While the New York Knicks are looking forward to Tuesday night’s Game 2 against the Boston Celtics, I am looking back at the Knicks’ terrific season in order to pick out the five most memorable games.
The term "memorable" might seem a little vague so let me explain the reasoning behind my top five.
First of all, if you’re expecting a list of the best Knicks wins of the season you came to the wrong place.
The Knicks ended up being on the losing end of some very spectacular games, and it would be disingenuous to exclude those just because New York didn’t get the W.
Secondly, I’m only looking at the regular season. As of right now Game 1 against the Celtics is an obvious No. 1, but given that there is an inevitable Game 4 and possibly a Game 5 or 6 waiting for us, I’m not willing to let my piece become outdated within a week. Call it vanity if you like.
Thirdly, milestones count. Games with significance related to winning streaks or the return or loss of a marquee player received extra consideration. This list includes games that not only lingered in the minds of the fans for the exciting play but also for the transforming effects they had on the Knicks’ season.
Do you agree or disagree with my list? Let me know in the comments section.
The idea that Anthony was the kind of player who could take on a leadership role suddenly didn’t seem so far-fetched anymore. How could it after Melo’s 41 points on 17-of-28 shooting and 14 rebounds to extend the Knicks winning streak to 11 games at a crucial time in the season?
However, J.R. Smith, who has just been awarded the Sixth Man of the Year Award, deserves some credit as well.
At times, there seemed like there were only two Knicks players on the court. Smith and Melo combined for 70 of New York’s 101 points. No other Knick player reached double digits.
The game also moved Anthony right behind Kevin Durant in the hunt for the scoring title, and we all know how that race ended up.
By the way, did you know that on this very same night, Durant had his best performance during the entire month of April? He scored 34 points on 13-of-21 shooting with nine rebounds in a 97-75 victory against the Indiana Pacers.
Meanwhile, Anthony averaged 36.9 PPG in the last eight games he played during the regular season.
That’s what scoring champions are made of.
It was the moment Knicks fans had been waiting for since 1994, as they could finally call themselves Atlantic Division champions again.
To say that they did it against the odds would be an understatement. Prior to the season, none of ESPN’s panel of experts predicted the Knicks to take home the division title.
The game itself was a fairly easy affair for the Knickerbockers. They jumped to a 13-point lead after the first quarter and never looked back. This was the Knicks’ 13th win in a row and their last before the winning streak ended two days later in Chicago.
The Knicks also set a franchise record with 20 three-pointers in a single game. The three-point ball was one of New York’s most effective weapons throughout the season, and against the Wizards we saw why. Eight different players had at least one three-pointer, including Chris Copeland and Iman Shumpert, who had four each.
There are some things you simply do not joke about, and one of those things is another man’s wife. Kevin Garnett violated that rule during the Knicks and the Celtics first matchup of the season.
While the Knicks lost 102-96 to the Celtics, all everyone was talking about after the game was the altercation between Garnett and Anthony.
The two players were going at it during the game and played extremely physical. Everyone watching could easily see that Melo was worked up over some of the stuff that was coming from Garnett, a notorious trash-talker.
When footage of Melo waiting for Garnett outside the Celtics bus was leaked, it became clear that this wasn’t lighthearted stuff.
Soon reports started surfacing that Garnett had told Melo that his wife, LaLa Vazquez, tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios.
It was by far one of the most bizarre and memorable moments of the 2012-2013 NBA season.
Though the Nets had to wait to christen the new Barclays Center, they couldn’t complain about the outcome of the game.
New York lost a long and hard-fought battle against their crosstown neighbors in a game that couldn’t have been a better start to their new rivalry.
Both teams got a chance to finish off the game in regulation but Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams came up short. In overtime, the home team outscored the Knicks 12-5 and took home their first win against the Knicks as the Brooklyn Nets.
When they were in New Jersey, the Nets were nothing more than an afterthought and two trips to the NBA Finals in the early 2000s couldn’t even establish a solid fanbase. Now they have a world-class arena and solid marketability.
The Knicks vs. Nets rivalry took a whole new turn on this Monday night, and if both teams continue to thrive, it has the potential to develop into one of the best rivalries in the league.
Talk about a flying start to the season. The Knicks went into this game as the oldest team in league history and on top of that the citizens of New York were looking for something to take their minds off the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
The Knicks responded by crushing the defending NBA champions and setting the tone for the rest of the season. They held LeBron James to just 23 points and punished Miami with three-point shooting. The Knicks shot an incredible 19-of-36 from behind the arc, eight of which came from the New York bench.
Another revelation was Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton playing together in the backcourt. When Jeremy Lin left to go to the Houston Rockets, the Knicks’ point guard situation became unclear to say the least.
In hindsight, the way coach Mike Woodson handled it makes him look like a bona fide Coach of the Year candidate. Felton’s win shares has risen to last season's mark of 1.7 to 4.2 last season and Kidd’s has gone up from 3.0 to 5.4.
When the game ended and the Heat were sent back to Miami with a 20-point deficit, it raised many questions about the Knicks. Was this game a fluke? Did the Knicks really have enough talent to compete in the Eastern Conference?
As it turns out, they absolutely did.