On This Date: Earl Barron has a career night

April 6th 2010: Earl Barron has a career night

In the waning moments of what the Knicks expected to be the last losing season before the Summer of LeBron, it was relative newcomer Earl Barron who had a night to remember. Barron had a double double with 17 points and 18 rebounds in the 104-101 victory against the Boston Celtics.

The Knicks signed Earl Barron to a contract for the remainder of the season to see what he could bring to the team. Barron last played significant minutes with the Miami Heat in the 2007-08 season before going overseas in Italy. In the 7 games he played with the Knicks, he had 4 double digit rebounding games, including this 18 rebound night. Barron would bounce around and play sporadic minutes with several teams before having a 2nd cup of coffee with the Knicks near the end of the 2012-13 season.


April 6th 2014: JR Smith sets Knick record for most 3s in a game

JR Smith breaks John Starks & Latrell Sprewell’s Knick record for the most 3s in a game. JR hit 10-22 from downtown to score 32 points. Unfortunately, the Knicks lost the game 102-91 on National TV.

On This Date: Chris Childs two-pieced Kobe Bryant

April 2nd 2000: Chris Childs two-pieced Kobe Bryant

In another round of the Knicks-Lakers rivalry, it was Kobe Bryant & Chris Childs who entered into the spotlight. Chris Childs guarded Kobe throughout the game. The matchup got chippy as the game progressed as Childs received a few inadvertent elbows Kobe. As the 3rd quarter was ending, Kobe went to headbutt Childs and the fight ensued.

Childs butted Kobe’s head and Kobe threw a left forearm at him. Childs then two-pieced Kobe before the team and coaches were able to separate both players. Eventually both Childs & Kobe were ejected from the game. Ultimately, the Knicks were blown out 106-82, but Chris Childs had one of his seminal moments with the team.

The NBA suspended Childs 2 games and Kobe for one game for the melee.


April 2nd 2010: David Lee triple-double

David Lee earned the first triple double in his NBA career in a 128-117 loss on the road against his future team in the Golden State Warriors. Lee scored 37 points and had 20 rebounds and 10 assists. This was the Knicks’ first triple double since Latrell Sprewell in 2003.

It was one of the more impressive triple doubles in NBA history history. This was the first 30-20-10 triple double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1976. This was one of David Lee’s last major highlights with the Knicks before he departed for the Warriors in 2010 after the team signed Amare Stoudemire.

On This Date: Tracy McGrady’s first game as a Knick

February 20th 2010: Tracy McGrady scores 26 points in his Knicks debut

Tracy McGrady had an auspicious debut with the Knicks, scoring 26 points in a 121-118 overtime loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the trio of Kevin Durant1, Russell Westbrook, & James Harden. T-Mac scored 19 in the 1st half and had 24 points with nearly 8 minutes left in the 3rd.

The game also marked the Knick debut of Eddie House and Sergio Rodriguez. The Knicks acquired House from the Celtics in exchange for Nate Robinson. House scored 24 points on 4-8 from three while Sergio had a meager debut with 5 points and 6 assists.

Ultimately Kevin Durant was too much for the Knicks to handle. Durant scored 36 points and had the game-tying basket with seconds left in regulation. He later hit the game-clinching FTs in overtime to seal the victory.

McGrady’s debut was impressive mainly because he missed most of the season so far due to recovering from a microfracture surgery on his left knee. Additionally, the Rockets held T-Mac out of games in order to find a team to acquire him. By this time in his career, injuries zapped all of his remaining athleticism and the then-30 year-old T-Mac looked more like a relic of his old self. Rust bothered him through most of his Knick tenure and he was never able to consistently provide the same effort he provided in his Knick debut. McGrady spent the final years of his basketball career with the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, and the San Antonio Spurs.

On This Date: Nate Robinson wins the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

February 18th 2006: Nate Robinson wins the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Nate Robinson made headlines as a rookie during the 2006 All Star Weekend by winning the Slam Dunk Contest over Andre Iguodala in controversial fashion. The dunk contest featured the defending champion Josh Smith, Iggy, Hakim Warrick (of Syracuse fame), and Nate. Nate was obviously the shortest competitor in the contest since Spud Webb won in 1986.2

Iggy and Nate faced off in the finals of the dunk contest. Robinson’s first dunk in the finals was a through-the-legs windmill from an off-the-backboard pass. However, it took Nate more than 3 minutes (a ton of attempts) to actually make the dunk. He received a 44/50 on that attempt. After Iggy scored a perfect score on his first dunk, Nate Rob decided to surprise the crowd by bringing out Spud Webb and dunking over him. This dunk resulted in a perfect score. The final round ended up in a tie score that led to a dunk-off.

During the dunk-off, Nate missed his first 13 attempts and eventually received a 47/50 on the dunk. Iguodala purportedly had a better dunk, but the judges decided to give him a 46/50. As a result, Nate won the dunk contest in controversy as fans of Iguodala accused the judges of rigging the score.

In the aftermath of the dunk contest, a time limit was added so that you had to make your dunk within a certain prescribed amount of time. Despite the change, Nate participated in 3 of the next 4 contests winning both in 2009 and 2010. Just like his records in Summer League, he maintains the All-Time record for most Slam Dunk contest victories with 3.


