Wednesday, August 6, 2008

At Least 4,000 Minutes You'll Never Get Back

2008-09 New York Knicks Schedule Is Released
(featuring Road Game at SEATTLE...)

Oct. 29 Miami
Oct. 31 @ Philadelphia
October’s Must-Attend Home Game: The Home Opener against the formerly-hated and currently-mostly-apathetic-towards Miami Heat is the obvious choice, and not solely because it's the only home game of the month. Although that was a strong factor in the choice. The No. 1 pick of the 2008 draft, forward Michael Beasley, will be in town along with Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion. Oh, and Stephon Marbury could be a member of the Heat, too. Of course, no matter which locker Starbury emerges from the Garden should be 1992-rocking-and-1994-rolling in Game 1 of the D’Antoni/Walsh era.

Nov. 02 Milwaukee
(Like the Hornets of two years ago and the Sixers of last year this Bucks team could turn out to be a much better ticket than anyone would have thought. With the acquisition of Richard Jefferson, the continued presence of Michael Redd, the re-signing of Andrew Bogut and the addition of everyone’s favorite Mandarin-speaking rookie forward Joe Alexander I might actually be looking forward to a Bucks game. Weird)
Nov. 05 Charlotte
(This will mark the first return of former Knick coach Larry Brown to the Garden since his ill-fated run of employment in these parts.)
Nov. 07 @ Washington
Nov. 09 Utah
(Perhaps emulating the state from which this club hails, there is just nothing alluring or interesting about this date on the schedule even though I know the Jazz are a good/great team with a top-flight point guard in Deron Williams. I should be excited about seeing them but there is no excitement. Just like in Utah.)
Nov. 11 @ San Antonio
Nov. 12 @ Memphis
Nov. 14 Oklahoma City
(I believe this will be the History Channel's Benedict Arnold Night to honor the league's newest and most turncoat ballclub. There is a part of me that wants to organize league-wide boycotts against the Oklahoma City Bombers (oh, wait, is it too soon?) and there is another part of me that just wants to go watch Kevin Durant play ball.)
Nov. 16 Dallas
(Yeah, they've got Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Jason Terry. But, blah. I think the whole let's-all-together-now-get-Kidd-to-Dallas-to-get-him-a-ring routine from last year really soured me on this bunch. Dirk is a force and worth the price of admission and Kidd still runs a good fast break but this isn't a must-see game for me anymore. That being said, I'll probably be there.)
Nov. 18 @ Boston
(This is about the time in the ill-fated '07-'08 campaign when the Celtics shellacked the Knicks by a zillion in Boston to officially make the season a league-wide joke.)
Nov. 21 @ Milwaukee
Nov. 22 Washington
(Near the very top of my players-I-would-pay-to-watch list is Gilbert Arenas of the Wizards. He went down with his surgery-requiring knee injury just before the Wiz came to town last year. Hopefully we'll get to watch him this time around.)
Nov. 25 Cleveland
(Just above Agent Zero on the aforementioned PIWPTW list is Lebron James. Last time he set foot on the Garden floor he dropped 50 and got hugged by a fan running across the court.)
Nov. 26 @ Detroit
Nov. 29 Golden State
(I've been heading out for Golden State in recent years, partly because of Baron Davis and partly because my girlfriend is from the Bay Area. Is Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis enough of a draw? Probably. And even if they're not, the fact that I shelled out for one of those gold "We Believe" Warriors shirts for a certain someone, who doesn't have too many places to where it, means that I'll probably be there.)
November’s Must-Attend Home Game(s): Although the franchise formerly from Seattle is making its first Garden appearance and features a bevy of young stars, I’ll be passing on the faithless organization (at least for this pick, I admit there is a good chance I’ll be at the game) and looking elsewhere. And, since it's Thanksgiving time of year, which is a time for overindulging, WWOD? offers up a double helping of Must-Attend Games. The Washington-Cleveland set towards the end of the month is pretty darn good. Not only do we get two of the best and brightest (Arenas and LBJ) but we also get two teams that the Knicks have played tough in recent outings.

