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
News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

Local

Paint Nite: Get drunk and make a painting…

At Paint Nite, New Yorkers can drink and make a painting at a New York City bar.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.