To some players in the Heat-Knicks series, this is more than a first-round playoff matchup. For a pair of them, it is an opportunity to relive childhood memories.
Heat forwards Udonis Haslem and James Jones were both Miami high-school students during the heyday of the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry of the late '90s.
Now they find themselves front and center in the revival, which continued with the Heat taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening-round series with Monday's 104-94 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena, with the series to resume Thursday for Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.
"The fights and all the stuff? I was in high school," Haslem said. "I never thought I'd be part of something like this."
But he recognizes not everything is the same.
"It was exciting to see those guys going at it like that and the brawls," he said. "That was the old NBA. I would have loved to be a part of some of that.
"It's not the same. I don't think it's going to be as much dislike between both teams as it was back then, because you just have different players and we haven't been through the same things that those guys had been through."
That doesn't mean the memories weren't rousing.
"(Jeff) Van Gundy stuck on (Alonzo Mourning's) leg, Charlie Ward throwing P.J. (Brown) over his shoulder, Allan Houston hitting the shot, throwing the punch in the air," he said. "Those three memories all stick out."
The memories remain as vivid for Jones.
"I was in high school," he said. "Oh man, those were the high times. Those were the greatest basketball memories I have as far as NBA memories, because that was when the Miami Heat were an elite team in the league and those battles were prime-time battles.
"That's all they talked about in the papers in Miami, in the papers in New York. It gave Miami Heat fans their first taste of elite Miami Heat teams."
Now it's his turn.
"Definitely, to be a part of that continued rivalry, especially where we are as a team and where they are positioned to go, the fan support, and all the popularity, the stars back in the building on each team," he said.