Knicks counting on Kenyon Martin against Boston

Kenyon Martin is averaging 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in 28 minutes over his last five games. Credit: Getty Images
Kenyon Martin is averaging 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in 28 minutes over his last five games.
Credit: Getty Images

The Knicks may get the services of center Tyson Chandler again, as the All Star’s status has been upgraded to questionable just in time for Tuesday night’s tilt against the Celtics (36-33). But perhaps the bigger piece to whether the team has success in Boston will come down to the play of Kenyon Martin.

If Chandler’s ailing neck improves and he plays, he’ll indeed be a welcomed addition for the Knicks, because New York’s frontline is woefully thin, thanks to season-long injuries claiming Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas at one point or another. But the Knicks may even be better-served if they continue to give Martin major minutes. The 6-foot-9 power forward has filled in admirably at center in Chandler’s absence, so head coach Mike Woodson would be wise to continue playing Martin extended minutes —  even with Chandler’s return.

As great a defender Chandler is, Martin has had just as much defensive impact during his tenure, as New York is giving up 99.5 points per 100 possessions, which would rank fifth in the NBA. Conversely, when he’s off the floor, they’re giving up 103.3 points, which would put them 17th.

Such valuable production is the main reason why Martin thinks he deserves to continue his recent playing time bump. But besides that, Martin said his once-troublesome knees are feeling as good as they have in years, which is why he has such great bounce to his step.

“My knees have not been an issue for a few years, [because] not having played basketball for a while, I don’t have the wear and tear,” said Martin, who is working for the relatively cheap price of two 10-day contracts.

The mercurial Martin, whose hustle, energy and post-dunk theatrics have made him a Garden favorite, also admitted he’s looking forward to Tuesday’s game because the Celtics were one of the teams who bypassed his services while he sat out most of the first five months of the season as a street free agent.

“I was getting my legs ready [during his time away from the game], so I want people to know I can still play. I just don’t want this to be it,” said Martin, who added he seeks revenge on all the teams that never called. “My thoughts are probably ones that I can’t say on camera. … But I am in a happy place now.”

The rest of the league’s loss is the Knicks’ gain, especially recently, as Martin — and Carmelo Anthony — have spearheaded a four-game winning streak. While Martin has manned the pivot, Woodson kept Anthony at the power forward position, the same spot the All Star has played all season. But should Chandler play against the Celtics, Woodson will have a decision to make. He’ll have to decide whether to keep Martin in the starting lineup as the power forward, which would slide the 6-foot-7 Anthony back to his customary small forward, or bring Martin off the bench.

Whatever he decides, Woodson said it’ll be a “nice luxury” because of how seamless Martin can adapt to any situation — and also how similar Martin and Chandler’s games are.

“Tyson does the same thing [as Kenyon],” Woodson said. “They’re pretty similar as pick-and-roll guys. Both are defensive-minded guys, both can block shots and both finish around the rim. … Bringing Kenyon off [the bench], it becomes a double threat and we don’t lose a lot.”

Woodson might’ve showed his hand in regards to playoff strategy when he admitted that he may start a big lineup (Anthony, Martin and Chandler together) to contend with a possible first-round matchup against the Bulls, who own one of the biggest frontlines in the league. And should the Knicks be so fortunate to advance to the second round, the Pacers’ bruising and deep frontcourt will likely be waiting.

But whatever the formula going forward, Woodson’s assertion about the Knicks’ recent frontline tear is correct in that as long as Martin continues ascending and his knees hold up, the veteran power forward is a nice — and cheap — problem to have.

Knicks notes

» Chandler tested himself a bit during Monday’s practice, but admitted afterwards that he still felt some spasms when stretching to defend. Woodson may have upgraded Chandler to questionable, but it sounds as if the center is still very questionable for the Celtics on Tuesday.

» The Celtics will also likely be down a starting center, as Kevin Garnett (foot) will miss the game and probably even the Easter Sunday tilt next week. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers admitted the team’s doctors will be taking a second look at the MRI on Garnett’s foot to decide his status going forward.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…