The New York Knicks have started to look more like the team that began the season as of late, winners of five consecutive games.
They have started to get healthy, but one man in particular can be credited for their most recent stretch of good play- Knicks’ center Tyson Chandler.
The first-time All-Star has been as dominant at both ends of the floor as possibly at any time in his 12-year career. He has been all over the paint defensively, but the work he has put in on the glass as of late has been nothing short of special.
Chandler helped the Knicks defeat the Detroit Pistons on Monday night by grabbing 20 rebounds, doing so for the third consecutive game.
No Knicks’ player has accomplished that since Willis Reed accomplished the feat in December of 1969.
That season ended with a Knicks championship, something Chandler hopes will happen this season as well.
The Knicks have struggled rebounding the basketball all season long, ranking 26th in the NBA, after the most recent stretch of domination, Chandler has helped them climb up to 23rd (41.0 RPG). Hopefully that trend continues and the Knicks keep on crashing the glass at this rate.
It is not that Chandler has been having a bad season, he clearly hasn’t, but something has ignited him as of late.
If a spark needed lit in Chandler, credit Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson for sparking the fuse, giving Chandler a stern talking to before his latest exploits.
Woodson’s message was clear and that was if Chandler was going to be an All-Star, he had to play like it on every possession.
“I didn’t think he was playing complete basketball,” Woodson told Newsday’s Jim Baumbach. “He was taking possessions off. He wasn’t moving the pace offensively and he wasn’t getting it done in terms of rebounding the basketball. And you can’t be an All-Star in this league and not play like it.”
If Woodson was trying to send a message to Chandler, that message was received loud and clear.
“The last thing you want is for people to start questioning you,” Chandler said. “And I agreed . . . Sometimes you need that. You need a little push.”
It’s no secret that the Knicks feed off Chandler’s energy and emotion. He’s is their emotional leader and when he is providing that on a nightly basis, this Knicks team is very tough to beat.
It’s no coincidence that the Knicks recent winning streak has coincided with Chandler’s improved play.
Now the key is for him to keep it up.
Chandler doesn’t have to grab 20 rebounds a night, but he must continue to play like the dominant center that he is.
I have no doubt that he will do exactly that.
Chandler is a winner, a leader and a pro’s pro. He is the type of player that young big men should emulate.
It’s not always about flash and highlights, but instead about winning and doing your job.
Very few do it better than Chandler.
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