The New York Knicks are 20-30 this season and have played eight more games at home than they have on the road. Their 12-17 home record has them on the outside looking in in the East, and their away record of 8-13 hasn’t helped much either. If the Knicks are going to make the playoffs this year, it will have a lot to do with how they handle their next 12 games, nine of which are away from Madison Square Garden.
They play Oklahoma City Thunder today in one of the toughest road arenas in the NBA. OKC is the best team in the West and has twice as many wins as the Knicks. They then have a home game against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 12 before embarking on a four-game road trip. They will travel to Memphis to take on the surging 27-22 Memphis Grizzlies, whom the Knicks notoriously struggle with and lost to late in December. They will then take on the New Orleans Pelicans, who at 22-27 are a beatable team, but have already taken down the Knicks once this season. And unlike the Knicks, the Pelicans know how to protect their home court, sitting at 13-12 at the Smoothie King Center.
After that, the Knicks head to the Southeast division to take on the Orlando Magic (15-37) and the Atlanta Hawks (25-24). The good thing here for the Knicks is that they are 4-0 against these two this season. The Knicks then play two of their next three games at home, but they play three strong teams and the one away game is in Miami against the Miami Heat, so the Knicks will not be looking forward to this stretch. They play the Dallas Mavericks at home before the Miami game, and then travel to California to take on the Golden State Warriors — if the Knicks pick up one victory in this three-game trip, it’d be considered a success.
Another three game road trip to start the month of March may be what decides the Knicks’ fate this season. They play the Chicago Bulls (24-25), Detroit Pistons (21-29) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (24-27) over the span of four days. Unless the Knicks dominate through the rest of an extremely difficult February schedule, these three games against teams that are currently all under .500 will be must-win road games late in the season to scratch their way into a playoff berth.
The discrepancy in the Knicks’ schedule of road and away games this season will balance out over the next month, but they will still have more road games to finish the season than home games, so it won’t be easy. Then again, it’s not like the Knicks have been a strong team at home, so maybe this is exactly what they needed.