On Tuesday night, Lopez will be sidelined for the sixth straight game with a mild right foot sprain. So you can bet Mike Woodson will try to get Chandler going early. The Nets cover a lot of ground defensively with their quick and bigger-sized perimeter, so the Knicks need to make Chandler a threat inside to create better spacing and more open shots.
"Tyson has played extremely well this season and we want to keep him involved and playing at a high level like that," Woodson said after Tuesday morning's shootaround.
Look for the Knicks to run pick-and-rolls early and often, especially now that Jason Kidd is back. He missed the first Knicks-Nets showdown with lower back spasms, and the Knicks lacked ball movement (they only had 14 assists on 33 makes). But with Kidd, Raymond Felton and Chandler -- and no Lopez, of course -- they'll look to take advantage of their reinforced pick-and-roll game.
Woodson may even use Kidd more at point guard, like he did during the Nuggets game. That was likely done to relieve some pressure off of Felton to reduce dribbling with his bruised left hand, but the coach also knows both guys can hit outside shots.
"That was a feel the other night just from a coaching standpoint. It's probably the first time I've done that," Woodson said. "I like Raymond and Jason playing together because that's a double threat. Both can run pick-and-rolls, both can make shots."
LINEUP ADVANTAGE: Speaking of Lopez's absence, Steve Novak said the Knicks are well-equipped to face different lineups based on injuries and other changes.
"One of our strengths is being able to play different lineups I think, and depending on who they play, we'll definitely be able to tweak the lineups and kind of see," he said. "But they really have a team that can play different lineups, too, with versatile guys like (Gerald) Wallace and Joe (Johnson) and those guys. So really it's just a good matchup altogether."
DON'T CALL IT A RIVALRY JUST YET: The Knicks see tonight as just another game on the calendar at this point.
"You all still are trying to make a rivalry out of it. It's not a rivalry yet," Rasheed Wallace said. "The atmosphere is like any other NBA arena. They’re cheering for that home team. I say with the fans there, it’s about 50/50 or 60/40. It’s a lot of New York Knicks fans there. Of course, they got their BK fans."
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