Easy start, but tough stretches for Knicks

Seven of the Knicks' first nine games feature opponents who finished at least 10 games below .500 last year.

Five of those games are on the road, including a three-game Western trip.

Winning on the road in the NBA is never a given. But, given the caliber of opponent, the Knicks should get off to a better start than they did last year, when they fell into a 3-8 hole.

THREE IN A ROW: The Knicks play the dreaded back-to-back-to-back just once this season. The three-game set features home dates against Chicago and New Jersey sandwiched around a road game against the Celtics.

FOUR IN FIVE NIGHTS: Mike D'Antoni's crew plays four four-game-in-five-night sets. Last year, they played two such stretches. And that was in 82 games.

The Knicks' first four-in-five this year is on the road (vs. Charlotte, Cleveland, Miami and Houston).

The second is their back-to-back-to-back (Feb. 2-4), followed by a home game against Utah on Feb. 6.

The third, and possibly the toughest, starts on Feb. 19 against Dallas and finishes in Miami on Feb. 23. In between, the Knicks host the Nets and Hawks.

The fourth (March 20-24) features two games against Toronto, one at Philadelphia and one at home against Detroit.

WEST COAST: The Knicks have just one West Coast trip. They're in Golden State on Dec. 28 and play the Lakers at Staples Center on Dec. 29. They finish the trip at Sacramento on New Year's Eve.... They will play 27 games on national television, including ten on ESPN and four on ABC.

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