Dec. 02 Portland
(This will be NYC’s first look at the top pick of the ’07 draft, the afro-hawked Greg Oden. The Blazers, featuring last year's surprise All-Star Game standout Brandon Roy, rookie Jerryd Bayless and Oden. I think this team has moved into the top-tier of must-see teams in the NBA for me. Perhaps replacing some old guard squads like Dallas and Detroit.)
Dec. 03 @ Cleveland
Dec. 05 @ Atlanta
Dec. 07 Detroit
(Almost every season I find myself squeezing a Pistons game into my ticket package but at this point I got to say that I’m not overly psyched to go see them. In spite of the fact that I will argue that Rasheed Wallace may be the best player in the league I can't really get too thrilled to see these guys any more. Especially not on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Even though it's been talked about at length in recent seasons it's still true: these guys just don't show up to play hard every single night. Exhibit A: They were walloped by 89-65 last January in their first MSG appearance.)
Dec. 09 @ Chicago
Dec. 10 @ New Jersey
Dec. 13 @ Sacramento
Dec. 15 @ Phoenix
Dec. 16 @ LA Lakers
Dec. 19 Milwaukee
Dec. 21 @ Boston
Dec. 26 Minnesota
Dec. 28 Denver
(One of the hoopsters that I’ll always pay money to see is Allen Iverson. The handful of times that I got to see top-flight Marbury (who was a Knick for a little while, I swear) battle against AI were awesome. Iverson is one of the guys in the Association most definitely even better in person. Only sitting in the stands can you realize just how tiny he is compared to the opponents he’s running circles around. That being said, this was a much more attractive ticket at the start of last season when the Nuggets still had Marcus Camby lining up at the 5 and looked a legit contender in the West. Now, they look like one-trick pony whose best draw in this town might be former Knick Renaldo Balkman.)
Dec. 30 @ Charlotte
December’s Must-Attend Home Game: With nine of 13 games on the road this month there isn't a whole lot to choose from. Still, the pick is clear: The first game of the month against the Blazers is the last appointment game of 2008. And, thankfully it comes earlier enough in the month that you won’t have to alter your Christmas-shopping plans or use all your Christmas-shopping money buying $17 beers and $78 pretzels at MSG.

Jan. 02 Indiana
Jan. 04 Boston
(The Champ is Here. The Champ is Here. Last January's game between the Knicks and Boston (the first meeting in NY after the Cs massacred us up in Boston) got pretty heated as Pierce and Richardson almost came to fisticuffs in the tunnel.)
Jan. 06 @ SEATTLE
(The schedule released by the NBA and available on the Knicks website actually still lists this game AT SEATTLE. Considering how poorly-handled and reputation-injuring the entire Sonics-to-Oklahoma City fiasco has been to David Stern and the NBA you would have thought that they would have been a bit more careful about catching typos like this one.
UPDATE: This game has been changed on the team's website to @ Oklahoma City
Jan. 08 @ Dallas
Jan. 10 @ Houston
Jan. 12 @ New Orleans
Jan. 14 vs Washington
Jan. 16 @ Washington
Jan. 17 Philadelphia
Jan. 19 Chicago
(The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day matinee -always one of my favorite games to go to and drink too much at since it's the middle of the day and I'm not at work- features WWOD?'s college-crush Derrick Rose, the currently disgruntled Ben Gordon and the newly enriched Luol Deng.)
Jan. 21 Phoenix
(Steve Nash, Shaq and the rest of D'Antoni's former club will be in town. Last time they were here a Knicks' father died (Mr. Marbury). Hopefully this time the only thing that will die will be a little bit our dignity.)
Jan. 23 Memphis
(This Grizzlies team has about ten thousand guards to go along with Pau Gasol's kid brother and Arthur out of Kansas but they are a team that I'm really keen on seeing play this season. Rudy Gay has already emerged as star-in-the-making and OJ Mayo will be making his first Garden appearance as a pro.)
Jan. 24 @ Philadelphia
Jan. 26 Houston
Jan. 28 Atlanta
Jan. 31 @ Indiana
January's Must-Attend Home Game: Tough pick to start the new year. The obvious child here is Boston. After all, they're the defending NBA champions. But I'm going to tap the Houston Rockets only NY appearance for this honor. WIth local boy Ron Artest coming home (and other local boy Rafer Alston also coming home) along with Yao and Tracy McGrady this team should be a force in the West. Provided they can stay healthy. Ever since Jeff Van Gundy was coaching this side and Patrick Ewing was assistant-coaching it I've had an affinity for them. Of course, in my mind I have totally severed any connection between the Yao-Rockets and that team that beat the Knicks in the 1994 Finals. I hated that team. Let's not delve any further here lest I lose my enthusiasm for this game.

