Reggie Miller, John Starks
(NBAE/Getty Images)

A Pacers-Knicks Playoff History Primer

After advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Thursday night, the Pacers will face a familiar foe in their next playoff series: the New York Knicks.

The Pacers and Knicks have an extensive history in the playoffs, having faced off seven times in the postseason, including six times in an eight-year span. It's a rivalry so famous, they've made movies about it.

As the two teams prepare for the latest chapter of their rivalry, let's take a stroll back through memory lane to discuss the history between the two franchises. From Reggie Miller and Spike Lee to Roy Hibbert and Carmelo Anthony, here's how the Pacers-Knicks rivalry has unfolded over the years.

1993: Starks' Headbutt of Miller Sparks a Rivalry

The Knicks were heavy favorites in the first playoff meeting between the two teams. New York was the top seed in the East after winning 60 games in the regular season, while the Pacers snuck into the playoffs as the eighth seed with a .500 record.

The Knicks took the first two games of the series at Madison Square Garden, but the series is best remembered for what happened in Game 3 at Market Square Arena. As Miller recalled in the 30-for-30 documentary, "Winning Time," when he went to shake hands with Knicks guard John Starks prior to the start of the game, Starks ignored him. "From that point, on I made it a mission -- I'm going to embarrass this kid," Miller said.

Miller was feeling himself on this particular night, knocking down shots and exchanging trash talk with Starks after every make. At one point in the third quarter, the two came face-to-face near midcourt. Starks lost his cool, headbutting Miller, who threw himself backwards in theatrical fashion. Starks was ejected and the Pacers rolled to a 116-93 win, with Miller scoring a game-high 36 points.

The Knicks would win Game 4 two days later to close out the best-of-five series, but the rivalry was officially born.

1994: Miller Taunts Spike Lee in Comeback Victory

Perhaps the most iconic image of Reggie Miller to Pacers fans is him making the choke sign at acclaimed director and Knicks superfan Spike Lee. That image is from Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, when Miller led the Pacers to an improbable comeback at Madison Square Garden.

The fifth-seeded Pacers had made their deepest postseason run, knocking off the Orlando Magic in the first round before upsetting top seed Atlanta in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to set up another meeting with the Knicks with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.

Both teams won the first two games on their homecourt, so the series shifted back to New York for Game 5 knotted at 2-2. The Knicks appeared on their way to another victory, up 70-58 entering the fourth quarter.

But Miller caught fire in the final frame, erupting for 25 points in the fourth quarter. As he hit shot after shot, he made sure to let Lee know, repeatedly shouting toward's Lee's courtside seat on his way back up the floor. The Pacers outscored New York 35-16 in the fourth quarter to steal the game, with Miller finishing with 39 points.

In his postgame interview with NBC's Ahmad Rashad, Miller smiled said "Spike Who?" when asked about his interactions with Lee.

As memorable as that moment was for Pacers fans, the Knicks got the last laugh in this particular series, winning Game 6 in Indianapolis and then closing out the series in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

1995: 8 Points in 9 Seconds, Pacers Eliminate Knicks for First Time

If Miller doing the choke sign is the most famous image from his career, his most memorable moment came in the same arena one year later.

The Pacers and Knicks met for the third straight year in 1995, this time in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In Game 1, the Knicks again appeared to have wrapped up a victory, up by six with 18.7 seconds remaining.

But once again, Miller rose the occasion. After hitting a quick three out of a timeout. Knicks forward Anthony Mason attempted to inbound Greg Anthony, but Anthony slipped and Mason's pass went directly into the hands of Miller. Miller then quickly stepped outside the 3-point line and drilled another three to tie the game.

In the ensuing confusion, Pacers forward Sam Mitchell fouled Starks, not realizing the game was now tied. Once again, Miller taunted Starks and the Knicks guard missed both free throws. Miller rebounded the second and was fouled by Starks.

On the other end, Miller didn't miss his free throws, making both to seal the most improbable victory in franchise history.

Miller's postgame interview with NBC's Dan Hicks is iconic in its own right, with Miller's trademark bravado on full display.

"Mason choked, he threw it to me, I hit a three...John Starks choked, we came up big," a euphoric Miller recalled, then closed the interview by exclaiming, "We feel we can sweep this team. This is for you, Indiana!"

