Why Do The New York Knicks Stink At Madison Square Garden?
Why are the New York Knicks in a two-year funk at one of the most historic basketball venues in the world, Madison Square Garden, their home court? OK, before you say, 'because the team stinks' hang on a minute. The Knicks are really good on the road.
In fact, following Wednesday night's 116-105 loss to the Washington Wizards, the Knicks were the only NBA team with a winning record on the road and a losing record at home. Tom Thibodeau's road warriors are 14-8 away from MSG and a dismal 11-13 at home. Why?
Well, it's not something new. The Knicks were about average on the road last season, going 20-21 but they were an abysmal 17-24 at the Garden. Is it pressure from the fans or does playing at MSG simply mean more to opposing players, like former Knick, Kristap Pozingiss? “It’s fun to play in the Garden,” Porzingis told Steve Popper of newsday.com. “In think it’s the best place to play basketball in the world. I miss this place a lot. Last few times I’ve been here, I’ve been booed, I’ve been receiving that kind of energy but I enjoy playing here." Opposing players love playing at MSG. The greatest of all-time, Michael Jordan saved some of his greatest performances for the midtown Manhattan venue.
Some will remember when Jordan dropped 55 on the Knicks on March 28, 1995 for the Chicago Bulls. Years later, MJ scored 39 at the age of 40 with the Washington Wizards. According to sportscasting.com, in a 1997 SLAM Magazine interview, Jordan said that he cherished playing at Madison Square Garden. “Yeah, I love it ’cause the history. Everybody knows about basketball in New York City, and this is where you come see the best basketball played,” Jordan said. “That’s what Madison Square Garden has always meant to me, and they’re very loyal to their fans, yet they’re very honorable about good basketball. Every time I put up a big game in New York, it’s paying tribute to the respect they pay me."
Star athletes thrive on the big stage. Few stages are bigger than the basketball floor at Madison Square Garden. Maybe the New York Knicks problem is with the type of stars they have. Some athletes can't handle the pressures that come with playing in the media capital of the world. So far, Jalen Brunson seems to have embraced his role as a New York City star athlete. Julius Randle is way too inconsistent at the Garden and RJ Barrett is the same way. This group is a really good basketball team that doesn't have the talent, desire or fortitude required to be GREAT in the middle of Manhattan in the most famous sports arena in the world. Unfortunately, flat performances at MSG by the New York Knicks, like the ones on Monday and Wednesday of this week have become the norm.