The New York Knicks, as well as the rest of the NBA, released their schedule for the 2023-24 season on Thursday, and there's no shortage of exciting matchups up and down the calendar. The Knicks are coming off a season in which they lost in the second round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat, but considering the team missed the postseason two years ago it should be considered a success.
New York's returning most of their players from last year, and will look to build upon last season's success that stemmed from the rise of Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett's continual improvement and Julius Randle's bounce back season. That all starts with their season opener at home against the Boston Celtics on Oct. 25. But that isn't the only important game on the calendar, here are five important matchups to look out for on the Knicks schedule.
Season opener vs. Celtics -- Oct. 25
A classic rivalry will start things off for the Knicks, and it'll also be a good first test against a Boston team that is viewed as championship contenders. This matchup will also feature New York going against Kristaps Porzingis on his third team since starting his career in 2015 with the Knicks. Porzingis customarily hasn't gotten a favorable welcome from Knicks fans, and this will surely be no different, especially now that he'll be sporting Celtics green.
Playoff rematch vs. Cavaliers -- Oct. 31
The Knicks got the best of Cleveland in their first-round playoff matchup last season, and while New York advanced in five games, most of those games were closely contested. Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson took turns having standout performances, but it was Brunson and the Knicks that came out on top in the end. Neither team did much to significantly improve their rosters, which means we're in store for another evenly-matched game on Halloween.
First in-season tournament game vs. Bucks -- Nov. 3
The league is finally bringing to fruition the in-season tournament that has been long rumored, and the Knicks and Bucks get the honor of tipping off the whole thing with the first group stage game on the schedule. This, as well as three other games will determine which teams will advance to the knockout stage, then the semifinals and finals from there. We'll have to see if the game has any different feel to it since the team that wins the in-season tournament gets to split $500,000 between its players. Maybe there won't be any added intensity, but the Knicks and Bucks have had some solid battles over the years, so either way it'll be an inciting game.
Running it back vs. Heat -- Nov. 24
This game could look significantly more interesting by the time it rolls around. It all depends on if Damian Lillard gets his wish granted to be traded to the Heat before then. If that's the case, then the Knicks will have an even tougher task on their hands trying to slow down Lillard and Jimmy Butler. If not, then this still figures to be an exciting contest. Miami bounced the Knicks from the playoffs last season, so surely there will be some added motivation for this game. This is also one of New York's group play games for the in-season tournament, which will help determine if they advance to the knockout round.
Christmas at Madison Square Garden -- Dec. 25
Yes it's a repeat matchup against the Bucks, but with it being on Christmas, it's worth mentioning. The Knicks lost a closely-contested matchup on Christmas a year ago when they hosted the Philadelphia 76ers, and this year's game should be no different with Giannis Antetokounmpo and company coming to town. It'll be the second time in five years that the Knicks have played the Bucks on Christmas, the last time being in 2018 when Milwaukee won 109-95.