- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- A win is a win, but the Knicks' opening night victory left Mike Woodson with plenty to be concerned about.
His team blew a 25-point lead, turned the ball over 14 times in the second half and missed 10 of 13 3-point attempts.
"That's not us," the coach said.
But there's at least one thing Woodson and the Knicks can feel good about on Thursday morning. And it's this: Tyson Chandler seems to be healthy and productive.
The Knicks center finished with 10 points, six rebounds and five blocks and made several key plays in the final two minutes to help save New York from a forgettable opening act.
"We had to have [Chandler] tonight in order to secure the win," Woodson said.
Did they ever.
With the Knicks down one and 2:36 to play, Chandler had a put-back dunk off of Carmelo Anthony's miss. Later, with the Knicks clinging to a 3-point lead, he converted an alley-oop dunk from a Raymond Felton feed and blocked Nate Wolters' lay-up attempt on the other end, which led to a game-sealing layup from Felton.
"I knew my team needed something on both ends," Chandler said. "I was trying to provide big plays."
Chandler was clutch on Wednesday, something you couldn't say the last time he was on the the court.
Last May, the Knicks' big-ticket seven-footer was badly outplayed by Indy's Roy Hibbert in New York's loss in the second round of the playoffs. Chandler averaged just six points and six rebounds in 30 minutes in the six-game series. Hibbert put up averages of 13 points and 10 rebounds, and went off for 21 points and 12 boards in Indiana's series-clinching win in Game 6.
At the time, Chandler was dealing with a neck injury and was about 15 pounds underweight, the result of a bout with the flu. But he said he has used the Indiana series as motivation during offseason workouts.
"I vowed to myself I would never let that happen again," Chandler said earlier this month. "I would never let my team down and be in that situation again."
Chandler was a man of his word on Wednesday night. So how would he compare how he felt Wednesday with his last time on the court, watching Hibbert and the Pacers celebrate in Indy?
"Oh, it's like night and day," he said.
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7dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann