Monday, June 6, 2011
'The Big Apple's' top 5 stat lines vs. Knicks
By Jared Zwerling
In his final game against the Knicks, in Boston on October 29, 2010, Shaquille O'Neal made sure that his legacy -- and logo -- would never be forgotten in the minds of New Yorkers. At the start of the third quarter, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo found "The Big AARP" (as he's calling himself now post-playing) on the left block, and then the 7-1, 325-pounder dunked the ball with two hands while kicking his feet out -- just like his SHAQ Dunkman logo pose.
In honor of O'Neal's retirement on Friday, here are five notable stat lines highlighting his Big career vs. the 'Bockers.
In his 1,423 career games (regular season and playoffs), O'Neal only played 44 games against the Knicks and 23 at Madison Square Garden, with all of them coming in the regular season. He did not play at all in the first-round series against the Knicks this past season, the only time his team ever faced them in the postseason.
O’Neal enjoyed success against the Knicks, posting a 30-14 record while averaging 24.6 points and 10.2 rebounds. Although his averages vs. the Knicks don’t measure up with some of his numbers against other teams, he had more standout games (at least stats-wise) against them than any other team. O’Neal went for at least 40 points and 10 rebounds against the Knicks four times during his career. Over that same span, there have only been six other 40-10 games vs. the Knicks, with no player having more than one such game.
Since the 1996-97 season, O'Neal never had a game-winner against the Knicks, but one time he stepped up bigger than usual in the fourth quarter. At MSG on March 19, 2000, the Lakers center single-handedly held off the Knicks by scoring 11 points in the final period en route to 43 points, his career-high against them. He also grabbed 10 rebounds in the game.
O’Neal faced a Patrick Ewing-led Knicks team 21 times, amassing a 14-7 record. O'Neal had the upper hand in the statistical battle, averaging 28.7 points and 13.0 rebounds, compared to 25.0 points and 11.7 rebounds for Ewing. In O'Neal's head-to-head debut vs. Ewing at MSG on November 21, 1992, he played 44 minutes and scored 18 points to go along with 17 rebounds, which were more than the rest of his team combined (16). Ewing, meanwhile, had 15 points and only nine rebounds in 35 minutes, but his team still prevailed, 92-77.
In the 1998 All-Star Game at MSG, in which the East won 135-114, O'Neal was the starting center for the West as a member of the Lakers. In his sixth of 15 eventual All-Star appearances, he scored 12 points in 18 minutes.