In Games 1 and 2, Tyson Chandler has only averaged 21 minutes, totaling a combined three points and 10 rebounds.
Clearly, the starting center is still not himself, and on Wednesday, Mike Woodson shed some light on his All-Star center's situation.
"There's no doubt he was rusty in Game 1 and we expected that because he hadn't played, and his energy level was really low," he said during a media conference call on Wednesday. "I thought he was much better in last night's game in terms of movement and his pop, but he's still not there yet. He's lost some weight during this ordeal and we've got to get him back up to speed. I think as each game comes, he'll improve and get where we expect him to be and be the Tyson that he's been all season."
On a positive note, in the limited time Chandler has played, he's been effective setting screens, freeing up Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith for jump shots, and Raymond Felton for drives through the lane. But Chandler's best movement has been around the perimeter. Inside against the Celtics' physical frontline, he's been a non-factor. In fact, he doesn't have a single converted dish from Felton. During the regular season, they ran one of the best pick-and-rolls in the NBA.
Kenyon Martin has been a savior, as he's averaging three blocks and 10 rebounds in the series so far. There's been some speculation that if Amar'e Stoudemire returns in the semifinals (Woodson has ruled him out in the first round), it could affect Martin's minutes. But the coach, during an ESPN New York 98.7 FM radio appearance on Wednesday, said, "No, not at all." He said that Stoudemire could play down low, while Martin's defensive versatility would allow him to guard multiple positions.
Woodson said that Stoudemire would resume his spot in the rotation once he recovers from a right knee injury.
"Amar'e's a big piece to this puzzle," he said. "What he did for us before he went down was valuable to our team because he anchors the second unit, especially from a low-post offensive standpoint. And you need that in the playoffs."
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR?: GM Glen Grunwald could be in the running for the honor, and with Wednesday marking the one-year anniversary of his Knicks' position, Woodson shared his thoughts on his former college teammate at Indiana:
"I could not have picked a better place to come, and have a GM that I respect so much," he said. "There's nothing I can't talk to Glen about, and vice versa. This summer was very pivotal for our franchise in terms of the direction we were going to go. And make no mistake about it, Glen and Jim Dolan had a lot to do with that."
ENOUGH ALREADY: Woodson was asked about some of the negativity that still surrounds Anthony -- who's lost in the first round eight times in his 10-year career with Denver and New York -- but the coach is tired of hearing about it.
"I don't really care about what other people think about Carmelo Anthony, because those people are not around Carmelo every day," he said. "I see Carmelo pretty much every day, I see his teammates every day and I know the work that the young man has put in as a player. A lot of these people probably never played basketball in their life, and they make comments about Melo about not being committed, and they don't think this and think that. I think Melo is damn committed and he's been that way since I've taken over the team."
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