8. Carmelo Anthony, 30 & 10 at home amidst Hurricane Sandy (11.2.2012)
Days after Hurricane Sandy, the Knickerbockers took the court. Actually, their first game was originally supposed to be against the Brooklyn Nets, but it was postponed due to the hurricane. So, next up, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat came to town.
Carmelo Anthony came up big for the second straight opening night against another rival. Before the game, he addressed the crowd, thanking them for showing up at a time like this. Then, he went out and gave them a show. He racked up 30 points and 10 rebounds as the Knicks blew the Heat out by 20 points. In front of a sold-out crowd, Melo made the city forget about their troubles at the time.
7. Latrell Sprewell slows down Michael Jordan in close home win (10.30.2001)
October 30th, 2001, was a very historic day in the NBA. Arguably the greatest player to ever play this game, Michael Jordan, came back from retirement a second time. He was back in Madison Square Garden, but this time in a new uniform, in a new decade, and sporting his new Jordan 17s.
Although it was a Knicks home game, the arena was packed to see MJ. Everyone expected him to put on his usual gut-wrenching performances at the Garden, but that wasn’t the case. The 40-year-old shot the ball at 33% that night and finished with only 19 points.
I’d give credit to Latrell Sprewell for this as he defended Jordan most of the night. On the offensive end, Sprewell had a night. He had a game-high 28 points, shooting almost 60% from three. The Knicks won a nail-biter as Jordan missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer, a shot he normally makes.
6. Julius Randle, 35 & 9 & 8 in a double-overtime win vs Celtics (10.20.2021)
Last year, the Knicks started the season off in exciting fashion. In the Garden, it took the Knicks two overtimes to take down the Celtics. They withstood 46 points from Jaylen Brown, and Julius Randle came up big with 35 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists. This all-around performance is the reason they got this win. Good thing a wide-open Marcus Smart couldn’t make the shot either.