It’s been a while since Madison Square Garden saw a nearly packed house.
It’s been even longer since MSG hosted a playoff game.
Both droughts came to an end on Sunday for New York’s playoff against the Atlanta Hawks. The Knicks sold out more than 15,000 tickets for Sunday’s Game 1 after allowing roughly 2,000 fans per game during the regular season when the initial COVID-19 crowd restrictions were lifted.
Add in the fact that MSG hadn’t hosted a playoff game since 2013, and Knicks fans were ready, Spike Lee included. The iconic film director and devout Knicks fan got there early to give some coaching advice to All-Star Julius Randle during warmups.
While MSG wasn’t quite filled to its roughly 19,000-seat capacity, it might as well have been once the lights went down.
When rookie Immanuel Quickly hit a transition 3-pointer in the midst of a second-quarter Knicks run, Lee and the rest of the MSG crowd went berserk.
A third-quarter transition dunk by RJ Barrett sent fans into a frenzy yet again.
Sports fans have had precious few moments to celebrate since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sunday marked a milestone for a return to normalcy with scenes like MSG’s and the swarm of golf fans who witnessed Phil Mickelson’s historic victory at the PGA Championship.
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