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As discussions swirl around the GS Warriors, the Cleveland Cavs and other teams, I keep going back to my favorite basketball "dynasty" (really meaning mini dynasty) of all time; the Kniicks from 69-70 to 72-73. Four years in the playoffs, three years in the NBA finals and two NBA championships. Very long ago. I realize that. I suspect that Steve R has memories of this mini dynasty. Any others? Here are some interesting elements to that team: For 3 of those 4 years they allowed the fewest points per game in the league. In the 4th year I think they allowed the third fewest points. They won championships with defense. They might have been the greatest passing team of all time; and did so while spreading the ball to the entire team with every player being a potential shooter and with no player dominating the shooting stats by any stretch of the imagination. Possibly the most balanced scoring of any championship team of any period. Completely unusual and even more balanced in that regard than other teams that approached ball distribution (thinking 2014 Spurs team as the most recent example and the 2004 Detroit Pistons before them). The Knicks of that earlier era simply spread the shots around more evenly than either of these two teams. Shooting stats from the team in the 69-70 season: (see below) The 69-70 team developed as a result of what had to be one of the great trades in the history of the NBA from the previous season, (68-69). Midseason the Knicks dealt the big talented but erratic Center Walt Bellamy and their starting point guard, Howard Komives to the Detroit Pistons and the Pistons sent forward Dave Debusschere to the Knicks. Reed became the starting center, Debusschere was the starting power forward and Walt Frazier became the starting point guard. From mid season on the Knicks developed into a league power. The enigma and missing piece was who would be the small forward, Bradley or Cazzie Russell. Cazzie was the better offensive player and scorer. Bradley fit Coach Red Holzman's scheme better. Holtzman put Bradley in the starter's role and it clicked. The 69-70 team was the epitome of this spread it around type offense, but it continued to operate in the same manner over the next 4 seasons; (through 72-73 another championship season and one additional year, as Debusschere, Reed, and Lucas remained with the team). It wasn't until Reed, Debusschere and Lucas left that shot attempts skewed more toward Frazier, Monroe, and thirdly Bradley. Remarkably when Earl the Pearl first joined the Knicks he changed from one of the leagues leading offensive weapons and leading shot takers, to the fifth option. He sacrificed his offensive orientation to be part of the team concept. I was lucky to watch them a fair amount. I moved to Baltimore for college and got to see Bullets/Knicks games in Baltimore. Possibly the greatest, most fierce mano a mano matchups in NBA history. Reed vs. Unseld, two height deficient Centers who were muscular physical brutes. (they must have crushed one another every game). Even more ferocious were the man on man battles between Debusschere and Gus Johnson two of the most rugged players in the league with Johnson additionally being one of the early skywalkers. Watching Bradley and Jack Marin play was fascinating in a different way. Those two guys covered a lot of ground from one side of the court to the other, moving out to the perimeter for outside shots. Man, those two guys were always grabbing and clutching. The creme de la creme matchup was the artistry between Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier. Mr offense vs Mr Defense. The Bullets emphasized offense, being one of the highest scoring teams in the league, the Knicks emphasized defense, being the league leaders. Over the course of a season neither team dominated, while the matchups and games were always fascinating. Everyone on those old Knicks could pass. Every player. The only starter who might not have been a stellar passer was Reed...but when you watched those games the Knicks always had a teammate in Reed's eyesight. He became a good passer and that coach and the teammates helped him become one. Well its over 40 years later...so who cares? Possibly Steve R, who related this great tale that I'm sure every star struck kid who idolized pro's would love to experience. (Steve R Schooling Earl the Pearl on the Playgrounds) As the current NBA season moves along, the Warriors with their great scorers also face defensive problems: players such as Harden, DeRozan, Westbrook, and Davis, all averaging over 30 pts a game, are monopolizing the ball; the Spurs play this Knicks type game, though nobody has ever distributed the ball like the Knicks....and the Cavs have the remarkable Lebron James..who admittedly makes his teammates a stellar team....I still yearn for those Knicks. PS (undoubtedly if one looks at old tapes of those games and that era today's players are more athletic. Still I maintain that Reed would be a star in today's game. He has a midrange jumpshot. How many of today's centers can do that? Uh...maybe one or two. He was amazingly tough against one and all including the giants of that time such as Chamberlain and Kareem. I can't see how anyone could control Monroe. His offensive moves were remarkably different and defied defensive efforts. If there was anyone who was as rugged and indefatigable as Debusschere he would probably be the all time best linebacker in all of football. I'd love to see Frazier play against today's guards. Besides passing his shooting was based on a sense of how to beat the defense, not just pure athleticism (like Larry Bird in a way). That team would be strong today. ....and getting back to Earl the Pearl. I defy anyone to come up with any player who could successfully defend against Earl the Pearl at any point in basketball history...
An all time Knick star is impressed by Porzingis Bernard King was a great player, a great Knick, resucited his game with the Bullets, and always played the game with smarts on top of his tremendous skills. His smarts made his skills better. An encouraging comment from a keen student of the game
"New York Knicks Part Ways with Phil Jackson after Dismal Three Years" on cbsnews.com