Ahigh demand member of the NBA, the New York Knicks jerseys were still seeking their first league championship in 1969 70, when a flamboyantcoach with a high octane style named Red Holzman took over a group of individuals that would have made cheap cheap cheap cheap Allen Iverson jersey jersey jersey jersey look like a team player and turned them into a team ready to run the table.
Holzman had been a guard with the old Rochester Royals in the 1940s and early ’50s, both in the National Basketball League and in the NBA, and had coached the Hawks in Milwaukee and St. Louis for four seasons in the late ’50s. He then worked as a scout before succeeding cheap cheap Dick McGuire jersey jersey as coach of the Knicks in 1967.
Coach Red preached defense and team ball, and players conformed to his tenets or were replaced. The key move came on Dec. 19, 1968, when high scoring center cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap Walt Bellamy jersey jersey jersey jersey jersey was dealt to the Detroit Pistons jerseys along with guard Howie Komives forcheap cheap Dave DeBusschere jersey jersey, a hard working forward who had served as player coach of the Pistons at age 24. The move not only gave New York a vital rebounder, scorer and defensive presence at forward, but it allowedcheap Willis Reed jerseyto move into his natural position at center, where he flourished.
Reed embodied the team’s spirit; he was a rugged center who gave no quarter and asked for none. He once took on the entire Lakers team in a storied episode during the 1966 67 season.
In 1969 70, he enjoyed a season for the ages, winning MVP honors for the regular season, the All Star Game, and the cheap nba jerseys NBA Finals, a trifecta that would go unmatched untilcheap cheap Michael Jordan jersey jerseydid the same in 1995 96. Reed averaged team highs of 21.7 PPG and 13.9 RPG (fifth in the NBA).
Flashy youngWalt “Clyde” Frazierwas the playmaker of the squad, averaging 20.9 PPG and ranking second in the NBA in assists at 8.2 APG. He also was adept at playing the passing lanes in the Knicks’ scheme of team defense and was unafraid to gamble knowing Reed was behind him to cover for any mistakes.
Four other players averaged double figures in points in the balanced attack preferred by Holzman (who would be voted the NBA’s Coach of the Year): guard cheap Dick Barnett jersey (14.9), DeBusschere (14.6), and small forwards cheap Bill Bradley jersey (14.5) and Cazzie Russell (11.5).
The Knicks, using pressure defense and selflessly making the extra pass on offense, won nine of their first 10 games and never looked back. They finished with 60 regular season wins for the first time in franchise history and notched what was then a record 18 game winning streak early in the season.
The Knicks were tested early in the playoffs by the rugged Baltimore Bullets, who featuredcheap Wes Unseld jersey, cheap cheap Gus Johnson jersey jersey, Jack Marin, and a future Knick namedcheap cheap Earl Monroe jersey jersey. The teams would have several classic matchups over the years, and New York won this one in seven games, capturing the finale 127 114.
New York then dispatched Milwaukee and its rookie center,Kareem Abdul Jabbar, in five games to set up a memorable seven game NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers jerseys.
The teams split the first four games, with two of them going into overtime. Reed injured his leg in Game Five, but the Knicks hung on to win by using a swarm of shorter players to harass Lakers centercheap cheap cheap Wilt Chamberlain jersey jersey jersey. As Reed sat out Game Six, the Lakers won easily, and nobody knew if he’d be able to play in Game Seven.
The teams had just about completed their pre game warmups before the finale at Madison Square Garden when Reed limped onto the court for the opening tip. In dramatic fashion, he scored New York’s first two baskets, providing the emotional boost for a 113 99 victory that gave the Big Apple its first championship.