It’s been a while since these two flagship franchises have met in the playoffs, but just a meeting alone makes headlines. Back in 2000, it was the 8th seeded Knicks that upset the top seeded Miami Heat on their home floor in Game 7.
It was the apocalypse for Miami fans and I was there.
Don’t expect this same kind of intensity in the current version of the Heat/Knicks playoff series. The Heat are the favorites, much like the 2000 vintage, but you get the sense that this Knicks team is not the kind of drastic underachieving type that was a part of the Knicks 2000 class. And these Knicks do not have the blind, raging, hatred of the Heat that those Knicks teams had.
So the Heat and the Knicks will dance around the court this afternoon. There will be some interesting story lines like the fact that Tyson Chandler, a member of last year’s Mavs team, stands in the way of the Heat’s return to the Finals. The roster has some interesting pieces, eve if they are older, in Baron Davis, Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudemire. Jeremy Lin is injured and may not return until later in the series and Mike Bibby makes his return to Miami on the other bench. Mike D’Antoni resigned and the interim coaching gig has fallen to Mike Woodson, formerly the Hawks head coach, who finished with an 18-6 run with the Knicks.
Lots of questions begin to be answered this afternoon as the Heat open up their series against Knicks. One of which will be whether or not this is a rivalry renewed.