Dec. 25, 1984: Nets spoil King’s big night
Ask NBA fans about Christmas Day 1984 and the ones who know it, or know their history, will respond with something along the lines of, “Oh, yeah, when Bernard King went for 60.”
That is true. Bernard King scored 60 points against the New Jersey Nets on that Christmas Day.
And the New Jersey Nets won the game 120-114.
King had 51 at the end of the third quarter as New York led 91-87. But Nets coach Stan Albeck made an adjustment to start the fourth quarter to deploy 6-foot-11 center George Johnson to guard King.
King was just 1-for-6 the rest of the way and Johnson blocked two of his shot attempts and created two critical turnovers, while Micheal Ray Richardson scored six points for New Jersey during a 10-0 run that turned a 111-108 deficit into a 118-111 lead.
The outburst was a Knicks single-game record at the time, breaking the mark of 57 set by Hall of Famer Richie Guerin on Dec. 11, 1959. The record stood until Jan. 24, 2014, when Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Richardson led the Nets with 36 points, four assists and four steals. Mike Gminski added 27 points and 14 boards, Kelvin Ransey came off the bench for 24 points and four dimes, Buck Williams went for 16 points and 10 boards and Johnson finished with four blocks.
King also had seven rebounds to go with his 60 points and James Bailey also had seven boards. Rory Sparrow scored 13 points with 10 assists.
The Nets reached the playoffs the next spring, but were swept in the first round by the Detroit Pistons. The Knicks lost King to a horrific knee injury in March and collapsed from 47 wins to 24 before winning the NBA’s first-ever draft lottery in the spring of 1985.