As the NBA season inches closer, rumors, criticism, and hope abound for the Knicks. New York will play six preseason games to gear up for the real deal. Unfortunately, due to the on-going Garden renovations, all of the games will be on the road. The schedule is as follows:
- October 11th vs Washington Wizards: 7pm, Verizon Center – Washington DC, VA
- The Orange and Blue kick things off in the Capitol. The Wiz went 0-3 against the Knicks in the 2011-2012 season. John Wall will be sidelined (for 8 weeks from the end of September) with a stress injury in his knee. Besides all of the Knicks newcomers, it should be exciting to see Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal for the first time in Wizards jerseys. Nene may still be out with a foot injury, but there is a chance he plays. Look for the Knicks to set the tempo early, get out to a big lead, and start the season on the right foot.
- Highlight from last season – Jeremy Lin’s first Knicks dunk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_GIH5VOi1I
- October 13th vs Boston Celtics: 730pm, XL Center – Hartford, CT
- This historic stadium is formerly known for housing the New England Whalers of the NHL. Jason “JET” Terry has taken the place of Ray Allen – now playing for the Champion Miami Heat. Terry has already begun to run his mouth, claiming he knows “the Celtics will win the division.” There is certainly no love lost, and even though it’s preseason, there should still be a bit of flare to this one. New York finished 1-2 against Beantown in the 2012 season.
- Highlight – Melo’s triple double: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6oSz0WMCZ8
- October 19th vs Toronto Raptors: 7pm, Bell Centre – Montreal, Canada
- This is one of the nine international games the NBA has set up for the preseason. More importantly, this will be Landry Fields’ first game against the Knicks since Toronto offered him an inordinate sum of money ($20 million over three years) over the Summer – a scheme to pull the Knicks out of the Steve Nash running, in which Toronto seemingly fell short. I’m sure there will be nothing but love from both parties, but it will be interesting to see how Landry plays with a little more responsibility under his belt. The Raptors split the four-game season series with New York last year.
- Highlight – Lin’s buzzer beater: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR3NhE8fBs8
- October 20th vs Boston Celtics: 730pm, Times Union Center – Albany, NY
- Already their second game of the preseason, I would imagine both teams to run some unconventional lineups and play more of the rookies/bench. Players like James “Flight” White and Pablo Prigioni should get burn. Hopefully the Celtics get into a bench-clearing brawl amongst themselves. That would be ideal. Although, they do have the magic wheelchair – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysT8RA6JQks
- October 22nd vs Philadelphia 76ers: 7pm, Carrier Dome – Syracuse, NY
- This should be an exciting game as Carmelo Anthony returns to play at his Alma mater: Syracuse University, where he brought the schoolits only NCAA basketball title almost ten years ago. He’s worshipped as a hero on the campus and it will be worth watching just to see the crowd’s reaction as he takes the floor. This will be the first chance for Knicks fans to check out Andrew Bynum as a 76er (dealt in the blockbuster Dwight Howard deal). I expect Bynum to be the focal point on offense and defense – this is his chance to become a legit superstar in this league. The Knicks beat the Sixers two games out of three last season.
- Highlight – Amar’e stuffs Brand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Nuep0axKCA
- October 24th vs Brooklyn Nets: 730pm, Nassau Coliseum – Long Island, NY
- I fully expect this to be a home game for the Knicks, but Brooklyn fans could surprise me. This is what basketball junkies in the five boroughs have been waiting for – a legit, superstar-laden, cross-town rivalry. The Nets may have the most dynamic backcourt in the NBA, but the Knicks should be able to overwhelm them with their deep frontcourt. This will be the last game before the regular season starts, so the teams should have offensive plays and defensive sets down pretty well. The Knicks‘ chemistry should be strong by this point, and they will head full steam into their season opener a week later in Brooklyn. The Knicks went 2-1 against the Nets last year.
- Highlight – Carmelo goes for 21 in first quarter – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe1rUdHZNsM&feature=related
I realize it’s irrational to analyze the preseason too thoroughly, but fans can’t disregard it. The Knicks are built to win within the next year or two, and that journey starts in October. They don’t have time to waste – no excuses this season. Good teams win easy games. Good teams win preseason games. The preseason starts October 11th, let’s see what the Knicks can do.
Get more great New York Knicks analysis over at KnicksFan.