On This Date: Knicks stave off ferocious comeback against the Seattle Supersonics

January 23, 1972: The New York Knicks withstand a late-game comeback against the Seattle Supersonics.

The Knicks nearly averted trouble to hold onto a 101-99 victory on the road against the Seattle Supersonics. The Knicks led by as much as 20 points by halftime and even had a 15 point lead with 4 minutes remaining in the game. The Sonics went on a 9-0 run and cut the lead down to 6 with less than 40 seconds in regulation.

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On This Date: Knicks hire Red Holzman.

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.

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On This Date: Knicks finish game on 19-0 run to beat the Milwaukee Bucks

November 18, 1972: Knicks make history by ending game on 19-0 run to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 87-86

In one of the most memorable comebacks in NBA history, the New York Knicks scored the final 19 points of the game to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 87-86 at Madison Square Garden. The team was down by as much as 20 points and clawed back into the game in the middle of the 4th quarter. After a few key baskets by Earl Monroe and Dave DeBusschere and a few clutch defensive stops, the team was only down by 1 point with 47 seconds left in the game. Continue reading →

On This Date: Knicks acquire Earl Monroe

November 10th 1971: The New York Knicks acquire Earl Monroe from the Baltimore Bullets for Mike Riordan, Dave Stallworth, & cash

The Earl Monroe trade will forever be remembered as one of the greatest trades in Knicks history. Leading up to the moment, Monroe requested a trade from the team and preferred to be sent to one of the Lakers, Bulls, or 76ers.  While away from the team, Monroe received a call from his agent stating that there was a deal with the Knicks. Continue reading →

On This Date: Earl Monroe inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

May 15th 1990: Earl Monroe inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

Earl “The Pearl” Monroe entered into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on this date. Monroe played 14 seasons in the NBA, beginning with the Baltimore Bullets and ending with the Knicks. Monroe averaged nearly 19 points a game and won an NBA championship with the Knicks in 1973.

The Pearl was also known in basketball circles as “Black Magic” for the flashiness and bravado he brought to the court. Monroe brought a level of flashiness handling the ball and driving into the paint that the league had not seen. He brought the razzle dazzle of the playground circuit into the NBA. Along with the premier guards of the 1960s, Monroe helped usher in a new era where guards could score as proficiently as big men.

On This Date: Knicks win the 1973 NBA Finals

May 10th 1973: Knicks are the 1973 NBA Champions

The Knicks won their 2nd NBA Championship by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 102-93. This was the 3rd time the Knicks faced the Lakers in the NBA Finals in the previous 4 seasons. The Lakers defeated the Knicks in 5 games in the 1972 NBA Finals. The 1973 NBA Finals was nearly the opposite of the previous season. Whereas the Knicks won Game 1 of the 1972 NBA Finals, the Lakers won Game 1 of the 1973 NBA Finals. Both teams subsequently won the next 4 games to secure the championship.

This time around, Earl Monroe was a part of the 1973 NBA Championship Knicks. Monroe averaged 16 points/game on 53% shooting during the NBA Finals. Willis Reed once again won the NBA Finals MVP.


May 10th 2008: Knicks agree to hire Mike D’Antoni as their next head coach

Mike D’Antoni agreed to a 4 year $24 million deal to coach the New York Knicks. After firing Isiah Thomas as head coach, this was Donnie Walsh’s first and paramount move as the new Knicks President & GM.

Ever since Steve Kerr became the Suns GM before the 2007 NBA Draft, there was always a subtle tension between him and D’Antoni. Kerr wanted to emphasize more of a defensive presence on the team. Kerr also wanted to hire Tom Thibodeau as D’Antoni’s lead defensive coach, but the latter purportedly refused the request.

The Phoenix Suns allowed D’Antoni to interview with other teams after a disappointing first round playoff exit. At the time, D’Antoni still had 2 years and $9 million left on his coaching contract. The Bulls also showed interest in D’Antoni, but ultimately the Knicks provided the best offer.

From the moment the Knicks hired D’Antoni, there was one main organizational goal: clear cap space for 2010 and LeBron. As Donnie Walsh traded the long-term contracts, D’Antoni established his faster paced system onto the more inferior Knicks roster. The Knicks mostly achieved mediocre results: the team was poor defensively and D’Antoni stubbornly played short rotations while sacrificing the opportunity to play some of the younger players.

Pressure intensified after 2010 when the Knicks signed Amare Stoudemire & eventually acquired Carmelo Anthony. The lack of chemistry and time, due to the lockout, did not allow D’Antoni to build an offensive system around those two players. Additionally, the Knicks continued to struggle defensively. Mounting pressure near the middle of the 2011-12 shortened season forced D’Antoni to resign, months before finishing his 4 year contract. Since at least the Pat Riley era, D’Antoni is the only coach that completed a majority of his coaching contract before either resigning or being fired.

 

On This Date: Knicks honor 40th anniversary of the 1973 Knicks

April 5th 2013: Knicks honor the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Knicks

The Knicks honored the 1973 Championship Knick team on this date. The team got together the day before to reminisce on their heyday at Aretsky’s Patroon in New York City. The team was officially recognized at halftime of the Knicks-Bucks game.

The ceremony began with a video narrated by Al Trautwig. The team brought out the original championship trophy from 1973. All the living players were introduced one-by-one. For those who passed away, – including Red Holzman and the team trainer – the team had a special representative from the family join the ceremony.

The most notable player in the ceremony was Phil Jackson. Phil finally made his return to MSG not as a coach, but rather as an alum of the Knicks. The Knicks spent multiple efforts to lure Phil Jackson back into coaching the team in 1999 and 2005. The efforts were futile as he continued on his journey to win championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Earl Monroe ended the ceremony with a passionate speech about the team. He gave several complimentary remarks for the 2012-13 Knicks squad that would ultimately reach the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs.

On This Date: Knicks retire Earl Monroe’s jersey

 

March 1st 1986: Knicks retire Earl Monroe’s jersey

The Knicks retired Earl “The Pearl” Monroe’s #15 on this date. The Pearl played 9 seasons with the Knicks after the team acquired him from the Baltimore Bullets. Monroe won a championship in 1973 and formed 1/2 of a dynamic duo with Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Throughout his NBA career, Monroe excited fans with his acrobatic play and smooth play on the court. He made the All Star team in 1975 and 1977 while with the Knicks. Monroe ranks 8th on the all-time Knicks scoring list.

#15 is a unique number in Knicks history as it’s the only number the organization retired twice. The Knicks later retired the number again in 1992 on behalf of Dick McGuire.