1997: P.J. Brown vs. Charlie Ward
Moving to number three on our list is the infamous 1997 Game 5 brawl between the Knicks and the Miami Heat. This rivalry got intensified the moment head coach Pat Riley left the Knicks in 1995 after failing to repeat a trip to the NBA Finals (Hello Patrick Ewing finger-roll).
Riley’s move to the Heat seemed to be controversial according to the Knicks, so ever since Riley went down south, so did the interaction between both teams.
In Riley’s second season with the Heat in 1997, they overtook the Knicks and crowned themselves the Atlantic Division Champions. The two teams met in the Eastern Conference semifinals in what it seemed like the Knicks had an overall better squad.
They took a commanding 3-1 lead over the Heat, but couldn’t shut the series down in Game 5 and went away with 96-81 loss. Despite the score, a brawl between Heat’s P.J. Brown and Knick’s point guard Charlie Ward was the center of attention.
At the beginning of the video, while under the basket, Ward got in front of Brown in which Brown grabbed Ward and body slammed him like a rag doll. This sparked a benches-clearing melee with Allan Houston, Ewing, Johnson and Starks all finding themselves involved.
Severe Knicks suspensions were handed down and the Knicks blew the series.
This was the first fight of many between the Heat and Knicks.