We take a look at why the 1973 New York Knicks seem to be an afterthought compared to the 1970 team in the latest edition of Over and Back’s Basketball Mysteries of the 1970s.
We are joined by Rafael Canton of the NBA Trades blog and podcast to discuss the 1970s Knicks with Clyde Frazier, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Earl Monroe, Phil Jackson, Jerry Lucas, Cazzie Russell and Dick Barnett. They are among the most popular and mythologized teams in NBA history. But while their 1970 championship season, famously punctuated by an injured Reed emerging from the Madison Square Garden tunnel in Game 7 of the Finals to inspire his team to victory, is the stuff of legends, the 1973 team rarely evokes the same kind of treatment, despite having more Hall of Famers.
Included in the discussion: how important these Knicks were in terms of popularizing the NBA during the early 1970s, how players with different personalities and backgrounds came together as a cohesive force, what made the Knicks special, less-known key moments of the 1970 Finals, how Reed set the tone for the team, Frazier’s challenge in having so many players to keep happy, Bradley dealing with immense hype from his college days, how the Milwaukee Bucks’ move to the Western Conference benefitted the Knicks, their rivalry with the Baltimore Bullets and surprising 1971 series loss, how acquiring Lucas and Monroe changed the dynamics of the team, Monroe’s bitter exit from Baltimore to join a rival and how it compares to Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors, the Knicks falling to a 69-win Los Angeles Lakers team in the 1972 Finals and coming back to win the championship against the same Lakers in 1973, and their tough series against the Boston Celtics in 1973.
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