Every weekday morning throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: What has caused the Knicks' recent dip in rebounding, especially on the offensive glass?
Overall since March 26, with a banged-up Tyson Chandler, an absent Amare Stoudemire and a newly positioned Carmelo Anthony at power forward, the Knicks have been fifth-best in total rebounds per game (43.3).
But what that number doesn't represent is the Knicks' slight rebounding plunge in their past three outings, against the Chicago Bulls twice and the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night, which put them near the bottom of the league in this statistical category. While the Knicks won the total rebounding margin Wednesday (42 to 39), they lost it both times to the Bulls. Worse, they lost the offensive rebounding margin all three times (18 to 16 on April 8, then 18 to 5 on April 10 and finally 13 to 10 on April 11).
While the Knicks were undersized against the Bulls, their potential first-round opponent in the playoffs, Chandler said the guys did a poor job of establishing position to grab missed shots, especially when he stepped out to contest shooters. That enabled the Bulls to have more muscle inside during their win Tuesday night.
"We're a little small right now," Chandler said afterward. "That's kind of their game. They attack the basket, they get you out of position and the big guys kind of crash the boards. We didn't do a good job boxing out tonight. We've got to do a better job of when we switch and I challenge the guard's shot, someone has to get the big guy out.
"We got out-rebounded by 18 and they took 17 more shots than us. When you give a team 17 more shots, then more than likely you're not going to come up with a victory."
After the Knicks' loss Tuesday night, Mike Woodson reiterated what Chandler stressed.
"We're not putting bodies on people," he said. "We got away with it the other night at home [against the Bulls] because we made shots. We didn't put bodies on them at home and it cost us tonight. We got to do that in order to beat good teams."
One of the main reasons why the Knicks have been undersized is that Jared Jeffries is still really banged up. Woodson said he's been told (assuming by the team's medical staff) that he can't play the backup center more than 15 minutes per game. Fortunately, Anthony has been picking up his rebounding since March 26 (7.4 per game vs. 5.8 previously), but third-stringer Josh Harrellson may have to shoulder more of the onus until Stoudemire returns, possibly next week.
What do you think has caused the Knicks' recent dip in rebounding, especially on the offensive glass? Leave us your comments below.
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