Practice Report: Chandler 'feeling great'

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Tyson Chandler missed 16 out of the Knicks' last 20 regular-season games with a small bulging disk in his neck. The four games he did play in early April only led to more stiffness in his neck.

But with plenty of rest since then, Chandler said he feels "100 percent." He was especially optimistic after Thursday's practice because a conditioning workout with Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday resulted in no pain this morning.

"It's the best I've felt in a long time," Chandler said. "It actually was a blessing in disguise that I was able to get that time off, because now I'll have fresh legs throughout the playoffs and I'm excited for this long run we're about to endure."

When Chandler first returned earlier this month from the injury, underneath his jersey he wore a black shirt that had tape on it to prevent him from moving his upper body too fast. But when he starts at center for Game 1 on Saturday, he won't be wearing any training aids.

"I'm just going to lace them up and get out there and get ready to go," he said.

When the first-round series tips off, it won't be a cakewalk for Chandler, as he'll be matching up with Kevin Garnett. Chandler is up for the challenge, saying "playoffs is my type of basketball."

"I'm sure it will be physical, but you look forward to that," he said. "Playoff basketball is physical and then you add to it, it's two teams that don't like each other. That's better, that's what you live for."

OTHER BIG NEWS: Mike Woodson provided updates on big men Kenyon Martin, who's slated to play in Game 1, and Amar'e Stoudemire, who took the practice court on Thursday.

On Martin: "He went through a full practice and he moved really well. It’ll be interesting to see how he feels tomorrow once he sleeps on it tonight, but he looked pretty good today."

On Stoudemire: "I think he's going to be out [of the first round]. That's my gut, but he was out even today moving around and shooting a little bit. It's kind of nice to see him on the floor."

A GAME OF MATCHUPS: The Celtics have been recently going with a bigger and skilled starting five, with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green at shooting guard and small forward, respectively. But Woodson said Anthony will continue to play the 4, and Chandler doesn't expect any adjustments, either.

"We're not going to change our game plan for anybody," he said. "We feel like we've had success with what we've thrown out on the floor night in and night out. We're going to make teams adjust to us. We'll obviously have to adjust some things defensively, but offensively we've been in a great rhythm."

If Pablo Prigioni isn't available for Game 1 -- he has a sprained right ankle -- Woodson said he will give serious thought to starting Chris Copeland at small forward.

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