On April 21, 1951, the Knicks and the Rochester Royals squared off in Rochester for the first ever NBA Finals Game 7. The Royals were heavy favorites, having accumulated a 92-16 home record over their first three NBA seasons, but the Knicks would not go quietly. The game was tied at 75 with just under two minutes left when Knicks legend Dick McGuire was whistled for a controversial blocking foul on Royals star guard Bob Davies. Davies made both free throws to give the Royals a two point lead. Following the made free throws, per the rules at the time, was a jump ball at center court. The Royals regained possession and, as there was no shot clock, ran out the remaining two minutes to win their first and only NBA title.
43 years later, the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets squared off in a Game 7 of their own, this time for the right to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets had stunned the Supersonics in round one, becoming the first eighth seed to ever win a playoff series, and were hoping to keep their miracle run alive. It wasn't to be. Stockton and Malone jumped on Denver early. The Jazz were up 7 after the first, and by the end of the third the lead had ballooned to 15. The Jazz ended up winning 91-81 to set up a date with the Houston Rockets.
9 years later, the Dallas Mavericks met the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs. It was the first season in which the first round of the playoffs was a best-of-seven format and Dallas and Portland took full advantage. For the Blazers, it was one last hurrah for a veteran team. For two Hall of Famers, Arvydas Sabonis and Scottie Pippen, it was to be their last playoffs. For the Mavericks, it was just the beginning of what appeared to be a bright future. With Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Michael Finley, Dallas had built a nucleus that would contend for years to come. Through three quarters of Game 7 it was too close to call, with the Blazers carrying a scant two point lead into the fourth. However, much like they had done in Game 7 against the Lakers three seasons prior, Portland collapsed in the final period. Dirk Nowitzki and Nick Van Exel each scored 12 in the fourth to help the Mavs pull away 107-95.
By now you're probably wondering why I'm telling you all this. What is it that makes these three games relevant today? Well, the 1951 Knicks, the 1994 Nuggets, and the 2003 Trail Blazers are the only three teams in NBA history to force a Game 7 after trailing a playoff series 3-0. Although the Knicks came painfully close 63 years ago, no NBA team has ever fought back from a 3 game deficit to win a playoff series. With the Hawks holding the tiebreak, this is essentially the situation the Knicks are facing to make the playoffs; a three game deficit with four to go. I'm not expecting them to make the playoffs. All I'm asking is for them to take a page out of their 1951 brethren and scrap to the bitter end. This Knicks team has shown little to no heart all season long. At this point in a lost season, all I want is a moral victory. Don't just roll over and die, force the Hawks to earn their playoff spot over the final four games. (So...MILPCAT!? - Seth)
Player of the Week - J.R. Smith
Over the course of his Knicks career, Bernard King attempted 20 three pointers. David Lee attempted 13 threes as a Knick. Marcus Camby took 11 threes and Bill Cartwright only shot 2. Even Trevor Ariza, who earlier this year made 10 threes in one game, only attempted 16 three pointers in his 116 game Knicks career. All in all, since the dawn of the three point era, 142 Knicks players have attempted no more than 21 three pointers while wearing orange and blue. Of course, J.R. Smith took an NBA record 22 three point attempts against the Heat on Sunday afternoon.
J.R.'s 10-22 three point outburst didn't come out of nowhere. In the previous two games, Smith was 6-12 and 8-16 from three point range. This means:
1. He is the second player ever to attempt at least 16 threes in consecutive games, joining George McCloud, who did it in 1996.
2. He set an NBA record with 38 three point attempts over a two game stretch, breaking the previous record of 36, by George McCloud, who did it in 1996.
3. He is the second player ever with two separate streaks of three consecutive games with at least 12 three point attempts, joining George McCloud, who did it in 1996.
4. He is the second player ever to make 8 threes in consecutive games, joining George McCloud, who did it in 1996.
I hope this segment has inspired you to do more research about George McCloud and his prolific 1996 season.
