Chandler cruises through huge test

MILWAUKEE -- Tyson Chandler didn't think he'd get this big of a test in his first game since early November.

Carmelo Anthony scored eight of his 29 points in the second overtime, and Chandler played almost 37 minutes in his return to action, lending a huge defensive presence as the New York Knicks outlasted the Milwaukee Bucks 107-101 on Wednesday night.

Chandler hustled and muscled his way to nine points on 3-of-4 shooting, 3-for-4 from the line and 9 rebounds, including several key ones down the stretch in the second overtime. He had an assist, a steal and three blocked shots.

"I was willing to do whatever it took to get a win," Chandler said after playing all of the first overtime and 4:21 of the second. "I told coach, 'Don't put me on a minute restriction. Whatever you feel like you need or whenever you need me out there, just keep me out there.'"

Twice in the second extra session Chandler appeared to have hurt himself. He was limping a bit after one play but came back strong after the Knicks' timeout with 2:51 to play. Then, in the closing seconds, he extended himself to block a shot by John Henson. As soon as Chandler landed, he grabbed his left knee.

He dismissed any worries.

"It was my calf," he said. "As soon as I jumped, I don't know what happened. Just felt like a shot in the leg. Cramps. I started cramping up at the end down the stretch. Other than that, I felt pretty good out there. Timing was a little off early in the game, but as the game went on, I felt better and better."

Anthony knew that Chandler made a difference in the game.

"Tyson came back strong," Anthony said. "Just his presence out there, his awareness out there on the court. How he is able to be aggressive, know when to be aggressive, know when not to be aggressive. Believing in me to have his back when we do a double-team and things like that. His comeback was big for us."

With Chandler back, head coach Mike Woodson can start to enjoy a team that is slowly getting healthier.

"It was big time," Woodson said. "I was glad to have Tyson back. I'm sure his lungs are burnt out by now."

Woodson never imagined his starting center would log that many minutes.

"Tyson played 36 minutes," Woodson said. "I am hoping to keep him somewhere in the high 20s, but I just couldn't do it because of the overtime."