Knicks-Heat rivalry over the years
Miami and New York have shared a longstanding rivalry. It was triggered by Pat Riley, who left New York to coach the Heat; it was driven by four consecutive playoff series in the late 1990s; it was rekindled by LeBron James' announcement that he was spurning the Knicks in favor of South Beach; and now, it opens in 2012 with the Knicks reeling, and the Heat rolling.
Here are the top moments between the two teams:
1995-96: Riley heads south
With Michael Jordan out of the league, Pat Riley brought the Knicks back to the forefront of the Eastern Conference. With a trip to the finals -- albeit an empty-handed one -- in 1994, it looked like New York City had a shot at, once again, being the center of basketball.
However, after failing to make the '95 finals, Riley left town to take over in Miami as president and head coach. The Knicks eventually received a first-round pick out of the deal. Unfortunately, it was Walter McCarty.
1997 Eastern Conference semifinals: Heat dethrones the Knicks
With Riley on their side, the Heat went from Eastern Conference joke to true contender. Featuring Alonzo Mourning, Miami took the Atlantic Division from the Knicks.
The two teams went on to meet in the postseason, where it looked like it was the same old story, as the Knicks jumped out to a 3-1 lead. However, Miami managed to come back and take the series in 7 -- largely thanks to a plethora of suspensions, including Patrick Ewing in Game 6, stemming from a P.J. Brown-fueled brawl. The Heat lost to the Bulls in five in the Eastern finals.
1998 Eastern Conference first round, Game 4: Van Gundy takes on 'Zo
The miniscule, nerdy Jeff Van Gundy hanging from Mourning's leg: That's an image that will forever be ingrained in the minds of Knicks fans, both for its humor and as a representation of the fierce Knicks-Heat rivalry. The fight started between Larry Johnson and Mourning, and like '97, resulted in suspensions -- this time, Johnson and 'Zo.
1998 Eastern Conference first round, Game 5: Knicks upset Heat
Without Mourning, the Heat couldn't get past the seventh-seeded Knicks, as New York managed an upset of the East's second-seed in five games -- at the time, the maximum a first-round series could go. New York lost in the next round to Reggie Miller and the Pacers.
1999 Eastern Conference first round: The beginning of the run
Seeded eighth in the strike-shortened series, it looked as though the Heat were the new kings of the East, and the Knicks were just hanging on. Despite all odds, though, the Knicks managed to win the series -- again, in five games -- and make a run through the playoffs that concluded with the team's last appearance in the finals. New York lost to David Robinson, Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
2000 Eastern Conference semifinals: Knicks end an era with a 'W'
The last time both New York and Miami managed legitimately competitive teams in the same season, they met in the Eastern semis. The series was tight, going the distance for the fourth consecutive year, and resulted in a Knicks win. Indiana took out New York in the Eastern finals in six.
January 2007: Crawford scores 52
Twenty of 30 from the field, eight three-pointers, four free throws, and 52 points. Jamal Crawford, the Knicks' streaky shooting guard, looked like an all-time great for a night, scorching the Heat for New York's fifth-highest scoring output in franchise history. New York won the regular season match-up, 116-96.
February 2009: Don't elbow D-Wade
"When I'm angry, I attack." Wade's words were a reference to an elbow he received to the face from Danilo Gallinari with the Heat trailing 103-88 against the Knicks. Upset over being elbowed by the freshman, and perhaps even more bothered by the lack of a foul call, Wade came back on a mission, scoring 24 fourth-quarter points -- helping him to finish with 46 total -- en route to a remarkable comeback victory for Miami.
April 2009: Wade drops 55 on Knicks
Maybe Wade hadn't forgotten the elbow? No. 3 scored 55 against the Knicks -- one short of the Heat team record -- again in Miami, easily taking care of the Knicks. Mike D'Antoni called the performance "unbelievable," and said, "I was shaking my head, [saying] you can't be this good."
Summer of 2010: LeBron renews a rivalry, chooses Heat
Two seasons of embarrassment, salary cutting, draft-pick trading, promises to fans, preparation, anticipation ... and nothing to show for it. James broke the hearts of New Yorkers, choosing to head to South Beach to play with Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Pat Riley, and the Miami Heat.
December 2010: Big Three take two
The Heat, led by James, Bosh and Wade, took two games in an 11-day period from the Knicks. The first win, James' first trip to MSG since he signed with the Heat, saw the Heatles combine for 84 points in a 113-91 win on Dec. 17. On Dec. 28, it was the Dwyane Wade show; the shooting guard finished with 40 points in a 106-98 win in Miami. Both James and Bosh scored 18.
February 2011: Mr. Big Shot's coming out party
In the Knicks' third game after acquiring Carmelo Anthony, it was his sidekick, Chauncey Billups, that stole the show. Billups drained a three with 1:01 remaining, the exclamation point on a 7-0 run that gave the Knicks an 85-84 lead and silenced the Miami crowd. LeBron James had an opportunity with seconds left to put Miami on top, but Amar'e Stoudemire rejected his shot, and the Knicks held on to win, 91-86.