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. Continue reading →
November 12, 1991: Ewing hits double figures in points for the 214th consecutive game
Patrick Ewing scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 98-96 win on the road against the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets. The game marked the 214th straight game (a Knick record) Ewing scored in double figures. The streak was ultimately broken the next game when Ewing was held to only 6 points. Continue reading →
November 8th 1988: Knicks win 1st game of the regular season to officially begin the “Bomb Squad” era
After losing the first two games of the regular season on the road, the Knicks got back into control in the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden. Johnny Newman scored a then-career high 35 points in a 126-117 home victory against the Chicago Bulls in Madison Square Garden. Newman scored 35 efficiently, shooting 12-15 from the field, 2-3 from three, and 9-10 from the free throw line. Continue reading →
November 7th 1993: Ewing scores 44 points to lead the Knicks to an 115-107 overtime win in Cleveland
Ewing won the battle against the former #1 pick (1986) Brad Daugherty with 44 points and 10 rebounds in 43 minutes. Daugherty led the Cavs with 26 points and 11 rebounds in 45 minutes. Danny Ferry had 21 points for the Cavs while Mark Price scored 19 points and 12 assists.Continue reading →
November 6, 1992: Knicks open 1992-1993 season with 106-94 win on the road against the Atlanta Hawks
Patrick Ewing led the Knicks with a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. The trio of Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley, & John Starks each scored in double figures with 15, 10, & 18 points, respectively. Continue reading →
November 5th 1991: Pat Riley wins his first game as Knicks head coach and Knicks City Dancers make their debut.
The Knicks won their first game of the season, fittingly, at Madison Square Garden by routing the Milwaukee Bucks 113-85. This game marked the first win of the Pat Riley era after being blown out for the first two games of the season. Newly acquired Xavier McDaniel led the team with 28 points and 13 rebounds. Mark Jackson led the team with 9 assists and scored 16 points. Patrick Ewing scored 24 points and blocked 3 shots in 34 minutes. Continue reading →
November 4th 1988: Charles Oakley makes his Knicks debut against the Boston Celtics
Charles Oakley made his Knicks debut and grabbed a double-double (11 points & 11 rebounds) in an 122-115 overtime loss against the Boston Celtics. Oakley was one of six players who scored in double figures that night. Patrick Ewing led the Knicks with 28 points, while Mark Jackson and Johnny Newman both scored 19 points each.Continue reading →
November 3rd 1995: Knicks win Don Nelson’s first game 106-100 in Detroit against the Pistons
Nelson employed a quirky and an extremely short rotation in the season opener. Hubert Davis, starting for the suspended Charles Oakley, surprisingly played the entire game, while leading the team with 21 points and made 5 three pointers. Both Derek Harper and newly-minted starter Anthony Mason played 42 and 44 minutes, respectively. Harper scored 20 points on 9-15 from the field and 2-5 from three. In the new role of point forward, Mason scored 18 points on 7-13 from the field and grabbed 13 rebounds and 5 assists. Continue reading →
November 2nd 1990: Knicks open the season with a 134-130 overtime win against the Charlotte Hornets
Patrick Ewing led the team with 38 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 4 assists on 14-23 FGM and 10-14 FTM. Ewing was joined by 4 other players who scored in double figures, including 25 points from Gerald Wilkins, and 22 points and 7 assists from Mark Jackson. Additionally, Charles Oakley secured 15 rebounds and 4 assists for the Knicks.Continue reading →
October 29th 1987: The New York Knicks acquire Sidney Green
The New York Knicks acquired Sidney Green from the Detroit Pistons for Ron Moore and a 1988 2nd round pick. The team sought a true power forward to align with Patrick Ewing. The idea of playing both Bill Cartwright & Patrick Ewing simply wasn’t plausible anymore. Having two centers in the lineup hampered the team’s big man depth and created additional vulnerabilities against the elite power forwards such as Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Kevin McHale, amongst others. Continue reading →
October 1st 1990: The New York Knicks sign John Starks
In one of the most important acquisitions of the 1990s, the New York Knicks signed John Starks as a camp invite for the 1990-91 season. Little did the Knicks front office – coach Stu Jackson and GM Al Bianchi – know that the 6’3 undersized shooting guard that jumped around various teams would become a pivotal player in team history. Continue reading →
