K-Mart on Celtics: 'It's their loss'

BOSTON -- "It's their loss."

That was Kenyon Martin's message for the Boston Celtics after the New York Knicks' 100-85 victory Tuesday night at the TD Garden.

It was the Knicks' fifth straight win with Martin starting at center in place of the injured Tyson Chandler. During that stretch, K-Mart has averaged 13.2 points, 7 rebounds (3.8 offensive) and one block.

After the game, Martin said the Celtics, among other teams, had a chance to sign him as a free agent, but they let him slide. That's still on Martin's mind.

"There were talks and negotiations [with Boston], and they chose not to do it," he said. "It was out of my control, so I'm a Knick now. Everybody upset me; it just wasn't the Celtics."

According to sources, Martin was initially in the market for a mini mid-level deal to play for a contender, but no one was biting. Not even the Knicks could afford to pay that salary. But thanks to a close connection to Mark Warkentien -- the Knicks' director of pro player personnel and former GM of the Denver Nuggets, for whom Martin previously played -- Martin arrived in New York on Feb. 21 on a 10-day contract.

While Martin said he's not playing with a chip on his shoulder, he does have at least one score to settle.

"I'm just here to prove to people that I ain't never lost it," he said.

Whenever Chandler returns, the talk will turn to whether Martin should start. Recently, Mike Woodson has gone with a smaller first five to counter the Knicks' smaller opponents -- for example, the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics on Tuesday night. But considering the Eastern Conference is stacked with bigger front lines, that could be enough convincing to start Martin at power forward alongside Chandler.

A Carmelo Anthony-Martin-Chandler frontcourt would be intimidating on both ends of the floor, and it would further ensure the Knicks play well right out of the gate. Marcus Camby could then sub in for Martin or Chandler. Camby is an underrated passer who could play well with either big.

Moving Melo to the three would likely mean Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert would start. Therefore, point guard Pablo Prigioni would return to the bench. The key is Shumpert's offense. If he can continue to improve as a facilitator and help the Knicks move the ball well, where Prigioni has been excelling, the first unit should be fine.

Reflecting on the victory in Boston, Martin said the Knicks are starting to play much better together.

"The ball is moving and guys are making plays for one another, and we're defending," he said.

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