It has been a long while since the New York Knicks could claim that they have held a lead in a postseason series, but that is exactly the case after the Knicks 85-78 to kick off the postseason on Saturday.
The Knicks defense was a big part of the Game 1 victory, but if you looked closely, something was missing for most of the second half- 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler.
In his return to the lineup, Chandler saw only six minutes in the second half, as Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson elected to lean heavily on Kenyon Martin, who was outstanding Saturday afternoon.
It would be nice to see more of Chandler in the paint though the rest of the series, something he promises will happen as he blamed the lack of action on conditioning.
“I knew I would be rusty. I knew I would be a little winded. I knew at some point my legs would get the best of me,” Chandler told ESPN’s Jared Zwerling. “I just wanted to be out there with my team.”
“I think more so it’s just my conditioning,” he said. “I should obviously be much better in Game 2 [on Tuesday].”
Before Saturday, Chandler had missed 16 of the Knicks final 20 regular season games due to a neck injury. Taking the court for the first time in over two weeks, Chandler looked rusty and his timing was off at both ends of the floor.
He finished with five rebounds and one steal, but did not attempt a shot.
He wasn’t missed much with the way Martin played, but to win this series and make a lengthy playoff run, the Knicks are going to need a lot from Chandler.
The good news was that he said he was pain-free.
Now we just have to see more from him during the upcoming weeks.