- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Knicks will take the floor on Monday in Milwaukee a game out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
They'll be six games behind the Raptors for first place in the Atlantic.
"Obviously, we didn't come in expecting to put ourselves in this situation. But ... I feel like it's still wide open," Tyson Chandler said. "I looked at the standings today and I feel like we've got a real opportunity to kind of shoot up to that third spot or so and try to get ourselves in the mix."
The Knicks are 6 ½ games back of the third-place Hawks, so they have some ground to make up if they want to reach Chandler's goal.
The bad news for New York is that they've played the 18th ranked schedule in the league thus far, based on opponent's winning percentage. So the toughest part of the schedule is yet to come.
Also, 21 of the Knicks' final 35 games are on the road.
Carmelo Anthony is feeling pretty optimistic about New York's chances in the wake of its 4-4 homestand.
"We lost some games that we thought we should have won that but that's neither here nor there. I like the direction that we're going in as far as our mentality, our focus," Anthony said. "We've got to bounce back on Monday."
Added Chandler: "I'm very pleased with the way we've been playing of late."
Chandler 100 percent healthy: Chandler missed 20 games with a fractured right fibula earlier this season. He missed four games with bronchitis in early January. On Saturday, Chandler assured that he's 100 percent healthy these days.
"When I'm physically out there and I feel great right now, I feel I'm moving around well," Chandler said.
By one defensive metric, Chandler still is making a strong impact since he returned from his bout with bronchitis. The Knicks are allowing 112.7 points per 100 possessions when Chandler's off the floor. When he's on the floor, that number drops to 108.0.
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