Feb. 02 LA Lakers
(After seeing the turnout for former Memphis guard Juan Carlos Navarro last season, I expect Spaniards to pack the Garden when Pau Gasol comes to town. I also expect sympathizers with sex criminals to show there support for Kobe. Also, reports are coming in that Andrew Bynum's knee could actually be healed in time for this game.)
Feb. 04 Cleveland
(Return of the King. The second installment of the '08-'09 Cavs/Knicks series in which New York fans in attendance each contribute whatever cash is in there wallet to LBJ's 2010 salary.)
Feb. 06 Boston
(The Champ is Here! Again.)
Feb. 08 @ Portland
Feb. 10 @ Golden State
Feb. 11 @ LA Clippers
Feb. 17 San Antonio
(Nothing says "Happy Birthday Me" or "Belated Valentine's Day Gift" like a boring, fundamentally sound basketball team in town.)
Feb. 20 Toronto
Feb. 22 @ Toronto
Feb. 23 Indiana
Feb. 25 Orlando
Feb. 27 Philadelphia
(Target Center, Minneapolis, MN)*
Feb. 28 @ Miami
February's Must-Attend Home Game: Jeez, this month is loaded with top-flight teams coming in. I might consider just setting up camp in one of the bathroom stalls for that first Lakers-Cavs-Celtics week of Black History Month. Then you bring the old stalwarts from the Alamo up mid-month, before bringing in Elton Brand (newly of Philly) to turn the calendar page. Reluctantly, I must admit that the hardest ticket will probably be the Lakers game. Does that mean it's the pick for February? Nope, I'm going with Lebron James and the Lebronaliers playing that Friday night. Yeah, Boston may be the title holders but LBJ is transcendent.

Mar. 04 Atlanta
(In year's past the Knicks ticket office has done just about everything in their power to stick you with a Hawks game whenever you buy a multi-game ticket plan. After their impressive showing in Round One of the playoffs against the Celtics (they took them to seven games) I might no look for a way out of it.)
Mar. 07 Charlotte
Mar. 08 @ New Jersey
Mar. 10 @ Milwaukee
Mar. 11 @ Detroit
Mar. 13 @ Minnesota
Mar. 15 @ Cleveland
Mar. 18 New Jersey
Mar. 20 Sacramento
Mar. 21 @ Orlando
Mar. 23 Orlando
Mar. 25 LA Clippers
(Baron Davis - big, strong and bearded - is another player I pay to watch. I live about as far from Los Angeles as possible and still be near a team - yes, Boston beats the Knicks at this too - and even I can feel the excitement he brought to this second-fiddle club.)
Mar. 27 New Orleans
Probably the No. 1 game on my ticket list right now for the whole season. Hell, I might even be rooting for the Hornets and wearing my Chris Paul shirt.)
Mar. 28 @ Charlotte
Mar. 30 @ Utah
Mar. 31 @ Denver
March's Must-Attend Game: Hands down it's the 3/27 game when the should-be MVP Chris Paul and the Hornets come to town. No contest.

Apr. 04 vs Toronto
Apr. 05 @ Toronto
Apr. 07 @ Chicago
Apr. 08 Detroit
Apr. 10 @ Orlando
Apr. 12 @ Miami
Apr. 15 New Jersey
(Target Center, Minneapolis, MN)*
April's Must-Attend Home Game: It's the game against Toronto to be played (in New York) on the 41st anniversary of MLK's assassination (in Memphis). Not only could Toronto be pretty darn good if Chris Bosh (who just absolutely capitol-K capitol-ILLS the Knicks) and Jermaine O'Neal (who in a seemingly by-gone era used to do the same) can figure it out in the frontcourt, but if all goes to well for the Knicks then this game could decide whether or not D'Antoni's club can sneak into the playoffs as an 8-seed. It's an All-East month for the Knickerbockers which figures to be a good thing if they do find themselves in a position where the games and the standings matter for more than lottery positioning.

*I have no idea why this schedule says the Knicks are playing two "home" games in Minneapolis. More to follow.