Knicks’ home-heavy beginning to season provides chance for fast start

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The NBA released its 2021-22 regular-season schedule on Friday. Here are three takeaways on what the Knicks will face:

National spotlight

All it took was one winning season for the Knicks to become a national television favorite. They will appear a whopping 22 times, with 12 games on ESPN, seven games on TNT and three games on ABC. That includes Christmas Day on ESPN against the Hawks in a playoff rematch. This past season, the Knicks had just six nationally televised games, after just three the year before.

Julius Randle and the Knicks play 13 of their first 23 games at the Garden next season.
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Home-heavy start

The Knicks open Oct. 20 against the Celtics (new point guard Kemba Walker’s former team) at home, where they will be for a large portion of the first quarter of their season. Three of their first four games, 11 of their opening 19 and 13 of 23 will be at the Garden, giving the Knicks a chance to start well. Of those 23 games, 13 will come against teams that failed to produce a winning record a year ago.

Five weeks of hell

From Feb. 5 to March 13, the Knicks will play 16 games, 12 of them on the road. That stretch will start with a heinous five-game Western swing to face the Lakers, Jazz, Nuggets, Warriors and Trail Blazers, home games against title contenders Nets and 76ers and a season-high seven-game road trip that includes another trip out west. All told, the 16 games include just one contest against a team that didn’t reach the playoffs a year ago.

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