Saturday, April 20, 2013

Playoffs at The Garden

The best memories I have of Knicks playoff games at Madison Square is in the 1990s. It was the Ewing-Riley era. It started in 1992 for me when I was stationed in Korea and the games were shown on armed forces television. That was when the Knicks took the eventual NBA champion Bulls to 7 games in the second round.  The Knicks had the X-man, Xavier McDaniels, my favorite player besides Ewing.  Then it was 1993, their best season since the 1970s and the Knicks went up 2-0 against the Jordan Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Then Charles Smith ruined everything.
The next year was the best in my memory, with the Knicks finally making it to the NBA Finals.  They had many memorable home playoff games that postseason.  They had Oak's 20-20 game in the first round and Game 7 against the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals where a victorious Ewing waved his hands triumphantly to the crowd.  Then there was the Game 5 victory to put them up 3-2 against the Rockets in the Finals.  That was the last game they'd win in the series.
After that even though the Knicks still won 50 some games every year until the Millenium, the magic at the Garden wasn't the same.  Their biggest victories came on the road, like Houston's game winning shot in Game 5 against the Heat in 1999.
But, now, finally in the Melo era there is hope.  Their injury racked 54 win, Atlantic Division Champion season was the best in nearly 20 years.  Like 1994, they're the 2nd seed in the Conference and they have their best player since Ewing, a superstar in his prime playing at his very best.  Who knows if their championship draught will end any time soon, but at least starting today, Game 1 of the first round has the chance to create great new memories at The Garden.