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Knicks, Heat Rivalry Stretches Back More Than A Decade Before 2012 NBA Playoffs

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Knicks-Heat Rivalry: Miami Heat's Alonzo Mourning, right, and New York Knicks' Charles Oakley grapple as Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy holds on, April 30, 1998.
Knicks-Heat Rivalry: Miami Heat's Alonzo Mourning, right, and New York Knicks' Charles Oakley grapple as Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy holds on, April 30, 1998.

MIAMI (AP) — The New York Knicks and Miami Heat are about to meet in a postseason series for the fifth time, starting Saturday. Miami has held the home-court advantage in every one, and all four went to an ultimate game with the Heat prevailing in 1997 and the Knicks winning in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

A look back:

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1997: Heat 4, Knicks 3

Miami trailed the series 3-1, when the matchup — and New York's Charlie Ward — got flipped upside down. A fight in Game 5, sparked by Ward and Heat forward P.J. Brown getting tangled up under a basket, not only raised the intensity of the rivalry several notches but turned things in Miami's favor. Allan Houston, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and John Starks all were suspended for leaving the Knicks' bench to join the fight, and Miami won the last three games of the series by an average of 10.3 points.

Quotable: "We're not a team to say, 'We're going to go out and bust you.' We knew what we needed to do to get it done." — Heat guard Tim Hardaway.

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1998: Knicks 3, Heat 2

Miami went up 2-1 by stealing Game 3 at Madison Square Garden, and after the Knicks tied it with a 90-85 win in Game 4 (best remembered by the Alonzo Mourning-Larry Johnson fight where New York coach Jeff Van Gundy tried pulling Mourning out the fray by grabbing onto his leg), the Heat returned home with a chance to oust their rivals again. Patrick Ewing was suspended for Game 5, as were Mourning and Johnson, who was ruled out of the deciding Heat-Knicks game for the second straight year by the NBA. Allan Houston scored 30 points, and the Knicks rolled to a 98-81 win.

Quotable: "This book is not closed. This is just another chapter." — Knicks guard Charlie Ward.

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1999: Knicks 3, Heat 2

Miami was the No. 1 seed in the lockout-shortened season, and needed to win Game 4 in New York just to come home for another winner-take-all matchup. Tied after one quarter, still tied after three quarters, the Knicks were down by one with 0.8 seconds left when Houston's 15-footer hit the front of the rim, hit the backboard, and then dropped for a 78-77 win.

Quotable: "Life in basketball has a lot of suffering in it, and we will suffer this one." — Heat coach Pat Riley.

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2000: Knicks 4, Heat 3

Another chance to finish off the Knicks slipped away in Game 6 for Miami, which wasted a 45-30 halftime lead at Madison Square Garden. And in Game 7, the Heat led again by double-figures before the Knicks broke Miami's heart and before their home fans yet again. Ewing's dunk with 1:20 left put the Knicks up 83-82 and Miami never scored again. Clarence Weatherspoon had a chance to win it with less than 10 seconds left, but his jumper missed. Miami left steaming after Dick Bavetta overruled fellow referee Bennett Salvatore and gave the Knicks a critical time-out with 2.1 seconds left.

Quotable: "It will always be an intense rivalry. This was something, wasn't it?" — Knicks forward Marcus Camby.

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