The entire tri-state area is still in the beginning stages of a long recovery from the devastation that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on the area, but on Friday night Madison Square Garden will host the first major sporting event in the area since the storm: the New York Knicks 2012-13 season opener against the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
New York was supposed to open its season on Thursday in their first game ever against the new rival Brooklyn Nets, but the game was rightly postponed because of the storm's effects. There are certainly some who think that Friday's game against the Heat should also be postponed (there has been way more outrage guided at Sunday's New York City Marathon, which is still on as of now), but the NBA has decided the game is on. So there will be a basketball game at the newly-renovated MSG, and it will be a tough one for the Knicks.
It will mark the sixth straight time the Heat will be the Knicks' opponent, if you count last year's five game victory for Miami in the teams' first round playoff series. The last Knicks game at MSG was Game 4 against the Heat, when Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to their first home playoff win in over a decade. But that was the last game the Knicks have won, while Miami went on to win their second NBA title, the first for superstar LeBron James. The Heat are favored to repeat as champions, while the Knicks are among a bevy teams in the Eastern Conference hoping to upset the incumbents later on in the postseason.
Amare Stoudemire will be out for the Knicks, as he'll miss the first five or six weeks of the season with a knee injury. Newly-acquired center Marcus Camby, who didn't play in the preseason due to injury, is expected to be in uniform, while last year's Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler should resume his place as starting center after an injury late in preseason. Camby isn't the only former Knick back for his second tour of duty; Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas will also kick off their second tenures as Knicks after some time away.
Miami is 1-0 on the early season, having defeated the Boston Celtics by a 120-107 score in their season opener on Tuesday. To say it's a tough way to start the season for the Knicks is an understatement; they'll probably sign up for simply being competitive with the league's strongest team, and things are sure to be easier on most other nights. A win would do wonders for the psyche of a team that many believe is too old or too out of sync to compete among the league's elite.
Game time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN, MSG