The NBA, of course, had already announced one 2011–12 Knicks schedule this year, but thanks to the lockout, that one turned out to be pretty meaningless, except to those of us who have been simulating the lost games on PlayStation 3. But yesterday, the Knicks announced the shortened 66-game schedule they'll play once the NBA returns on Christmas Day. So what's this thing look like?
• First off, via the Knicks' press release, here's the basic structure of the schedule:
The Knicks play each NBA team at least once, each Atlantic Division team four times, except New Jersey and Philadelphia (three times), each Central and Southeast Division teams three times, except Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee (four times) and each Western Conference team once, except Dallas, L.A. Lakers and Sacramento (two times).
• They'll play four games in five nights on five separate occasions this year, though unlike some teams, they won't have to play five games in six nights at any point. They'll play three games in three nights once: at home against Chicago on February 2, at Boston on February 3, then back home for New Jersey on February 4.
• As you already knew, the Knicks are one of the teams playing on December 25; they'll host Boston at noon.
• Carmelo Anthony won't return to Denver this season, but the Nuggets will play at the Garden on January 21.
• They'll visit the West Coast just once, playing the Warriors, Lakers, and Kings at the end of December.
• The Knicks play the Heat three teams, but Miami will make its only visit to the Garden on Sunday, April 15.
• The Hornets — i.e., the team that currently employs Chris Paul — are in town on February 17.
• Kevin Durant and the Thunder won't visit the Garden this year. Other teams not facing the Knicks in New York this season: the Warriors, Rockets, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, and Spurs.
• This year's Martin Luther King Day opponent will be Orlando. Game time is 1 p.m.
• The Knicks and Nets will square off three times in the regular season. With the Nets set to move to Brooklyn for the 2012–13 season, the Knicks' final visit to New Jersey will be on April 18 (assuming the teams don't meet in the playoffs).
• Counting games on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV, they'll play on national television 27 times this year. (The breakdown: four games on ABC, ten on ESPN, eight on TNT, and five on NBA TV.)