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The 10 greatest rivalries in NBA history

Gautam Varier
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
21.10K   //    Timeless

Over the years, we've seen many intense rivalries in the NBA and in many ways, it is these match-ups that have defined the sport that we love so much. While today's match-ups may not have the fire of the ones which came before, due to the camaraderie among the players nowadays, there's been no shortage of drama and excitement. Many of the rivalries on this list have gone off the boil somewhat off late, but in their heyday, they were as competitive and personal as it gets. So, here are the top 10:


#10 Knicks-Heat

Imag
Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing

This was as ugly as it gets. Off the court drama? Check. Fights in-game? Check. Epic Playoff encounters? Check!. Up to 1995, the Knicks and the Heat had never met in the playoffs and there was nothing much to note in regular season match-ups, but all that changed in the off-season.

Pat Riley, stepped down as the Knicks Coach for reasons unknown in 1995. Some speculated he felt the team was no longer a contender and others thought he wanted more power. All the questions were answered, when Riley took over as Team President and Coach of the Miami Heat. The Knicks accused Miami of tampering and eventually got a draft pick and $1m as compensation. Riley quickly transformed the Heat into a contender and that's when the rivalry took off.

The teams faced off against each other 4 years in a row in the playoffs in a defensive struggle and games which were marred by violence. Whether it was P.J.Brown body slamming Charlie Ward or Alonzo Mourning & Larry Johnson going at each other the next year, etc. All 4 series were as competitive as it gets and ended up going the distance.

The rivalry didn't last too long, however, with the Knicks being the dumpster fire that they have been for almost 2 decades now. Despite its short tenure, this might well be the most intense rivalry of the lot at the time.

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