Knicks to host Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics to open up 2023-24 season

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NEW YORK — The Knicks will start their season by welcoming Kristaps Porzingis in his new green uniform, just two weeks before Victor Wembanyama makes his Madison Square Garden debut.

The Celtics, perennial championship contenders and coming off an eventful summer, play at MSG on Oct. 25 for their respective openers, as unveiled Thursday with the league-wide schedule release.

Porzingis, the former Knicks prodigy whose career has been stalled by injuries, was acquired by the Celtics in the offseason for Marcus Smart. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Wembanyama, the NBA’s most hyped rookie since LeBron James, and his Spurs are scheduled for their Garden game on Nov. 8, also on ESPN.

After a surprisingly successful push to the Eastern Conference semis last season, the Knicks are scheduled for 20 games on national TV next season (either on ESPN, ABC or TNT). Three of those are against Boston. Two are against the Cavaliers, who the Knicks defeated in the opening round of the playoffs last season. Two are against the Heat, which beat the Knicks in the second round.

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Another highlight is LeBron James and the Lakers at MSG on Feb. 3. With James 38 years old and entering his 21st season, the next appearance could represent the last at his favorite arena.

As previously released, the Knicks are hosting the Bucks on Christmas. It’s an NBA record 56th time New York is playing on the holiday — with most of those games occurring at MSG — although their 1-6 record since 2012 hasn’t fostered much of a festive tradition. The Bucks pummeled the Knicks on X-Mas in 2018, with Giannis Antetokounmpo going off for 30 points, 14 rebounds and four steals.

This campaign is also the introduction of the in-season tournament, which counts regular-season games toward an eventual champion. The Knicks are grouped with the Bucks, Heat, Wizards and Hornets. If they advance to the finals, the Knicks will play an extra game (so 83 for the season) but become eligible for top prize of $500,000 per player for winning the In-Season Tournament title. The runner-ups get $250,000 per player.

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The Knicks have three road trips of four games or more, with the toughest in mid-December at Utah, Phoenix, Clippers, Lakers and Brooklyn. Last season, the Knicks were one of only three teams with a better record on the road than at home.

The Knicks are scheduled for 12 back-to-back sets, which is below the league average of 14. However, each of those sets include travel between games and the NBA average for those types of back-to-backs is only nine.

Notable games

— Oct. 25 vs Boston: Season opener with Porzingis wearing green and first game since Jaylen Brown signed his monster contract.

— Oct. 31 at Cleveland: The Cavs are looking for revenge after getting pummeled by the Knicks in the playoffs. And yes, those Donovan Mitchell-to-the-Knicks rumors persist.

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— Nov. 8 vs. San Antonio: Wembanyama, the physical wonder, gets his first taste of MSG.

— Dec. 25 vs. Milwaukee: Noon tipoff for the Christmas game.

— Jan. 5 at Indiana: Obi Toppin’s first game ever against the Knicks.

— Jan. 11 at Dallas: Jalen Brunson in his former home against Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

— Jan. 25 vs. Denver: Nikola Jokic and the defending champs invade MSG after losing both their games against the Knicks last season.

— March 10 & 12: Consecutive home games against the Sixers, a team in flux and currently dealing with a disgruntled James Harden. What will their roster look like at that point? Will Joel Embiid be looking longingly at the Knicks?

— April 14 vs Chicago: Final game of the season. Could mean nothing. Could mean everything.

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