Knicks schedule 2013: Plenty of big matchups in improved Eastern Conference

USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks have a plethora of big games on their 2013-14 slate as they attempt to remain in the top half of an improved East.

The New York Knicks enjoyed an excellent 2012-13 campaign, going 54-28 and finishing second in the Eastern Conference. However, the Knicks disappointed in the postseason, falling in six games to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.

The East got better this offseason, and the Knicks attempted to keep up by acquiring Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors to help provide more scoring punch. With the Knicks fighting to the stay among the elite in the NBA, there will be plenty of intriguing matchups to watch this season.

Five games to watch 

Oct. 31 at Chicago Bulls - The Knicks and Bulls have been bitter rivals for quite some time, but this Halloween night battle on TNT has even more juice than usual. That would be because it's Derrick Rose's first regular-season game back at the United Center since he tore his ACL in April 2012. New York will also be trying to get some revenge from last year, when Chicago won all four matchups despite the absence of Rose. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they won't have the services of J.R. Smith.

Dec. 5 at Brooklyn Nets - There has been plenty of trash talking already between members of the Knicks and Nets this offseason, and this will be the first opportunity to gain some bragging rights on the court. Brooklyn thinks it has jumped over New York in the East hierarchy with the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, while the Knicks clearly think otherwise.

Dec. 25 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder - Christmas Day matinées at Madison Square Garden are always special, and a matchup pitting two of the best scorers in the NBA in Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant will be quite the show. Russell Westbrook is expected to be back from a knee injury by then, so there should be highlights galore.

Dec. 28 at Toronto Raptors - The Knicks do travel to Toronto twice in the preseason, but this will be the first time Bargnani makes his return in the regular season to the city where he spent the first seven years of his career. Things got ugly in Toronto for Bargnani over the past few years, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to a crowd that will likely be very hostile.

Jan. 9 vs. Miami Heat - The defending champions make their first of two trips to Madison Square Garden on the season. The Knicks had a lot of success against the Heat last season, winning three of the four matchups, including a 104-84 beatdown to open the season at the Garden. Anthony played in three of the four games, averaging 37.3 points.

Tough tests

The Knicks face a tough stretch beginning in February and running through March that sees them play nine of 12 on the road. That stretch begins on Feb. 9 in Oklahoma City, and it features road games against the Memphis Grizzlies, Heat and Bulls as well as a home game against the Golden State Warriors. There's also a difficult three-game run in January where the Knicks face the Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and Nets in a row.

Easiest stretches

The Knicks get a break before and after the tough three-game stretch. Before facing the Pacers, the Knicks play the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Bobcats. Following the Nets game, the Knicks face the Sixers and Bobcats again as well as the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Important schedule facts

Back-to-backs: 18

Season and home opener: Oct. 30 vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Longest road trip: Five games from March 25-31

Longest homestand: Eight games from Jan. 17-Feb. 1

Full 2013-14 schedule

OCTOBER
Milwaukee Wednesday, October 30 2013 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Chicago Thursday, October 31 2013 8:00 PM EDT coverage
NOVEMBER
Minnesota Sunday, November 03 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Charlotte Tuesday, November 05 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Charlotte Friday, November 08 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Sunday, November 10 2013 12:00 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Wednesday, November 13 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Houston Thursday, November 14 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Saturday, November 16 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Detroit Tuesday, November 19 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Indiana Wednesday, November 20 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Washington Saturday, November 23 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Portland Monday, November 25 2013 10:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, November 27 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Denver Friday, November 29 2013 9:00 PM EST coverage
DECEMBER
New Orleans Sunday, December 01 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Brooklyn Thursday, December 05 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Orlando Friday, December 06 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Boston Sunday, December 08 2013 12:00 PM EST coverage
Cleveland Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Chicago Wednesday, December 11 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Boston Friday, December 13 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Saturday, December 14 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Washington Monday, December 16 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Wednesday, December 18 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Memphis Saturday, December 21 2013 12:00 PM EST coverage
Orlando Monday, December 23 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Oklahoma City Wednesday, December 25 2013 2:30 PM EST coverage
Toronto Friday, December 27 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Toronto Saturday, December 28 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
JANUARY
San Antonio Thursday, January 02 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
Houston Friday, January 03 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Dallas Sunday, January 05 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Detroit Tuesday, January 07 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Miami Thursday, January 09 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Saturday, January 11 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Phoenix Monday, January 13 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Charlotte Tuesday, January 14 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Indiana Thursday, January 16 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Friday, January 17 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Brooklyn Monday, January 20 2014 2:30 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Wednesday, January 22 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Charlotte Friday, January 24 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, January 26 2014 3:30 PM EST coverage
Boston Tuesday, January 28 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Cleveland Thursday, January 30 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
FEBRUARY
Miami Saturday, February 01 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Monday, February 03 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Portland Wednesday, February 05 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Denver Friday, February 07 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Oklahoma City Sunday, February 09 2014 1:00 PM EST coverage
Sacramento Wednesday, February 12 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Memphis Tuesday, February 18 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
New Orleans Wednesday, February 19 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Orlando Friday, February 21 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Saturday, February 22 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Dallas Monday, February 24 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Miami Thursday, February 27 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Golden State Friday, February 28 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
MARCH
Chicago Sunday, March 02 2014 1:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Monday, March 03 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Minnesota Wednesday, March 05 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Utah Friday, March 07 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Cleveland Saturday, March 08 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Monday, March 10 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Boston Wednesday, March 12 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Milwaukee Saturday, March 15 2014 12:00 PM EDT coverage
Indiana Wednesday, March 19 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Philadelphia Friday, March 21 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Cleveland Sunday, March 23 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, March 25 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
Sacramento Wednesday, March 26 2014 10:00 PM EDT coverage
Phoenix Friday, March 28 2014 10:00 PM EDT coverage
Golden State Sunday, March 30 2014 9:00 PM EDT coverage
Utah Monday, March 31 2014 9:00 PM EDT coverage
APRIL
Brooklyn Wednesday, April 02 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Washington Friday, April 04 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Miami Sunday, April 06 2014 1:00 PM EDT coverage
Toronto Friday, April 11 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Chicago Sunday, April 13 2014 1:00 PM EDT coverage
Brooklyn Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Toronto Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage

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