Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks punched out the Boston Celtics twice during their current win streak
The suddenly amazing New York Knicks have posted 11 wins in a row out of nowhere, tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history. They look better now than during their hot start, which bodes well for the playoffs.
One more victory will give them 12—the third-longest win streak in Knicks history.
But how many games did the Knicks’ longest streak last? And the second longest? Here’s a hint: They are both achievable this season.
And once playoff seedings lock up, surely Mike Woodson won’t want to gas his players. But that No. 2 seed might be at stake right down to the final game, which could see New York go all out for the duration.
What’s the big deal about win streaks anyway? As you’ll see, they’re a pretty good indicator of a long postseason and may even be harbingers of a future title.
Schedules and statistics used in this article courtesy basketball-reference.com.
Carmelo Anthony has reason to celebrate.
The Knicks’ current streak actually didn’t just come out of nowhere—it came out of a free fall.
New York had lost five of six, including four in a row out West, and looked worse than it had all season long.
The Knicks scored a season-low 63 points against the Golden State Warriors. A few days later, they fared barely better, posting 80 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. They dropped another to the 11th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.
Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler picked up what could have been season-affecting injuries (and still may be).
Suddenly, the Knicks’ bubble burst and they were looking like a Round 1 bust in the making all over again.
But just as suddenly, they snapped out of it. Anthony and J.R. Smith (and Kenyon Martin) co-led the way back, defeating nemeses like the Boston Celtics (twice), the pesky Toronto Raptors (back-to-back), the Memphis Grizzlies and the Chris Bosh-led Miami Heat.
Who can beat this team right now? Well, the Thunder are next.
|1.||Mar 18, 2013||@||Utah Jazz||90-83|
|2.||Mar 20, 2013||Orlando Magic||106-94|
|3.||Mar 22, 2013||@||Toronto Raptors||99-94|
|4.||Mar 23, 2013||Toronto Raptors||110-84|
|5.||Mar 26, 2013||@||Boston Celtics||100-85|
|6.||Mar 27, 2013||Memphis Grizzlies||108-101|
|7.||Mar 29, 2013||Charlotte Bobcats||111-102|
|8.||Mar 31, 2013||Boston Celtics||108-89|
|9.||Apr 2, 2013||@||Miami Heat||102-90|
|10.||Apr 3, 2013||@||Atlanta Hawks||95-82|
|11.||Apr 5, 2013||Milwaukee Bucks||101-83|
The Knicks had failed to make the playoffs seven years in a row (1959-60 through 1965-66).
Then, the next two seasons, they did. Both were first-round knockouts, but the team showed improvement. In 1966-67, the Knicks fell to the long-time rival Boston Celtics 3-1.
In 1967-68, after posting their first winning season in nine years, the Knicks lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 4-2, including a double-overtime thriller.
Of course, drafting Willis Reed in 1964 (eighth overall) and Walt Frazier in 1967 (fifth overall) had a lot to do with New York's upswing.
By 1968-69, the Knicks had matured into a legitimate championship contender, posting their first 50-win season (54-28).
They went on to a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Bullets in Round 1 only to lose to the eventual-champion Celtics in the Eastern finals, 4-2.
But the Knicks won it all the following season.
|1.||Jan 25, 1969||Milwaukee Bucks||113-96|
|2.||Jan 28, 1969||Philadelphia 76ers||121-88|
|3.||Jan 30, 1969||@||Baltimore Bullets||109-106|
|4.||Feb 1, 1969||Boston Celtics||109-82|
|5.||Feb 2, 1969||@||Boston Celtics||95-94|
|6.||Feb 4, 1969||Atlanta Hawks||122-97|
|7.||Feb 5, 1969||@||Milwaukee Bucks||111-102|
|8.||Feb 7, 1969||@||Chicago Bulls||105-98|
|9.||Feb 8, 1969||Baltimore Bullets||106-100|
|10.||Feb 12, 1969||Phoenix Suns||112-105|
|11.||Feb 15, 1969||San Francisco Warriors||98-92|
The New York Knicks celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1972-73 team on April 5 during halftime of the Atlanta Hawks game. Yep, that's Phil Jackson.
