On This Date: Knicks score 133 to shock Pistons

November 23, 1988: Knicks utilize half-court trap and three pointers to shock the Detroit Pistons 133-111 in the Palace of Auburn Hills

The road to the championship for the Detroit Pistons, who went into the game 9-1, approached a bump in the road against Rick Pitino & the New York Knicks.  The combination of aggressive half-court traps and 3-point shots stifled the Pistons, who came into the game limiting opponents to only 98.6 points per game, a mark 2nd in the league. Continue reading →

On This Date: “Bomb Squad” roster wins their first regular season game against the Chicago Bulls

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 →

On This Date: Charles Oakley makes his Knicks debut

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 →

Former Knicks GM Al Bianchi passes away at the age of 87

Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Former Knicks GM Al Bianchi passed away from natural causes today at the age of 87. He served as the team’s general manage from 1987-1991 and oversaw playoff teams during his entire tenure.

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On This Date: Knicks trade Mo Cheeks to the Hawks

October 3rd 1991: The New York Knicks trade Maurice Cheeks to the Atlanta Hawks

With an impending roster glut at the point guard, the New York Knicks traded veteran point guard Maurice “Mo” Cheeks to the Atlanta Hawks for Tim McCormick and a 1994 1st round pick.

The Knicks originally acquired Cheeks midway during the 1989-90 season after Rod Strickland demanded a trade due to a lack of minutes. Cheeks served as a stabilizing vet at point guard and even took over the starting role from Mark Jackson after the latter struggled with poor conditioning and defense. Continue reading →

On This Date: Bill Cartwright/Charles Oakley trade

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.

On This Date: Maurice Cheeks hits go-ahead basket to defeat the Bucks

March 3rd 1990: Maurice Cheeks hits the go-ahead bucket to help the Knicks defeat the Bucks

Maurice Cheeks stepped up in the end of the 4th quarter to lead the Knicks to a 106-105 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. Cheeks entered the game with 4:22 left replacing Mark Jackson, who struggled mightily from the field and on the defensive end. Cheeks hit the go-ahead basket with 39 seconds left to put the Knicks up 102-101 and clinch victory.

After the Knicks shipped Rod Strickland to the Spurs, the team expected Cheeks to provide veteran leadership at the point guard that neither Hot Rod or Mark Jackson provided. While the team was 34-17 before the trade, the Knicks struggled throughout most of March, enduring a 6 game losing streak and a 3 game losing streak in the month. The Knicks ultimately made the playoffs and reached the Eastern Conference where they lost to the impending champion Detroit Pistons.

On This Date: Knicks trade Rod Strickland

February 21st 1990: Knicks trade Rod Strickland for Mo Cheeks

Weeks after sophomore PG, and NY native, Rod Strickland demanded a trade due to lack of playing time, the Knicks obliged and dealt him to the San Antonio Spurs for Mo Cheeks.

The NY tandem of Mark Jackson and Hot Rod did not have a long lifespan. Despite playing well in his rookie season under Rick Pitino, the slow-paced offense run under Stu Jackson wasn’t conducive for a two-PG tandem that were both talented and hungry for minutes. Additionally, Coach Jackson often benched Hot Rod due to his lack of defense.

The trade ended up being a short-term win for the Knicks. Cheeks brought a steady veteran presence to a Knicks squad that reached the playoffs in his 2 seasons with the team. He took over the starting PG duties in the 1990-91 season after then-interim coach John MacLeod benched Jackson after a heated argument alongside GM Al Bianchi. The Knicks traded Cheeks shortly before the 1991-92 season for a 1st round pick that eventually became Charlie Ward.

Meanwhile, Rod Strickland became an above-average starting PG for the Spurs, Blazers, and Washington Wizards, amongst other teams. While the Knicks and Hot Rod could have been a perfect match for the team, the presence of Mark Jackson made the marriage unsalvageable.