The New York Knicks have a rich history and a passionate fan base, which naturally leads to some intense rivalries.
Over the years, the Knicks have faced several challenges on the court, and these battles have helped shape the identity and story of the team.
With each season, rivalries evolve, and in the most recent season, a few key opponents have taken center stage.
One of the most significant rivalries of the New York Knicks has been against the Atlanta Hawks, exemplified by a recent playoff face-off.
Add to that the ever-growing competition with the neighboring Brooklyn Nets and the classic clashes against the iconic Los Angeles Lakers, and you have a season filled with nail-biting games and unmatched energy.
As the Knicks continue their journey on the hardwood, these rivalries provide the necessary fuel to push the team toward excellence while keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
This dynamic landscape of competition is at the heart of the excitement surrounding the New York Knicks, making every game an unforgettable experience.
The rivalry between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics dates back to the early days of the NBA.
Both teams are part of the league’s original eight franchises, resulting in a long and storied history between them.
Although the Celtics have found more success overall, with 17 championships compared to the Knicks’ two, the battles between these East Coast powerhouses have always been intense and competitive.
The Miami Heat emerged as a major rival for the New York Knicks in the late 1990s, fuelled by a series of heated playoff matchups.
During the height of this rivalry, the two teams faced off four times in the playoffs from 1997 to 2000.
Many of these series featured intense physical play and memorable moments, such as the infamous brawl between the teams in the 1997 playoffs.
Though the rivalry has cooled somewhat in recent years, the history between the Knicks and Heat remains an important part of both franchises’ legacies.
In the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls loomed large as a rival for the New York Knicks, primarily due to the presence of Michael Jordan on the Bulls’ roster.
Their matchups were known for their intensity and high-stakes, especially in the playoffs. The teams faced each other in the postseason several times during the decade, including two memorable Eastern Conference Finals series in 1993 and 1996.
Though not as fierce today, the history between the Knicks and the Bulls remains a significant part of the NBA’s history.
The Indiana Pacers have long been a thorn in the side of the New York Knicks, particularly during the 90s.
The rivalry between these two teams was intensified by the high stakes playoff matchups that occurred during this time. In the 1993-1994 season, the Knicks faced off against the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. New York emerged victorious and advanced to the NBA Finals.
However, in 1995, the Pacers eliminated the Knicks in the second round, leading to a memorable moment when Pacers’ star Reggie Miller scored eight points in nine seconds during Game 1.
The Pacers continued to harass the Knicks in the playoffs later in the decade, and the teams faced each other again in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1999.
While the intensity of the rivalry has diminished over time, the history between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers remains a compelling part of NBA lore.
Current Eastern Conference Rivals
The New York Knicks have a fierce rivalry with the Brooklyn Nets, sparked by their close geographical proximity.
Dubbed the “Battle of New York” or “Battle of the Boroughs,” this rivalry sees the two New York teams go head-to-head for supremacy in the city.
The Knicks and Nets have had several competitive meetings, with the Knicks sometimes falling short in close-scoring games.
Another Eastern Conference rival for the New York Knicks is the Philadelphia 76ers.
The two teams have a storied history of heated matchups and intense competition.
As both the Knicks and the 76ers continue to improve their rosters and aim for playoff success, their rivalry is bound to grow stronger in the coming seasons.
The Atlanta Hawks have recently emerged as a significant rival for the New York Knicks, particularly after the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
The playoff series between the Knicks and Hawks saw some highly competitive games, with standout performances from both teams.
As the Hawks continue to rise in the Eastern Conference, expect more thrilling contests between these two teams.
The New York Knicks have had their fair share of rivalries throughout the years. Although they might not be currently dominating the NBA, their history has produced some memorable clashes with other teams.
The rivalries created in the process have left lasting marks on the league and its fans.
One of the most iconic rivalries has been with the Indiana Pacers. Throughout the ’90s, these two teams battled it out for dominance in the Eastern Conference. Their intense head-to-head matchups often sparked high emotions on and off the court.
Another notable rival is the Miami Heat. This rivalry began in the late ’90s and early 2000s, when both teams were fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The heated exchanges between the players on the court only added fuel to the fire.
The Knicks have also had their share of in-city rivalries, albeit short-lived, like the one with the Brooklyn Nets. The battle for New York basketball pride is always on the line when the two teams face each other – especially with both fan bases being so passionate.
Lastly, we cannot forget the historic battles between the Knicks and the Chicago Bulls, primarily during the Michael Jordan era. The Knicks fought hard against the dominant Bulls, and their games were always high-stakes and full of energy.
So, while the Knicks may not be the most formidable team in the NBA right now, these rivalries have left an indelible mark on the league’s history and have given fans plenty to talk about for years to come.
James is a big time NBA Golden State follower, who makes sure to catch games when he's in the area. He likes to follow International Soccer, with an interest in small town soccer club, Blackburn Rovers located in the North on the UK.