Only ten days separate the New York Knicks’ Oct. 25 season opener against the Boston Celtics from their first taste of in-season tournament action. Here’s how the Knicks stack up against the competition in their group.
How Will the Knicks Fare Against Championship-Level Teams?
The Knicks kick off the NBA’s inaugural tournament on Nov. 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks in Group B. Their offseason progress will be put to the test against all of the teams in their pool:
Milwaukee not only presents their biggest challenge in the tournament but also their most daunting matchup of the season up until that point. The Bucks swept the Knicks in their 2022-23 season series and have gotten stronger this summer.
New York did a good job of holding the Bucks to under 30 percent shooting from downtown in two of their last three matchups. Nevertheless, the addition of All-Star Damian Lillard figures to bolster a Bucks offense that made 8.5 triples from deep three-point range (25-29 ft.) — good for second-best among all teams.
New York will also get their 2023 Eastern Conference semifinals rematch against the Miami Heat in their third game of group play. Miami added center Thomas Bryant to help the Heat get stronger on the glass. Miami was out-rebounded by five boards in their playoff series against the Knicks and almost nine boards against the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.
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Can The Wizards, Hornets Upset the Knicks?
Jordan Poole dropped 41 points in the Wizards’ 131-106 victory over the Knicks in their preseason finale. While an impressive showing, the Wizards may not have enough to hold off the Knicks without Kristaps Porzingis or Bradley Beal’s services.
The Knicks had their way with the Charlotte Hornets last season, winning their season series 2-1. The Hornets resigned small forward Miles Bridges this summer, and Gordon Hayward is back from a foot injury that sidelined him for two preseason games.
The last time a fully loaded Hornets team took the floor together in 2021-22, Bridges and 2021 All-Star LaMelo Ball spearheaded the fourth-highest scoring offense (115.3 PPG). Along with Hayward and Terry Rozier, they led the NBA with 28.1 assists per game. Should they quickly regain their
What Will a Knicks Tournament Victory Mean for the Rest of the Season?
Should the Knicks dominate the field, they’ll advance to the final stages of the tournament, laid out by NBA.com:
“The Knockout Rounds will consist of single-elimination games for the eight teams that advance from Group Play, beginning with the Quarterfinals on Dec. 4-5. Teams that win will progress to the neutral-site Semifinals on Dec. 7, and then the Championship on Dec. 9.”
The winning team will receive an NBA Cup trophy along with $500,000 awarded to each player. Prize money will also be awarded to the second and third-place teams as well as those that advanced to the quarterfinals.
The championship spills over into another crucial holiday season stretch of the schedule. The Knicks will see the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, Lakers, and Brooklyn Nets leading up to their Christmas Day game against the Bucks.