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Five under-the-radar games on the 2019-20 Knicks schedule

You’re not going to want to miss these matchups.

2019 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
R.J. Barrett doesn’t understand why you wouldn’t watch all these games.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Everyone knows the Knicks open the season on the road against the San Antonio Spurs, and it’s common knowledge that Kristaps Porzingis makes his return to Madison Square Garden in mid-November, but there are many other notable games next season that haven’t received the attention they deserve.

Until now.

Here, we explore five under the radar games on the 2019-20 Knicks schedule that you best not miss, in chronological order.

1 - Monday, Oct. 28 against the Chicago Bulls

Arena: MSG

Tip-off: 7 pm EST

Heading into the fourth game of the year, in which the Knicks face the Bulls, the ‘Bockers might very well be 0-3, as the season starts with matchups against likely playoff teams in the Spurs, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics. A win over the Bulls feels within New York’s grasp, although let’s not go guaranteeing anything so that we don’t look foolish in the future.

Let’s get real for a moment, though. The true reason this game is on the list is that it marks the homecoming of Luke Kornet.

Kornet is sure to get a boisterous cheer from the Garden faithful when he checks in, as there will certainly be plenty of UniKornettes in the crowd. Anyone planning to attend this game should remember to bring an umbrella, because the forecast calls for a torrential rainstorm of threes.

Additionally, this counts as a revenge game for Bobby Portis, as the Bulls traded him to the Washington Wizards midway through last season. That wasn’t very nice.

San Antonio Spurs v Washington Wizards
“Why did the Bulls trade me?”
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

2 - Sunday, Nov. 3 against the Sacramento Kings

Arena: MSG

Tip-off: 6 pm EST

And on the seventh day, God rested. Because the Knicks were on.

Less than a week after the Knicks (hopefully) blow out the Bulls, the team takes on a group of upstart whippersnappers, plus Harrison Barnes and Trevor Ariza.

Most importantly, De’Aaron Fox seems primed to be one of the breakout stars of the season, and what better venue to showcase his skills than MSG? Last year at the Garden, Fox put up 30 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists as the Kings conquered New York 102-94.

Perhaps Fox will put up 40 this time around.

Even if he doesn’t, the Kings also feature Buddy Hield (he averaged 20.7 points per game last year and shot 43% from deep), along with 2018 second overall draft pick Marvin Bagley III as well as Bogdan Bogdanović, who is one of six Serbian players in the NBA right now, according to Wikipedia.

Sacramento was surprisingly decent last season, finishing 39-43, good for 9th place in a brutal Western Conference that has only gotten stronger. Chances are slim the Kings will sniff the postseason this year, but you should take the opportunity to watch a fun group of fellas compete in the Big Apple.

3 - Thursday, Dec. 5 against the Denver Nuggets

Arena: MSG

Tip-off: 7:30 pm EST

To reiterate: the Western Conference is ridiculous this year. Lots of people are looking forward to seeing Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and the Utah Jazz, or Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers, but it’s the Nuggets that finished last season at 54-28, second only to the Golden State Warriors in the West.

The Nuggets are one of those teams that are like, a true team, man.

There’s obviously Nikola Jokić, who is heading into his fifth season and was, in true under the radar fashion, just a couple of assists away from averaging a triple double last year (20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists). In case you don’t remember, when the Knicks and Nuggets played in Denver last season, Jokić posted 19 points, 14 rebounds and 15 assists. Solid numbers!

There’s also Jamal Murray, who just signed a massive contract (five years, $170 million) after posting 18.2 points and 4.8 assists per game in his third year in the league. Don’t forget Gary Harris, Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee, who have all been with Denver for at least a couple of years, not to mention Michael Porter Jr., who was selected 14th overall in 2018 but missed all of last season with a back injury. There’s also rookie Bol Bol, the 7’2” son of Manute.

2019 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
Bol Bol in the ball pit.
Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nuggets have the advantage of some serious chemistry to go along with well-deserved confidence after last year’s strong showing. This team will be fun to watch, so anyone who misses their journey to MSG must not like basketball all that much.

4 - Wednesday, Dec. 11 against the Golden State Warriors

Arena: Chase Center

Tip-off: 10:30 pm EST

Late games on a weeknight can be tough, but only a cotton-headed ninny muggins would miss the Knicks first game at the brand new, sparkling Chase Center in San Francisco.

The Warriors didn’t win the championship last year, plus they lost Kevin Durant to the Nets in free agency, and Klay Thompson will spend a large chunk of the season rehabbing that repaired ACL. Still, it feels like the Dubs are being slept on as a potential powerhouse.

Remember that time Steph Curry won back to back MVPs, one of which was the only time anyone ever received the award with a unanimous vote? That unanimous MVP came back in 2015-16, which is quite recent, and the Warriors got a certain guy named KD right after that, which made it so that Curry wasn’t the hub of the offense at all times anymore.

You don’t think Curry intends to remind the NBA that he’s one of the top couple of guys in the entire league?

His fellow splash brother won’t be back yet, but Curry will still have the likes of Draymond Green, D’Angelo Russell, Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein by his side. The Warriors will be coming off a day of rest, and are probably going to put on a show, so buy some freaking coffee and tell your boss that you’re going to be tired in the morning. Or quit your job. Just make sure you don’t miss this game.

5 - Wednesday, April 16 against the Minnesota Timberwolves

Arena: Target Center

Tip-off: 7:30 pm EST

Barring a miracle the likes of which has rarely been seen across the history of humanity, this will be the last time the Knicks play until 2020-21, as this matchup against the T-Wolves in Minnesota is the final game of the regular season.

Also, Noah Vonleh is on the Timberwolves now. You know the saying. Once a Knick, always a Knick, except for when you’re actively playing against the Knicks.