It is time to take another look at a first-round matchup in the Buckets Over Broadway New York Knicks Tournament, to crown the greatest Knicks team of all-time.
Thanks to your votes, the No. 2 seed in the East Region, the 1995 Knicks defeated the 1978 rather easily. So far the top two seed in the east have advanced as the 1973 squad defeated the 1951 team on Monday.
That brings us to today and another East Region battle when the No. 3 seeded 1998 Knicks, in one of Patrick Ewing’s final seasons as a dominant NBA big man; battle the No. 6 seeded 1983 Knicks. led by Bernard King.
Let’s take a look at this matchup.
1998 New York Knicks: 43-39 regular season; lost in Eastern Conference Semifinals
1983 New York Knicks: 44-38 regular season; lost in Eastern Conference Semifinals
The ’98 Knicks, behind Ewing, Allan Houston and Larry Johnson finished the season in a tie for second in the Atlantic Division. Despite their lowest winning percentage since the 1990–91 season, the team qualified for the NBA Playoffs as the seventh seed. They defeated the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs in a series that featured the famous brawl between Alonzo Mourning and Johnson. They couldn’t sustain the success though as they lost in the next round to the Indiana Pacers in five games.
The ’83 Knicks finished fourth in the Atlantic and defeated the New Jersey Nets in the first round before being swept by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round.
Here’s a look at how they stack up against each other.
Coach- Jeff Van Gundy
C- Charles Oakley (9.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG)
F- Larry Johnson (15.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG)
F- Chris Mills (9.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG)
G- Allan Houston (18.4 PPG)
G- Charlie Ward (7.8 PPG, 5.7 APG)
Bench- Patrick Ewing (20.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG), John Starks, Terry Cummings, Chris Childs, Buck Williams, Chris Dudley
C- Bill Cartwright (15.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG)
F- Truck Robinson (9.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG)
F- Bernard King (21.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG)
G- Trent Tucker (8.4 PPG)
G- Paul Westphal (10.0 PPG, 5.5 APG)
Bench- Sly Williams, Rory Sparrow, Louis Orr, Ed Sherod, Marvin Webster, Ernie Grunfeld
My Take: Ewing played in only 26 games during that season, so that has to account for something. With Ewing out of the lineup, only Houston, Johnson and Starks finished the season averaging double figures in scoring.
The ’83 team had a little more quality depth, being able to bring a productive big man like Williams off the bench, as well as guards like Sparrow and Orr.
There won’t be much scoring in this game as both teams were excellent defensive teams. The ’83 team allowed the fewest points per game in the league at 97.5, while the ’98 team allowed only 89.1, good for second in the NBA.
I have Ewing coming off the bench in this one since he missed most of the season, but the difference here will be whether or not Bernard King can go off against a very tough defensive team.
Never doubt what King could do with the ball in his hands and as much as I liked the ’98 squad, King could be the best player on the floor in this one.
I’m calling the first upset of the tournament.
Your Vote: Your vote is the one that counts though, so make sure you vote for the winner in the poll on the right hand side of this page. Voting is open until tomorrow afternoon and the winner will advance to the Sweet 16.
Up Next: The final East Region first round match between the No. 4 seed 1984 Knicks and the No. 5 seed 1971 Knicks.
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