Chandler fires up Knicks, shakes up Mavs

With 6:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, Tyson Chandler soared over Dallas' defense, following up on a Carmelo Anthony missed layup, and threw down a vicious, two-handed putback dunk.

Chandler flexed his arms, shouted a few words in the direction of the opposing bench -- and fired up his team. The Knicks went on to put away the Mavericks, 104-94, en route to their best start (4-0) since the 1993-94 season.

"I just wanted to give my guys some energy," said Chandler, who finished with 11 points and nine rebounds (five offensive) in 30 minutes. "I felt like we were a little flat-footed and this was one of those setup games, where if you let a team stay around, they bite you in the end.

"I wanted us to put it away, so I wanted to try to do something to get my guys going."

Jason Kidd reflected on Chandler's decisive play down the stretch, calling it the kind of one that "deflates the defense."

"It's always nice when you have a guy like Tyson who can clean up," he said. "Those are the hardest plays to guard."

At halftime, with the Knicks down 57-55, Chandler told his teammates to pick up the pace in the second half. He knew Rick Carlisle's bunch was going to continue to fight, scrap and make it a game, and he wanted his own guys to match that intensity.

"Tyson's always vocal," Anthony said. "In the locker room, he's very vocal, just about not letting this one slip away from us."

The Knicks responded by outscoring the Mavs 29-21 in the third quarter. They did a better job of pressuring Dallas' shooters, forcing turnovers (20 for the game) and scoring in transition.

"We got up to play in that third quarter," Anthony said. "In the second half, we got up defensively, denied the passing lanes and we played our defense that we've been playing over the last week. So that got us in the game, and we didn't look back."

Chandler was the starting center for Dallas' championship team in 2011. On Friday night, he took the court against basically a brand-new Mavericks squad. Only two players who saw action -- Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones -- were his teammates in 2010-11. Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion are injured with knee injuries. But that didn't stop Chandler from reflecting on the good old days, even pointing to similarities between then and now.

"It definitely reminds me of the chemistry, personalities, personnel that we had," he said. "We were just really deep on that team and we hit teams in waves, and teams couldn't really catch up with our first and second unit. It's the same thing here. We have great depth and that has to be our weapon."

While a sluggish preseason surprised some people, Chandler said he expected the Knicks to make a statement early.

"Honestly, I felt like with the unit that we had, veteran leadership, guys coming in early, guys wanted it this year," he said. "I honestly expected us to get out to a good start, and it's just about continuing."

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