Apr 28, 2023 - Sports

Heat and Knicks rekindle old-school rivalry with semifinals matchup

UNITED STATES - APRIL 30: New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat at MSG for Game4... Knicks Charles Oakley is shoved by Heats Alonzo Mourning while Jeff Van Gundy got a piece of Alonzo's leg trying to seperate players.

Heat center Alonzo Mourning shoves Knicks center Charles Oakley while Jeff Van Gundy clings to Mourning's leg in the infamous 1998 brawl. Photo: Linda Cataffo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Miami has beaten the best — now it's time for the rest.

What's happening: After shocking the No. 1 Bucks in the first round, the Heat play the Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, reviving an old-school rivalry marked by infamous brawls in the '90s.

  • Game 1 is Sunday at 1pm at Madison Square Garden.

Why it matters: It has been a storybook journey for the No. 8 Heat and superstar Jimmy Butler, whose offensive dominance and late-game magic has captured the imaginations of Miami fans who didn't have the highest hopes after the Heat barely made the playoffs.

Flashback: The most infamous moment of the rivalry was the 1998 fight between Miami's Alonzo Mourning and New York's Larry Johnson, which ended with Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy clinging to Mourning's leg. (There was a bench-clearing brawl the year before, too.)

  • They last met in the playoffs in 2012, when the Heat easily beat New York in the first round en route to its first of two-straight championships of the Big 3 era.

Yes, but: The last meaningful playoff series between the two teams was in 2000, when the Knicks beat the Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern semifinals.

  • "We understand the rivalry that they had back in the day. It's not the same," Heat point guard Kyle Lowry said, per the Sun Sentinel.

Of note: The No. 5 seed Knicks — led by point guard Jalen Brunson and forward Julius Randle — beat Miami in three out of four games this season.


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