The 25th anniversary of a miracle win

December, 24, 2010
12/24/10
12:58
PM ET
No matter what you are doing Christmas Day, if you commit to watching the Knicks and the Bulls, stick with the game all the way through, regardless of the score.

Because history says you never know what will happen for the Knicks on Christmas Day. One game in particular, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, serves as the ultimate teacher.

In the 1985-86 season, the Knicks were in their second year of being decimated by injuries to star forward Bernard King and center Bill Cartwright. Rookie center Patrick Ewing would eventually fall victim to the malaise that infected the franchise for three seasons, one similar in nature to that which befell the 2009 Mets.

The Celtics, on the other hand, were on their way to an all-time great season. The 67-15 mark would be their best in the Larry Bird/Kevin McHale/Robert Parish era and the team would go on to win the NBA title.

For the first two-and-a-half quarters, the holiday game at Madison Square Garden matched up as it would be expected to, with the Celtics leading 58-33.

Then came the unexpected -- the NBA equivalent of what the Eagles did to the Giants last Sunday.

The Knicks used a 20-5 run to cut the Celtics lead to 10 by the end of the quarter. Then Ewing took over the game in the manner expected of him when the Knicks made him the No. 1 pick in the preceding NBA Draft. He scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, including 12 straight for the Knicks in one stretch. They would tie the game on two free throws by Rory Sparrow in the final minute.

The Knicks would rally again in overtime, evening things on a 3-pointer by the ever-clutch Trent Tucker with 11 seconds left. The teams would reverse roles in the second overtime, the Knicks playing like a team on its way to the NBA Finals. A Ewing hoop put the Knicks ahead for good, and they would win, 113-104 in one of the most entertaining finishes in the history of the franchise.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2