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.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.