Saturday, March 7, 2009

Top 5 performances in the Garden

Tonight, the Charlotte Bobcats visit Madison Square Garden, where in the space of 48 hours earlier in February, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James gave the two signature performances of the NBA season to date. That got us to thinking of the five best all-time NBA performances in the Garden (and wondering if Gerald Wallace has 50 in him tonight). Here's our list:

5. Kobe Bryant, (2009): The man (above) made all 20 of his free throws and scored a Garden record 61 points, but he appears last on the list because he got no rebounds. He did have three assists.

4. Bernard King (1984): In 1984, King averaged 33 points per game. He scored 50 against San Antonio and 50 more against Dallas on back-to-back nights that season, but on Christmas Day, he put up 60, a Garden record, on the rival Nets at the Garden. Later that same season, King scored 44 points in deciding Game 5 playoff win over Detroit, playing with two dislocated fingers and a 102-degree fever. Sadly, the next season, he blew out his knee and was never the same player.

3. Reggie Miller (1994): Miller’s Indiana Pacers were down 2-0 to the Knicks in the best-of 7 Eastern Conference finals but rallied to tie the series at two. In Game 5, the Pacers were down 12 going into the fourth quarter, but Miller made five 3-pointers in the quarter, scoring 25 points overall. Indiana won 93-86. Miller had 25 points in the quarter and 39 for the game, chatting with filmmaker (and huge Knick fan) Spike Lee all the way through it.

2. LeBron James (2009): Two nights after Kobe went off for 61, King James ran up his 21st career triple double -- 52 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Only he and Michael Jordan have multiple 50-point games in the Garden, and James was the first NBA player to score 50 points and have a triple double since Kareem Abdul Jabbar in 1975. "The sad thing,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said, “is that I'm sure LeBron said that it's no big deal to get 61 points. I’ll just get a triple-double. (Kobe) didn't do that.'' (The NBA took away the triple-double after the game, saying James was credited for a rebound he didn't get)

1. Michael Jordan (1995): Jordan’s 1986 performance probably should make the list, when he went off for 50 points in Chicago’s first game of the year and his first back from a broken foot that cost him 64 games the prior season. But on March 28, 1995, Jordan came to the Garden wearing No. 45. It was his fifth game back after a 17-month retirement. Chicago beat New York 113-111 and Jordan scored 55 points, setting up the game-winner and making 21-of-37 shots. Dejected again in a big game, Spike Lee famously said “Mike dropped a double-nickel on us.”

-- Langston Wertz Jr.


Think we missed a great performance in the Garden? Want to tell your story about one of these five? Or do you have a list of top five performances at some other venue? Post your comments below.


Anonymous said...

Oh Please, Top 5 Performances In MSG History?

There are only two. Leave #3-5 blank - and they both happened in the same game.

Game 7 of 1970 NBA Finals:

1) Willis Reed gimps onto the court and scores first 4 points as Knicks win NBA championship.

2) Walt Frazier scores 36 points on 12-17 shooting and dishes out 19 assists - meaning he either scored or assisted on 84 of the Knicks 113 points - WOW

Anonymous said...

I like the list. I agree that Willis Reed could be here, but Gerald getting 5-0h tonight? Oh-no

Anonymous said...

Good list L-Dub. Kobe should've been higher though.

Anonymous said...

how about former hornet LJ hitting a 4-point play to win an Eastern Conference championship game?

Anonymous said...

that jordan game was sick!

kickazzz2000 said...

Mike didn't hit the game winner...I thought I remembered him driving and dishing off to Bill Wennington (or some other scrub) for the game winner..made it even more amazing.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Larry J being on this list & anything Kobe < anything MJ

Panthersguy said...

This is wrong. Lebron never actually had a triple double. The NBA took back one of his rebounds.

Anonymous said...

MJ being #1 is clearly a homer ranking by the Tarheel Observer. Great performance, yes. Best

I'd go Walt in the Finals or LBJ this year over MJ.

Anonymous said...

Where's Renaldo Balkman on this list ???
2 NIT MVP Trophies and selected the Knicks 1st round pick !!!