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The New York Knicks are ready to party like it's 1997 ... and 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2012.

Hours after the Knicks disposed of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals for their first playoff series victory in a decade, the eighth-seeded Miami Heat finished one of the biggest upsets in recent NBA playoff memory, besting the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 127-126 in overtime to set up a conference semifinal meeting. 

Miami's upset of Milwaukee thus sets the stage for a revival of one of the most intense postseason rivalries in NBA history. Game 1 will be held on Sunday at Madison Square Garden with tip-off slated for 1 p.m. ET. 

The Knicks and Heat have done playoff battle on five prior occasions, with the Knicks holding a 3-2 series advantage. Their postseason meetings have been defined by dramatics and outright fisticuffs, many of them occurring when the teams squared off in four consecutive Eastern Conference tournaments. 

Miami won the first meeting in the 1997 conference semifinals, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to earn a seven-game victory. That meeting was best remembered for a brawl ignited by a post-free throw get-together between PJ Brown and Charlie Ward in Game 5. That led to a fracas that produced suspensions for Knicks stars Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, Larry Johnson, and John Starks (all of whom left the bench). Without their star power, the Knicks lost the latter two games while Miami fell to eventual Chicago in the conference ensuing conference finals.

The first rematch, in 1998's opening round proved equally physical, with the seventh-seeded Knicks disposing of the second-ranked Heat in five games. The main event was a Game 4 brawl between former teammates Johnson and Alonzo Mourning, featuring Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy clinging to the latter's leg in a futile event to break up the battle. With Mourning out thanks to a resulting suspension, the Knicks won the deciding game by 17 before falling to Indiana in round two. 

With Miami entering this latest matchup as the East's eighth seed, parallels will likely be drawn to the 1999 get-together, also coming in the first round, when Miami took home the East's regular season title after Michael Jordan's departure from Chicago. Back then, the Knicks were an eight seed during the lockout-shortened campaign but became the second No. 8 triumph, doing so in five-game fashion. Houston closed things out with a game-winning, one-handed basket in the final second to not only seal the series but ignite a run to the NBA Finals. 

One more seven-game series awaited in 2000's conference semifinals won by the Knicks, the winning one-point margin in the decider provided by a Ewing dunk. In that final game, New York erased an 11-point deficit in the fourth thanks in part to 10 points in the final frame from Chris Childs. A return trip to the Finals was denied by the aforementioned Indiana Pacers. 

The rivalry went dormant upon the Knicks' trade of Ewing to the Seattle SuperSonics in 2000 but briefly reawakened when the teams did battle in the opening round at the end of another shortened season 12 years later. Alas for New York, Miami made quick work of the Knicks in the second year of the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh collaboration. Despite a strong performance from Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks fell in five games, becoming the first victim in James' first-ever championship trek. 

Inklings of the rivalry's old days were present when the Knicks and Heat did battle four times this season. The Knicks took home the slate by a 3-1 tally but all four meetings were decided by nine points or less. By far the most famous matchup was the one on Mar. 3, when Julius Randle's last-second triple served as the last of his 43 points and the winning tally of a 122-120 victory, the penultimate tally in a season-best nine-game winning streak.

New York and Miami spent the latter portions of the season engaged in a battle to avoid the Play-In Tournament though the Knicks were able to pull away into the fifth seed thanks in part to the February arrival of Josh Hart from Portland. The Heat, last year's Eastern regular season champion and a conference finalist, settled into the original seventh seed, the top seed in the Play-In tournament. They dropped their Play-In opener to Atlanta before locking up No. 8 by beating Chicago. 

By beating the top-seeded Bucks, primarily thanks to the efforts of Jimmy Butler, the Heat became the sixth No. 8 seed to win its first-round playoff matchup. Butler had a 56-point game in a Game 4 victory earlier this week and sent Wednesday's clincher to overtime with a jaw-dropping score off an inbounds pass.

The winner of the Knicks-Heat series will play either Atlanta, Boston, or Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference's NBA Finals bid. No. 3 Philadelphia swept the Brooklyn Nets in four games in the opening round while the second-ranked Boston Celtics own a 3-2 lead on the No. 7 Atlanta Hawks, who host the sixth game of the series on Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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