New York Knicks: 15 greatest individual performances of all-time

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Willis Reed, New York Knicks
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7. Willis Reed fills it up against L.A.

It was the first of November, the year was 1967 and the Knicks were in Southern California to take on the mighty Los Angeles Lakers, led by the dynamic duo of Elgin Baylor and Gail Goodrich.

The Knicks were still a few years away from their first-ever title, but they certainly weren’t to be messed around with, led by the captain Willis Reed.

During his decade-long tenure in the league, Reed was an enforcer in the restricted area, willing to absorb bumps and bruises as long as he got to dish some out as well every once in a while.

At 6-foot-9 weighing roughly 235 pounds, there weren’t many guys at the time who could keep the seven-time NBA All-Star from doing pretty much anything he wanted to on the offensive end.

On this particular day, Reed was especially difficult to slow down, exploding for a career-high 53 points on 21-of-29 shooting from the field to go along with 18 rebounds in a 129-113 win.

The Lakers had three of their own score over 20 points, a much more balanced effort than what New York put out. But when a guy goes for the half-century mark, such a steady dose of scoring really doesn’t matter.

During a time where Wilt Chamberlain put up gaudy numbers and Bill Russell won seemingly every championship, Reed somewhat gets left to the side when talking about the great centers in that era. It was games like this one though, that showed his true greatness on the court, an immovable object who was dominant in his own right, enough to qualify for the Hall of Fame.