In a two-day period when the Knicks couldn’t get any good news, they’ll at least have a brief period of celebration before tomorrow night’s Game 3.

Knicks center Tyson Chandler was named NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Wednesday game. He’ll be honored before Game 3 in New York.

"To be considered the best defensive player in the league this year was just the ultimate for me," Chandler said. "So to finally get this, it means the world."

Chandler was largely responsible for the massive on-court turnaround in New York’s defensive performance from last year.


The Knicks allowed 94.7 points per game this season after allowing 105.7 points per game — last in the Eastern Conference — in 2010-11.

Some of the credit goes to current interim head coach Mike Woodson, who turned the defense around even before he took over from Mike D’Antoni. But it was Chandler who anchored the middle defensively — a role Amar’e Stoudemire has never taken to.

"When you talk about building a championship team, it starts in the middle and Tyson has been all of that and [then] some," Woodson said.

Chandler averaged 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game this year. Orlando’s Dwight Howard, who feuded with his coach and finished the season injured, had won the award for three straight seasons.

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