- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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The game was long over as the Knicks had already built a 35-point lead on the Boston Celtics in the third quarter.
But the blowout created some valuable playing time for Jeremy Tyler and he took full advantage. The young big man took a pass from Cole Aldrich and threw down a nasty dunk with 1:39 remaining in the third against the Celtics. That punctuated a 17-point, 5-rebound and 2-block performance in 23 minutes during a 114-88 win over Boston on Tuesday night.
"Obviously, he played well and he should have a lot of confidence going forward," Mike Woodson said on The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show. "From a coach's standpoint, you really don't know what you are going to get from these young guys because their time really comes in practice.
"Now he is playing in a major game and contributing and doing a bunch of positive things on the floor to help you win," Woodson continued. "You hope that continues. It was nice to see."
Woodson said he loves seeing young guys transfer hard work on the practice floor to games. But the old school coach also leans pretty hard on his veterans and defensive-minded guys for the most part.
But with Andrea Bargnani out indefinitely, Tyler does have an opportunity to see some minutes. Kenyon Martin says he is playing on Thursday against Cleveland despite rolling his troublesome left ankle. Martin acknowledges that he may miss more time later this season if the ankle pain persists. Also, Amar'e Stoudemire is still rehabbing his ankle injury.
There could be some minutes for Tyler to spell Tyson Chandler or even play beside Chandler if Woodson wants to go big. Playing Tyler a few minutes also takes some wear and tear off Martin's ankle.
Woodson said he has noticed how his younger players have stepped up. He mentioned Tim Hardaway Jr. and Cole Aldrich as two young players he has been impressed with. Hardaway Jr. is averaging 8.6 points and is shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from behind the arc.
The rookie shooter, who has scored in double figures in each of his last three games, could see more minutes if Iman Shumpert's shoulder keeps him out on Thursday. Shumpert is listed as day to day.
While Hardaway Jr. is making a case for a role in the rotation, Tyler and Aldrich have shown Woodson what they can do when pressed into action as well.
"You never know what you are going to get from young players from day to day," Woodson said. "Most young players when they come into our league they are on a roller coaster ride and they are trying to figure it out. It is not their fault. Just the makeup of our league.
"Tim Hardaway has played some games this season down the stretch," Woodson later added. "That's how much confidence I have with him ... I feel really good about Timmy. Jeremy and Cole are just starting to get their feet wet. If they continue at the pace they are playing, I wouldn't have any problem throwing them in there down the stretch."
Up now: Woodson loved what La La said about Carmelo's future.
Tyson credits team meetings with sparking the Knicks' latest turnaround.
Tim Jr. will be participating in All-Star Weekend's Rising Stars Challenge featuring rookies and sophomores.
Begley examines Melo to the Bulls speculation.
The Knicks sent three down to the NBDL for some practice time.
What's next: The Knicks go for four in a row against the Cavs at MSG.
Question of the day: Do you think Woody should play Hardaway Jr. and Tyler more moving forward?