Dec. 25, 1981: Ray Williams delivers the good
The New Jersey Nets snapped an 11-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden and won for the first time on Christmas Day with a 96-95 victory over the New York Knicks.
Ray Williams scored 12 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and James Bailey put the Nets ahead with a turnaround jumper with 19 seconds remaining after Len Elmore blocked Maurice Lucas‘ potential dagger for the Knicks.
Bill Cartwright had a chance to put New York ahead at the end, but missed a six-foot jumper in the lane.
Williams also had 10 assists for New Jersey, while Otis Birdsong fought through foul trouble for 15 points and eight rebounds.
Sly Williams led the Knicks with 22 points, while Micheal Ray Richardson went for 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Lucas finished with 15 points and 14 boards.
The win improved New Jersey to 10-16, but they would rally for a playoff berth in their one full season under coach Larry Brown.
The Knicks fell to 12-15 and would continue to slide, winning just 33 games and missing the postseason in Hall of Famer Red Holzman‘s final year on the bench.