There is just something about Madison Square Garden that brings the best out of the greatest basketball players in the world.
Who knows what the reason is?
Maybe it is playing in front of the bright lights in the big city, or maybe there’s something in the water at the hotels that other teams stay at, but one thing we know for sure is the fact that “The Mecca” brings out the best in people.
We saw that Wednesday night as the Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry gave a performance for the ages, dropping 54 points in a losing effort.
One day later, we can actually reflect on how special of a night Curry really did have and regret the fact that the Davidson product was one pick away from wearing a New York Knicks jersey.
But with all the special performances by opposing players in Garden history, where does Curry’s 54 rank?
Let’s take a look.
10. Richard Hamilton drops 51 in 2006:
Rip’s game against the Knicks as a member of the Detroit Pistons isn’t really talked about much as one of the best performances by an opposing player, but it is certainly worthy of making the list. Hamilton was an impressive 19-for-37 from the field and 12-for-12 on free throws, but the Knicks won in triple overtime.
9. LeBron James scores 50 in 2008:
You knew he was going to have a big game at The Garden sooner or later and during this 2008 contest, LBJ certainly put his name among the greats in Garden history. James had 50 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and four steals in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-105 victory, by making 16-of-30 shots from the field, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range.
LeBron said after the game:
“I’ve dreamed about playing well in this building and it’s overtaken of how I could ever dream about,” James said. “To get a standing ovation in the greatest basketball arena in the world, it was a dream come true for me. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
8. Rick Barry scores 57 in 1965:
It was Barry’s rookie season with the Warriors and he didn’t succumb to the biggest stage in the world, making 18 of his 29 shots and missing just one of his 22 free throws, but it wasn’t enough as the Knicks ultimately defeated the Warriors 141-137.
7. Reggie Miller’s 1995 postseason:
Miller’s heroics in Game 1 of the 1995 playoffs will always be remembered, painfully for Knicks fans, but as good as Miller’s eight points in 11 seconds was in terms of history, Game 5 of that series may have been an even better performance as Miller scored 39 points and dished out six assists, but he turned in one of the best fourth quarter performances in playoff history as he scored 25 points to lead the Pacers to Game 5 win, although the Knicks would go on to win the series.
6. Curry’s 54 in 2013:
You don’t see nights like we saw Wednesday night as Curry was simply unbelievable. Curry drained a remarkable 11-of-13 three-pointers, just one shy of the NBA record and added six rebounds, seven assists and three steals, but Golden State ultimately lost one of the more entertaining games a basketball fan could ever watch.