With Game 3 of the NBA Finals approaching on June 5, we thought we'd prep you for the next matchup between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks with a major slice of Knicks history. One of the greatest moments throughout New York's 40 all-time postseason appearances also went down on June 5 in a Game 3. The year was 1999. Small forward Larry Johnson completed a four-point play in Game 3 of the '99 Eastern Conference Finals, preventing the Indiana Pacers from taking a 2-1 lead. Although the 'Bockers lost Game 4, they were still in position to close out the series, and they did just that to advance to the Finals for the first time since 1994.
Here's Johnson himself reflecting on that historic shot, which celebrates its 12th anniversary on Sunday.
"What I remember most about my four-point play is leading up to that. That whole series against Indiana, man, I was so focused. I was honing in on my craft so much that I was coming to practices early. You can ask coach [Tom] Thibodeau because he was the one meeting me at practice. He was an assistant here. I would tell Thib, 'Can you meet me an hour before practice? Can we stay an hour after practice?' And that whole series, after practice, during practice, shootarounds, me and Thib we were just really working, man. I mean, I did it the whole playoffs, but I can just remember how I really wanted that series, and I really wanted to play well. And then, if you do recall, at the beginning of [Game 3], I banked a 3-pointer at the end of the buzzer in the first quarter. I was hitting my quotas of just wild shots, man. And when we walked out of that huddle [with 11.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter], the ball wasn't even supposed to go to me. It was supposed to go to Allan Houston, and I was supposed to be the outlet. And, of course, they were guarding Allan tight and they made us go to the outlet, which was me. And once I got it, I didn't know if it was 12, 13 seconds. But once I got it, I don't remember even looking at Allan. I had shooting on my brain from the start I got it. I was going to be the hero or I was going to be the villain. But I was going to shoot that ball."
In case you missed it, I was livin' large with LJ last week to kick off Memorial Day Weekend. We talked about his favorite drink Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea, partying, Las Vegas, his draft memories from 1991 and, of course, the Knicks, including comparisons between Amare Stoudemire and Patrick Ewing.
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