There have been many ups and downs this season for the New York Knicks, more downs than ups. Knick fans everywhere are sounding like a broken record as the team continues to spiral out of control. With the players and coaches in full All-Star Break mode right now, let’s take a look back. Below are the highest points of this Knicks season.
Before we get into the countdown: A few honorable mentions.
HM3: February 5, 2022
Let’s preface this by saying this is also among the worst losses of the season. In fact, at the time, it was in fact the worst loss of the season, but fans had no idea what the team had in store for the rest of the month. But the Knicks were in Los Angeles to take on LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers. In the contest, New York saw a lead balloon up to over 20 points and even held a 15-point lead at the half. In this game, RJ Barrett had the best night of his career. He scored 17 points in the first quarter and added another 11 in the fourth. He finished with a career-high 36 points with eight rebounds and five assists. Julius Randle added 32 of his own with Evan Fournier adding 15 and Alec Burks with 12 off the bench. The final score: Lakers 122, Knicks 115 (OT).
HM2: February 7, 2022
The Knicks were in Utah to take on the Rudy Gobert-less Jazz. Without Gobert, Mitchell Robinson took control of the paint. He was able to haul in a career-high 21 rebounds to go along with 19 points. Robinson grabbed seven rebounds in the first 12 minutes. The Knicks entered the fourth quarter with an 86-82 lead. But the Knicks were outscored in the fourth quarter, 31-18. Randle scored 30 points, Barrett added 23, Fournier added another 16 points. The final score: Jazz 113, Knicks 104.
HM1: December 23, 2021
The Knicks, three games below .500 and with Barrett out, welcomed the Washington Wizards, who, like the Knicks, were starting to slip after a hot start. The Knicks scored 30-plus points in all but the first quarter. In this contest, Kemba Walker had his best night as a Knick. Walker scored 23 of the Knicks’ 37 second quarter points. Walker added another 13 points in the third quarter, but went cold in the fourth quarter. Walker finished with 44 points. Randle had 23 and Burks added 20. Final score: Wizards 124, Knicks 117.
Did you notice the common trend with the honorable mentions? Let us move on to the top five.
- November 8, 2021
The Knicks had defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in October to snap a 15-game losing streak against their foes in eastern Pennsylvania. Before that October game, the last time the Knicks had defeated the Sixers was on April 12, 2017 at The Garden. It had been FOUR years between Knicks wins against Philadelphia. However, in early November, the Knicks made their first trip of the season to Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks had not won a game in South Philly since April 8, 2016. New York entered the contest with a 6-4 record and the Sixers had an 8-2 record. With no Robinson, the Knicks found rebounding with Randle and Barrett. Propelled by a 31 point, 12 rebound double-double from Randle and a 15 point, 10 rebound double-double from Barrett, the Knicks defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia for the first time in years. Randle shot 48% from the field that night and 5-for-10 from deep. Fournier had 11 points and six rebounds in the game and Immanuel Quickley added another 10. The final score: Knicks 103, 76ers 96.
- November 5, 2021
Knicks fans were feeling good in early November. They had a 5-3 record as they made a trip to Milwaukee to take on the defending champions Bucks. It was a rough start as the Knicks found themselves down 38-19 after the first quarter. But the Knicks answered back with an impressive run to start the second quarter as they were on their way to outscore the Bucks 37-25 in the second quarter and by the half, the Knicks deficit was just seven. The Knicks stayed hot out of the locker room and kept chipping away while playing good defense. With 2:14 left in the third quarter, the Knicks tied it and with 1:40 left in the third, the Knicks took their first lead of the game after a Barrett layup. The Knicks outscored the Bucks in the third, 32-20 and had an 88-83 lead heading into the fourth. The comeback was completed when the Knicks limited the Bucks to just 15 points in the final 12 minutes. New York did not give the lead back in the fourth quarter. In a game where the defending champs led for 33 minutes, it was the Knicks who emerged victorious. Randle scored 32 points on 50% shooting from the field with 12 boards. Derrick Rose added 23 points off the bench while Barrett chipped in with 20 of his own. The final score: Knicks 113, Bucks 98.
