The New York Knicks have produced, and endured, some of Madison Square Garden’s best basketball performances.
When some fans think of the New York Knicks, they look back at Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Patrick Ewing and Carmelo Anthony, among others’ work for the team. Whether it led to All-Star seasons, playoff appearances or a championship, these players left a legacy.
However, opposing players across the NBA also made their own imprint on the Knicks over the years, especially when they arrive at Madison Square Garden.
Those who enter “The World’s Most Famous Arena” always look to put on a show. It’s a game under the bright lights of Manhattan, with millions watching. While players have succumbed to this pressure, others have risen to the occasion to put on all-time great performances.
20 showings at The Garden stand out, which includes the NBA’s elite players of yesterday and today. Who had the best one of them all?
20. Latrell Sprewell, 49 points: Dec. 11, 2001
Of all the past Knicks, it’s Latrell Sprewell that opens the list of the greatest performances at Madison Square Garden. His night doesn’t sit among the most memorable, as the Knicks lost to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 11, 2001, 102-93. That being said, it still marked a career performance for Sprewell.
In a game where the Knicks shot just 37.5 percent from the floor, Sprewell made up for it with 49 points on 18-for-32 shooting in 48 minutes. Allan Houston‘s 24 points followed, but on just a 31.8 percent clip. No one else topped 10 points.
Sprewell was on from start to finish in this overtime game, including a standout second and third quarters of a combined 35 points. Eight of those points came in a 90-second span in the second period.
The impressive performance was enough to carry the Knicks to overtime, but not until Paul Pierce had five of Boston’s 13 points in the final five minutes to give them a win.
A forgotten but noteworthy moment in Madison Square Garden history, Sprewell broke out for one of the highest point totals by a Knick. It was part of his 19.4 points per game in 2001-02, his highest in New York in five seasons.