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1946-1947 New York Knickerbockers
New York Basketball History after World War II - 1946- 1948 - Madison Square Garden

On June 16, 1946 the BAA, a new league of 11 teams all from east of the Mississippi River, was founded by a group of entrepreneurs composed mostly of the Arena Managers Association of America. The idea was simply to fill arenas when they were not being used for other events.

Although most teams of the newly formed Basketball Association of America (BAA) were hard pressed to get fans to come into their stadiums, the New York Knickerbockers hosted over 100,000 fans - huge numbers for this period in professional basketball history. Note: The BAA was later called the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The basketball used was slightly larger than today's ball, and no player was capable of slam dunking, double-pumping or jumping into the clouds like today's guys - no pills and no steriods then. And, most players had played in college in New York State or close to it. Starting from the first year the Knickerbockers (later shorten to Knicks) made the BAA/NBA postseason playoffs 9 straight times.

November 1, 1946 - In the first BAA game, the New York Knicks beat the Toronto Huskies 68-66 before 7,090 fans in the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Knicks Ossie Schectman, born in Kew Garden, NY, scored the first basket. Ossie played college ball at Long Island University. Hall of Fame Ed Sadowski, of Toronto, scored a game-high 18 points. 

1946-1947 New York Knicks - General manager Ned Irish

1946 Leading Players: Bud Palmer, Princeton... Stan Stutz, Rhode Island University... Ossie Schectman, Long Island Univ... Audley Brindley, Dartmouth

1947-1948 News  - GM Ned Irish hired coach Joe Lapchicks who compiled a sterling 181-53 record at St. John's University.

1947 Leading Players: Carl Braun, Colgate... Dick Holub, Long Island U... Sid Tannenbaum, New York U... Paul Noel, Kentucky

Highlights: John 'Bud' Palmer played three seasons with the Knicks then went into broadcasting

December 6, 1947 - Carl Braun, born in Brooklyn, scored a league record 47 points.  The 20-year-old phenome used an accurate one-handed set shot to blister opponents defensives. For the 1947-48 season Carl Braun finished sixth in the BAA with 14.3 points per game.


Harry Gallatin
Forward 6' 6" 210 pounds - New York Knicks 1948-1949 thru 1956-1957; Detroit Pistons 1958-1959

One of greatest rebounders in basketball history, durable Harry Gallatin pulled down awesome rebounding numbers throughout his 10-season Hall of Fame career. He joined the New York Knicks after the first 8-games of 1948-1949 season, and played in every single game until he retired in 1958 - 747 straight games. Harry Gallatin played with the Knicks his first nine years and his last year in Detroit.

During the first two seasons, 1948-49, 1949-50, which Harry Gallatin played, no rebounding numbers were counted in the NBA. In 1950-51 when figures for rebounds were first noted he averaged 12.1 rebounds per game, 3rd highest in the league. From then on he notched at least 10 rebounds per game every season of his career, including a NBA leading 1,098 and 15.3 rpg 1953-1954. Harry Gallatin finished 2nd in 1954-55 with 13.8 rpg, and his name is among the top 10 in rebounds almost every season of his career. 

Harry Gallatin was also an accurate field goal shooter from the-get-go. Starting in his second year, 1950-51 he placed fifth highest among all NBA players in percentage with .416... then second with .442... third with .444... ninth with .404 in 1953-54. Very high figures for this era in basketball history when the ball was slightly larger than the one used today.  

Harry Gallatin also had impressive career numbers in points created. Every year his numbers were over .530 pct, and twice going over .600. In the postseason NBA playoffs he scored 768 points in 64 games, a 12.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg.

Harry Gallatin stats: 8,843 points in 682 games, 2810 FGM, 7057 FGA, .398 pct, 3223 FTM, 4167 FTA, .773 pct, 6,684 rebounds, 9.8 rpg. Note: No rebounding figures were kept for his first two seasons, hence his career total should be over 12.0 per game - from staff of basketball historian

Harry Gallatin played at Northeast Missouri State College and played minor league baseball.


1950-1951 New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers finished in third place in the Eastern Division with a 36-30 record, then advanced all-the-way to the NBA Championship Finals

The National Basketball Association, NBA, was humming along with their fan base as the 1950-1951 season opened. THe words from the media were all about the gambling and point shaving at the City College of NY (CCNY) winners of both the NIT and NCAA Crowns in spring of 1950. It was also broadcasted Long Island University (LIU) and New York University (NYU) were also involved.

Note: In the summer of 1950, for the first time in NBA history black players were signed.

Knicks coach Joe Lapchick was adding players after high-scoring Carl Braun went into the army. The New Yorkers signed scoring ace, Max Zaslofsky of the Chicago Stags as the team folded its' doors prior to the season opener. The Knickerbockers also purchased Negro star center Sweetwater Clifton from the Harlem Globetrotters.

New York's roster now included 6-6, 220 pounds Nathaniel 'Sweetwater' Clifton, who went on to play with the Knicks seven years - 1950-1951 thru 1956-1957. Hardcourt veteran Harry Gallatin was set at the forward position and the pair were formable rebounders who could match up with any two in the NBA. Sweetwater was a little short for a center (6 ft, 6-inches) but was very strong and quick with lots of experience.

Guard Max Zaslofsky's scoring dipped some in 1950-51 but he still notched 12.7 points per game (he had a 16.4 ppg with Chicago last year). The Knicks floor general was guard Dick McGwire, 2nd among all NBA players with 6.2 assists per game.

Second-year man Vince Boryla, a 6-5 forward out of Denver University, averaged 14.9 ppg. Boryla hit on all cylinders this season (1950-1951) and was 8th in the NBA in free throws percentage with a robust .837 on 278 of 332.

The new Yorkers swept the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Division semi-finals... then defeated the Syracuse Nationals 3-games to 1. Knicks forward/center Connie Simmons, a native of Newark, NJ played an important role as a starter or 6th man during the postseason games. He scored 9.2 ppg and had 6.5 rpg during the regular season.

New York fans were eagerly awaiting the Knicks first Championship Series, all home games at Madison Square Garden were sold out in advance. However they were dejected when their opponents, the Rochester Royals won the first three games. The Knicks won Game 4 by the score of 79-73. In Game 5 Connie Simmons rallied the Knicks with a splendid 26-point effort, propelling NY to a 92--89 victory. After the Knicks won Game 6 the Series was tied, 3-games to 3.

Game 7 - Royals ace Bob Davies, a Hall of Fame Member, clamly sunk two free throws with 40 seconds left to play, giving Rochester a 77-75 lead, another Royals' score and the game ended 79-75 in Rochester's favor, giving them the 1950-1951 NBA Title.



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