October 1st 1991: The New York Knicks acquire Xavier McDaniel
In one of the culminating moves that would shave the first season of the Pat Riley era, the New York Knicks acquired Xavier “X-Man” McDaniel in a trade with the Phoenix Suns. In return, the Knicks traded Jerrod Mustaf, Trent Tucker, and 2 second round picks (1992 and 1994). Continue reading →
September 20th 2000: The New York Knicks trade Patrick Ewing
In what seemed like a long time coming, the New York Knicks finalized a four-team trade that dealt their franchise player Patrick Ewing to the Seattle Supersonics. The full trade details are shown below: Continue reading →
September 10th 1982: The New York Knicks sign Ernie Grunfeld
The New York Knicks signed Ernie Grunfeld to a contract on this date. Grunfeld reunited with his former college teammate Bernard King.1both players played together at the University of Tennessee Grunfeld backed up King at the small forward for most of his tenure with the Knicks. Grunfeld spent his final season in the NBA alongside then-rookie Patrick Ewing. Continue reading →
July 14th 1996: The Knicks 1996 Free Agency: Allan Houston, Chris Childs, Allan Houston
In one day, the New York Knicks officially transformed their roster to make a final championship run during the final stretch of Patrick Ewing’s prime. The Knicks acquired 3 key pieces to their starting lineup, including a new backcourt. First, the Knicks signed Chris Childs to a 6 year $24 million contract. The Knicks announced that they signed Allan Houston to a 7 year $56 million contract. Finally, the Knicks acquired former #1 overall pick Larry Johnson from the Charlotte Hornets for Anthony Mason & Brad Lohaus.
Heading into the 1996 free agency, the Knicks’ main goals were to find a 2nd superstar to pair with Ewing or find a core of young players to provide more offensive firepower. The original tea leaves suggested the Knicks sought Reggie Miller & Michael Jordan, but neither option was plausible. The Knicks signed Childs, 28, after a solid sophomore season with the New Jersey Nets where he averaged 12.8 points/game and 7.0 assists/game. The Knicks appreciated his toughness and poise on both ends of the floor. Childs replaced the older Derek Harper and immediately cemented his spot as the starting point guard.
Houston, 25, was one of the top free agent shooting guards on the market. He came off a season where he averaged a then-high 19.7 points/game and 2.3 three pointers made/game. He was known as a sharpshooter with the Pistons and brought that same dexterity to a Knicks roster that needed more perimeter shooting. Houston joined Childs in the starting lineup.
The most controversial move was acquiring Johnson for Lohaus and Mason. Johnson, 27, was on a long-term contract with 7 years and $84 million remaining. He also suffered a back injury during the 1993-94 season that would later hamper him during his Knicks tenure. Mason represented the tough and gritty Knicks defense of the early 90s. However, the team sought more offensive firepower and felt Johnson provided it despite the back issues. Additionally, the team was probably frustrated with the various on and off-court issues that plagued Mason during his Knicks tenure. Johnson never regained the athletic touch and offensive firepower he had during his early Charlotte days. He instead reinvented his game to become more of a perimeter threat and a clutch performer, especially in the 1999 NBA Playoffs.
July 6th 1995: The New York Knicks hire Don Nelson as their next head coach
Weeks after Pat Riley abruptly resigned, the Knicks went ahead to hire Don Nelson as their next head coach. Nelson came off a campaign where he resigned from the Warriors mid-season after starting the year 14-31. He spent much of the 1993-94 season embroiled in a conflict with their #1 pick Chris Webber.
Nelson sought to bring an uptempo pace to a Knick roster largely built in their halfcourt motions. The match was basically doomed from the start. Although starting the season on a high note, the Knicks hit a rough patch after the New Year. Tensions arose between Nelson, Patrick Ewing & John Starks.
Nelson de-emphasized Ewing’s role in the offense and made Anthony Mason the focal point. Although Mason had a then-career year with the Knicks showcasing his point forward abilities, Ewing was frustrated with his role on offense. Additionally, Nelson reduced Starks’ playing time for Hubert Davis.
The climax occurred when word got out that Nelson wanted the Knicks to trade Ewing in order to pursue Shaquille O’Neal in free agency. This point marked the beginning of the end of his coaching tenure with the organization.
