With tonight’s win over the Charlotte Bobcats, the New York Knicks are currently riding a seven game winning streak, the longest active streak in the NBA right now. J.R. Smith is continuing to shine (37 points on 12-18 shooting) and Carmelo Anthony is finally looking like his old self (32 points).
Things are looking great for New York despite the absence of the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler. Although the Knicks are winning now, they will not be able to win without Chandler come play-off time.
Without Chandler, the Knicks have started Kenyon Martin at the Center position while playing Anthony at the PF spot. Against the best teams in the Eastern Conference, that lineup is not going to fly, however.
Chandler has missed nine straight games with a bulging disc in his neck, and the Knicks have now gone 7-2 in his absence. The big man originally injured his knee during New York’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, but then it was announced that Chandler would miss time due to the neck injury.
Earlier this week, Chandler said that, “this is not going to be something that I’m just going to be able to fight through.” The defensive anchor of the Knicks was averaging 10.7 points, 11 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game prior to his injury.
It’s great that the Knicks are winning now, but the team cannot continue to rely on Martin as the starting center. With Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined for the rest of the regular season, New York will need all it can get from Chandler when the post-season rolls around.
For now, there is no rush for Chandler to return to the court- his team is winning. However, without him, the Knicks could face an early exit in the play-offs.