The 2012-13 Knicks squad won 54 games, but how do they stack up against the all-time best 'Bockers?
The 2012-13 New York Knicks enjoyed the kind of regular season success the franchise hasn't seen in decades. Their 54 wins were the team's most since the 1996-97 campaign, and they were good enough to place New York second in the Eastern Conference. The team also took home a division title for the first time since 1994.
Carmelo Anthony won his first scoring title by posting 28.7 points per game, and J.R. Smith shocked the world with his maturity while earning the Sixth Man of the Year award. The squad also endured a 13-game winning streak, its longest in decades.
Now that it's over, only one question is left to answer: How does it stack up against the best regular seasons the Garden has ever hosted?
We aren't accounting for postseason success, so this debate is based solely on the 82 regular season contests.
The team's two banner-raising seasons each came in campaigns of at least 54 wins—and the same can be said for the two '90s Knicks who came the closest to a ring.
But where do the 2013 Knickerbockers fall into the equation?
Find out where they stand among the 10 best rosters in franchise history.
The 1988-89 season was the Knicks' first taste of success after suffering through losing campaigns in nine of the previous 14 years.
The Rick Pitino-led Knicks won the Atlantic Division with 52 wins, their most since the early '70s championship era. The youthful duo of Patrick Ewing and Mark Jackson highlighted the stat sheet—Ewing with 22.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and Jackson averaging 16.9 points and 8.6 assists per game.
Twenty-five-year-old Johnny Newman was the team's best scorer on the wings, averaging 16 points that season on 47.5-percent shooting.
Although the defense wasn't as fortunate, their 111.1 offensive efficiency still ties for the highest in franchise history (the stat has only been tracked since 1974).
The '89 Knicks enjoyed five separate five-game winning streaks and never lost more than three consecutive games. The 52-win season acted as a bridge into the premier stage of Knicks basketball that would ensue in the early '90s.
The 1968-69 Knicks were still a year away from raising a banner, but this team was a lot closer than we remember. They finished third in the NBA's Eastern Division, but Basketball-Reference's Pythagorean win-loss record has them winning 56 games—something only five rosters in franchise history have accomplished.
An astonishing six Knicks averaged at least 15 points that season, including Willis Reed at 21.1, Cazzie Russell with 18.3, and Dick Barnett and Walt Frazier at 17.6 and 17.5, respectively.
The '69 team also featured three triple-digit rebounders—Reed averaged 14.5; Dave DeBusschere and Walt Bellamy grabbed at least 11 boards per game.
It was Red Holzman's first full season as head coach. He went on to win 613 games for the Knicks—the most in franchise history.
The team's defense was clearly another strength. It allowed a league-best 105.1 points per contest.
In the postseason, the Knicks swept the Baltimore Bullets in four games but were ousted by the eventual champion Boston Celtics in the Eastern Division Finals.
The 1994-95 version of Pat Riley's Knicks didn't come out as successful as the year before, but they still put together one of the greatest regular seasons in franchise history.
Even despite a banged-up Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley, the Knicks managed to win 55 games—the sixth-best single-season record in franchise history. Ewing averaged 23.9 points and 11 boards, while John Starks added 15.3 points per contest.
Anchored by Ewing and Oakley, the team's defense allowed the lowest field-goal percentage in the NBA. Its defense efficiency of 103.8 was tops in the league as well.
The '95 Knicks took an early playoff exit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after being bounced by the Indiana Pacers in seven games.
Weeks after New York was eliminated, Pat Riley immediately became the subject of eternal Knicks fan hatred by faxing in his resignation papers on June 16. Riley joined the Miami Heat the next year, the organization he still runs today.
In 1996-97, the Knicks won 57 games for the fifth—and to this point, last—time. In Jeff Van Gundy's first season as head man, the team finished second in defensive efficiency league-wide.
Patrick Ewing averaged his usual double-double with 22.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Allan Houston averaged 14.8 per contest and Sixth Man of the Year John Starks scored 13.8 points per game in 26.5 minutes.
Three different seven-game winning streaks factored into the team's 57-25 record, and the group lost three games in a row on just one occasion.
Van Gundy's Knicks swept the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the postseason, but they fell to Pat Riley's Miami Heat in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Despite the lack of a playoff run, the '97 Knicks' 57 wins and stellar defending was enough to land them seventh on this list.
The 1970-71 Knicks team was sandwiched between—and overshadowed by—two championship seasons in 1970 and 1973. But this group of players was special in its own right.
They finished with 52 wins and won the Atlantic Division. The defense allowed a league-low 105 points per game, and the offense sported the seventh-highest field-goal percentage in the NBA.
Clyde Frazier and Willis Reed paved the way as per usual as two of the team's four 15-point scorers. Clyde put up 21.7 points, 6.7 assists and 6.8 boards per game during the '71 campaign, and Reed averaged 20.9 points and 13.7 rebounds.
Dave DeBusschere also averaged 11.1 boards to go along with his 15.6 points, and Dick Barnett contributed 15.5 on 45.6-percent shooting.
Consistent with the history of the Knicks, this team fell short in the Eastern Conference Finals—this time it was the Baltimore Bullets knocking them off in seven games.
