April 4th 2003: Allan Houston & Kurt Thomas are instrumental in defeating the Utah Jazz in overtime
Allan Houston hit the go-ahead basket with 4.4 seconds left in overtime and Kurt Thomas blocked John Stockton’s layup attempt at the end of the game to secure a 94-92 victory on the road against the Utah Jazz. Houston led the Knicks with 27 points on 9-17 from the field and 3-4 from three. Kurt Thomas led the frontcourt with 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots, including the clutch block at the end of overtime.
The Knicks had a 10 point lead midway in the 4th. In typical Knick fashion during that season, the team gave up the lead and had to win the game in overtime. The overtime effort was gritty as both teams only scored a combined 6 points in the extra period.
Former Utah Jazz players Shandon Anderson & Howard Eisley suited up for the Knicks. Shandon scored 17 points off the bench and surprisingly received boos from the Jazz crowd1he’s not that good of a player.
The victory still kept the Knicks 3.5 games out of the final seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite having the worst athleticism and upside in the league, the team was still able to win a relatively high number of games.
November 14, 2000:Patrick Ewing faced the Knicks for the first time as a member of the Seattle Supersonics and enjoyed a 96-75 win against his old team.
Patrick Ewing got the last laugh against the Knicks with a blowout victory. In 31 minutes, Ewing scored 10 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and blocked 3 shots. Gary Payton & Rashard Lewis led the Sonics with 25 and 22 points respectively. Payton, in 46 minutes, nearly had a triple double with 13 assists and 8 rebounds. For the Knicks, Marcus Camby led the Knicks against his former teammate with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
This matchup represented a bittersweet moment for everyone involved. For fans, it was sad seeing Ewing in the twilight of his career playing in a different uniform. Ewing was clearly at the end of his career and it was tough to see him end his career as a relic of himself
The front office and Ewing developed an irreconcilable relationship during the end of the 2000 season. Ewing, then 38, was at the end of a 4-year, $60 million contract and was reportedly looking for a two year extension from the team. Ewing was also diminishing as a player following the torn Achilles tendon in the 1999 playoffs. Ewing was clearly attempting to win a championship during the final years of his career.
The Knicks needed a replacement for Ewing in the frontcourt. The original genesis of the Ewing trade involved the Detroit Pistons instead of the Phoenix Suns and would have netted Vin Baker along with Glen Rice. However, the trade fell apart and the Knicks settled for a lesser trade involving Rice, Luc Longley, several draft picks, and salary cap filler.
The trade didn’t benefit either Ewing or the Knicks. Ewing played his final two seasons with the Sonics and Magic and failed to reach the NBA Finals. The Knicks ultimately traded those acquired draft picks and flipped Glen Rice into the albatross contracts of Shandon Anderson & Howard Eisley, leading into a decade of losing records and grotesque mismanagement of basketball operations.
Then-Knicks GM Isiah Thomas continued his purge of the Scott Layden era by waiving Shandon Anderson. Like similar players in recent memory (hint: Joakim Noah), Anderson refused to take a significant paycut in the buyout and effectively received around $20 million of the $24 million remaining on his contract.
Anderson was one of many questionable questions by Scott Layden during the infamous summer of 2001. After averaging a paltry 8.7 points a game in 29 minutes, Layden felt necessary to offer Anderson a 6 year, $42 million contract and acquired him in a sign-and trade deal that shipped Glen Rice to the Houston Rockets while also absorbing Howard Eisley’s contract (2nd season of a 7 year $41 million contract). The baffling part of the contract was that it came right after Layden gave Allan Houston an extension worth $100 million.
While Anderson missed only 2 games in his 3+ seasons with the Knicks, his impact on the team did not match the contract he received. The signing resembled an era of players who lacked athleticism and excitement for a barely mediocre Knicks roster.
Perhaps his best memory as a Knick was the dunk highlighted in the video above.