January 21, 1999: The New York Knicks acquire Latrell Sprewell
On the first day after the end of the 1998-99 NBA Lockout, the New York Knicks acquired the talented, but highly controversial Latrell Sprewell from the Golden State Warriors. In return, fan favorite John Starks, Chris Mills, & Terry Cummings departed for the Warriors. Sprewell spent most of the 1997-98 season suspended as a result of choking his coach PJ Carlesimo in practice. The Warriors shopped Sprewell to teams since the suspension. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs were the other potential suitors in trade rumors, but the Knicks ultimately provided the best offer.
January 19th 1987: The New York Knicks host their first MLK day game
President Ronald Reagan passed historic legislation in 1983 to mark the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr Day as a national holiday. The law stated to observe MLK Day on the third Monday in January, which would then land approximately around MLK’s actual birthday of January 15th. The United States observed MLK Day for the first time in 1986.
January 12, 1974: Red Holzman sets club record in head coaching victories
The New York Knicks defeated the Golden State Warriors 96-80. In the victory, Red Holzman set a club record with 327 regular season victories. He surpassed the record held by Joe Lapchick. Lapchick coached the Knicks for eight seasons between 1948-1956.
January 11, 2000: Metta World Peace (f/k/a Ron Artest) returns to MSG as a rookie
In the 1999 NBA Draft, Ed Tapscott inexplicably drafted Frederic Weis over St. John’s own Metta World Peace. 99% of Knicks fans and media, alike, panned the selection. Even MWP himself was baffled the Knicks didn’t select the Queens native. The Chicago Bulls selected him right after the Knicks picked Weis.
January 10, 1995: John Starks ties a then-team record with 8 three-pointers to beat the Indiana Pacers
In the first game since the contentious 1994 Eastern Conference Finals matchup, John Starks tied a then-team record with 8 three-pointers made to stun Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers by a score of 117-105. Starks led the Knicks with 31 points and hit 8-11 from downtown and 10-16 overall from the field.
December 28, 1994: Grant Hill makes his MSG debut, but the Knicks prevail with the victory
The New York Knicks spoiled Grant Hill’s MSG debut with a 101-93 victory against the Detroit Pistons. Patrick Ewing led the Knicks with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Charles Smith also had a double double with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
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 Jordan1 then-minority owner and president of basketball operations for the Bobcats 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.
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. Continue reading →
December 8, 1987: Bernard Kings makes his first visit to MSG as a member of the Washington Bullets
Bernard King returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time as a Washington Bullet. The Knicks got the last laugh in a 116-92 blowout victory. King came off the bench to score 19 points in 32 minutes. Continue reading →