Speaking of championships…
The Knicks won their second of two titles in 1973. Along the way, they posted an 11-game win streak en route to a 57-25 record.
Willis Reed was out most of the previous season with a knee injury, managing 11 games total.
He returned in 1972-73, his penultimate season, as more of a role player than an on-the-floor leader.
This was more Walt Frazier’s team. He was backed up by Reed, but more so by backcourt partner Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Dave DeBusschere and Bill Bradley.
|1.||Dec 28, 1972||Buffalo Braves||107-86|
|2.||Dec 29, 1972||@||Detroit Pistons||99-94|
|3.||Dec 30, 1972||Baltimore Bullets||100-98|
|4.||Jan 2, 1973||Milwaukee Bucks||102-92|
|5.||Jan 5, 1973||@||Buffalo Braves||129-106|
|6.||Jan 6, 1973||Houston Rockets||116-106|
|7.||Jan 9, 1973||@||Kansas City-Omaha Kings||116-115|
|8.||Jan 11, 1973||@||Atlanta Hawks||122-107|
|9.||Jan 12, 1973||@||Houston Rockets||104-103|
|10.||Jan 14, 1973||@||Seattle SuperSonics||86-84|
|11.||Jan 16, 1973||@||Phoenix Suns||102-101|
Patrick Ewing led many win streaks during his time in New York, including two of the biggest.
The Knicks won 12 games in a row spanning two seasons, from the end of 1992-93 through the first seven games of 1993-94.
They finished a very promising 1992-93 on the heels of a five-game win streak. New York had streaks of nine, seven and six that season, on the way to a 60-win year.
The Knicks charged through the first rounds of the playoffs, beating the Indiana Pacers 3-1 and then the Charlotte Hornets 4-1.
Then, as so often happened in the 1990s, they ran into Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. This time in the Eastern Conference finals.
But the door was opened in 1993-94, when Jordan retired a first time, and the Knicks seized the chance right from the beginning, starting out 7-0.
New York would make it to the NBA Finals, thanks also to an even bigger win streak.
|1.||Apr 17, 1993||Detroit Pistons||95-85|
|2.||Apr 20, 1993||@||Miami Heat||109-97|
|3.||Apr 21, 1993||New Jersey Nets||105-74|
|4.||Apr 23, 1993||@||Philadelphia 76ers||99-84|
|5.||Apr 25, 1993||Chicago Bulls||89-84|
|6.||Nov 5, 1993||@||Boston Celtics||111-108|
|7.||Nov 7, 1993||@||Cleveland Cavaliers||115-107|
|8.||Nov 9, 1993||Philadelphia 76ers||95-86|
|9.||Nov 10, 1993||@||Washington Bullets||92-84|
|10.||Nov 12, 1993||@||Indiana Pacers||103-84|
|11.||Nov 13, 1993||Milwaukee Bucks||99-86|
|12.||Nov 16, 1993||@||Dallas Mavericks||103-90|
The 1993-1994 New York Knicks won 15 in a row and later wound up in the NBA Finals.
The Knicks won 57 games in 1993-94, three less than the previous season, but at times were much more dominant.
They started on the tail end of that 12-game win streak, beginning the year 7-0 and taking that to 15-3 in a hurry.
After weaving to 36-15, the Knicks hit one of those West-swing roadblocks, like the one this season. New York lost four in a row (three on the road) before righting the path.
They righted it with a 15-game win streak, beating 13 different opponents in the process, including future Eastern Conference postseason opponents in the New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers (twice).
