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 The ex-coach of the New York Knicks looks back in meandering fashion at his team's first championship, which capped one of the most exciting seasons in basketball history. For Holzman (A View from the Beach, 1980, also coauthored with New York Post sportswriter Lewin, etc.) and the Knicks, 1969 was the year it finally all came together. A scout for many years, Holzman had replaced Dick McGuire partway through the 1967 season. He had scouted every player on the now-legendary 1969-70 team, which included Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier, Dave DeBusschere, Cazzie Russell, and Dick Barnett. Not a big team or particularly fast, the Knicks won with ``team ball that featured passing, defense and intelligence.'' They set a record by winning 18 games in a row, shooting nearly 50% during the streak (Holzman supplies box scores for every game through the finals). The playoffs with Baltimore featured a great matchup of Frazier against Earl ``The Pearl'' Monroe. The Knicks prevailed, taking the seventh game 127-114, despite Monroe's 32 points, and they took on the Milwaukee Bucks and a 7'2'' rookie named Lew Alcindor (a.k.a. Kareem Abdul Jabbar), crushing them 132-96 in the fifth and deciding game. Then it was on to the finals against a Laker team that boasted Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor. Following a humbling 135-113 defeat in the sixth game, the Knicks became world champions, rocking Madison Square Garden with a 113-99 victory. Great basketball, then, but Holzman wanders maddeningly from one season and subject to another with little or no transition- -often in the middle of a tangential anecdote. A poorly prepared, seemingly off-the-cuff account. (Photos--not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-85453-6
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993