Opposing Player of the Week - Bradley Beal
On Friday night, Beal stuck what might have been the final dagger in the heart of the Knicks season when he hit the game winning jumper with 23 seconds left. In doing so, Beal became only the second player this century with two game winning shots with less than 30 seconds left against the Knicks in one season. The only other player to do so was Ben Gordon, for the Bulls in January and April of the '04-'05 season. A couple of similarities: both Gordon and Beal were drafted third overall and Trevor Ariza scored 10 points in both Gordon and Beal's April game winners.
Bluecheese's Rambling Stat of the Week - (WARNING! May not end in a coherent thought)
On Friday night, Carmelo Anthony had 9 turnovers in the Knicks 90-89 loss to the Wizards. He became the first Wizards opponent with at least 9 turnovers in one game since Amar'e Stoudemire had 11 in the Knicks 101-95 win on December 10, 2010. In addition to his 11 turnovers, Stoudemire had 36 points and 10 rebounds that night. In doing so, he became the first player with at least 35 points, 10 rebounds and 10 turnovers in a regulation win since Rony Seikaly had 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 turnovers in the Heat's 106-87 win over the Celtics on March 13, 1994. That night, Seikaly was 16-17 from the foul line and Celtics guard Tony Harris was 13-13. The next game that one player was 16-17 from the line while another went 13-13 came on December 10, 1997, when Seikaly again went 16-17 and Michael Jordan was 13-13 in the Magic's 106-98 win over the Bulls. In another game that night, the Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 104-101. It would be another 13 seasons before the Wizards would allow 104 points in a loss to a team from Charlotte; they next did it on January 8, 2011, in a 104-89 loss to the Bobcats. In another game that night, the Bucks beat the Nets 115-92. Chris Douglas-Roberts came off the bench for the Bucks that night and shot 9-14 from the field. The next time a Bucks reserve made at least 9 FGs on exactly 14 shots came on March 26, 2012, when Mike Dunleavy was 10-14 in the Bucks 89-80 loss to the Knicks. Baron Davis had 9 turnovers in that game for the Knicks. That was the last time a Knicks player had ever had at least 9 turnovers in one game...until Melo did it on Friday night!
Last Week in Jared Jeffries History
On April 9, 2004, Jeffries had a career high 17 rebounds and added 4 points in the Wizards 83-80 win over the 76ers. Jeffries was one of only two players that season with at least 17 rebounds but no more than four points in one game. The other was Marcus Camby, who had 3 points and 20 rebounds for the Nuggets on October 29, 2003. That game, an 80-72 win over the Spurs, was the first game of Carmelo Anthony's NBA career!
Last Week in Jared Jeffries Shot Tracker History
Bluecheese Doesn't Answer Your Questions
This week's question actually came two weeks ago, from StarksMiddleFinger:
Part 2 is the easy part, yes I enjoy blue cheese, but I would not rate it among my top 10 foods. (In case you were wondering, my favorite meal is my mom's sautéed chicken with broccoli, served with spaghetti. That will never be topped.) As for part 1, I have absolutely no idea. The only way I could figure that out would be by finding every time every single player in NBA history set a new career high. That would take many, many years.
However, I can give you an interesting stat that sort of pertains to your question: This season, the Knicks have allowed a player to score 30+ points in a game 28 times. Over the past 25 years, only one other Knicks team allowed more 30 point games. Larry Brown's '05-'06 squad gave up 35, which is still nowhere near the record=holder over the last 25 years, the '90-'91 Nuggets. They gave up 55 30+ point games, including 12 40+ point games.
Movie of the Week - It's a Disaster
First of all, I highly recommend this little-seen black comedy about the end of the world. Secondly, while this week will likely be remembered as the time J.R. Smith broke the three point attempts record, the most important moment actually occurred two nights earlier, when Mike Woodson proved one final time that he is unable to draw up a creative play. 23 seconds left, down one with the season on the line, and the only shot that the Knicks are able to get was a desperation 30 footer as the clock expired. It, like the rest of the season, was an unmitigated disaster.