Why are the Knicks playing the Celtics 5 times this season?

New York Knicks, Josh Hart, Boston Celtics
New York Knicks, Josh Hart, Boston Celtics / Maddie Malhotra/GettyImages

The New York Knicks were one of eight teams to make it to the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals, and it's a move that could come back to haunt them. After losing to the Bucks (for the second time this season), the Knicks are in Boston to play the Celtics for the third time in 2023-24.

If Boston had beaten Indiana in the quarterfinals, the Knicks would've played the Pacers instead. It's not as if the NBA purposedly screwed over New York. With it being the first year of the IST, there are some kinks that the league will need to work out before 2024-25.

Why are the Knicks playing the Celtics 5 times this season?

Because New York and Boston are in the same division, the teams play each other four times in the regular season. If it weren't for the added game to the schedule, they wouldn't have played each other again until Feb. 24.

The IST has shaken things up. Teams like the Knicks have gotten the short end of the stick, as they'll play the Celtics and Bucks (the two top teams in the East) five times each this season. New York traveled to Milwaukee in the quarterfinals, and the team's added game against Boston on Friday is also on the road.

It's not as if the Knicks don't want to be challenged, but it's unfair because the added games count toward the team's regular season record. The standings in the East are already tight and likely still will be when playoff seeding is determined.

One silver lining is that although New York is 0-2 against Boston this season, the Knicks could end the regular season with a 3-2 advantage. If the past two games against the Celtics have been any indication, it won't be easy. However, after losing to Boston at the beginning of 2022-23, New York did win the next three games, so it's possible.