After making easy work of the Nets in Round 1 (3-1), the Knicks went the distance the next three rounds, taking the Bulls and Pacers to 4-3 wins and, in the championship, taking the Houston Rockets to a 4-3 loss.
|1.||Mar 1, 1994||@||Sacramento Kings||100-88|
|2.||Mar 3, 1994||New Jersey Nets||97-86|
|3.||Mar 7, 1994||@||Detroit Pistons||99-85|
|4.||Mar 9, 1994||@||Atlanta Hawks||90-83|
|5.||Mar 11, 1994||@||Boston Celtics||90-83|
|6.||Mar 12, 1994||Cleveland Cavaliers||96-86|
|7.||Mar 15, 1994||Indiana Pacers||88-82|
|8.||Mar 17, 1994||Milwaukee Bucks||105-83|
|9.||Mar 19, 1994||Boston Celtics||105-91|
|10.||Mar 22, 1994||Chicago Bulls||87-78|
|11.||Mar 24, 1994||@||Minnesota Timberwolves||123-106|
|12.||Mar 25, 1994||@||Indiana Pacers||85-82|
|13.||Mar 27, 1994||@||Orlando Magic||111-90|
|14.||Mar 29, 1994||Charlotte Hornets||106-95|
|15.||Apr 2, 1994||Miami Heat||110-87|
The 2012-13 Knicks will need to win out the regular season to tie this one. Unlikely, but if it happens, all bets are off. Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks, Heat or not, will have officially transformed themselves into viable championship contenders.
The longest Knicks win streak of all time is 18, posted by the 1969-70 championship team.
This Willis Reed-led squad, and the aforementioned 1992-93 team, are the only Knicks teams with 60-win seasons.
In 1969-70, the Knicks started the season 26-2, winning the first five, losing the sixth and then winning the next 18 in a row. They beat every other team in the league during the streak except the Seattle SuperSonics, who they defeated anyway two games later.
In 14 of these games, New York scored over 110 points (six times over 120) for the most dominant period in the franchise's history.
|1.||Oct 24, 1969||@||Detroit Pistons||116-92|
|2.||Oct 25, 1969||Baltimore Bullets||128-99|
|3.||Oct 28, 1969||Atlanta Hawks||128-104|
|4.||Oct 30, 1969||San Diego Rockets||123-110|
|5.||Nov 1, 1969||Milwaukee Bucks||112-108|
|6.||Nov 3, 1969||@||Milwaukee Bucks||109-93|
|7.||Nov 4, 1969||@||Phoenix Suns||116-99|
|8.||Nov 7, 1969||@||San Diego Rockets||129-111|
|9.||Nov 9, 1969||@||Los Angeles Lakers||112-102|
|10.||Nov 11, 1969||@||San Francisco Warriors||116-103|
|11.||Nov 13, 1969||Chicago Bulls||114-99|
|12.||Nov 15, 1969||Boston Celtics||113-98|
|13.||Nov 18, 1969||Cincinnati Royals||112-94|
|14.||Nov 21, 1969||@||Philadelphia 76ers||98-94|
|15.||Nov 22, 1969||Phoenix Suns||128-114|
|16.||Nov 25, 1969||Los Angeles Lakers||103-96|
|17.||Nov 26, 1969||@||Atlanta Hawks||138-108|
|18.||Nov 28, 1969||N||Cincinnati Royals||106-105|
Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith, without whom there would be no win streak.
Winning streaks, particularly long, robust ones as the Knicks have going now, are good omens.
At the very least, they mean deep postseason runs. At the most, a title in the near future.
Based on the history of the Knicks’ winning streaks, you have to believe this team has the goods to take it to the Eastern Conference finals.
There, they will likely meet a team who had an even bigger win streak, the Miami Heat (27).
According to this theory of winning streaks, the Heat should advance.
But according to that same theory, the Knicks have a pretty good chance of making it to the NBA Finals and possibly winning it in 2014.
The Knicks' remaining 2012-13 schedule:
|1.||Apr 7, 2013||@||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2.||Apr 9, 2013||Washington Wizards|
|3.||Apr 11, 2013||@||Chicago Bulls|
|4.||Apr 12, 2013||@||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|5.||Apr 14, 2013||Indiana Pacers|
|6.||Apr 15, 2013||@||Charlotte Bobcats|
|7.||Apr 17, 2013||Atlanta Hawks|