Although it hasn’t felt like it recently, the Knicks are one of the NBA’s most historic franchises and with a worth of $3 billion, are the league’s most valuable.
But all the money in the world can’t match the feeling of a dramatic, exciting New York victory, so revisit with us the best Knicks games of all-time.
May 8, 1970: Knicks 113, Lakers 99
Without big man Willis Reed to slow him down, the Lakers’ Wilt Chamberlain dropped 45 points and picked up 27 rebounds against New York in Game 6 of the 1970 NBA Finals. That performance forced Game 7, and no one seemed to know for sure if Reed, who suffered a torn muscle in his thigh, would be able to play in the championship-deciding game.
To the delight of the Garden, the 6-foot-9 centre hobbled through the tunnel just minutes before tipoff. Reed would make the first two baskets of the game, and despite not scoring again, would inspire the Knicks to a 113-99 victory and their first title in franchise history.
May 6, 1990: Knicks 121, Celtics 114
The 1989-90 Knicks season ended unceremoniously in the Conference Semis at the hands of eventual champions Detroit, but the first round series before that against Boston is one worth remembering. After being down two games to zip, the Knicks rallied back with two big wins at MSG.
In the fifth and final game (first round series didn’t go to seven games until later), New York would rally on a 12-2 run at the end of the fourth that ended their 26-game losing streak at the Boston Garden.
June 5, 1994: Knicks 94, Pacers 90
With Michael Jordan off pursuing baseball, the Knicks thought their time had finally come to win the Eastern Conference and possibly an NBA Championship, especially after knocking off the Nets and Bulls in the first two rounds of the 94-95 playoffs.
Their opponent in the Conference Finals was Indiana. The series was extremely evenly-matched and competitive (and the one that spawned the Reggie Miller-Spike Lee rivalry). A Game 7 at Madison Square Garden was needed to settle the score, and thanks to Patrick Ewing putting forth one of the best Game 7 performances in NBA history (24 points, 22 rebounds), the Knicks would advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in 21 years.
May 16, 1999: Knicks 78, Heat 77
The Knicks’ run to the 1999 NBA Finals as a #8 seed was magical in itself, but some might forget just how that run began. After limping into and barely making the playoffs, the Knicks were forced to play rivals and top-seeded Miami in the first round.
Shockingly, to everyone except blind New York fans and the sharpest of sports bettors, the Knicks opened up the series by going into South Beach and dropping a 20-point win. The game results would alternate from there, eventually going to a decisive Game 5. Down one with 4.5 seconds to play, Alan Houston caught an inbound pass near the arc, dribbled, shot, and scored to give New York the win and the shock first-round upset. The underdog-win no doubt inspired at least a few fans back then to take up sports betting. With today’s online resources and mobile sportsbooks it has become so much easier to participate in.
April 8, 2012: Knicks 100, Bulls 99
While memorable moments in more modern Knicks history have come fewer and further in between, one game will undoubtedly always be at the top of younger Knicks fans’ lists. On Easter Sunday 2012, the Knicks welcomed Derrick Rose and Chicago in the final weeks of the lockout-shortened season.
The Bulls were flying high as the conference leaders, while New York was just trying to ensure they would make it into the playoffs. Chicago held a 10-point lead with under four to play, one that was ultimately erased by a Melo three with 11.2 seconds left that sent the game to OT. There, Melo would drain another three in the final seconds to give him a season-high 43 points on the night, and New York a dramatic win.