On This Date: Eddy Curry scores a career high 43 points to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks

April 7th 2007: Eddy Curry scores a career high 43 points to help the Knicks defeat the Milwaukee Bucks

Eddy Curry scored a career high 43 points, and hit a game-tying 3 pointer to force overtime, to help the Knicks defeat the Bucks on the road 118-113. The Knicks ran a masterful SLOB1 where Nate Robinson curled and cut from the three point corner to the top of the three point arc. (via screens set by Curry & Channing Frye) The tiny room of space allowed Curry to be wide open at the three point corner. Knick rookie Mardy Collins inbounded the ball and threw it to him for the game-tying 3 point swish, the first of the season.

Curry scored 43 on 17-20 from the field, 25 of which was earned after halftime. He also had 13 rebounds and 2 steals. Both Nate Robinson & Mardy Collins received significant minutes due to injuries to Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, & Jamal Crawford (who was out for the season). Nate had 34 points – on 5-13 from three – and had 7 assists and 2 steals in the start.

Collins had an even more impressive statline for the night. In nearly 51 minutes of action, Collins had a near triple double with 19 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, and 5 steals.

On This Date: Knicks surprisingly give Isiah Thomas a contract extension

March 12th 2007: James Dolan gives Isiah Thomas a contract extension

After leading the Knicks to a 29-34 record and barely staying afloat at the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference, James Dolan surprisingly decided to give Isiah Thomas a multi-year contract extension. After the disastrous 2005-06 season that led to Larry Brown’s firing, Dolan gave Isiah Thomas an 1 year ultimatum to show “evident progress” otherwise he’d be fired. Somehow a 29-34 record was adequate enough.

In Knicksian fashion, the team won 4 of the remaining 19 games to fall well out of playoffs. Both Jamal Crawford & David Lee had their seasons end early due to injuries. The next season proved to be disastrous due to the verdict from the sexual harassment lawsuit and a very public feud with Stephon Marbury. The Knicks were deemed an “embarrassment” by David Stern. Stern coerced Dolan to hire Donnie Walsh and subsequently fired Isiah at the end of the season.

On This Date: David Lee wins Rookie-Sophomore Game MVP

February 16th 2007: David Lee wins the NBA Rookie-Sophomore All Star Game MVP

In one of the more prouder moments in Knicks Rookie-Sophomore Game history, David Lee earned MVP honors after scoring 30 points on 14-14 shooting from the field and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Lee dazzled the crowd his his ability to score off the pick-and-roll. The pick-and-roll buckets eventually became a household staple during his NBA career. He also had a lot of breakaway dunks in this one. The dunks were of no surprise to fans of his, especially those who remember his talents winning the 2001 McDonald’s All American Slam Dunk Contest.

Lee average a double double off the bench during his sophomore season. He later blossomed under Mike D’Antoni’s fast paced system which allowed him to receive an $80 million contract from the Golden State Warriors.

On This Date: Eddy Curry hits game-winning alley-oop to beat the Lakers

February 13th 2007: Eddy Curry hits a game-winning alley-oop to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the Staples Center

The Knicks pulled off a surprising 107-106 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers, courtesy of an Eddy Curry alley-oop. After David Lee secured the offensive rebound with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation, he fed a pass to Jamal Crawford. Crawford drove into the lane and floated an alley-oop pass over Andrew Bynum to Curry for the go-ahead dunk. Spike Lee was in attendance (wearing a Nate Robinson jersey) and taunted fellow Lakers fan Denzel Washington after the Knicks took the lead and the victory. The victory in Los Angeles was a rare sight as the team normally struggled there during most of Kobe Bryant’s tenure with the organization.

Curry finished the game with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Coincidentally, Curry averaged those same numbers over the course of the 2006-07 season. The season was his best season so far in the NBA. Curry’s tenure with the organization was largely disappointing after Isiah Thomas inexplicably gave him a 6-year, $60 million contract in a sign-and-trade deal that also sent away the 2006 1st round pick (LaMarcus Aldridge) and swapped their 2007 1st round pick (Joakim Noah). The Bulls traded Curry after failing to take a DNA test that would prove the possibility of a career-ending heart problem. Isiah bet on Curry’s “potential” and suggested that acquiring Curry was akin to acquiring a lottery pick.

