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Knicks Lose Opener to Bullets as Guerin Sits

Oct. 17, 1963 - The Knicks lost their opener, and what else is new? The score was 115-113. The opposition was the Baltimore Bullets, formerly Chicago’s Zephyrs. And the big question asked by the 7,789 fans as the Garden was: “Whatever became of Richie Guerin?” Guerin, the all-time leading scorer for the Knicks, the man with the drive to pull games out and keep the team moving, played precisely eight minutes. That’s eight of 48. He played seven of the eight minutes in the second quarter. He played the last 59 seconds of the game when, with the score tied at 113, he was asked to make a miracle. It wasn’t coach Ed Donovan who did the asking; he had been bounced out of the game eight minutes earlier by referee Eric Strom after picking up his second technical foul. It was assistant coach Red Holzman, substituting for Donovan, who suddenly remembered Guerin. Richie had been seated in utter disgust, alone on the bench, while the club huddled during a timeout. When Holzman called his name, he whipped off his sweatjacket and tried to rally the club by feeding Art Heyman, the brilliant rookie from Duke. But Heyman, who had poured in 19 and done some fine things on the floor, fouled out on Rod Thorn with 41 seconds left. Thorn dropped one of two for the one-point Baltimore lead, then Si Green blocked Tom Gola’s last-gasp shot for the Knicks and, with two seconds left, Thorn tossed in a free throw for the clincher. In the clubhouse, Donovan said he kept Guerin on the bench because he wanted to “look at the kids” — and he added he thought they did a good job. Guerin was asked what he thought. “I guess,” said Richie, “he knows what he’s doing.”

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