Times have certainly changed.
According to a report by Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Bucks will host the Knicks on Wednesday, October 28, marking the first time in 31 years Milwaukee will play its season-opener at home.
The last time it happened was 1984, when the Bucks welcomed the Bulls, who featured a certain rookie shooting guard out of North Carolina, to Milwaukee. If you’re wondering, the Bucks prevailed 108-106 behind 34 points from none other than Terry Cummings. Jordan finished with 21 points in what would be his second-lowest scoring output of the season.
While the Bucks have not opened the year at home in three decades, it doesn’t mean they’ve been neglected by the league. Small-market Milwaukee has typically exchanged playing its first game or two on the road for the opportunity to host its home opener on a weekend night, typically Saturday, when attendance tends to be highest. Last season, the Bucks opened in Charlotte on a Wednesday night before returning to Milwaukee to face the 76ers on Halloween Night, a Friday.
The Bucks blew a big second-half lead and ultimately fell in overtime to Charlotte in last season’s opener. This time around, they’ll face a Knicks team they thoroughly dominated in 2014-15, sweeping the season series 4-0, including a 95-79 beatdown in London on January 15.
At this point, details of the 2015-16 schedule remain unconfirmed by the NBA, which announced Tuesday that it will roll out the new schedule Wednesday evening with a live television special on NBA TV beginning at 5:00PM Central.
— NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2015
While the Bucks are unlikely to be selected for one of the marquee Christmas Day games, they should force their way into the national TV slate after being shut out each of the last two seasons (NBA TV carried two of Milwaukee’s games last season, but that’s not really national). The acquisition of Greg Monroe adds another recognizable name to the Bucks’ young core, and Jabari Parker‘s return from a torn ACL, coupled with Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s budding national and international profile, will conceivably be enough to land a slot or two on ESPN or TNT. We’ll find out for sure Wednesday night.
If there is one drawback to the Bucks opening at home, it’s that the franchise’s two main attractions may not be on the court.
Parker’s status for opening night is still very much in jeopardy as he continues to build strength in his knee. October 28 will mark nearly 10 months since he underwent surgery back on January 5.
Totally worth it.