It wouldn't be a sweep, but the Pacers would ultimately prevail. Indiana got up 3-1, but the Knicks took the next two games to force a winner-take-all Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

The final game came down to the wire, with Miller dueling with Knicks star center Patrick Ewing, both players finishing with 29 points. But Ewing missed a layup in the final seconds, allowing the Pacers to escape with a 97-95 victory.

Pacers radio broadcaster Mark Boyle celebrated the moment by shouting, "Ding dong! The witch is dead!" as the Blue & Gold finally bested the Knicks.

1998: More Miller Heroics, Pacers Prevail Again

The Pacers and Knicks didn't meet in the playoffs for the next two seasons, but found themselves matched up once again in the 1998 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The Pacers took the first two games at Market Square Arena before the Knicks won Game 3 at Madison Square Garden. Game 4 was most competitive game in the series and featured even more heroics from Miller, who hit a 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds left to force overtime.

Indiana pulled away in the extra session for a 118-107 victory, behind 38 points from Miller. Rik Smits added 23 and Mark Jackson had a double-double with 16 points and 15 assists.

The Pacers closed out the series in Game 5 at home, with Jackson recording the first triple-double in the NBA playoffs in franchise history with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists.

1999: Four-Point Play Propels Knicks Upset

The Pacers wound up losing in seven games to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals, but it felt like it was finally Indiana's year in 1999 following Jordan's retirement.

The second-seeded Pacers swept series with Milwaukee and Philadelphia to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they faced the upstart Knicks, who won two series as the eighth seed.

The two teams split a pair of games in Indiana with Ewing notably injuring his Achilles in Game 2, an ailment that would keep him sidelined for the remainder of the postseason.

Game 3 was the turning point in the series. Indiana led 91-88 in the closing seconds before Knicks forward Larry Johnson was fouled by Antonio Davis and hit a three (a call still considered questionable by many Pacers fans). Johnson completed the four-point play to lift New York to victory.

The Pacers rebounded to win Game 4, but the Knicks took the final two games of the series, with Allan Houston's 32-point performance in a close-out Game 6 eliminating Indiana.

2000: Pacers Exact Revenge, Reach First NBA Finals

The Pacers and Knicks would meet again in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000. This time, the Pacers got their revenge.

The series opened at Indiana's new arena, Conseco Fieldhouse (now Gainbridge Fieldhouse), where the Pacers protected their home court by sweeping the first two games. The Knicks did the same in Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden and the Pacers took Game 5 back in Indianapolis.

In Game 6, Miller had another magical night in what would be his final playoff game at Madison Square Garden. The future Hall of Famer scored 34 points, going 10-for-19 from the field, 5-for-7 from 3-point range, and 9-for-9 from the free throw line to lift Indiana to its first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. As the final buzzer sounded, an ecstatic Miller leapt into the arms of teammate Jalen Rose.

2013: Rivalry Renewed, Hibbert Blocks Carmelo to Seal Series Win

While the Pacers-Knicks rivalry is best remembered for those six playoff series involving Miller, the two teams had one more memorable postseason battle in 2013.

The third-seeded Pacers and second-seeded Knicks met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals that season. The Pacers were a young upstart team, led by All-Stars Paul George and Roy Hibbert, while the Knicks had a veteran squad built around scoring phenom Carmelo Anthony.

Indiana took Game 1 in New York before the Knicks rebounded to win Game 2. The Pacers protected their home court over the next two games, taking Game 3 behind 24 points and 12 rebounds from Hibbert and Game 4 thanks to 26 points from George Hill and double-doubles by George and David West.

Anthony scored 28 points in Game 5 as the Knicks extended the series, but the Pacers returned to Indianapolis with a chance to close it out on their home court. The Knicks wouldn't make it easy.

Anthony dropped 39 points in Game 6 and the Knicks led 92-90 with five minutes to go. That's when Anthony spun past George on the baseline and rose up for a right-hand slam. Hibbert was there to meet him at the rim, however, somehow having the strength to deny the dunk attempt.

That proved to be the turning point, as the Pacers outscored New York 16-7 the rest of the way en route to victory. Three players surpassed 20 points for the Blue & Gold in the victory: Lance Stephenson (25 points and 10 rebounds), George (23 points), and Hibbert (21 points, 12 boards, and five blocks.