The Knicks fired Nelson midseason after posting a 34-25 record. The conflicts proved to be too much to overcome. The Knicks appointed Jeff Van Gundy as the interim head coach. Van Gundy remained the head coach through the 2001-02 season. Additionally, Van Gundy retained Don Chaney, an original Nelson assistant, as his main assistant coach. Chaney took over as head coach in 2001 after Van Gundy abruptly resigned.
In hindsight, Nelson sought to implement a modern offense that teams would eventually replicate. However, the older personnel on the roster were not equipped to run his offense at the time.
June 27th 1988: The New York Knicks trade Bill Cartwright for Charles Oakley in a draft-day trade
The New York Knicks completed one of the more successful draft-day deals in franchise history when they traded Bill Cartwright to the Chicago Bulls for Charles Oakley and a 1st and 3rd round pick swap in the 1988 NBA Draft.
Cartwright largely felt out of place in New York as Patrick Ewing cemented his role as the franchise cornerstone at center. While Charles Oakley had dominant rebounding seasons with the Bulls, he was deemed expendable after the team drafted Horace Grant in the previous season. As the Knicks needed a true power forward and the Bulls needed a formidable center, this swap made perfect sense.
Additionally, the pick swap gave the Bulls the 11th pick and the Knicks the 19th pick. To further shore up the frontcourt, the Bulls drafted Will Perdue. The Knicks drafted Rod Strickland, despite having Rookie of the Year Mark Jackson as the team’s main point guard. Strickland was traded to the Spurs in his sophomore season after demanding a trade due to a lack of playing minutes.
Ultimately, the trade proved to be a win-win for both teams. Cartwright enjoyed several productive seasons with the Bulls including winning 3 championships during Jordan’s first three-peat. Oakley served as the Knicks’ power forward for 10 seasons and was the perfect frontcourt partner for Ewing. Some of his accomplishments included making an NBA All Star Game and earning a selection to the NBA All Defensive Team in 1994.
June 19th 1994: Hakeem Olajuwon blocks John Starks’ three point shot to force a pivotal Game 7
The New York Knicks were one three point shot away from winning the 1994 NBA Finals. Well, maybe it wasn’t that close, but it sure felt like it for Knicks fan. With the Knicks down 86-84 and 5.5 seconds remaining, Pat Riley drew up a play for John Starks. Starks was the hottest Knick player in Game 6 with 27 points on 9-17 from the field and 5-9 from three. Ewing set a screen for Starks to drive to the left side of the court. Unfortunately, Hakeem Olajuwon switched onto Starks. As Starks put up the potentially title-winning three point shot, Hakeem blocked the shot and the Rockets defeated the Knicks 86-84 to tie the series and force the pivotal Game 7 in Houston.
There are so many what-if moments tied back to this game. Had Hakeem not blocked the shot, it seemed that Starks would have made the three. Starks was the most productive Knick during the game and deserved the final opportunity to win the series. Unfortunately, this loss and missed shot carried onto Game 7 with his 2-18 performance.
June 18th 1985: The New York Knicks draft Patrick Ewing
The fortunes of the Knicks’ franchise rose to an upswing on this date when the Knicks drafted Georgetown center Patrick Ewing with the #1 overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. Ewing was the consensus selection for the top pick. Ewing had one of the most successful collegiate careers in NCAA history as he reached the Finals in 3 of his 4 seasons – winning in 1984 – and was consensus All-American for 3 straight seasons. The Knicks’ future was immediately bright.
Ewing went on to win the 1985 Rookie of the Year and shortly after began a decade long run of dominance as one of the league’s durable and proficient centers. Of his many accomplishments, Ewing was an 11x All-Star, member of the original 1992 Dream Team, and one of the 50 Greatest Players of All Time. The Knicks retired his number in 2003 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
Outside of Ewing, the Knicks also drafted Gerald Wilkins in the 2nd round. Wilkins, the younger brother of Dominique Wilkins, was the Knicks starting SG for most of his tenure in NY and had a scoring average that peaked at 19.1 in his sophomore campaign. Additionally, the Knicks drafted PG Fred Cofield in the 4th round. Cofield spent most of his basketball career in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). The Knicks later hired Cofield as a scout in 2017 as part of their front office restructuring beginning with the hire of Scott Perry.
June 17th 1994: The New York Knicks win Game 5, but the game was overshadowed by the infamous OJ Simpson car chase
The New York Knicks defeated the Houston Rockets 91-84 to take a 3-2 series lead. Patrick Ewing had another dominant performance with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and a then-NBA Finals record 8 blocked shots.2Dwight Howard blocked 9 shots in a Finals game in 2009 John Starks had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists on 7-14 from the field.
