By Rafik Dimian
The Knicks–Heat rivalry was a rivalry between two professional basketball teams, the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat, of the National Basketball Association.
Known as one of the fiercest rivalries in recent history, the Knicks–Heat rivalry was derived from their frequent, and frequently long, playoff series. Prior to their rivalry, there had never been an occasion in the NBA wherein two teams had met in postseason play four consecutive seasons and had seen each series extend to the maximum number of games in each of the four series. The Knicks and Heat thus made history by meeting in the playoffs for the maximum number of games every year from 1997 to 2000. The aggressive nature of these games—defensive struggles marked by numerous foul calls and intense physical play—can be traced to the highly defensive style of Pat Riley, former coach of both teams and the central figure of the rivalry.