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The Most Knicks Moment Ever* Round of 32, Day 1

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Movin’ on up till we hit #1

Knicks v Wizards Chuck Myers/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Two weeks ago we began the Most Knicks Moment Ever* Tournament with 64 nominees. Now we’re down to 32. Today you can vote on half the remaining moments, with the next round of voting in a few days. There are some truly fascinating matchups at hand. Let’s get to it.

Joy Division I semifinals

  • LARRY JOHNSON’S 4-POINT PLAY VS. TRENT TUCKER’S 0.1 MIRACLE

Two miracles shots, both by the only two Knicks I can remember who’ve hit big-time four-point plays late in playoff games. Tucker’s shot tied Game 6 of the 1989 Eastern semis against Chicago in the final seconds, but Michael Jordan hit the series-clinching free throws right after, relegating Trent’s trey to what if? I trust you’re familiar with Mr. Johnson’s accomplishment.

LJ’s 3 4 turned the ‘99 conference finals on their head. The Knicks looked set to fall behind Indiana 2-1; instead they took the series lead and won two of the next three to earn a trip to the Finals. In a playoff run for the ages, Johnson’s four-point play may have been the high point.

Tucker’s shot came with far less at stake — a midwinter regular season game against the Bulls — but the degree of difficulty is about as tough as it gets. And Tucker was no stranger to high degree of difficulty game-winning rodeos.

Plus LJ still had to hit a free throw and the Knicks still had to stop the Pacers from scoring before the four-pointer was officially a game-winner. Tucker’s shot was endgame, and so, so pretty.

Poll

Which shot ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    LJ four-point play
    (173 votes)
  • 4%
    Trent Tucker game-winner
    (8 votes)
181 votes total Vote Now

  • LINSANITY VS. ALLAN HOUSTON 53 IN L.A.

If this tournament were seeded, Linsanity would be one of the top seeds. In the first round it pummeled Carmelo Anthony’s 62-point game, so it seems like Houston’s 53 is being set up just to get knocked down. That’s understandable. Linsanity shone brightly over three weeks, flaring up especially in its debut against Deron Williams and the Nets, going supernova in a nationally televised win over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and peaking with the Valentine’s Day game-winner at Toronto. That’s some CV.

Remember that Houston’s outburst was the first time a Knick scored 50+ in almost 13 years. Any fan who lived through the offensive famines of the 1990s felt quenched on a cellular level seeing Houston splash jumper after jumper. And as was the case with Tucker’s three-point miracle, don’t discount the degree of difficulty involved in Allan’s 53-point game — it came against Kobe Bryant at the peak of his powers.

In Kill Bill, legendary sword-maker Hattori Hanzo smiths a sword for The Bride. “I can tell you with no ego, this is my finest sword,” he says. “If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.” In 2003, Kobe was God. Houston made him bleed.

Poll

More joyful explosion?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Linsanity
    (184 votes)
  • 9%
    Allan Houston’s 53 in L.A.
    (20 votes)
204 votes total Vote Now

Dunks semifinals

  • JOHN STARKS “THE DUNK” VS. MARIO HEZONJA OVER GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO

These are perhaps the two most audacious nominees. John Starks was about three inches shorter than Michael Jordan and gave up a half-foot to Horace Grant, yet went up and threw down over two elite defenders...with his off-hand...in the last minute of Game 2 of the Knicks’ first conference finals in 20 years. No biggie.

Mario Hezonja’s dunk came in an otherwise blasé regulard-season tilt against Milwaukee. But his devil-may-care approach to the slam was as self-assured as Starks’, and Hezonja’s Iverson-cocky stepover of Antetokounmpo is peak unearned, delusional confidence. I don’t say that as an insult. We wouldn’t be here as a species without unearned, delusional confidence. Hezonja’s stepover is, truly, humanity stepping over everything the Earth has thrown at it over the eons.

Poll

Favorite dunk?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    John Starks over the Bulls
    (175 votes)
  • 10%
    Mario Hezonja over Giannis Antetokounmpo
    (20 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now

  • LATRELL SPREWELL OVER JAREN JACKSON SR. VS. J.R. SMITH VIA PABLO PRIGIONI

For flat-out brilliance, these two athletic displays are tough to beat.

Latrell Sprewell and J.R. Smith are two of the most electrifying in-game dunkers in Knick history. Today, there can be only one.

Poll

Whose dunk gets you higher?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Spree’s
    (93 votes)
  • 52%
    J.R.’s
    (104 votes)
197 votes total Vote Now

Miseries semifinals

  • REGGIE MILLER 8.9 SECONDS VS. CHARLES SMITH

This is an early-round battle of titans. Miller’s eight points in 8.9 seconds was the big winner of round one, earning a tourney-high 176 votes while winning its heat by an 11-to-1 margin. That’s some Reagan/Mondale shit right there. On the other hand, even hearing reference to the Charles Smith sequence, 27 years later, turns me into Alex listening to Beethoven late in Clockwork Orange.

Each of these moments may have cost the Knicks a shot at a title.

Poll

Which misery is the most historically significant?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Reggie Miller’s 8 points
    (88 votes)
  • 49%
    Charles Smith’s block party
    (86 votes)
174 votes total Vote Now

  • PATRICK EWING’S 1995 MISSED FINGER ROLL VS. 2007 BOSTON MASSACRE

Both these moments represent the low point of two different periods in Knick history. Patrick Ewing’s missed finger-roll at the end of Game 7 of the ‘95 Eastern semis against the Pacers marked the end of the Pat Riley era; soon after we were treated to Don Nelson, Point Mason and J.R. Reid in a Knicks uniform. New York’s 104-59 loss to Boston in 2007 may have been the nadir of the Isiah Thomas era, which is impressive ‘cuz the Isiah years were one bottomless pit after another. A few months after the Boston Massacre Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni were hired, giving the Knicks their first legit GM/coach combo in years.

Poll

Greater misery?

This poll is closed

  • 94%
    Ewing’s miss at the end of Game 7
    (168 votes)
  • 5%
    Celtics 104, Knicks 59
    (9 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now

J.R. Smith semifinals

  • J.R.’S GAME-WINNIER IN PHOENIX VS. RIHANNA

I have a feeling I know where the J.R. bracket will end up. I’m so confident, in fact, I’m not even gonna bother posting a video of either of these nominees. Instead, just for the hell of it, here’s J.R. talking about earning Byron Scott’s ire the first time he guarded Kobe Bryant.

Poll

More meaningful J.R. feat?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    The game-winner in Phoenix
    (64 votes)
  • 62%
    Publicly blasted by Rihanna
    (108 votes)
172 votes total Vote Now

  • J.R.’S 10 3s IN MIAMI VS. “YOU TRYING TO GET THE PIPE?”

Same thing here. You know what’s up.

Poll

Which J.R. shot stands out the most?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Busting out 22 three-point attempts in MIA
    (51 votes)
  • 71%
    Busting out "the pipe" in his DMs
    (125 votes)
176 votes total Vote Now