Knicks Quench Heat to Reach Finals
For the fourth straight year, the NBA's most intense rivalry went to the limit, and for the third straight year, the New York Knicks emerged on top.
Getting the winning points from Patrick Ewing with 1:20 left and the benefit of an official's call with 2.1 seconds left, the Knicks knocked the Heat out of the playoffs 83-82 in Game 7 of their second-round series.
They advance to the Eastern Conference finals against the top-seeded Indiana Pacers Tuesday in a rematch of last year's conference finals won by New York in six games.
Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy commented on NY's victory saying, "To come to the same place three straight years in the deciding game and win, it's an accomplishment."
As they have over the past four postseasons, New York and Miami scratched and clawed for the slightest advantage. Four of the seven games went down to the final possession and the teams were separated by only six points.
"I can't even say that they played well or we played poorly," Heat forward Jamal Mashburn said. "It hurts and eats at you. We had chances in this series to close it out. You prepare, you play your heart out and you come up short."
The Knicks won the last two games of the series and stopped a three-game losing streak in Game Sevens.
"It's just been amazing competition. I'm really proud of our players," Van Gundy said. "I have great empathy for their players, their team and their coaches because of how much they put into it."
"I've been in 13 world championship finals and I've never been in a final series that had as much intensity, as much effort, as this series," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "I would like to see Jeff Van Gundy take this thing and win a championship" – Miami (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)