What does a busy and productive off-season bring besides the highest expectations of the last decade? The answer for the New York Knicks is a spot back in the slate of games on Christmas Day. The Knicks schedule was released to the public on August 11th. They were also rewarded with 22 nationally televised games this upcoming season.
New York Knicks Schedule Breakdown
New York finished the 2015-16 season with an NBA best plus-15 in the win column from the previous season. There is no reason to think that type of success cannot be repeated with the caliber of players that were acquired during the off-season. Let us break the schedule down into four quarters.
New York opens up the season with four straight games against teams that made the playoffs last season. That includes a game on the road against the reigning and defending NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers on opening night. 13 of their first 20 games are against teams that made the playoffs a year ago. On November 4th, the Knicks’ new additions Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Justin Holiday return to the “Windy City” for the first time to take on the Chicago Bulls. Russell Westbrook and the Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder make their one and only visit to Madison Square Garden on Monday, November 28th.
Record after 20 games: 13-7
The Knicks open up the second quarter of the season with six of their first seven games on the road. That includes five straight on the west coast from December 9th to the 17th. 13 of the 21 games in the second quarter of the season are away from the “Big Apple”. The good news is that 12 of those 21 games are against teams that missed the playoffs last season. Robin Lopez was the hustle-and-glue guy for the Knicks last year. Some people even considered him their most consistent player. He makes his first return to New York on January 12th since being traded to the Bulls in the off-season.
Record after 41 games: 26-15
The third quarter may end up being the toughest stretch for the Knicks. 12 of their 20 games are against teams who made the playoffs a year ago. 14 of those games are against teams that finished last season with a win percentage of .500 or higher. Six of those are against the elite teams from last year who had a win percentage of .646 or better. Between February 4th and the 12th, they do have a five game homestand before the all-star game. The only problem is that three of those games are against the Cavaliers, L.A. Clippers, and the San Antonio Spurs.
Record after 61 games: 36-25
The Knicks start out the fourth quarter of the season with five of their first six games on the road. The one home game during that stretch is on March 5th against the two-time most valuable player Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Four of their 14 back-to-back games take place during this quarter. At the end of March they go on their last road trip of the season with a five game trip to the west coast. After that, New York finishes out the regular season with seven of their last nine games in front of their home crowd.
Record after 82 games: 48-34
After breaking down the Knicks schedule, there is no reason (as long as they stay healthy) that they should not make the playoffs. If they do manage to falter and miss the postseason, then New York could be looking at a full-fledged rebuild during the summer of 2017.
New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (C) dribbles the ball during the 2015 NBA global game between Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks at the O2 Arena in London on January 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)