With the benefit of hindsight, the 2005 trade that sent Chicago Bulls center Eddy Curry to the New York Knicks is rightfully considered a big-time botch job, but 12 years this ago week the big man was in the midst of the most magical run he would have as a Knickerbocker, scoring at least 20 points in 11 straight games.
It was, perhaps, the only prolonged stretch that endeared Curry to Knicks fans, and it placed him on a fairly exclusive list, as Curry is one of 10 Knicks in history to have at least 11 straight games of 20 or more points, according to basketball-reference.com.
The others: Richie Guerin (he did it 33 straight times in 1962), Carmelo Anthony (31 straight times in 2012-13), Patrick Ewing (28 times in 1990), Amar’e Stoudemire (26 times in 2010-11), Bernard King (24 times in 1985), Walt Clyde Frazier (22 times in 1971-72), Willie Naulls (17 times in 1962), Bob McAdoo (16 times in 1977), and Dick Barnett (12 times in 1965). Unsurprisingly, most of the above-mentioned players scored 20 or more in at least 11 straight games more than once for the Knicks, while Curry did so only one time. Allan Houston just barely missed the list, having scored 20 or more 10 straight times in 1998.
Before we dig into Curry’s impressive series of games, it’s important to take a look back at how the Knicks actually acquired him. Why is it important? Because masochists, also known as Knicks fans, love to feel pain.
And yes, it is painful to write the name Curry over and over again considering we are talking about Eddy, not Steph.
Anyhow, in October 2005, Isiah Thomas — who for whatever reason would soon take on the dual roles of president of basketball operations and head coach — traded for Curry and an aging Antonio Davis, in addition to the right to swap 2007 first-round draft picks. The Knicks gave up Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney, Jermaine Jackson, a 2006 first-round draft pick, and a couple of second-round draft picks.
It was a prime example of why trading draft picks is bad, especially when they are first-rounders and your team is not very good.
The 2006 first-round draft pick, which the Bulls ended up trading to the Portland Trail Blazers, became LaMarcus Aldridge. Meanwhile, the Bulls wisely chose to swap the 2007 first-round picks, which resulted in the Knicks taking Wilson Chandler with the 23rd overall selection while the Bulls nabbed the second overall pick and chose Joakim Noah. Whoopsies.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s slip back into the positive portion of this look back at Knicks history. After averaging a paltry 13.6 points and 6 rebounds a game during his first year with the Knicks, Curry was putting up almost 12.8 points and roughly 6.2 rebounds per game through 13 games in 2006, and it was seeming like he was never going to reach his potential.
Between November 24th and December 13th, Curry flashed that potential, putting up 20 or more in 11 consecutive contests. During the stretch, Curry averaged 24.9 points (on 59 percent from the field) and 9.3 rebounds. The Knicks went 5-6 during those 11 games, which isn’t great, until you remember that the team was in the middle of a span where they would miss the playoffs in eight of nine seasons, meaning a multi-game stretch of excitement was about the most you could ask for as a Knicks fan.
Curry showed particular promise in a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 9th, putting up a then-career high 36 points (17-24 from the field), grabbing 9 rebounds and adding 3 blocks and 2 steals. The Knicks came out victorious, 115-107, and Curry absolutely bullied Bucks big men Andrew Bogut and Dan Gadzuric.
The Bucks were led by Mo Williams, who scored 33 points, as well as Charlie Villanueva and Michael Redd, who posted 24 and 22, respectively.
Even Curry himself noted that he was in the middle of a strong run of performances, saying that he couldn’t really remember ever having such a stretch in his career.
”Maybe high school or something like that,’’ Curry said after the game, according to the AP recap. “But in the league, it’s hard to stay on a roll like this, because you score 20 a couple of games and the whole defensive scheme changes. But to do it as many times as I’ve done it, it definitely means a lot to me.’’
The impressive showing against the Bucks marked the ninth straight game Curry had scored 20 or more, meaning he had two games to go before the magic fizzled. Two nights after the Bucks game, he posted 30 points and 12 rebounds in a loss to the Boston Celtics, and he finished off the streak scoring exactly 20 points and corralling 9 rebounds in a win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Knicks would go on to finish the 2006-07 season at 33-49 and miss the playoffs, although for 11 games it seemed like maybe this Curry guy had an exciting future ahead of him. Instead, however, it was simply the brightest stretch of a shorter-than-expected career. Curry would play 59 games the next year for the Knicks and then never play more 14 games in a season again.
In lieu of the full highlights for Curry’s 36-point performance against the Bucks (which could not be found despite the fact that the internet should have all things archived in an easy-to-find format), here’s a highlight compilation from the 2006-07 season, which features plenty of plays from the 11 games alluded to in this historical look back. The compilation is set to the musical stylings of Erick Sermon, featuring Redman.