At the Garden, the Knicks’ Guest List Looks a Bit Incomplete

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat will play at Madison Square Garden only once, as will Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Blake Griffin.

And Kevin Durant will not visit New York, nor will Mark Jackson return to the Garden this season for the first time as Golden State’s coach.

The , released Tuesday, will begin with the Dec. 25 opener at home against the Boston Celtics, who swept them out of the last postseason. But it also features the quirks that come with a shortened schedule, the way the 50-game slate did in 1998-99 after that season’s lockout.

The Knicks will play one stretch of three games in three nights, Feb. 2-4, with home games against Chicago and the Nets (who have two three-game stretches) sandwiched around a trip to Boston.

They will also make one trip beyond the Central time zone, a West Coast excursion of three games in four nights after the opener to play Jackson’s Warriors on Dec. 28, Bryant’s Lakers on Dec. 29 and the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 31.

Also, 27 of the 66 games are scheduled to be nationally televised.

The lack of an Anthony “homecoming,” however, stands out most. Unlike Stoudemire, who received a raucous, friendly ovation on his return to Phoenix last season, Anthony would have probably returned to Denver as a villain after his February trade to New York.

He will, however, face the Nuggets on Jan. 21 at the Garden, three days after Stoudemire faces the Suns there.

Based on last season’s standings, the Knicks appear set up for a good start. Seven of their first nine games are against teams that finished with losing records last season, although they meet four of those seven opponents (Warriors, Kings, Wizards and Pistons) on the road.

They will not play five games in six nights, as some teams will, but will play four in five nights on five occasions, including a four-game trip Jan. 24-28 to Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland; Miami; and Houston.

The shortened schedule, though, means James, Wade Company will play only once at the Garden, an April 15 matinee, 10 days before Griffin is to make his only New York appearance in the Knicks’ final regular-season home game.

The Knicks also play in Miami on Jan. 27 and Feb. 23.

As for the other stars, Bryant makes his annual late January/early February trip to New York on Feb. 10. Nowitzki and the defending champion Mavericks make their annual Garden appearance on Feb. 19 for a matinee, and the Knicks visit Dallas on March 6.

Orlando’s Dwight Howard (if he is not traded first) is scheduled to play at the Garden on Jan. 16 and March 28. And if Chris Paul remains with New Orleans, he faces the Knicks at the Garden on Feb. 17.

Durant, though, will not make it to New York with Oklahoma City (where the Knicks play on Jan. 14), nor will San Antonio, Memphis, Houston and Minnesota.

But Durant will make a metropolitan area appearance Jan. 21 in New Jersey, where (Jan. 7 and April 16) and the Knicks once (April 18).

Bryant and Nowitzki will not make it to Newark, but Griffin is scheduled to visit on March 7.


Jared Jeffries will be among the Knicks’ first signings when free agency opens Friday. Jeffries, who has spent parts of the last five seasons with the Knicks, has agreed to return on a one-year contract, according to two people informed of the deal. His return helps shore up a thin corps of big men, although the Knicks are still searching for a starting-caliber center.

Howard Beck contributed reporting.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 7, 2011

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the number of occasions the Knicks would play four games in five nights this season as four. They will do it five times, including twice during a five-game, seven-day stretch from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6. 

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