The NBA released its 2021-22 schedule this week, a return to the normal 82-game campaign after last season's shortened run due to the pandemic.
New York looks to build off its surprising fourth-seed finish last year with a solid follow-up coming on the heels of acquiring Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier to bolster their offense. It'll take another season of headstrong leadership from Tom Thibodeau and Julius Randle to maintain last year's success or exceed it in the postseason.
Here is what to expect from the Knicks schedule:
The big picture
New York will play each Western Conference team twice and each Eastern Conference team four times, except for Cleveland, Detroit, Miami and Washington whom they will face three times. The Knicks play 11 back-to-backs in 2021-22, and take on two five-game West Coast swings toward the end of the season.
The first comes shortly before All-Star weekend when New York visits Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Feb. 5, then play Utah, Denver, Golden State and finally Portland on the 12th. The second begins with a March 2nd pit stop in Philly before bouncing around Phoenix, Los Angeles (to play the Clippers), Sacramento, Dallas and Memphis to return on March 13 and face the Nets at Barclays Center.
These stretches will undoubtedly test the Knicks as similar ones validated their winning ways last season. They're at least somewhat balanced by a couple of four-game home stretches along the way, as well as a helpful January in which 10 of their 15 games are at Madison Square Garden.
Wednesday, Oct. 30: Season opener vs Boston Celtics
Monday, Nov. 10: NBA's first game 75th anniversary vs. Toronto Raptors
Saturday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day rematch vs Atlanta Hawks
Weekend of Feb. 18-20: All-Star Weekend
Sunday, April 10: Final day of regular season
Outside of the ones listed above, must-see matchups must include LeBron James visiting with his bulked up Lakers team on Nov. 23. Of course, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champions may warrant even more attention when they visit MSG on Nov. 10 and Dec 12.
Two former Knicks making their returns after signing elsewhere this offseason are Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock, with their Suns and Mavs visiting on Nov. 26 and Jan. 12, respectively. The latter is always a heated contest with Kristaps Porzingis paying another visit to the team that drafted and traded him.
The Knicks also have a Martin Luther King Jr. Day game against the Charlotte Hornets after losing out last year.