MLK Day and the Trent Tucker Rule

The Knicks went from the top of the conference to fall to fifth by seasons’ end. They won just 19 of their last 46 games, finishing the season 45-37 which included losing 20 of their final 30 games. After winning 17 of their first 18 home games, they went just 12-11 after that game. In the playoffs, the Knicks avoided a total meltdown by heroically rallying from down 0-2 to defeat the Boston Celtics 3-2 in their best-of-five first round series. The Knicks snapped a 26-game losing streak at the Boston Garden in their game five win.

Unfortunately, that was the high point for the Knicks under Stu Jackson, as they lost to the Pistons in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Jackson lasted just 15 games the next season as he was fired on December 3, 1990.

Knicks after Tucker changed NBA History

Knicks 1989-90 Results                   

After MLK victory

Overall W-L         26-10               19-27>>

Place in East          1st                     5th

Home W-L            17-1                12-11

>>lost 20 of final 30 games

For the Bulls, the loss had the opposite effect.

Falling to 25-13 after the loss, the Bulls went 30-14 the rest of the way, finishing the season with the third best record in the Eastern Conference. They would reach the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the eventual champion Pistons in seven games.

That would be the last time the Bulls would lose in the postseason for a while.

The Bulls would go on to win the next three NBA Championships and follow that with another three-peat afterJordan’s two-year sabbatical in baseball’s minor leagues.

Stat Mann is the nom de guerre of our research statistician, who spends a lot of time watching basketball in central Connecticut. Someone would be angry if they discovered he was moonlighting here.


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