A look back at the New York Knicks’ five best Christmas Day games.
The very first Christmas day game ever was played by the New York Knicks (then known as the Knickerbockers) vs. the Providence Steamrollers in 1947. It may not have been one of the best games of all time but it was the first-ever Christmas Day win for the team, the Knicks over the Steamrollers, 89-75.
The Knicks have played the most Christmas Day games: 53. They have the second-most Christmas Day wins with 22 and the most losses with 31.
The five best games may not be the same for everyone. After evaluating the data and all the players’ stats, here are my five best games ever played by the Knicks on Christmas Day:
5. Christmas Day 1985: Knicks vs Boston Celtics
One of the Knicks’ fiercest rivals always will be the Boston Celtics, much like the Yankees and the Red Sox.
Christmas 1985 saw the Knicks once again take on the Celtics. This was also Patrick Ewing‘s rookie season. What they didn’t expect was the rookie phenom to propel the Knicks over a 25 point Boston lead.
This Knicks team, with the future Rookie of the Year in Ewing, not only overcame the 25-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth but after two overtimes, defeated the Celtics, 113-104.
When all was said and done, Ewing had a double-double with 32 points and 11 rebounds.
4. Christmas Day 1986: Knicks vs Chicago Bulls
This is the day that Ewing and Michael Jordan first met on the court; the same Jordan that stood in the way of Ewing and the Knicks winning a championship. That day, none of that mattered, and Ewing and the Knicks were the winners.
Jordan scored 30 points but it wasn’t enough, as Ewing’s fourth-quarter buzzer beater won this game, 85-84. Ewing had the Knicks’ only double-double, with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
3. Christmas Day 1984: Knicks vs New Jersey Nets
If someone were ranking a teams’ five best Christmas Day games, said games would all be winners. Not so with this Christmas Day game, as the Knicks lost, 120-114.
The biggest attraction for this Knicks team: the King before the other King, Bernard King.
Why is this game ranked as one the Knicks’ best Christmas day games? On this day, in 1984, King made NBA history by scoring 60 points. No other player had scored 60 points on any Christmas Day game. No other player had ever scored more than 60 points at Madison Square Garden.
This record held for 25 years until Carmelo Anthony broke it on Jan. 24, 2014, when he scored 62 points against the Charlotte Hornets.
2. Christmas Day 2010: Knicks vs Chicago Bulls
The NBA is great for having heated rivals play on Christmas Day, and this game was no different.
Derrick Rose (2011 NBA MVP) and the Chicago Bulls came into the Garden ready to rumble and the Knicks’ defense was waiting for them. The game featured the Knicks’ offense as well.
Four of the Knicks’ starters had double-doubles: Raymond Felton (20 points, 12 assists), Amare Stoudemire (20 points, 10 rebounds), Landry Fields (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Wilson Chandler (15 points, 10 rebounds).
The game wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter when the Bulls fell apart, missing 14 baskets including two free throws. The Bulls tried but the Knicks denied, pulling out the win, 103-95.
1, Christmas Day 2011: Knicks vs Boston Celtics
‘Twas the year of the lockout and all through the league the players were happy to get back to ball-ing…
Not only was this a Christmas Day game, but it was also the season opener for the NBA due to a lockout. These were the Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen Celtics, and the Knicks were not expected to win.
This was an edge of the seat game. Carmelo Anthony made two free throws with 16 seconds remaining to give the Knicks the lead, 106-104.
The New York Knicks are not scheduled to play this Christmas. They last played Christmas 2018, losing to the Bucks, 109-85. Let’s hope for better seasons to come and to welcome them back to the Christmas Day schedule.