Madison Square Garden has long held the title of the NBA’s most electric arena, regardless of how the New York Knicks have fared as both a franchise and a team.
And games like their season opener, a double-overtime effort against the Boston Celtics, only help to cement that.
Just one game into the 2021-2022 campaign, New York is looking primed for another playoff run, and the Madison Square Garden crowd appears ready.
Towards the end of the double-overtime matchup, LeBron James acknowledged the present Knicks faithful on Twitter:
In their first game on the NBA hardwood in over 142 days, the New York Knicks tallied 27 assists in the double-overtime win.
But the largest of those was the only one unrecorded, albeit widely recognized by way of the Madison Square Garden crowd.
Knicks Overcome Brown’s Career Night
The most impressive part of the New York Knicks’ season-opening victory, is their resilience in the face of a career-night from Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown.
Just days after he was cleared from the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol, the 24-year old scored a career-high 46 points on 30 field goal attempts.
History shows us that those kinds of efforts haven’t always been kind to the Knicks, typically resulting in a loss.
According to Stathead.com, of the last 25 games where an opposing team’s player scored 40 or more points, New York has gone just 5-20.
That includes their victory over the Celtics and Brown’s 46-point effort.
Winning games of that nature, the double-overtime status included, will be important as the New York Knicks look to continue building towards a future in contending for a championship.
Continuing to play games at Madison Square Garden will help, too.
Fournier, Walker Talk Playing at MSG
Last season, the New York Knicks went 25-11 when playing inside the walls of Madison Square Garden.
Only five more teams had better records when playing at home, including the 2020-2021 champion Milwaukee Bucks.
Evan Fournier spoke to the media (via the New York Post) on playing in the storied arena for the first time:
It was crazy — the atmosphere, the fans. It was fun to go to two OTs, but I wish we could’ve had the game in the first 48 minutes. It was a dogfight. We were both tired. That’s where the conditioning of the preseason pays off.
As did homegrown star and newly acquired point guard (via the New York Post) Kemba Walker, who hails from the Bronx:
Energy in this building is second to none. It was unreal. I don’t even know [how it felt during introductions], so much, so much was running through my mind. Just really couldn’t believe it, playing for the home team. I’m really a kid from The Bronx, born and raised in this city.
Walker finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and a steal in his New York Knicks debut.