Yesterday, we witnessed a feat that has not been touched in 13 years. The last time the Knicks hit the 50 win mark was that long ago. America was at the turn of the millennium. Maybe many Knicks fans blame Y2K for 13 years of mediocre basketball in New York, or even the curse of Patrick Ewing (for the record, the Knicks are 11-0 since Pat joined the post-game crew on MSG). Whatever the case, this is enjoyable. It has me giddy about the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
1999 was a turbulent year in the big bad city; New York was coming off a trip to the Finals, and looking to repeat their success at the turn of the millennium. Not sure that anyone back then would of thought 2000 would bring horrific luck to the Knicks, through numerous questionable moves and unwanted drama. 13 years that really took their toll on the team and us, the fans. I probably would have been laughed at too if I were to tell fans back then too that Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby would still be holding their own among big men 13 years later.
The Knicks were a stalwart defensive presence in the league under Jeff Van Gundy, finishing in the top 10 in defensive rating in the NBA. Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell were the new faces of the franchise and looked as if they were going to carry the team for the next 10 years. Though, this duo was not as offensively gifted at the group of Knicks we are watching today, this was made up for on the defensive side of the ball. Marcus Camby actually has a higher rebounding percentage now (18.8%), than he did in 2000 (17.7%).
New York easily swept Toronto back when a first round series only consisted of five games, and made way into Miami for their heated rivalries of the late 90’s. It was a classic seven-game series with a five point average deciding each game. New York won game seven behind Latrell Sprewell’s controversial timeout call that helped the Knicks advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to face Indiana. The Knicks were no match for prime time Reggie Miller who torched the Knicks in six games. Little did Knicks fans know this was the last time we would see a playoff run for an extended amount of time.
I managed to find the intro of game seven against the heat on YouTube. Sadly, people back then weren’t too into making season mixes and highlight tapes on the complex internet scene.
13 years later and we finally have something to talk about again. How the times have changed since the last time there has been a 50 win season in New York and given us something to cheer for. Just a bit of a walk down memory lane, go Knicks.
Stats used are from www.Basketball-Reference.com