(Long Island, N.Y.) Let’s not even bother to put an asterisk on anything yet concerning the 2011-12 NBA season. Both ownership and the players association have plenty of time to get together and agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, and all of this labor talk is getting redundant with the NFL having their own work stoppage that finally ended last week.
So with that in mind, the release of next season’s NBA schedule should be looked at with no other concerns in mind.
Fans of the New York Knickerbockers have to be happy looking it over. Because the team got back on track and has two very marketable players in Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks find themselves on national television 29 times.
That begins on November 2 with the season opener at Madison Square Garden when the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat come to town. For the second consecutive year, the Knicks will be in action on Christmas Day and host the Boston Celtics with a noon tipoff. Revenge will certainly be in their minds, as it was the Celts who ousted the Knicks from the NBA playoffs with a first round, four-game sweep.
This will be just one of the six day games played at the Garden during the season and the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. matinee will be against the Sacramento Kings. February 19 marks the one and only visit to New York by the defending world champion Dallas Mavericks.
The schedule begins with some tough stretches out west for the Knicks, with only three of the first 13 games being at home. One of those road contests will be in Denver, with the former Nugget Anthony facing his old team for the first time since the blockbuster trade. The following evening, the Knicks will be in Tinsel Town to take on the Los Angeles Lakers in a Thursday TNT matchup.
Looking ahead towards the end of the season, the Knicks will be seeing a lot of conference mates. The final eight games (and 15 of the last 17) will be against fellow Eastern Conference clubs and they will also have to face the tough Chicago Bulls twice during that span. If the Knicks are going to finish as a top-four seed, they are going to have to earn it. Back-to-back home games versus Miami (April 15) and Boston (April 17) will be tough challenges, indeed.
Of course the chain of custody is the main issue here, but that still comes down to which of these two men is the most believable. Clemens has held strong that he never used steroids or human growth hormone, both of which McNamee has stated he injected the former star pitcher with from 1998 to 2001.
Attending Knicks games will become an ever better experience this fall. According to an official team press release, the “lower bowl of Madison Square Garden will be completely transformed, including an expanded Madison Concourse (sixth floor) with new food and beverage options and city views, new lower bowl seating area, new Event Level Suites and Delta SKY360 Club and new locker rooms.”
This refurbishing of the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’ will be taking place year-round, with the majority of the work being done this and the next two summers.
So let’s look forward to all of that good news and not worry about the lockout. At least until we have to.