Sunday, December 16, 2012
Chandler clutch vs. Cavs after fighting cold
By Jared Zwerling
With no Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks only up 48-45 at halftime against the Cavaliers (5-20), Tyson Chandler knew he was needed in the third and fourth quarters.
So what did he do? While battling a cold entering the game, Chandler played the entire second half -- and put his fingerprints all over the finishing touches of the Knicks' 103-102 victory, extending their home record to 10-0 this season (the only undefeated mark in the NBA). The center scored eight points in the fourth quarter en route to his ninth double-double of the season (23 points and 10 rebounds on 90.0 percent shooting).
"I was a little under the weather starting the game and coach wanted me to limit my minutes since we had the lead in the first half," he said afterward. "But obviously down the stretch he needed me."
Here's a running log of several of Chandler's key plays in the fourth quarter, highlighting his versatile impact to help the Knicks build a comfortable advantage, even when Kyrie Irving scored a career-high 41 points:
9:49 -- He had an offensive tip-in from Jason Kidd's 3-point attempt, which enabled Kidd to find Chandler inside for the layup (Knicks led 80-73)
9:21 -- On the very next Knicks' possession, he snuck backdoor behind Tyler Zeller and Kidd found him for the two-handed jam (Knicks led 82-73)
6:26 -- He set a strong screen for Felton, giving the starting point guard a wide-open 3-point look, which he connected on (Knicks led 88-80)
5:48 -- He rolled to the basket and Felton found him for the dunk (Knicks led 90-80)
3:40 -- His presence forced Anderson Varejao to stay with him more closely, therefore allowing Kidd to get open and knock down a 3-pointer (Knicks led 93-87)
1:23 -- He saved a loose ball after Irving got blocked, giving the Knicks the possession (Knicks led 95-91)
0:40 -- He got fouled and went to the line, making both of them (Knicks led 97-93)
As he's done all season, Chandler finished on the pick-and-roll, had several tip-ins to give the Knicks new life, in addition to his other key hustle plays. But this was arguably his best quarter of the season. In addition, his presence provided his teammates open lanes and shots.
"I needed Tyson towards the end," Mike Woosdon said. "I played him the whole second half and it worked out for us, and his offense came to life, which was huge. He got a couple behind-the-defense dunks that really got him going and everything else kind of fell into place."
Tyson Chandler celebrates after drawing the foul on his dunk against the Cavaliers.
After the game, Chandler talked about his art of the tip-in, saying, "I know where everybody is on the floor." Felton said they "really help us win games."
"They give us extra possessions," he said. "That's been big for us all year."
Felton also discussed Chandler's growth in pick-and-rolls.
"He's learning how to finish in many ways," he said. "He's not only just looking for a lob. He can catch a bounce pass and finish, he can catch the ball in traffic and go up and get and-ones. I think he has a lot of that this year, so he's added a lot to his game. He's really worked this summer, he's really worked at his game. Tyson's been big for us this year, very big."
Below is a closer look at how Chandler's been getting it done offensively. His effectiveness -- hence his league-leading 72.1 field goal percentage -- is off the charts. In fact, he's first in the league in points per play in all halfcourt offense (1.32 PPP).
Pick-and-rolls -- 85 plays for 122 points (first in the league)
Offensive tip-in -- 44 plays for 74 points (first in offensive tip-ins per play at 1.68)
Cuts -- 43 plays for 62 points
Transition -- 17 plays for 26 points
Post-ups -- five plays for two points
Other (non-classified) -- 26 plays for 14 points