Starting center and defensive anchor Tyson Chandler will be out 4-6 weeks with a small non-displaced fracture of the right fibula, the team announced. He will be out 4 to 6 weeks.
Here’s what you need to know — the Knicks’ defense allows just 92.2 points per 100 possessions when Chandler is on the court and 107.1 when he sits. That’s 15 points per 100 possessions (and there are usually just shy of 100 possessions per game). The Knicks also get killed in rebounding when Chandler sits.
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The injury occurred in the first quarter Tuesday when Chandler banged knees with Kemba Walker of the Bobcats. Chandler went to the bench then had to be helped back to the locker room. By the way, the Knicks went on to lose to the Bobcats and fall to 1-3 on the season.
The only other legitimate center they have on the roster is Cole Aldrich, who is frankly a fringe NBA player, a guy on the league bubble. Coach Mike Woodson said this will mean more Kenyon Martin (he was forced into action in what was supposed to be a night off Tuesday), but prior to that game he hadn’t played more than 16 minutes a night and was platooning with the also banged up Amare Stoudemire. There will be more Stoudemire too, Woodson said.
There is Andrea Bargnani in the roster, but you can’t expect him to play defense (or do much else well so far this season).
The Knicks have a big problem here. They should go back to Carmelo Anthony at the four and try to figure out a center rotation, but there really are no good answers.
They are still a playoff team in the East, but if the next month they struggle then cannot get higher than a 5 seed in the playoffs, it is a long road from there to where owner James Dolan thinks they should be.
Joel Embiid scores over Carmelo Anthony, then they exchange words (VIDEO)
Joel Embiid gives zero… well, you know where I’m going with that.
Embiid trolls the world and backs down from no man, and that includes Carmelo Anthony. Late in the fourth quarter of the barn burner between the Thunder and 76ers Friday night, Embiid backed ‘Melo down and scored over him, then did a little jawing — which Anthony didn’t appreciate.
I love that Embiid egged on the Sixers crowd after this. He knows his audience.
Embiid talks a lot — A LOT — but he is backing it up.
For example, in the first overtime Russell Westbrook thought he made a drive that was going to win the game, and Embiid rejected him.
Rudy Gobert missed 11 games this season due to a bone bruise in his knee. While the Jazz defense suffered as should have been expected with their anchor gone, their offense found a groove without him — and with more Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors — resulting in Utah going 7-4 with their star center out.
Now the Jazz will be without him again for a while — he seems to have sprained his left knee just minutes into Friday night’s game against the Celtics when Favors fell back into him. That is the same knee he injured before. Gobert was forced to leave and will not return to the game.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert still needs to undergo an MRI on injured left knee, but early evaluation suggests a Grade 1 MCL sprain, league source tells ESPN.
If that diagnosis holds, it will be weeks again the Jazz will be without Gobert.
The Jazz know how to play without Gobert. Favors moves to center and while he’s not near the same defender his offensive skills got them buckets and opened up the floor. The rookie Mitchell, as well as Ricky Rubio at points, took advantage of it to give the Jazz a top-10 offense with Gobert out. They need to find that groove again.
Still, Utah needs Gobert back and himself to really reach the heights they are capable of.
Veteran NBA official Monty McCutchen to be head of referee development, training
After 25 seasons running up and down the NBA hardwood and refereeing more than 1,400 games, NBA official Monty McCutchen got a promotion.
He officiated his last game Thursday night in Minnesota and will move to a desk at the league office where his new title is Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training.
“Monty has earned the respect of players, coaches and his peers during an exemplary career as an NBA official,” said Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Operations Michelle D. Johnson (who started on the job in October). “He understands as well as anyone what it takes to be an outstanding referee and how the league can best support its officials. With his wealth of insight and experience, Monty is uniquely suited for a leadership role in our officiating program.”
“I’m excited for the opportunity to channel my passion for the officiating profession in a new way,” McCutchen said. “While I’ll miss officiating games, I’m grateful to continue working with our incredibly talented referee staff as part of an organization so dedicated to excellence and innovation.”
Despite what some fans like to blast on Twitter (especially during the playoffs), NBA officials are the best trained and flat-out best basketball referees in the world (if you don’t think so, watch the college/scab referees from the last lockout of the refs, it was painful). Could they improve? Sure. Hopefully, McCutchen can help do that in his new position.
Kristaps Porzingis officially day-to-day, questionable vs. OKC
Turns out there is nothing to worry about. After the game, Porzingis spoke to the media and was standing on the leg, a good sign. By Friday, after a day of treatment, he was doing well. Officially Porzingis is day-to-day and may sit out Carmelo Anthony‘s return to Madison Square Garden Saturday, but the injury is nothing serious. Ian Begley of ESPN has the details.
Porzingis’ knee was “worked on” on Friday and the discomfort in his knee decreased, league sources told ESPN. It is unclear if Porzingis underwent an MRI or had X-rays to further determine the extent of the injury but sources say he did not undergo significant testing because it wasn’t warranted based on the state of the injury.
Good. We don’t need another star down with a major injury this season.
Especially Porzingis, who has led the Knicks to a 15-13 record (sixth in the East, in the playoffs) while putting up All-Star numbers: 25.5 points per game, shooting 39.5 percent from three, plus grabbing 6.6 rebounds a game. Maybe more impressive is how he has anchored a solid Knicks defense this season with his rim protection. Stay healthy and he should make his first All-Star team this season.