By: Matthew Falkenbury
Tyson Chandler is rebounding at a rate that the Knicks haven’t seen since Willis Reed was manning the paint.
Tonight in the 99-85 win over the Detroit Pistons, Chandler became the first Knick since Willis Reed in the 1969-1970 title season to have three straight games of 20+ rebounds.
“It hasn’t been done in a long time…since Willis Reed,” said Chandler after the game. “Whenever you are mentioned in the same breath or accomplish records he has…it is a tall task.”
Chandler has been rebounding at a very solid rate all season, coming into the game averaging 11 rebounds a game, good for 7th best in the NBA. But, the past three games he has taken it to a new level.
Coach Mike Woodson has been getting on Tyson all season to be more aggressive and to play like the All-Star player that he knew Tyson could be. After the game tonight, Tyson gave all the credit to his coach for getting him to play at the his coach expected from him.
“Throughout the season, mentally, he lit a fire under me,” said Chandler. “[Coach Woodson] called me into his office and said I needed to start playing like an All-Star and the last thing I wanted was people questioning that. I had focus after that. Sometimes you need that…a little push.”
The Knicks have certainly been making a push the past week winning five in a row and six of their past seven games to go a season high 16 games over .500. With Chandler leading the way, he has helped his teammates thrive and make it easier on them.
“The last three games…it makes my job easy,” said Amar’e Stoudemire. “He is playing well. He is grabbing every rebound and playing great defensively.”
Carmelo Anthony, who won a Super Bowl bet with Chandler, making him wear a Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl championship hat during his post game interview, marveled at what Chandler has been able to accomplish during this three game rebounding run.
“That is incredible…three straight games of 20 plus rebound,” said Anthony. “It is very hard to do so, you have to take your hat off to Tyson for the effort.”
The Knicks brought in Chandler for exactly what everyone has seen so far from him over the season and a half he has been with the team. His defensive intensity was never in doubt but now the added bonus of his enhanced rebounding has brought even more to the table for the Knicks.
With Chandler and the rest of the Knicks playing at such a high level for most of the season, the hope that it will continue as the season comes to an end and the playoffs begin.
If it does, maybe Chandler and Anthony will both be wearing championship hats together, but this time in June.