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Robertson Leads Royals to Victory over Knicks at MSG

Feb. 16, 1964 - The artistry of Oscar Robertson and the determination of the rest of the Cincinnati Royals was never more evident last night as they overcame the Knicks, 130-124, for their 10th consecutive victory after New York had taken a 17-point lead in the second period. A Madison Square Garden crowd of 10,839 was just about convinced the Royals’ record string of wins was at an end and the Knicks were about to break an eight-game losing streak of their own when the Big O began his team-sparking play that resulted in the big victory and 44 points for himself. The triumph, which keeps the Royals breathing on the heels of the East-leading Celtics, also equals the club’s highest number of wins (43) in any one season since coming to Cincinnati from Rochester in 1957.

The Knicks’ Art Heyman, playing 41 minutes with Johnny Egan still sidelined with a bad ankle, had 29 points, 20 in the first half as the Knicks apparently could do no wrong. But in the long run, it was Oscar, with key assistance from Jerry Lucas’s 21 points and 20 rebounds; 20 points from Wayne Embry; and 16 from Adrian Smith who spelled doom for the New Yorkers.

“We’ve been on our win streak since Smith became a starter,” coach Jack McMahon said afterward, “and he’s been a big reason for it.” The Royals now own a 10-1 edge over the last-place Knicks, who are now only a few games from official elimination from the playoffs. “We got caught napping tonight,” said McMahon. “We’ve beaten them so easy in the past, we were fooled. This was a real tough one.”


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