Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Monday, October 7, 2013
The NBA History: Video: CBS Sports: NBA 1979-Christmas Day-Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks: Highlights
This post was originally posted at FRS Daily Press on WordPress
Philadelphia-New York, is a great rivalry in any sport. Eagles-Giants in the NFL, which is probably the best one. Flyers-Rangers, in the NHL, Phillies-Mets in MLB and yes the 76ers-Knicks in the NBA. Which today is not nearly the rivalry it was twenty-five or thirty years ago. But it was a big deal in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. But now both franchises, especially in the 76ers case, haven’t been very good for a long time. The 76ers, have only been to the Conference Finals twice since winning their last NBA Finals in 1983. And the Knicks have struggled just to make the Eastern Conference Playoffs for the last ten years or so.
As far as this game, the 76ers were still one of the best teams in the NBA at this point. They lost in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1978 and got to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 1979. Dr. J Julius Erving, certainly the best forward in basketball at this point and arguably the best all around player in the NBA as well at this point. Trying to lead the 76ers under head coach Billy Cunningham back to the NBA Finals. This was a bit of a homecoming for The Doctor who played for the Nets on Long Island. And the fact that he now played for the 76ers in this game was on Christmas Day, 1978 and they Sixers won big, made this game much more special.
What is also interesting about this game, is that Bob McAdoo, one of the top power forwards in the NBA in the 1970s was playing for the Knicks in this game. That were a pretty bad team in the late 70s. After leaving Buffalo in like 1976, he ends up playing for like three teams in four years. Here’s one of the best players in the NBA at this point getting shipped around from bad team to bad team in the late 70s. Before finally finding a home where he could finish his career with in Los Angeles with the Lakers in 1982. There was a lot of talent on both teams in this game, especially for the 76ers, but they were clearly the better team.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
|Gerald Wilkins & Michael Jordan-|
Knicks-Bulls, was a great rivalry in the late 1980s and early 1990s . 1991 the Knicks were sort of in transition. They had a slower aging team, that was relying on guys way past their prime to be major contributors for them. Players like Kiki Vandeweigh. Who once was a high scoring small forward, who could shoot and drive, but now at best was a spotup shooter and not very consistent at that, because of his foot injuries. They also didn’t have the right head coach in Stu Jackson and not much depth once you got past Pat Ewing, Mark Jackson and Charles Oakley and Gerald Wilkins. The Bulls, were poised to win their first NBA Finals and now had all the pieces in place to go with Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. They lost the last two Eastern Conference Finals, but only to the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks after upsetting the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs in 1990, didn’t even have a winning record in 1991. They made the playoffs with a 39-43 record taking the eighth spot in a 13 team conference, in a weak Eastern Conference, once you got past the Bulls and the Celtics and Pistons. The Bulls, were clearly the best team in the East in 1991. Even though it would have been nice to see them play the Celtics in the East Finals, instead of the Pistons, but stuff happens. (I guess) This game was set up to be a blowout at the Madison Square Garden. The Knicks, just looking to try to establish some momentum going into the playoffs. The Bulls wanting to show that they’re now the team to beat. Even though the Pistons were the defending champions.
But what made the Bulls-Knicks rivalry so great and perhaps the best rivalry in the NBA in the 1990s, is that records didn’t mean a whole lot. Plus were talking about Chicago vs New York and what those two cities and sports cities represent. The Bulls had the best swingman in the game if not the best player in the game at the time in Michael Jordan. The Knicks, had the best center in the game at the time in Patrick Ewing. They were also both great defenders and Ewing the great shot blocker and rebounder. The Knicks, were still a very solid defensive team and physical with Ewing and Charles Oakley. The game was at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks didn’t want to get embarrassed at home. Which is why the game was pretty competitive and, even if it was Michael Jordan’s show.
The 1990 Pistons and Knicks two very tough physical defensive rebounding teams. That played hard, but played well with skill especially the Pistons who won the NBA Finals that year. The Knicks were an inconsistent team that year. The difference in this series was that the Pistons were the ultimate team and unit of the NBA in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Not heavily relying really on anyone to do a lot of scoring, especially. Because they had 5-6 guys who were all capable of getting 20 points any game. With Mark Aguirre, Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, especially. They played so well as a team both offensively and defensively, that it forced their opponents to cover everybody and have to be concern with everybody that important time on the team.
The Knicks, were a much different team. That had solid talent and had the best center if not big man in the game in Patrick Ewing. But he was their only great player and All-Star. If he had a bad game the Knicks. He could have great games and the Knicks could still lose, because he was only one who stepped up. When you look back at the New York Knicks of the late 1980s and early 1990s, I think you almost have to come away with a new respect for Pat Ewing and Pat Riley, because they accomplished so much without having a lot of talent other than themselves. They had several other good players, but Ewing was their only consistent All-Star. The fact that they beat the Boston Celtics in the 1990 playoffs got to play the Pistons in semifinals, tells you how far Ewing was able to take them.
This series was really about a great team in the Pistons, who went 9-10 deep every night. With probably eight of those players able to start for most good teams in the NBA. When you’re talking about bringing Dennis Rodman and Vinnie Johnson off the bench. Rodman is now in the Hall of Fame and he’s a guy who wasn’t even a double-figure scorer in his career. But that says a lot about the quality of teams that the Pistons. Where it wasn’t about guys scoring, but about winning. And beating teams with several guys scoring and everyone playing great defense. And that was the difference in this series. A great team in the Pistons, versus a great player in Pat Ewing. With a lot of average talent backing Patrick up.