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This past week has been a tough look for the New York Knicks and their fanbase. First, Trae Young appeared on JJ Redick's podcast and laughed at New Yorkers. Then yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Young leading the Atlanta Hawks to a Game One victory in Madison Square Garden.

But today marks 23 years since the Knicks completed a clean sweep of the Hawks in the 1999 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Everyone over 30 remembers that season for two things: Michael Jordan's second retirement and the lockout-shortened regular season. 

With Patrick Ewing in his penultimate year wearing blue and orange, and a Jordan-sized hole in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks swung for the fences. The front office overhauled the roster by trading for the controversial Golden State Warriors shooting guard Latrell Sprewell and the Toronto Raptors' promising young center in Marcus Camby. 

Now with John Starks and Charles Oakley gone, the team doubled down on their defensive identity. Sure, they finished in the bottom three of the league in offensive rating, but they had the fourth-best defense. They held their opponent to fewer than  80 points 15 times during the regular season.

However, the new-look Knicks struggled throughout the regular season, finishing with a record of 27-23. But as the playoff race heated up, so did the Knicks. They edged out the Charlotte Hornets by one game for the 8th-seed. Then against all odds, the Knicks became the second team in NBA history to defeat a 1-seed (Miami Heat) in a 5-game series.

Spike Lee reacts to the Knick last second win in the Conference final game at Madison Square Garden in NYC Saturday.

Spike Lee celebrating a victory during the 1999 NBA Playoffs.

The following series against the Hawks was over in less than a week. The Knicks capped off the sweep on May 24, 1999, with a 79-66 victory. Allan Houston led the way with 19 points. Ewing provided 17 points and 9 rebounds but, more importantly, contained perennial All-NBA center Dikembe Mutombo to just 11 points and 11 rebounds.

To make things even sweeter in the Big Apple, the Knicks defeated Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the team's luck ran out against the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 NBA Finals. The Spurs won the championship in a gentleman's sweep. Tim Duncan would become a mainstay on the championship podium over the next decade, while the Knicks have yet to return to the promised land. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

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