The Garden is back and open for business! The 2013-2014 NBA season is finally underway and the New York Knicks will begin their defense of their Atlantic Division crown against the Milwaukee Bucks in their season opener at Madison Square Garden. The Garden’s billion-dollar renovation is complete as the Knicks try to give the new look building its first win after the Rangers failed to on Monday night.
When: Wednesday October 30th at 7:30 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City
Key Matchup: Larry Sanders vs. Knicks front court
The Indiana Pacers dominated the Knicks in the second round in the paint. Larry Sanders is no Roy Hibbert, but he’s a great low post defender. Sanders will be defending the rim all night and challenging the Knicks all night. If they can Sanders into foul trouble or get him off his game, they will be able to penetrate the lane all night. If Amar’e Stoudemire can get back to his glory days and be a force in the paint, it will open up everything else.
Knicks fans have been anxious since last April for tonight. They felt like last year was their season to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals but were disappointed. In the big picture, people feel like the Heat are a little more vulnerable, but teams like the Pacers, Bulls, and Nets improved. A big win tonight will excite the fans and give them hope.
As for tonight, Knicks fans shouldn’t underrate this Bucks team. They did lose their best players in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but they have more of an overall better team feeling to them this year. Brandon Knight has a new start to his career and OJ Mayo finally has the opportunity to be “the man.” Iman Shumpert will have the responsibly to guard Mayo most of the night.
The Knicks have to be aware at all times where sharp shooter Ersan Ilyasova is on the court, as he scored 19 on them in a game last year. The Knicks swept the Bucks 3-0 last season, but this is a slightly different Knicks team. A probably new Garden favorite Metta World Peace makes his Knicks debut tonight along with former number one overall pick Andrea Bargnani.
I can already picture the Pablo Prigioni to Bargnani connection with Clyder Frazier going nuts.
Carmelo Anthony looks to defend his scoring title and lead the Knicks to the next level. Whispers of his pending free agency will be heard all season, but I like how he has directly answered the questions and is trying to get it out of the way now. Melo averaged 31.6 points against the Bucks last season, including a 41-point clinic at home. I think he comes out firing, especially with J.R. Smith out and the buzz around the city that it is the Nets’ city.
The Knicks open up with a win.