ORLANDO, Fla. -- A day after Knicks coach Mike Woodson called out his big men for lack of rebounding effort, center Tyson Chandler grabbed a game-high 13 boards against the Orlando Magic. Chandler also added 10 points to his effort.
Significantly, though, Chandler had 11 defensive rebounds.
In Saturday night’s 95-87 home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Knicks were badly outrebounded, often allowing the Grizzlies second and third shots that eventually did them in.
"We have to play great defense and get into transition," Chandler said. "We can’t try to be a half-court team. We are built to be a transition team, and that’s what we have to do."
Without singling out a player, Woodson praised his team’s defensive effort.
"We fought," he said. "I thought we did a lot of positive things. Had a great first half, started slow in the third, but we just kept fighting and grinding and were able to make some defensive stops coming down the stretch that really helped us secure the game."
It was more than just Melo: Although the Knicks were outscored by the Magic 35-19 in the third quarter, with most of that happening after Carmelo Anthony left the game with a twisted left ankle, Woodson didn’t attribute all of Orlando’s comeback to missing Melo.
"All teams make runs," he said. "They made a hell of a run, but I applaud our team because we still made plays. I thought Iman [Shumpert] and J.R. [Smith] made two hustle plays that were big for us -- Iman on a steal and J.R. on a breakaway. I thought Amar'e [Stoudemire] made two big buckets for us coming down the home stretch. It was a total team effort. I applaud our guys."
If not for the first half: The last time these two teams played, the Knicks pulled away in the third quarter and then coasted to a 121-83 victory on Dec. 6. This time, they blew the Magic away in the second quarter.
Considering they lost Anthony to an ankle sprain in the third quarter, and Raymond Felton to a groin strain in the fourth, it was fortuitous that they had built a 65-41 halftime lead.
"That was key," Smith said. "When we get stops and make runs, we are a tough team to beat. We had guys making shots and feeling good about their offensive game."