Sport This Date in NBA History (May 8): The New York Knicks win first championship in franchise history in 1970 and more
2020-21 NBA MVP Ladder: Chris Paul and Stephen Curry crack the top five as the season draws to a close
Two newcomers crack our MVP Ladder in Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. Where did they each land? Who else rounds out the top five? Is Nikola Jokic still the front-runner? Here's how our NBA.com Staff sees the MVP race shaping up with less than a month remaining in the regular season.As always, this was a collaborative effort between four members of our NBA.com Staff: Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay), Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21), Kane Pitman (@KanePitman) and myself (@crabdribbles). We each sent in our top-five for MVP right now and used a point system — one point for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, three points for a third-place vote and so on — to come up with the following list.
On May 8th in 1970, the New York Knicks clinched their first NBA championship in franchise history.
They defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 113-99 in Game 7 at the Madison Square Garden behind a scintillating performance by Walt Frazier. In what was one of the most impressive Finals' Game 7 displays in NBA history, the guard finished with 36 points (12-17 FGs; 12-12 FTs), 19 assists, and seven rebounds in 44 minutes of action.
Although Frazier carried the burden in the pivotal Game 7, for the series, he was only the fourth-highest scorer on the Knicks with an average of 17.7 points per game. Ahead of him were - center Willis Reed (23.0 points in 6 games), Dave DeBusschere (19.0 points in 7 games), and Dick Barnett (18.6 points in 7 games).
By The Numbers: Jayson Tatum drops career-high 60 points in comeback win over San Antonio Spurs
Jayson Tatum willed the Celtics to a 143-140 overtime win over the Spurs, tying Larry Bird for the most points ever scored by a Celtic in franchise history. Let's take a look at some of the key numbers underscoring his career night.The Boston Celtics star was in a scoring mood against the San Antonio Spurs, exploding for a career-high 60 points to lead his team to a 143-140 win in overtime after storming home from a 32-point deficit.
The first five games of this competitive series had an average winning margin of six points including.
In Game 5, however, Reed went down with an injury and was forced to sit out most of the game after playing just eight minutes but the Knicks didn't cave. They rallied behind Frazier's 21-point, 12-assist performance as five other Knicks scored in double figures to win 107-100 at MSG despite missing their star player.
After missing Game 6, Reed, just prior to the tip-off of Game 7, exited the tunnel to a roar from the crowd. He played a limited time of 27 minutes but more importantly, he began the game by scoring its first two baskets and that was all the inspirations the Knicks needed.
By The Numbers: Indiana Pacers record largest road win in NBA history in blowout against Oklahoma City Thunder
The Pacers set a new franchise record with 152 points, leading by as many as 67 in a record-breaking blowout win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City.The Indiana Pacers filled it up against the Oklahoma City Thunder, cruising to a 152-95 blowout win on the road — the largest regular-season road win in NBA history.
The Knicks would need only those four points from Reed as Frazier carried them to their first of two championships in the span of three years.
Notable events on May 8th
- In 1988, Michael Jordan scores 226 points in a first-round matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers - the most in a 5-game playoff series. He beat out the previous record of 213 points set by Bernard King in 1984.
- In 1988, the Los Angeles Lakers held the Utah Jazz to just eight first-quarter points in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Lakers eventually won the game 110-91 while the Jazz's eight first-quarter points is a record-low for first-quarter points scored in an NBA Playoff game.
- In 1999, Karl Malone (3,712 points), of the Utah Jazz, passed Magic Johnson (3,701) for the sixth position all-time in playoff scoring.
Game-winning buzzer-beater on May 8th
Notable playoff eliminations from May 8th
- In 2019, the Milwaukee Bucks eliminated the Boston Celtics with a 116-91 Game 5 win in the Conference Semifinals series, thus, making their eighth Conference Finals appearance in franchise history and the first since 2001.
- In 2011, the Dallas Mavericks, the eventual champions, swept the Los Angeles Lakers, the reigning champions, in the Western Conference Semifinals.
- In 1988, the Michael-Jordan led Chicago Bulls defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-2 in the first round of the playoffs. This was the first playoff series victory of Jordan's career after being swept in two of three previous years.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.
This Date in NBA History (May 17): Houston Rockets complete comeback from 3-1 series deficit with Game 7 win vs. Clippers in 2015 & more .
A couple of days after their historic Game 6 comeback, the Rockets blew out the Clippers in Game 7 at home to become the ninth team in NBA history (at that time) to come back from a 3-1 series deficit. The team's MVP candidate James Harden struggled with his shooting (7-of-20 FG; 2-of-7 3PT) but he was still the team's biggest contributor in this crucial game. In 43 minutes, he finished with 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and three steals. He did receive plenty of help from a few other starters.