Top Games to Watch: No. 10 Knicks at Nets
Crosstown showdown one of many early season tests
We're counting down the top 10 most exciting Knicks matchups for the upcoming season! Cast your vote on Twitter and Facebook using #NYKSaveTheDate.
10) Knicks at Brooklyn (November 7, 2014)
The Knicks will open this season with four straight games against 2014 Eastern Conference playoff teams, followed by a three-game road trip that starts in Detroit against Stan Van Gundy's Pistons. It's a grueling start for a team looking to bounce back from missing the playoffs a year ago; the lone reprieve of the early schedule coming in the form of a return "home" for a Friday night showdown in Brooklyn.
New York won three of four against the Nets in 2013-14, but both teams have undergone significant changes this offseason. On November 7, Derek Fisher will be five games into his coaching career, while Lionel Hollins has replaced Jason Kidd on the Nets bench. Fisher will early be in the process of sculpting a rotation out of a roster with at least a half dozen new faces. Hollins won 56 games with Memphis two seasons ago, and he'll be counting on key veterans to return to form to match that success in Brooklyn.
Gone are Paul Pierce (who signed with Washington as a free agent) and Shaun Livingston (Golden State), so a playoff return could ride on a trio of former All-Stars: Brook Lopez (returning from a broken foot), Deron Williams (injured and inconsistent in 2013-14) and Kevin Garnett (career-low 20.5 minutes per game).
The Knicks' schedule softens up after a home-and-home that starts in Atlanta the next night, but a win at Barclays could be a big confidence boost during a rough stretch. And as with all Atlantic Division games, there are always playoff implications. The cross-town rivals don't meet again until December 2nd at Madison Square Garden.
Up next in the Top 10 Matchups countdown: A mid-season trip to London to battle the Bucks.