Knicks usher return to NBA playoffs with 15K sellout crowd

The New York Knicks are back in the NBA playoffs. And so are their fans.

A 15,000 home crowd is expected to rock the Madison Square Garden as the Knicks begin their playoff quest.

Game 1 of their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks is scheduled on Sunday, with Game 2 on Wednesday. Both games have been sold out, the Knicks announced on Thursday.

The Knicks’ return to the playoffs is being trumpeted as the largest indoor event in New York since the pandemic. It will be the largest Knicks crowd or perhaps the whole NBA this season. Only 1,981 fans or 10 percent of The Garden’s seating capacity have been allowed to watch every Knicks home game since February.

“I hope everyone in sports and entertainment is listening because the public has spoken — they are fine with getting vaccinated and want to get back to the experiences they love,” Dolan said in the statement. “This overwhelming response by Knicks fans — almost 90% of whom are vaccinated — should silence any doubters. It’s time to start booking events and filling up our schedules, so stay tuned. We want to thank Governor Cuomo for this leap forward; he knew we could do this — not just for us, but for New York.”

Knicks president Leon Rose also took his time to thank the fans on a social media post by the team.

It’s the hottest show in town as tickets were sold out in less than an hour during its public release last Wednesday. Season ticket holders and depositors had the first access to the tickets last Tuesday.

The resounding Knicks box-office success drowns their city rival Brooklyn Nets’ struggle to fill the Barclays Center even in a limited capacity. They have yet to sell out both of their home games against the Boston Celtics despite having superstars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. The Nets announced on Thursday that they are offering a 50 percent discount on a number of tickets in their vaccinated section.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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