For as amazing as the victory was for the Knicks, the game was largely overshadowed by the OJ Simpson car chase. The white Ford Bronco driving up I-5 on a slow chase from the cops. Helicopters overlooking the Bronco as it sped by police officers. Most of the NBC affiliate stations put the game on split-screen to show the car chase live. For most fans, the audio of the NBC news coverage was front and center while the game was on the side. KNBC in Los Angeles didn’t even put the game on TV and just focused its attention on the chase.
Most people know the background behind the OJ Simpson murder case, so it’s not necessary to rehash here. According to Jeff Van Gundy, Al Cowlings, the driver of the Ford Bronco, allegedly drove the car slow along I-5 to listen to the NBA Finals on radio. Additionally, because of the OJ car chase, we also missed Anthony Mason & Hakeem Olajuwon nearly coming to blows.
June 12th 1994: The New York Knicks drop Game 3 of the 1994 NBA Finals, their first NBA Finals game in MSG since 1973
21 years after their last NBA championship, the New York Knicks returned to MSG to host the Houston Rockets in Game 3 after splitting the first 2 games in Houston. Unfortunately, the Knicks couldn’t protect their short-lived home court advantage and lost 93-89.
The Knicks fell behind early, trailing by as many as 16 points in the 1st half and even by 14 points in the 3rd quarter. The Knicks had to rely on one of their signature 4th quarter rallies to get back into the game and take the lead midway through the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, Sam Cassell proved to be a thorn on the Knicks’ side in Game 3. Cassell scored the last 7 Rockets points, including a go-ahead 3 point shot to give the Rockets a 89-88 lead.
Shortly after the 3, one of the most controversial calls occurred in the game. The refs called an offensive foul on Patrick Ewing after he set a “moving screen” on Vernon Maxwell to get John Starks open for a 3 point shot. After looking at multiple replays, I still can’t see the moving screen.
After the offensive foul, Cassell hit 2 more free throws to put the Rockets up 3. After John Starks missed a couple three point shots, Hakeem Olajuwon fouled him with less than 4 seconds left to put him on the line to shoot 2. Starks needed to make the first and miss the second FT. Starks followed the command, but Otis Thorpe grabbed the defensive rebound with 2.8 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, Starks committed an out-of-bounds foul and Cassell hit 2 more FTs to seal the victory.
For the Knicks, Derek Harper led the way with 21 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals on 9-15 from the field and 3-7 from three. Unfortunately, neither John Starks nor Patrick Ewing got into any consistent offensive rhythm. Ewing struggled from the field with 18 points, on 9-29 from the field, 13 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots. Hakeem Olajuwon’s defense proved to be too much for Ewing in Game 3. Starks scored 20 on 6-16 from the field. Hakeem had a near quadruple double with 21 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 blocked shots.
June 11th 1999: The New York Knicks make history in becoming the first #8 seed to reach the NBA Finals
Miracles. Only one word to define the 1998-99 season. After enduring the endless drama, on-court struggles, and injuries, the Knicks did the unthinkable and stormed past the #1 seed Miami Heat in the 1st round, the #4 seed Atlanta Hawks in the 2nd round, and the #2 seed Indiana Pacers to become the first #8 seed to reach the NBA Finals.
The Knicks defeated the Pacers 90-82 in Game 6 to advance to the Finals. This was done with Patrick Ewing on the sidelines and Larry Johnson sidelined most of the game due to a sprained right knee suffered in the 2nd quarter. Instead, the “role players” per se took charge in front of the roaring MSG crowd.
Allan Houston led the way with a team-high 32 points on 12-17 from the field. Latrell Sprewell scored 20 points, but his defensive energy was once again infectious for the Knicks team. Marcus Camby was an all-around force off the bench with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocked shots in 37 minutes. Camby was the instrumental cog in the victory. While he was on the floor, the team was +26 and -18 while off.
The Knicks simply dominated on the free throw line. The team took 33 free throws, led by Houston (8-10), Camby (7-11), & Sprewell (6-6). The Pacers, on the other hand, only attempted 9 free throws.
