Most Memorable Basketball Performances in Madison Square Garden History
The world's most famous arena is Madison Square Garden. As home to the New York Knicks and other great Big Apple sports teams, this arena has seen its fair share of memorable moments.
Basketball is the core of what makes MSG such a special place. Loads of great hoop-filled moments have flooded the memories of not just New Yorkers. In fact, what happens in the Garden can be rehashed by avid basketball supporters from all walks of life and locations.
Considering there have been a lot of special moments, we wanted to find out what the most memorable ones have been in the arena's history. Taking eight examples of dishing-and-swishing heat, the following verbal MSG collage was generated.
1970: New York Knicks Win the Title
The New York Knicks' first championship came down to a war of attrition in the Garden. A memorable affair between the Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers ended with Willis Reed and Walt Frazier putting the team on their backs.
Game 7s always come supplied with an aura. This one in particular was jammed to the brim with an aura of electricity. An injury bounced out Reed in Game 5. After missing Game 6, he reappeared to help guide his team to a title.
Behind Frazier's 36 points and Dick Barnett's 21, the Knicks brought glory to New York City and turned MSG into a place where champions reside.
1993: 'The Dunk'
John Starks is a tough guy not to cheer for. He went undrafted and worked his way through a ton of ups and downs. Brief runs with the Golden State Warriors and a few other basketball leagues allowed him to make a return trip to the NBA, courtesy of the Knicks. That return helped him become a household name in MSG.
One of the grandest Starks moments came during the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals. With the clock ticking down, fans covered in sweat and Pat Riley on the sidelines, Starks took the ball, drove to the basket and threw the hammer down on two Chicago Bulls stalwarts.
Horace Grant and Michael Jordan were served a cold dish of John Starks, and the Garden exploded into a frenzy. The Knicks went on to win that game, mainly thanks to Starks' bravado.
1995: The Return of Michael Jordan
Jordan's return to the Garden after his first retirement was special. Dressed down in the classic No. 45 jersey, MJ came, saw and conquered the Knicks.
It was sort of his way of reintroducing himself to Knicks fans. You know, making sure they didn't forget he was still the best player on the planet.
The term "double nickel" was born on that faithful night in the Garden. Jordan soared all over the floor, scoring point after point in what was deemed at the time to be an unstoppable performance. The final box score for MJ read like this: 55 points, four rebounds and a steal.
The Bulls won the game 113-111, officially welcoming Michael back into the fold in the process.
1994: Patrick Ewing Sends the Knicks to the NBA Finals
Patrick Ewing never was able to capture an NBA championship during his stay with the Knicks. But that didn't make him any less valuable to the organization.
One of the brightest moments in Ewing's 15-year career with the team was when he helped the Knicks reach the 1994 NBA Finals. A thrilling back-and-forth contest ended with Ewing muscling his way to the rim and tipping in the game-winning bucket against the Indiana Pacers.
Fans in the Garden were elated to see their big man send the squad he worked so hard for to the Finals for the first time since 1973.
2012: Linsanity Takes over MSG
In 2012, we all caught a glimpse of a provocative NBA player named Jeremy Lin.
Emerging from, well, nowhere, Lin found his way over to the Knicks organization. What happened next was stunning. Lin took over MSG, making headlines and turning non-believers into supporters of the Big Apple's premier hoops franchise.
Lin averaged 27.2 points per game during his initial five appearances as an NBA starter, per Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports. That feverish pace turned the Garden into an area full of salivating fans.
But as quickly as the flame of Linsanity was lit, it was extinguished. The point guard hit free agency and wound up leaving New York for Houston.
Ever since he made that move, he hasn't been the same type of player.
1999: Larry Johnson's Four-Point Play
The Knicks and Indiana Pacers were tremendous rivals throughout the '90s. All you have to do is get on YouTube and search for classic games to understand the level of bitterness that brewed between them.
One particular moment that turned the Garden into a mad house was when Larry Johnson finished off a legendary four-point play.
During the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals, Johnson was hacked with less than 10 seconds left on the clock. After drilling a deep three-pointer, the Knicks hero walked to the line and sank the free throw.
New York won the game and eventually would go on to win the series. That was the last time we saw the beloved orange and blue brigade reach the Finals.
1995: Reggie Miller Gets Busy
May 7, 1995, was a bad day for the Knicks. But at the same token, it was a great day for non-Knicks fans.
Seeing Pacers ace Reggie Miller decimate the Knicks in less than 20 seconds was an unforgettable moment. Scoring eight points in nine seconds, Miller stunned everyone during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
He looked like a ruthless, meticulous machine programmed to break the hearts of New Yorkers.
This was the kind of performance that caused friction between Miller and the Lex Luther to his Superman, Spike Lee. Watching stuff like this 20 years later makes you miss when the Knicks were actually considered to be title contenders.
2009: Syracuse vs. UConn
The last memorable moment we selected from a huge group of nominees is the only one that didn't consist of any New York City-based team.
Of course, the battle we're talking about was Syracuse versus UConn in 2009. These two teams have played countless times before. When both were contending in the now-defunct Big East, this was a feud worthy of WWE television.
Something was different in 2009. Two excellent collegiate programs wound up duking it out over six grueling overtime periods in front of a raucous MSG crowd.
The game was an exciting exchange that tested the will and skill of each individual on the floor. In the end, Syracuse left Madison Square Garden with a 127-117 victory—a thrilling victory at that.
All stats and information provided by Sports-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.