It wasn’t a thrilling comeback or a series of intense fights, it was a basketball rivalry born out of a fight. And it got even more intense—after yet another battle.
There were two upsets in those NBA playoffs: the No. 5-seeded Knicks against the No. 4-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers and the No. 8-seeded Miami Heat against the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. But the rivalry between the Knicks and the Heat that flared up in the late 1990s was unexpectedly renewed in the Eastern his conference semifinal series, which begins Sunday afternoon.
While the team is different than it was a quarter-century ago, many fans are not, and their long-standing memories naturally date back to the days of Pat Riley, Charles Oakley, Patrick Ewing and Tim Hardaway. And many have vivid images in their minds of a 5-foot-9 coach clinging to the legs of a 6-foot-10 player.
1997: Frakas where it all started
The elements were there. The move was controversial as Riley, who led the Knicks for his third season, took over as Heat coach. The Heat ultimately had to send a first-round pick to the Knicks after it was discovered that they tampered with Riley while he was still under contract.
The Eastern Conference semifinals kept their cool. The Knicks took his 3-1 lead, but the Heat were on their way to victory in Miami, but with his two minutes left, things fell apart.
It started when Knicks’ Charles Oakley ran into Heat’s Alonzo Mourning and was ejected. On the next play, Knicks’ Charlie Ward crouched and hit PJ Brown at knee level. Then Brown picked up a six-foot ward, pushed him over the edgeThis started a brawl with plenty of grabbing and at least one obscene gesture.
The most important factor was most of the Knicks team off the bench. While they weren’t heavily involved in the ruckus, this violated a sacred NBA rule designed to limit combat to those already on the court. With five Knicks suspended (Ward, Patrick Ewing, Alan Huston, John Starks and Larry Johnson), Brown was the only Heat player. This was a post-season record for heavy suspension.
Penalties were staggered because so many Knicks were suspended. Three Knicks missed the sixth game and two will miss the seventh game. Miami lost to the Chicago Bulls in the next round.
1998: “It’s cold. It’s cold.”
Everyone wanted a rematch, and they got it in the first round because the Knicks were the No. 7 seed after Ewing only played 26 games that season as a result of a broken wrist. The New York Times headline for a preview of the series was, “Gentlemen, sharpen your elbows.”
With one second left in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks were trying to tie the series at two games apiece, with Morning and Johnson tangled under the basket. Punches were thrown and it all ended with Knicks manager Jeff Van Gundy hanging onto Morning’s leg on the court.
“I’m no fool,” said Van Gundy. “I wasn’t attacking anyone. I was trying to get between the two guys, so no punches were thrown.
“I’ve never been swayed by a man,” Johnson said. 1.4 left. it’s cold It is cold. Both combatants were suspended for the five-game series finale.
This time, though, the Knicks seemed to benefit, winning Game 5, 98-81, and the series in Miami. They were eliminated in the next round by the Pacers.
1999: Giant Slayer
Round 3 was played in a strike year when the regular season was just 50 games long. The shortened season yielded some odd results, with the Knicks barely sneaking into the playoffs as the eighth seed. I was.
The teams traded victories to set up a decisive Game 5 in Miami. At one time, the series’ most memorable moments involved basketball rather than fistfights.
With 4.5 seconds remaining, the Knicks inbounded the ball by one. Alan Houston stepped off the jumper from the free-throw line.
“It looked like it stopped for two minutes instead of two seconds,” Houston says. “This is the biggest shot I’ve ever taken.”
“If we didn’t get the bounce, we would be talking about something completely different now,” he added.
The Knicks defeated No. 1 for second as the eighth seed. The feat has come up against the Heat several times, including this season. They made it to the finals in a season of havoc, losing to the San Antonio Spurs.
2000: Beard of difference
It was the fourth long-distance match in the Knicks Heat series for the first time in four years. In terms of pure basketball fun, this conference semifinal probably ranks him #1 among his four matchups. The team won his first six games alternately, being decided by 4, 6, 1 (overtime), 8, 6, 2 points.
Game 7 took place in Miami and was a hard-fought battle. With him 12 seconds left, the Heat inbounded the ball by one point behind him. However, Ewing and Johnson prevented Morning from getting the ball and Jamal Mashburn denied the shot. With this, the likely winner of the heat was the unlikely marksman, Clarence his Wetherspoons. he missed the jumper
Knicks’ Latrell Sprewell rebounded but was ruled out of bounds with two seconds remaining. However, referee Dick Babetta overruled the call and the Knicks won the game and the series, taking the Heat to their third straight win.
Angry Heat fans threw debris onto the court. “That’s why they call him Nick Bavetta,” Hardaway said. “That’s wrong.”
The Knicks lost to the Indiana Pacers in the conference finals.
last 20 years
Rivalries like the Knicks Heat aren’t going to last forever, at least at that level of heated intensity.
After four consecutive playoff meetings, they met only once in 2012.
But now the rivalry is back. The 8th-seeded Heat shocked the Bucks in five games, but Giannis Antetokounmpo’s exit in Game 1 helped him miss Games 2 and 3. The series ended with Jimmy scoring a 16-point rally in the fourth quarter and winning Game 5 in overtime. Butler scored 42 points.
The Knicks defeated the Cavaliers five times to win the playoff series for the first time in ten years. Their defense held Cleveland to 94.2 points per game, with Jalen Brunson averaging 24 points.
Butler, Branson and their teammates will decide the series, not Oakley or Mourning. And maybe it will play cleanly and showcase excellent fundamentals.
But please forgive some fans secretly rooting for Knicks manager Tom Thibodeau hanging on Bam Adebayo’s leg.