So, here we are. The 2012-13 Knicks team in the midst of what should be their longest playoff run since 1999.
Carmelo Anthony won his first-ever scoring title—in the season 'Melo said he didn't want to score as much—with 28.7 points per game. J.R. Smith took home Sixth Man of the Year honors thanks to his 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
It was a season entered with mixed expectations. There were crowds decidedly for and against the team's chances in 2013, primarily due to the Knicks running out the oldest roster in the NBA.
After a scorching 18-5 start, Mike Woodson's team battled injuries over the majority of the season's middle portion and withstood a very mediocre 40-game stretch. Thankfully, a 16-2 closeout sealed the Knicks' fate as the East's second seed and Atlantic Division champs. It was the team's first division title in nearly 20 years.
Amar'e Stoudemire played in just 29 games—all as a reserve—with injuries to both knees. When he was healthy, however, STAT appeared as dominant on offense as ever. He averaged 21.8 points per 36 minutes and posted a 22.1 PER.
Kenyon Martin joined the team at the trade deadline and paid immediate dividends on both ends. He provided the Knicks with flashy finishes on offense and never shied away from contact underneath the basket to deter easy points for the opposition.
The team overcame severe defensive issues over most of the season—it finished 18th in defensive efficiency—with stellar offense (third in efficiency). The small-ball Knicks are looking to become the first team to advance in the playoffs since 2000.
There have been just two 60-win seasons in the 67-year history of the Knicks. 1992-93 was one of them.
In the season before their NBA Finals trip against the Houston Rockets, the '93 edition of the Knicks allowed just 95 points per game on average—the best mark in the league.
On offense, it was the usual suspects. Patrick Ewing dropped 24.2 points and grabbed 12.1 rebounds per game, while John Starks added 17.5 points and 5.1 assists.
Five different winning streaks of at least five games tell the tail of the Knicks' success in 1993, including a nine-game stretch in March. After two losses, that streak was followed up with a six-gamer, totaling for a 15-2 stretch of basketball. One final 9-2 stretch closed out their 60-win season.
Opponents were held to under 100 points in 51 of 82 games. Ewing swatted away two blocks per contest, and Charles Smith added another 1.2 per game.
The defense led the way in '93, and although the Knicks lost out again to Michael Jordan's Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals, the '92-93 campaign was one of the Knicks' very best.
The Knicks won their second NBA championship in 1973, and it was a result of their stellar regular-season performance. Over the 82 games, New York allowed 98.2 points per game—the lowest in the league—while shooting the fourth-best field-goal percentage.
Walt Frazier led the team is scoring with 21.1 points per game, and added 5.9 dimes. DeBusschere and Bill Bradley averaged just over 16 points per game, and DeBusschere was the team's leading rebounder with 10.2 a contest. Earl Monroe added 15.5 points per game.
At 30, Willis Reed was an injury-riddled shell of his former self. He put up averages of 11 points and 8.6 rebounds, but played in just 27.2 minutes per game.
An eight-game win streak in November and a nine-game stretch of success in the middle of the season played a part in the team's gigantic win total. But the season could've ended even sweeter than it actually did. According to Basketball-Reference's expected W-L total, New York played well enough to win two more games—or a 59-23 record.
The 1994 Knicks were the epitome of New York basketball. They played hard, they hustled and they locked down on defense. They did it their way, and they didn't care what you thought about it.
The team's 98.2 defensive efficiency remains the third-best mark ever posted by a Knicks roster. Twelve players had individual defensive-efficiency ratings of 100 or less. To compare, this year's Knicks team had just one such player (via Basketball-Reference).
At 31, Patrick Ewing posted a line of 24.5 points, 11.2 boards, 2.7 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. John Starks was the only other player to average over 12, but the team's rock-solid defense more than made up for the lack of points.
Referring back to Basketball-Reference's Pythagorean win-loss record, this Knicks team was mathematically good enough to win 60 games, which would've tied a franchise record.
Looking at the defensive four factors, the Knicks held opponents to a league-low .451 effective field-goal percentage, a third-best turnover percentage of 16 and the best defensive-rebound percentage at 71.4 percent.
After the regular season, the team battled through the New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls (in seven games) and Indiana Pacers (in seven games) to reach the NBA Finals and face the Houston Rockets. After seven more games, the Knicks ultimately lost out on the grand prize, but supplied Knicks fans with a year's worth of memories to pride themselves on.
Over the Knicks 67 seasons of professional basketball, the 1969-70 campaign still stands above the pack. The '70 Knicks were the first Knicks team to reach the 60-win plateau, and only one other team has matched the total since.
Willis Reed and Clyde Frazier were 20-plus-point scorers, and Dick Barnett, Dave DeBussschere and Bill Bradley all averaged at least 14 points. Reed also put up 13.9 rebounds, which tied for fifth-best in the NBA that season.
Red Holzman's Knicks enjoyed a nine-game winning streak in November and then a stretch of the same length in January. Basketball-Reference's expected W-L had the Knicks winning 62 games that season, which would be more than any New York season in franchise history.
With a youthful Clyde Frazier and Willis Reed in his prime and a roster rounded out with players who never shied away from the bright MSG lights, the 1973 Knicks put together the best season in Knicks franchise history.