Unfortunately, Curry wasn’t able to replicate his 2006-07 season. A combination of poor conditioning, a lack of desire on both the offensive and defensive ends, and a sad family tragedy shattered any hope for redemption with the Knicks. Despite winning a token championship with the Miami Heat during the 2011-12 season, he only played a few games with the Dallas Mavericks before jettisoning overseas to play in China. He’s currently with the Zhuhai Wolf Warriors in the ASEAN basketball league.

On This Date: Jamal Crawford scores a career high 52 points

January 26, 2007: Jamal Crawford scores a career high 52 points against the Miami Heat

In one of a few bright spots of the 2006-07 season, Jamal Crawford exploded for a career high 52 points in a 20-point blowout against the Miami Heat in Madison Square Garden.

Crawford was unstoppable from the field, hitting 20-30 from the field and 8-10 from three.

After missing his first four shots, Crawford hit his next 16 shots, including 8 three-pointers. To put that into perspective, he finally missed a shot late in the 3rd quarter after the Knicks had a 20 point lead.

As a sign of respect, Dwyane Wade often guarded Crawford throughout the game. Despite the tough defensive matchup, Crawford was still able to score over Wade with a diversified moveset, which included his signature “Shake-N-Bake.” He simply scored all over the floor. Additionally, Crawford executed his now patented 4-point play against Wade to close out the first half.

Crawford had 52 points with slightly more than 7 minutes left in the game. Instead of aiming for Bernard King’s scoring record, head coach Isiah Thomas decided to take him out of the game as the Heat employed their garbage time roster. Isiah felt it was disrespectful to leave Crawford in the game during garbage time and also wanted to avoid the circumstances that led to the infamous Knicks/Nuggets brawl.

On This Date: Knicks hire Red Holzman. 39 years later, the Knicks play a Triple OT thriller

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.

While McGuire was a superb player as a Knick, his dominance didn’t translate as head coach. He had a 75-103 record with the team before his dismissal. At the time, the Knicks were in last place. He wasn’t able to get a full season of Willis Reed & Walt “Clyde” Frazier. However, the Knicks later hired McGuire to join their front office and remained there until his death in 2010.

Red – a native of Brooklyn – spent the previous 10 seasons as the chief scout for the Knicks. He was responsible for discovering and drafting both Willis and Clyde. Despite his preference to be a scout, team president Ned Irish convinced Holzman to coach the team.

Irish’s persistence had major dividends for the franchise. Holzman led the team to their only two championships. The key stars he coached – from Earl Monroe to Clyde Frazier to Wills Reed – all made the Hall of Fame.


December 27, 2006: Knicks win a Triple OT Thriller against the Detroit Pistons

The Knicks shocked the Madison Square Garden faithful with a thrilling 151-145 Triple Overtime victory against the Detroit Pistons. The Knicks withstood a career high 51 points from Rip Hamilton and double-doubles from former Knicks Antonio McDyess, & Nazr Mohammed. Future Knick Chauncey Billups also had a double double with 17 points and 10 assists.

The Knicks led by 3 points with less than 10 seconds left in regulation before Carlos Delfino tied the game with a three. The Knicks fell behind by 5 with less than two minutes left in overtime before tying the score and sending the game to Double OT. With the Knicks down 136-134 , Channing Frye hit a buzzer beating shot to send the game to Triple Overtime. The Knicks were able to hold an early lead in triple overtime and sealed the victory.

Stephon Marbury led the Knicks with 41 points and 8 assists while hitting 12-15 from the foul line in 50 minutes. The quartet of Marbury, Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford, & Channing Frye scored a combined 129 points and made a combined 40-48 from the free throw stripe.

Since the Nuggets/Knicks brawl, the Knicks had a stretch of gritty performances and buzzer beaters that was capped by their performance on this date.

 

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.

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.

With 3 seconds left in regulation, Deron Williams hit the potential game-winning basket.  However, David Lee hit Marbury with the perfect outlet pass to put him in the position for a 1v1 battle against Mehmet Okur.  Marbury was quickly able to score the basket off a finger roll right before the buzzer to win the game.

Right after Marbury hit the buzzer, he quickly ran off to the locker room along with the rest of the teammates knowing that he won the game.  He didn’t bother waiting for the results of the instant replay.

Marbury led the team with 29 points and 8 assists including the game-winning finger roll.

On This Date: Knicks-Nuggets Brawl and Patrick Ewing becomes Knicks all-time leading scorer

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.2  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.