- October 20, 2021: Opening night
The night “Bing Bong” was born. The Instagram SideTalk video was filmed on this night and was born the next day. The fanbase was still high from the playoff appearance from the year before. Those sweet new retro jerseys that are now discontinued because James Dolan reportedly hated them made their debut. Mike Breen on the call on ESPN. The contest was evenly contested for most of the game. The Celtics led for most of the night, but the Knicks didn’t let the lead swell up. Each team was able to win a quarter twice. The Knicks did end up blowing a ten-point lead with six minutes left in the ball game and a four-point lead with nine seconds left, highlighted with Walker’s defensive mishap, leaving Marcus Smart wide open for the three from the wing at the buzzer and the contest went into overtime. If you’re a fan of three pointers and good offense, the overtime period was for you as the teams traded three pointers. On the final possession, tied at 128, Jayson Tatum tried to shake Barrett off, but the Canadian stood his ground and forced Tatum into an airball and the game went into a second overtime. In that period, the Knicks went on a 5-0 run in the final minute. On the final possession with the Knicks lead at four, Brown missed a three, the long rebound came to him, he dished it to Dennis Schroder who missed a three and the rebound was batted around and ended in the hands of Tatum in the corner who missed a three. Randle grabbed the rebound and The Garden erupted and fans took to the streets on the island of Manhattan. The final score in double overtime: Knicks 138, Celtics 134 (2OT).
- October 30, 2021
Cue the jazz music. The Knicks made an early season trip down to the Big Easy and with his old pal from Duke in attendance, Barrett had a career night. Entering the game, the Knicks were 5-1 (remember those days?) and the Pels were 1-6. Knicks fans were feeling confident that their team would emerge with the win, but the performance from the Canadian was a sweet delight. Barrett scored a then-career-high 35 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the field and 5-for-6 from behind the arc. His five threes made Knicks fans giddy because the question coming into the season on Barrett was “can he knock down the three pointer?” Seeing this was a pleasant surprise for the fans. Barrett was also able to grab eight boards. In regards to the game, it was a complete team effort. Barrett was one of six players to score in double digits. The final score: Knicks 123, Pelicans 117.
- January 6, 2022
The lone game from 2022 is from January. Another home game against the Boston Celtics on national television, this time on TNT. It was a rough start for the Knicks as they scored just 18 points in the first quarter, but Fournier was exciting, scoring 12 of the Knicks’ 18 points. The Knicks offense picked up in the second quarter, but the defense went missing as the Celtics scored 38 in the period. At the half, Fournier had 19 points. The second half was controlled by New York. In the third, the Knicks outscored the Celtics 30-21 with Fournier adding another nine points to his tally while Randle scored 10. Entering the fourth, the Knicks were on the wrong end of an 84-77 scoreline. But in that final quarter, New York scored 31 points and held the Celtics to 21 while Fournier added 13 points to his total. The Knicks had come all the way back. With 12.5 seconds left and the Knicks leading by one, the Celtics fouled Randle. He missed the first free throw before lacing the second to give New York a two-point lead. With eight seconds left, the Celtics inbounded the sideout to Tatum. Tatum drove right on Barrett, stopped his momentum, did a small sidestep before releasing a mid-range jumper which was perfect with 1.5 seconds left to tie it at 105. Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau called his final timeout to draw up a play. On the ensuing inbound near the Knicks bench, Burks passed the ball on a bounce to Barrett, and while Tatum switched on Barrett, the southpaw took one dribble to the right and released a tough, contested wing three as the buzzer rang. The ball hit the glass and banked in sending The Garden into a frenzy. The Knicks bench cleared to help Barrett up, who ended up on his backside and then to mob him. The fan reaction combined with the bench reaction will bring a tear or two to the diehards. It was the first buzzer beater since JR Smith’s buzzer beater in Phoenix in December of 2012. Final score: Knicks 108, Celtics 105.
Knicks fans, it has been a disappointing season. Most fans echo those feelings. Some are still optimistic about the team this season, while others have already turned the page. But the fanbase can come together to remember these moments with a smile.