A Timeline Of The Knicks-Pacers Rivalry Ahead Of The 2024 Renewal

The New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers will meet in the 2024 Eastern Conference semifinals, renewing one of the great rivalries of the 1990s. From 1993 to 2000, the two teams met six times in the playoffs, with each team winning three of those series.

Since then, the teams have met just once in the postseason (2013) in 23 years, but the 2024 edition feels like it could be the start of another postseason rivalry between Indiana and New York. It’s hard to replicate the roster continuity of the 90s in today’s game, but both teams have cornerstones set at the guard position with Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Brunson, and if both can retain their ex-Raptor wings in Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, that would seem like two good starts to perennial playoff cores.

What makes the 2024 edition of this rivalry so interesting is the divergent styles the two teams play. Indiana likes to play at breakneck speed, pushing the pace off makes and misses alike to stress opposing defenses and attack weak points before they can get set in the halfcourt. New York, meanwhile, is a classic Tom Thibodeau outfit, looking to wear you down with defensive pressure and intensity, and then dominating on the boards on both ends. The clash of styles should be fascinating, as each team will look to dictate the tempo which could lead to wild swings.

If we’re lucky, the 2024 renewal will find footing alongside some of the past epics between these two teams, and before we get to Monday night’s Game 1, we wanted to look back at the history between New York and Indiana in the playoffs and some of the moments that defined the rivalry.

1993 Eastern Conference First Round (Knicks 3-1)

The 1993 first round matchup between the top-seeded Knicks and the 8-seeded Pacers is where it all began. The Knicks won in four games, with Patrick Ewing leading the way while getting help from John Starks and others. But the seeds of a rivalry Reggie Miller averaged 31.5 points per game in the series and drawing a theatrical ejection of John Starks (who just went for 29/11 in Game 2) for a headbutt in Game 3 — which would serve as the intro to the fantastic 30 for 30, Winning Time.

1994 Eastern Conference Finals (Knicks 4-3)

Things really picked up in 1994, as the two teams looked to take advantage of Michael Jordan’s absence from the league and punch their ticket to the NBA Finals. It was a grueling 7-game duel that culminated in a wild finish to Game 7, with Patrick Ewing putting up a huge 24-point, 22-rebound game, including the go-ahead tip-dunk in the final minute. That was followed by a Reggie Miller airball that sent the Knicks to the NBA Finals.

While the Knicks got the last laugh, that series was where the legend of Reggie Miller in the playoffs really grew with his Game 5 performance in the Garden, scoring 25 in the fourth quarter to lead Indiana to a win — and then delivered his iconic “Spike Who?” line to Ahmad Rashad after the game.

1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Pacers 4-3)

The 1995 Pacers-Knicks conference semifinals is one of the all-time great NBA Playoff series, providing an almost unbelievable number of memorable moments. It started with the biggest of them all, as Reggie Miller and the Pacers quite literally stole Game 1 thanks to Miller’s 8 points in 9 seconds, which remains one of the craziest playoff sequences in NBA history.

The Pacers would win both back in Indiana to put the Knicks on the brink back in the Garden in Game 5, but they were able to stay alive thanks to a game-winning runner from Ewing in the final seconds, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

After winning Game 6 in Indiana, the Knicks had a chance to pull off a remarkable comeback from down 3-1 and found themselves in the same position as Game 5. This time, however, Ewing could not provide the heroics, as a running layup at the buzzer hit off the back rim and bounced out to send the Pacers to the Conference Finals.

1998 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Pacers 4-1)

It would take three years for the two teams to meet again, this time with some different supporting casts, but most of the main stars remained the same. The Pacers would once again get the best of the Knicks, winning in five games with Game 4 being the standout. Miller once again had a big game in New York, scoring 38 points, including a game-tying three in the closing seconds, in an Indiana overtime win. That game also featured another scuffle between Miller and Starks, with the Knicks guard getting ejected in the first quarter for throwing an elbow to Miller’s head.

1999 Eastern Conference Finals (Knicks 4-2)

The two teams met again in the Conference Finals in the strike-shortened 1999 season, where the 8-seeded Knicks gave Miller a taste of his own medicine. After splitting games in Indiana — where Ewing suffered an Achilles injury — the Knicks were able to improbably hold serve in Game 3 thanks to a Larry Johnson 4-point play in the closing seconds to turn a 3-point deficit into a 1-point win.

While the Pacers would even the series at 2-2 in the next game, the Knicks won Games 5 and 6 to become the first 8-seed in league history to reach the NBA Finals.

2000 Eastern Conference Finals (Pacers 4-2)

A year later, Reggie Miller got to put on his final big show in the Garden, exacting revenge on the Knicks in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals by scoring 34 in Game 6 in New York to send the Pacers to their first (and only) NBA Finals. This was the final battle between Miller’s Pacers and Ewing’s Knicks, as the New York legend would move on to the Sonics that offseason for the twilight of his career.

2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Pacers 4-2)

The 2013 edition saw the Paul George-Roy Hibbert era Pacers at the peak of their powers go up against the best Knicks team of the Carmelo Anthony era. The two teams split the first two in New York before the Pacers took control by winning both at home. Game 6 was the best game of the series, as the Pacers were able to get the series clinching win at home despite a 39-point performance from Melo — thanks to a playoff career-high 25 from Lance Stephenson.