This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of one the most magical moments in Knicks playoff history. Before the Bad Boys, before the Pistons were champions, and long before Isiah Thomas was ruining the Knicks from the front office, he was attempting to do so from the basketball court. Bernard King simply wouldn’t let him.
In the deciding fifth game of the First Round in the 1984 NBA Playoffs, Isiah Thomas put on a performance that could only be topped by one person. Unfortunately for the Pistons, that person was sharing the floor with them that night.
Despite a comeback led by Isiah’s miraculous 16 points in 93 seconds, King was able to outdo his opponent, dropping in 44 points, ripping down 12 rebounds, and adding in this awesome putback dunk over a few Pistons defenders, and even a couple of Knicks
Before Michael Jordan’s famed “flu game,” this was considered as one of the gutsiest performances in league history. King was playing with a bout of the flu of his own, and even toughed out two dislocated middle fingers that were being freeze-sprayed throughout the night. Nothing was going to stop him from getting the Knicks to the next round.
Despite the fact that the Knicks won the game, the series, and the battle between the two superstars, this is known as the contest that put Isiah on the map. He ended the night with 35 points and 12 assists, but had nothing except a first round playoff exit to show for it.
The Knicks went on to duke it out with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in next round, but lost in a seven-game thriller. King put up 29.1 points per game on the eventual NBA champs, further cementing himself into New York basketball lore.