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Indiana Pacers Reggie Miller, 1999 NBA Eastern Conference Finals

Source: Manny Millan / Getty

It’s been a while since the Pacers and Knicks squared off in the playoffs.  11 years since the last matchup in 2013. Even that series, which the Pacers won 4-2, paled in comparison to the fantastic showdowns in the 90s.  Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, Dale Davis, Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Charles Oakley, the list goes on.  Star-studded rosters, Reggie and Spike Lee chirping at each other, Hicks vs. Knicks, the choke sign, “ding dong, the witch is dead”, so many memories in those series.

Decades have past, the league is completely different now in terms of not only style of play but salary cap and everything else.  But could this once iconic rivalry get renewed starting tonight?  It may take a game or two, some extra-curriculars after a whistle or a Game 1 upset by the Pacers tonight but I think it can.

The Pacers are not favored to win this series.  In fact, nationally it appears people assume the Knicks will make short work of the Blue & Gold.  Knicks fans were disregarding the Pacers even before they finished their series with the Philadelphia 76ers when they chanted “Bring on Boston!”, completely moving past their second-round series opponent as an afterthought.

The Pacers will have their hands full trying to slow down Jalen Brunson, who seems to be scoring at will at this point.  Can Tyrese Haliburton get his scoring back on track?  Will Pascal Siakam find his red-hot shooting again and can Myles Turner help contain New York’s bigs?

It’ll be a fascinating series as it unfolds, especially if the Pacers can steal one at MSG in one of these first two.  The NBA needs more rivalries in general and the Pacers and Knicks stoking the flames of rivalries’ past would be a perfect blast from the past.

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