The Knicks took control of the game in the 4th quarter. A Jalen Rose 3 point play with less than 29 seconds remaining put the Pacers down 86-82. However, the Knicks hit 4 more free throws and the Pacers simply conceded with 15 seconds remaining after Spree blocked Jalen Rose’s layup.
The MSG crowd went nuts as Chris Childs dribbled out the clock. Spree was running along the sidelines galvanizing the crowd. Jeff Van Gundy’s wife was shown in tears right after the buzzer sounded. Even with Patrick Ewing sidelined, he enjoyed the taste of seeing another NBA Finals. Just simply an ecstatic and priceless moment in Knicks history.
June 5th 1994: The New York Knicks advance to the 1994 NBA Finals
The New York Knicks advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in more than 20 years after defeating the Indiana Pacers 94-90. The game was back and forth with less than a minute remaining in the 4th quarter. With less than 35 seconds remaining, Dale Davis threw down a dunk to put the Pacers up 90-89. Little did they know that those would be the last points the Pacers scored in the game.
After Pat Riley called a time out, John Starks received the ball and drove to the basket from the right hand side of the court. Starks threw up a missed layup, but Patrick Ewing was there to throw down the go-ahead iconic tip-dunk with 26 seconds remaining to put the Knicks ahead 91-90.
The Pacers worked the clock and Reggie Miller received a pass off the curl which he subsequently airballed out of bounds to the delight of the MSG faithful. With 4.2 seconds remaining, Starks received the inbounds pass and was, surprisingly, flagrantly fouled by Reggie Miller. After the foul, Ewing was shown putting both his arms up (as shown in the iconic photos) in the air knowing he was off to the NBA Finals. He gave the courtside fans a high five and even bear hugged a fan along the way.
Starks hit one of the two free throws off the flagrant foul and subsequently hit an additional 2 free throws to seal the victory. Ewing ended Game 7 on a historic effort with 24 points, 22 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 blocked shots.
June 5th 1999: Larry Johnson’s 4 point play
Without Patrick Ewing and down 91-88 with 12 seconds remaining in Game 3 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals, the Knicks were in desperation mode to save the game. There were two choices: hit a quick 2 and foul or attempt a 3. Charlie Ward was the inbounds passer from the sideline by the Indiana Pacers bench. The Pacers tipped the inbounds pass, but it landed in Larry Johnson’s palms.
LJ took 4 seconds off the clock before making a move off of Antonio Davis.He drove left towards the sideline and Davis fouled him as he shot the 3 with less than 7 seconds remaining. Miraculously, LJ made the shot and the MSG crowd roared. The various TV replays showed the Garden crowd literally going nuts after the shot was made. It was a priceless moment.
LJ ran down to the other side of the basket about to celebrate only to be held back by Chris Childs & Latrell Sprewell. LJ completed the 4 point play to put the Knicks up 92-91. After the Pacers called a timeout, Mark Jackson threw up a desperation shot over pressure defense that missed to help the Knicks win Game 3.
Larry Johnson helped carry the Knicks in Game 3 after Patrick Ewing’s injury sidelined him for the remainder of the playoffs. LJ led the Knicks with 26 points and 3 three pointers, including the iconic 4 point play. The momentum of Game 3 didn’t carry over to Game 4, but it definitely played a role in winning both Games 5 & 6 to head to their 2nd NBA Finals in the decade.
June 3rd 1999: Patrick Ewing ruled out for remainder of 1999 NBA Playoffs due to torn Achilles tendon
Game 2 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals marked the last game Patrick Ewing played in the 1999 NBA Playoffs. Tests after the game revealed that Ewing suffered a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon. The injury sidelined Ewing for the remainder of the playoffs as well as the beginning of the 1999-00 season. He was not able to participate in a 2nd and majestic NBA Finals run with the Knicks. In hindsight, a 37 year old Ewing probably would have had little impact in defeating the San Antonio Spurs.
Achilles tendinitis bothered Ewing throughout the entire 1998-99 season. The combination of the shortened schedule, recovery from the wrist injury in the 1997-98 season, and age/not being in the best game shape resulted in nagging injuries. Ewing felt the Achilles pop after playing 40 minutes in Game 1 of the ECF. He played through the injury in Game 2 until team doctors realized the achilles was torn.
At 37 years old, the Achilles injury proved devastating for the remainder of Ewing’s career. His impact on the floor was largely diminished. The team decided to build without Ewing and traded him before the 2000-01 season.