DAR Sports Classic Rivalries: NBA- Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks

October 23, 1966. The beginning of a heated rivalry. The Bulls joined the NBA and would play the New York Knickerbockers for the first time then. While the teams would play each other basically every year, it wasn't until the late 80s-early 90's that the rivalry intensified. During the Jordan era and the Ewing era for both respective teams, this became the rivalry to watch in the NBA. Today, we gathered the team to discuss this all time great rivalry.

A rivalry so intense, it used to get its own Christmas Day game, even if both teams were in a down period. The Bulls/Knicks rivalry was one of the best because it showed off some of the best players, some of the harshest defenses, and two teams that hated each other...mainly because they were so alike. It reminds me of the Ravens/Steelers rivalry in that it wasn't really based off some contrived BS. People affiliated from both teams, from fan to owner, they wanted to best each other.

I need the Knicks to not be...the mid-2010s Knicks. We need more crazy ride powerhouse rivalries in the NBA today.

The 90's was the best era for everything. Movies, music, and sports were all epic. Michael Jordan knew the Knicks were the team to beat during that time. He seemingly played better every time they met. In a 7-year span, the Knicks and Bulls faced each other in the playoffs. Growing up, those two teams were the ones to watch and be excited about.

The Knicks were trying to come for the Bulls’ spot and the Bulls just weren’t having it. With Patrick Ewing, John Starks, and Charles Oakley on one roster and Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Toni Kukoc on the other, it was hard not to watch. The intensity, competitiveness, and pure talent on the court were what made the games exciting. The Bulls came out with six titles during the 90's. Neither team has really been the same since. All we can do is hope for a rivalry of this caliber to exist again.

Knicks. Bulls. A classic, underrated rivalry. This rivalry became very intense in the late 80's-early 90's. Both teams were big playoff contenders, and often met up in the playoffs. Bulls won 6 out of 7 playoff rounds, with Knicks winning the 1994 ESF, their only round won against Chicago, and because Jordan wasn't playing basketball that year. Alot of players got into intense trash talk during the games, MJ, Pippen, and Greg Anthony standing out. It was considered a very big rivalry due to the cities and where the teams are from. New York & Chicago. Big Apple and Windy City. It was for sure a great rivalry. I'd like to see it get heated again, with this time, instead of Ewing/Starks-MJ/Pippen, we'd get Melo/Porzingis-Butler/Rose.

This might be the greatest rivalry in NBA history to me personally. No, it isn't the Lakers vs Celtics, this rivalry is my personal favorite. I have been a Bulls fan since a very young age, and I started watching the NBA right as this rivalry picked up. It was the first actual rivalry to catch my eye. For me, it became, let me watch this game because I know the Knicks and Bulls are going to put on a show and the teams never disappointed. Their second time meeting in the playoffs was the first time that I really got the opportunity to watch them. It was 1989, and a very very young True had no idea what he was watching at the time, but I know the TV was on a Bulls vs Knicks game. This was during the Bad Boys Era still, as the Pistons ruled the Eastern Conference along with the Celtics at times, and the Bulls vs Knicks rivalry would see both teams rise to higher prominence as the 90's hit. The Bulls would win the 1989 encounter, and the battles never stopped after.

Their next meeting would be in 1991, when the Knicks managed to squeeze into the playoffs as an 8th seed to face the no. 1 seed Bulls. The Bulls swept the Knicks in the playoffs and moved on to win their NBA Championship. The Knicks vowed to come back harder and the following year, we found ourselves with the Bulls vs Knicks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Now, this series was not as Bulls dominated as previous ones, as the series went to 7 games. The series was intense and aggressive, but we all know how this story ends: the Bulls would win and go on to capture the 2nd title of their first 3 peat. The 1992 series would see arguments and aggressive play involving Xavier McDaniel, Greg Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Pippen, Jordan, and others throughout. This was the turning point in the rivalry because it gave the Knicks a powerhouse feel, replacing the former powerhouses of Pistons and Celtics.

The 1993 playoff series would be for higher stakes and be different than before. The Knicks had home court advantage in this series and finished with a better regular season than the Bulls. The two teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals for the right to go to the NBA Finals. For the Bulls, it would mean a shot at the third title in a row, for the Knicks it would mean their return to the Finals and a shot at greatness. This is the most infamous series between the two as the Knicks went up 2-0 and the John Starks dunk over Horace Grant still resonates with fans to this day. The Bulls would regroup however and win 4 straight games to take the series and win the NBA Title that year. Now, after this interesting turn of events, Michael Jordan retired. While that would put a damper on the excitement of the rivalry, would that stop the competition? Not at all.

The 1994 Eastern Conference Semifinals would see another Bulls vs Knicks, this one more intense and controversial even without Jordan. Pippen and Kukoc were essentially the team leaders now and they still managed to lead the Bulls to a 7 game series, before the Knicks finally got that elusive victory over the Bulls in the playoffs. Game 5 of this series featured a controversial foul called which gave the Knicks the win. Game 3 featured a fight between Derek Harper and Jo Jo English, and things were chaos this whole series. The Knicks would win this series and make it to the Finals, but lost to the Houston Rockets. Now, after this meeting, they would face off in a pivotal regular season game in 1995. This was Michael Jordan's return to the Garden, as he had only been out of retirement for 5 games up until this point. Jordan  would score 55 points in a great game. The two teams didn't meet in the playoffs that year, but the Knicks would hand the Bulls a huge loss in the regular season the following year, 104-72.

That same season would be the last meeting in the 90's for the two teams in the playoffs when the Bulls beat the Knicks in 5 games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. This would see the official end of the intense rivalry between the two teams and the climax of one of the most entertaining rivalries we had ever seen. Though the Knicks usually took a loss, no other team during this period pushed the dominant Bulls quite like them. Now, while there isn't the level of intensity in the whole NBA that was shown in this rivalry, it is still possible for this to be rekindled with the new NBA era. Melo and company can step up and make the Knicks competitive, Rose and Butler can work together and we could very well see a Bulls vs Knicks semifinals this year in the playoffs. Regardless, this rivalry is the personification of greatness in the NBA.

What did you think of this great rivalry? Post comments below.



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