February 18th 2010: Knicks acquire Tracy McGrady

In the path to potentially acquiring LeBron, the Knicks made another salary cap move by acquiring Tracy McGrady from the Houston Rockets in a three-way deal that sent Larry Hughes to the Sacramento Kings and Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, and the 2012 1st round draft pick to the Houston Rockets. In return, the Knicks also received Sergio Rodriguez from the Kings. The deal was made to clear Jared Jeffries’ contract for the Summer of 2010. In return, the Knicks had to part with both Jordan Hill, their 1st round draft pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, and a 2012 1st round pick that became Royce White.

Hill spent his NBA career as a backup big man on several teams. While the Knicks didn’t necessarily miss him, the team could have drafted other players such as Demar Derozan, Jrue Holiday, or Jeff Teague. Sadly, the team was only one pick away from drafting Stephen Curry.

T-Mac was mostly a relic of his past greatness during his short tenure with the team. Back injuries significantly diminished his potential impact on the team after the trade deadline. His athletic body was instead a lumbering 30 year old that was on his last legs in the NBA. Sergio Rodriguez had a few decent moments as a backup point guard for the team. After the season ended, he departed for Real Madrid. He spent his next 6 seasons with the team. After one year with the Philadelphia 76ers, he joined CSKA Moscow.


February 18th 1984: Bill Bradley’s number retired

The Knicks retired Bill Bradley’s number 24 on his date in a home matchup against the New Jersey Nets. By this time, Bradley was a U.S. Senator for the state of New Jersey and was running a re-election campaign. Bradley won re-election and remained Senator until retiring in 1996.

On This Date: David Lee chosen as NBA All-Star

February 11th 2010: David Lee is selected to the NBA All-Star Game.  

David Lee made his first NBA All-Star Game (and first Knick since the 2000-01 season) when he was chosen to replace Allen Iverson. Iverson received the most votes of all Eastern Conference guards despite averaging career lows in every statistical category and missing most of the month of November after refusing to take a bench role for the Memphis Grizzlies. Iverson chose not to attend the All-Star game to deal with his daughter’s illness.

In Lee’s final season with the Knicks, he averaged more than 20 points and nearly 12 rebounds a game while shooting nearly 55% from the floor and playing 37 minutes a game. The D’Antoni system allowed Lee to get the bulk of his minutes at center and was the recipient of plenty of pick-and-roll finishes. He also increased his range to become more proficient in the midrange. It’s fair to say D’Antoni helped amplify Lee’s value to the league.

On This Date: Nate Robinson scores 41 points off the bench

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.

Despite a close first half, the Knicks well-patented 3rd quarter of doom led to a 13 point deficit. The Knicks stormed back to tie the game at the end of regulation. The Knicks scored 13 points in OT to get a much-needed victory on the road. After going on an 8-3 run to start the month of December, the team lost 3 of the last 4 games.

Coincidentally, Nate was placed into Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse beginning in December. D’Antoni lost patience with Nate over the previous several weeks beginning with an ill-fated joke to shoot at the wrong basket after the end of the 1st quarter in a road game against the New Jersey Nets:

After that play, he benched Nate for the rest of the game. Even after scoring 22 fourth quarter points in a 114-102 loss against the Magic in MSG, D’Antoni sent Nate to the bench with a DNP ironically against the Magic on the road.

Nate sat on the bench for a month until this game. Despite the victories with Nate glued to the bench, it didn’t make much sense because D’Antoni only employed 7-8 man rotations. It took injuries to both Larry Hughes and Jonathan Bender to finally get Nate back into the rotation on New Year’s day. During Nate’s absence, rookie Toney Douglas received the majority of the point guard minutes off the bench.

During his Knick tenure, Nate Robinson frustrated head coaches, alike, with his decision making on the floor. While Nate was in the doghouse, his agent Aaron Goodwin requested a trade in December 2009.2 D’Antoni quickly grew tired of Nate and was traded – along with Marcus Landry – at the deadline to the Boston Celtics for Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, & Bill Walker.

 

 

On This Date: Knicks sign Jonathan Bender

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.

In a feel-good story, Bender played in 25 games for the Knicks. He scored 20 points in his first two games for the team and later scored a season high 16 points in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. His season was cut short in March with a broken finger and eventually retired for good afterwards.

Lauded for his size, skills, and athleticism, Bender entered his rookie season with expectations mirroring Kevin Garnett & Kobe Bryant. He became the first player drafted out of high school to score in double figures in his NBA debut.  He had the ability to dunk with ferocity, dagger threes without hesitation, and block shots with authority.

Chronic knee injuries forced Bender into early retirement in 2006.  After playing in 78 games during the 2001-02 season, Bender played a combined 76 games in the next 4 seasons.

Bender spent part of his first initial retirement years (2006-09) building homes for families impacted by Hurricane Katrina.  He also continued his rehabilitation and worked on a prototype to a product hat would provide relief to his chronic pain.  The product launched in 2013 as the JB Intensive Trainer.2