The NBA announced the 2011-12 schedule this afternoon even though the lockout threatens to eat into much of the year. Still, the Knicks and Celtics will tip off on Christmas Day in a rematch of first-round playoff series as well as their brutal regular season matchups.
The arrival of Amar’e Stoudemire got the Knicks off to their best start in years. A deal for Carmelo Anthony just before the trade deadline added one of the most lethal scorers in the league. The Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but the Celtics made as short as possible, sweeping them in the first round.
Between bloodbaths and buzzer-beaters, last year’s Celtics-Knicks games were high on drama, renewing a rivalry that had been in a coma with the Knicks recent struggles. Spike Lee tried to start a war of words with Kevin Garnett, who didn’t take the bait. Nate Robinson went planking trying to celebrate with Paul Pierce after Pierce’s, game-winner last December. But the results were still lopsided. Including the preseason, the Celtics beat the Knicks 10 times last season.