The Miami Heat and the New York Knicks have a fierce rivalry that has spanned decades. Whenever these two teams meet, it’s always a highly anticipated game that fans on both sides look forward to. From playoff battles to regular season showdowns, the Heat and Knicks have provided some of the most memorable moments in NBA history.
The Early Years
The Heat and Knicks first met on November 5, 1988, just a few years after Miami joined the league as an expansion team. The Knicks won that game 123-107, but it was just the beginning of a long and storied rivalry. In the early years, the Heat struggled to compete with the Knicks, who were one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. But Miami slowly built a competitive team, and by the mid-90s, the Heat and Knicks were both playoff contenders.
The Playoff Battles
Some of the most memorable moments in the Heat-Knicks rivalry came during their playoff battles. In 1997, the two teams met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the series went to a dramatic deciding Game 7. The Heat won that game 101-90, with Tim Hardaway scoring 38 points to lead Miami to victory. The Heat went on to win the Eastern Conference Championship that year, but they were eventually swept by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals.
The two teams met again in the playoffs in 1998, with the Knicks winning the series in five games. But the most infamous playoff series between the Heat and Knicks came in 1999, when the two teams faced off in the first round of the playoffs. The series was physical and intense, with both teams playing suffocating defense. The Knicks eventually won the series in five games, but the most memorable moment came in Game 5, when Heat coach Pat Riley and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy got into a heated altercation on the sidelines.
After a few quiet years in the rivalry, the Heat and Knicks reignited their feud in the early 2010s. The Heat had just formed their “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, and they were one of the top teams in the league. The Knicks, meanwhile, had acquired superstar Carmelo Anthony and were looking to make a deep playoff run.
The two teams faced off in the first round of the playoffs in 2012, with the Heat winning the series in five games. They met again in the playoffs in 2013, and this time the Heat swept the Knicks in four games en route to their second straight NBA Championship. The rivalry has cooled off in recent years, but with both teams looking to rebuild and return to contention, it’s only a matter of time before we see another classic Heat-Knicks battle.
The Heat-Knicks rivalry is one of the most intense and passionate rivalries in NBA history. From their early battles in the 90s to their playoff showdowns in the 2010s, these two teams have provided some of the most memorable moments in basketball. While the rivalry may have cooled off in recent years, the passion and intensity of Heat-Knicks games will never die.
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