The Philadelphia Warriors hosted the New York Knicks in a critical game for both teams. The Warriors, despite playing indifferent basketball in recent weeks, were within a game and a half of the Knicks for second place in the Eastern Division. New York, for their part, were just 5-16 since the middle of December. In response, head coach Neil Cohalan had made significant changes, trading guard Bob Mullens to Toronto for 6’5″ forward Bob Fitzgerald and adding 5’10″ guard Frank Mangiapane, a former NYU star, most recently seen playing in the American Basketball League.
The Warriors would counter with the league’s leading scorer, Joe Fulks in the frontcourt along with Angelo Musi at the other forward position and Howie Dallmar, who was receiving notice around the league for his superior ball-handling skills, in the pivot. At guards were George Senesky and former Knick Ralph Kaplowitz. Coming off the bench would be Jerry Rullo, the league’s leader in field goal accuracy, shooting .353 from the floor.
The teams had last met on December 5. The Knicks had come into the game sporting a nine-game winning streak and an 11-2 record overall, the best in the league at the time. The Warriors had ended the skein with a convincing 62-51 and shortly thereafter, the New Yorkers had started their slide.
Noting the importance of the game, Philadelphia fans gave the team a sellout and the Warriors immediately rewarded their enthusiasm. While the 6’11″ Cluggish, assigned to guard Fulks, shut the scoring wizard down completely over the first 20 minutes of the game, Senesky took up the slack sinking five of his first six shots and leading the Warriors to an 11 point lead before the first quarter was half over. After the initial flurry, the Philadelphia five kept up the pressure and led 26-13 at the end of the period. The Knicks, refusing to be dismissed so easily, fought back to within seven points at the half.
In the third quarter, the teams played evenly, but early in the last stanza the Knicks closed to within five before eventually succumbing, 65-58. Cluggish, playing a physical and relatively effective game against Fulks before fouling out, held Jumping Joe to 18 points, a mark that still led both teams in scoring. Senesky tallied 14 of his own. Palmer led the Knicks with 16.
With the win, the Warriors improved to 19-16, now just a half game behind the Knicks in the division, though still well back of the 29-6 Washington Capitols.
January 30, 1947
Warriors 65, Knicks 58
New York scoring
BAA Eastern Division standings at the end of the day (courtesy ShrpSports):
Washington 29-6 .829
New York 19-15 .559 9 1/2
Philadelphia 19-16 .543 10
Providence 16-18 .471 12 1/2
Toronto 12-22 .353 16 1/2
Boston 13-25 .342 17 1/2