The Knicks are on an eight-game winning streak heading into a game with the Heat Tuesday — the Knicks can lock up that season series and gain another measure of confidence should the two meet in the playoffs.
And it looks like the Knicks may have their shot-blocking, defensive anchor of a center Tyson Chandler back for that game, reports Jared Zwerling at ESPNNewYork.com. He has been out with a bulging disc in his neck.
And the idea of a Kenyon Martin/Tyson Chandler defensive front line has Knicks fans feeling optimistic.
Based on the way Kenyon Martin has been playing — 9.9 points on 69.4 percent shooting during the winning streak, along with averages of six rebounds and around a block and steal — that means that a new formidable frontline in the starting five could be just two days away.
Chris Copeland called Martin and Chandler together “scary.”
“They alter everything around the basket,” he told ESPNNewYork.com. “Guys aren’t going to want to go in the paint, and [Martin and Chandler will] make them take contested shots. I think that will be a great lineup.”
The Knicks and Pacers (who have won seven of eight and are playing well) are in a virtual tie for the two seed in the East. The up side of having the two seed is you would have home court in the second round and a likely matchup against the Pacers. The down side is you likely get the Celtics in the first round — a series the Knicks should win but would have to work hard for against a veteran, battle-tested team. The Hawks (the likely six seed) is less intimidating even if they are more talented than Boston.
But what really matters is having a groove for the playoffs. The Knicks have found and the return of Chandler could only make them more formidable.