Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Knicks [Print without images]

Sunday, April 22, 2012
Halftime: Hawks 65, Knicks 60

By Ian Begley

Here are a few observations from the first half of Sunday's Knicks-Hawks:

Anyone watching the first 24 minutes of this game has to have a greater appreciation for Tyson Chandler's impact on defense.

Why?

Just call it the Peyton Manning affect.

Just like the Colts were awful without Manning last year, the Knicks were terrible on defense in the first half without Chandler.

Mike Woodson decided to sit Chandler on Sunday. According to reports out of Atlanta, Woodson wanted to give Chandler a day of rest.

With their most important paint presence on the bench, the Knicks were porous on defense, particularly in the interior.

They allowed Atlanta to shoot 59 percent from the floor, including 9-for-11 from beyond the arc. The Hawks had 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the paint.

Amare Stoudemire, whose never been confused for a strong defender, started at center in place of Chandler.

The poor defensive performance is no surprise, really. In the two previous games without Chandler, the Knicks have up an average of 118 points per game.

STOUDEMIRE'S SECOND GAME BACK: Playing his second game following a nearly four-week absence due to a bulging disk in his lower back, Stoudemire looked more comfortable on offense Sunday. He had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. But he struggled on defense (see above) and turned it over four times.

He seemed to benefit from Chandler's absence on offense because it allowed him to serve as the primary screener on pick and rolls. But he picked up two fouls in the first 5:30 of the game, drawing the ire of Woodson.

MELO NOT SHY: Carmelo Anthony raised some eyebrows when he attempted just 13 shots on Friday in Cleveland. No need to worry. Anthony's already put it up 17 times in Atlanta. He's got 20 points on 8-for-17 shooting and a team-high four rebounds. The rest of his teammates are 16-for-23. Iman Shumpert has 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.