Heat coach Pat Riley, who had a front-row seat for the commotion, didn't think Buffett's language warranted getting tossed: "I don't think it was that bad. I mean, come on, a few words."
The altercation delayed the game several minutes in the fourth quarter. Heat officials said Buffett, whose fans are called Parrotheads, was escorted to another seat in the arena for the remainder of the game.
Forte said he did not know the man was the legendary singer until someone mentioned it to him after the incident.
"I told Joe Forte, I said, 'Do you know who that is?' " Riley said. "I said, 'Do you mean to tell me you've never been a Parrothead in your life?' So that tells you where our officials are coming from.
"He thought I was insulting him. He wanted to give me a technical for calling him a Parrothead."
Anthony Mason and Larry Johnson almost followed Buffett in overtime. With less than a minute remaining, Mason bumped Johnson as they were running across the court, and then Johnson grabbed Mason's jersey.
Words were exchanged, double technicals were called and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy was once again in the middle, trying to break things up. No punches were thrown and both players stayed in the game for the finish.
Amid the commotion, the Knicks and Heat played a basketball game. Glen Rice, who has played much of the season with a sore left foot, made the difference for the Knicks with 29 points. Rice, who began his career with Miami, hit 10 of 15 shots, was 4-for-4 from three-point range and 5-for-5 from the foul line.
Last month, Van Gundy required several stitches around an eye after he was struck by the Knicks' Marcus Camby, who was swinging at San Antonio's Danny Ferry.
In the 1998 playoffs, Van Gundy grabbed Alonzo Mourning's leg during a bench-clearing fight with the Heat that resulted in several players being suspended.
"It's fun being part of this," New York's Allan Houston said. "I don't see how people could watch. I was sitting there pulling my hair out."
Miami's Eddie Jones, who scored 21 points, fouled out with a little more than three minutes to play in overtime. With Jones on the bench, the Knicks took a 101-95 lead. Mason and Tim Hardaway hit back-to-back shots to make it 101-99, but Miami's Bruce Bowen missed the first of two free throws that could have tied the score with 4.4 seconds remaining.
Rice punctuated the game with a layup off the inbounds pass.
IN OTHER GAMES:
At Boston, Antoine Walker scored 19 of his 36 points in the third quarter and led the Celtics to a 103-82 win over Cleveland.
Walker, in his first game back after his grandmother's funeral, also had 11 rebounds and eight assists before leaving the game with 4 minutes left. Paul Pierce added 22 points for the Celtics. Andre Miller scored 17 points, and Clarence Weatherspoon had 14 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant, his shooting touch off, still scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers past Sacramento, 100-94.
Bryant, hampered by a sore right shoulder, said he said might have to skip the All-Star Game next weekend. He was just 8-of-26 from the floor, but made 10 of his 11 free throws. Robert Horry added 20 points for the Lakers.
At Phoenix, Tom Gugliotta had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Jason Kidd scored seven points in the last 21/2 minutes as the Suns beat Charlotte, 85-82.
Gugliotta had his best game since major reconstructive knee surgery and his first double-digit rebound game since he had 14 against Dallas last March 4, six days before he was injured. Cliff Robinson added 15 points. Jamal Mashburn scored 27 for the Hornets.