seconds remaining and the Knicks down 1, Scottie Pippen fouled Hubert Davis as he attempted a 23 foot jump shot (foot on the line). Pippen hit Davis’ right forearm after the release and drew the foul call by ref Hue Hollins.
Davis hit both free throws to put the Knicks ahead 87-86 for the victory. The win put the Knicks ahead 3-2 heading back to Chicago for Game 6. Despite Michael Jordan’s absence from the team, the Bulls put up a hard fought battle against the Knicks by winning every home game and taking the series to 7. The Bulls were on the brink to victory in Game 5 to potentially upset the Knicks’ eventual NBA Finals run.
The Bulls vigorously complained about the foul call after the game. Eventually, Darrell Garretson, the head of NBA officiating, admitted the foul call was a mistake. Knick fans thought otherwise.
May 13th 1994: The Derek Harper/Jo Jo English Fight
Derek Harper entered into Knick folklore after wrestling with Jo Jo English in the 2nd quarter of Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls. After confronting each other at the three point line, the fight escalated into the stands starting an all-out brawl. The fight itself was right in front of NBA Commissioner David Stern, who predictably was shocked at what he was witnessing. Both benches cleared to breakup the fight, leading to separate tussles between players, including John Starks, and the security guards.
The Knicks ultimately lost Game 3 104-102. As for the repercussions, the NBA suspended Harper 2 games and English 1 game for their role in the brawl. The NBA fined more than 8 players on each team, outside of Harper & English, for leaving the bench in the altercation. Beginning in the next season, the NBA began to enforce 1 game suspensions for any player who leaves the bench during an altercation. This rule was provoked largely due to this fight and the infamous Greg Anthony/Suns brawl. Unfortunately for the Knicks, this rule change would come to bite them in the 1997 playoffs against the Miami Heat.
January 29, 1994: The New York Knicks make a statement to the #1 seed Seattle Supersonics in a road victory
The New York Knicks, in the middle of a three-game West Coast trip, sent a strong message to the #1 seed Seattle Supersonics with a 106-92 victory. Seven players scored in double figures, including the entire starting lineup, led by Patrick Ewing’s 21 points and 18 rebounds. Anthony Mason scored 17 points off the bench and Charles Oakley had a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Despite trailing 58-51 at the end of the 1st half, the Knicks went on a 21-5 run in the 3rd quarter and outscored the Sonics 32-13 to take a 12 point lead heading into the 4th quarter.
Both the Knicks (29-11) & Sonics (31-9) cruised atop the standings in their respective conferences. Due to Micheal Jordan’s sudden retirement, many in the NBA circles believed that this game was a foreshadowing of an NBA Finals matchup. The youthful duo of Gary Payton & Shawn Kemp led the Sonics to victories and many highlight-reel plays. Detlef Schrempf & Kendall Gill provided ample scoring from the wing positions.
The Knicks eventually had the best record in Atlantic Division (#2 overall in the East) and the Sonics had the best record in the Western Conference. However, Dikembe Mutombo and the Denver Nuggets had different plans. The Nuggets surprisingly upset the Sonics in the 1st round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Knicks did make it to the NBA Finals, but instead faced Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.
January 6, 1994: The New York Knicks acquire Derek Harper
With Doc Rivers out for the remainder of the season with a torn left ACL, the Knicks acquired Derek Harper from the Dallas Mavericks for Tony Campbell and a 1997 1st Round Draft Pick (John Thomas).
Rivers’ injury threatened to derail the Knicks’ strong start to the season and quickly end their championship hopes. Acquiring Harper gave the Knicks a defensive-minded point guard who brought a veteran presence to the team. Harper averaged 8.6 points/game, 4.4 assists/game, and 1.5 steals/game with the Knicks during the 1993-94 season.
Harper initially came off the bench with the Knicks, while Greg Anthony remained the starting point guard. He eventually replaced Anthony as the starting point guard in March. Harper’s presence helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals for the first time since they won the championship in 1973. He remained with the Knicks for two more seasons before returning to the Mavericks for the 1996-97 season.
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.
Both players shoved each other and Nate Robinson further instigated the brawl by shoving and tackling JR Smith. Various players went to separate both JR and Nate including Jared Jeffries and future Knick Carmelo Anthony.
Melo inexplicably decided to punch Mardy Collins and ran away from him as both Jared Jeffries & Collins both ran up to half court to confront him. Unlike the Malice in the Palace, the altercation didn’t involve fan interaction. However, the refs ejected all 10 players on the court in an unprecedented move.
In the aftermath of the brawl, Nate Robinson received a 10 game suspension for instigating the fight. Mardy Collins received a 6 game suspension for the foul by the neck and Jared Jeffries received a 4 game suspension for chasing Carmelo Anthony. Jerome James received a 1 game suspension for leaving the bench.
The NBA suspended Carmelo Anthony 15 games for reigniting the brawl with the punch. The NBA suspended JR Smith 10 games for tussling with Nate Robinson.
Despite the player suspensions, the NBA decided not to suspend either Isiah Thomas or George Karl for their roles in the fight. The NBA briefly investigated Isiah for a potential role in triggering the fight. Isiah supposedly warned Melo not to go into the paint. However, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to suspend him. Several outlets also criticized Karl for leaving his star players in the game during a blowout.
This was one of the last significant brawls that involved multiple punches and lengthy suspensions.1I know the Lakers/Rockets fought, but those suspensions were weak The melee further exposed the chaos around the Knicks and Nate Robinson’s relative lack of maturity that haunted him throughout his NBA career. However, Carmelo Anthony & JR Smith faced significant repercussions after the brawl. The brawl pained a negative image onto Melo and it took many years for him to shed that negative depiction of him. For JR Smith, the brawl further cemented his reputation as a headcase in the league.
December 16th 1993: Patrick Ewing becomes the Knicks All-Time Leading Scorer
Patrick Ewing had a double double with 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Knicks past the Los Angeles Lakers 108-85. Ewing became the Knicks all-time leading scorer and past Walt “Clyde” Frazier’s record of 14,617 points.
Ewing ended up with 23,665 points as a New York Knick. To put that number in perspective, Allan Houston scored 11,165 points in just over 8 seasons as a Knick. Carmelo Anthony scored 10,186 points in nearly 6+ seasons as a Knick.
It’s fair to say that any current Knick would need to remain with the team for more than 15 years to come remotely close to reaching Ewing’s scoring record.
November 7th 1993: Ewing scores 44 points to lead the Knicks to an 115-107 overtime win in Cleveland
Ewing won the battle against the former #1 pick (1986) Brad Daugherty with 44 points and 10 rebounds in 43 minutes. Daugherty led the Cavs with 26 points and 11 rebounds in 45 minutes. Danny Ferry had 21 points for the Cavs while Mark Price scored 19 points and 12 assists.
Charles Oakley nearly had a 20-20 effort with 19 points and 22 rebounds. Doc Rivers led the team with 11 assists.
After the Knicks exited the 1st half down 11, the team made a mounted comeback in the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 2. Despite shooting 2-13 from the field, John Starks hit the game-tying three to force the game to overtime.
The Knicks controlled the game in overtime and their defense held the Cavs scoreless in the final 4 minutes.