It’s good to be in New York. Despite missing the last postseason and being far from guaranteed a playoff spot this year, the Knicks have 23 nationally televised games in 2014-15. There should be tons to look forward to with this year’s team, and now that the NBA schedule has officially been released, we can let the countdown begin. Here’s how New York’s season shakes out:
At first glance, most will believe the Knicks are bound for an 0-2 start. With a matchup against the new-look Bulls immediately followed by a trip to Cleveland for LeBron’s homecoming, they may be right, but keep in mind that these teams won’t be as dominant on opening night as they will be during the postseason. The Heat started just 9-8 through the first month of their Big Three Era, and after throwing together a team in the offseason, and the Cavs might be in a similar predicament. Maybe my glass is half full, or maybe I’m just trying to make Knicks fans feel better about their chances. Either way, New York’s first couple games won’t come easy.
Some other notable matchups are:
Christmas Day – vs. Washington Wizards, 12:00p.m. EDT
Last Christmas, the Knicks were obliterated by a far-superior Thunder team. This time around, the matchup appears a little more forgiving, but don’t sleep on the up-and-coming Wizards. I’ll be watching this one in my hideous Knicks Christmas sweater.
New Year’s Eve – at Los Angeles Clippers, 6:00p.m. EDT
This is just an excuse to get your New Year’s drinking started a little earlier than usual, especially if, something like this happens again.
Super Bowl Sunday (February 1st) – vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 2:00p.m. EDT
Gutsy move for Adam Silver to go head-to-head against the Puppy Bowl. There’s nothing to do until Super Bowl kickoff anyway, so why not enjoy a little basketball in the meantime? Plus, if you’re a Stephen A. Smith fan, you probably think this is Kobe playing against his future team!
Martin Luther King Day (January 19th) – vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 5:30p.m. EDT
The NBA schedule is packed on Martin Luther King Day, and as always, the Knicks are a part of it. If the Pelicans stay healthy, they will be much improved over last season, but either way, Anthony Davis is a fun watch.
Knicks-Nets Rivalry – November 7th, December 2nd, February 6th, April 1st
After an overhyped “battle for New York” campaign last season, both teams played well below expectations. Without Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd, the hatred level won’t be the same, but if you ask me, the Nets upgraded their coaching staff by getting their hands on Lionel Hollins. He was able to manage an almost unstoppable inside-out game with the Grizzlies a few seasons back, and with a similar veteran roster in Brooklyn, he should be able to do the same. Of course, this all hinges on Brook Lopez’s health, meaning it could all go wrong rather quickly.
The Knicks’ schedule isn’t vastly different than any other Eastern Conference team, but it always helps to end the year with some winnable matchups. This season, the Knicks end with four out of their last six matchups against non-playoff teams from last year. Two of those include the Sixers and Bucks, who are once again destined for the lottery, and one is against the Paul George-less Pacers, who will be hard-pressed to return to last season’s glory. Of course, all of this is obsolete if the Knicks are nowhere near the playoff hunt, but it certainly is something to keep in mind if they want to pull a late season turnaround like last year.
It feels good to finally have some basketball to look forward to. 75 days until tip-off!