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NBA AM: Top Defensive Honors For Tyson Chandler?
Posted By Lang Greene On May 2, 2012 @ 7:35 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
The New York Knicks, without question, have had a roller coaster season filled with an abundance of highs and an equally amount of low points.
There were the early season struggles which had the team on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference postseason field of competition.
Then injuries to both of their superstars, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire threatened to unravel things even.
But of nowhere came the emergence of point guard Jeremy Lin, sparking a stretch without the presence of Anthony or Stoudemire which catapulted the team back into the realm of relevancy.
After Lin’s play returned to earth, there was the sudden resignation of coach Mike D’Antoni, which was of course followed by another strong run under interim head coach Mike Woodson.
Then came more injuries, Lin’s bum knee ended his regular season and Stoudemire’s back problems forced him to miss most of the team’s late season push for the playoffs.
Now as the Knicks face a 0-2 series deficit versus the Miami HEAT in the first round of the playoffs, Stoudemire has come under fire for punching an inanimate object in frustration, injuring his hand in the process and in essence jeopardizing his availability for the rest of the postseason.
All of that aside, the one consistent force for the franchise the entire season has been starting center Tyson Chandler.
Chandler signed a four-year, $58 million deal with New York back in December fresh on the heels of providing the same interior presence during the Dallas Mavericks’ 2011 championship team.
While the duo of Anthony and Stoudemire has yet to prove they can co-exist and win consistently as a tag team partnership, there have been no such questions regarding Chandler’s importance to the team’s defensive success.
And now the big man will have the hardware to prove it.
A league source told Yahoo! Sports, Chandler has won the Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award for the 2012 season.
Chandler is expected to be presented the award before game three of their series versus the HEAT on Thursday night.
Prior to Chandler’s arrival the Knicks ranked 27th in the league, allowing 106 points per game in 2011.
This season the Knicks finished just outside the top ten (11th), while giving up just 94.7 per contest.
Going deeper, in games Chandler was absent from the Knicks’ lineup opponents rollicked to an average of 116 points on 50+ percent shooting from the floor.
With Chandler in the lineup the Knicks allowed few than 94 points and their opposition shot just 43 percent from the field.
The league is expected to officially announce the award winner on Wednesday.
If the reports are accurate, Chandler would break Dwight Howard’s three year reign as DPOY and would undoubtedly be a first team All-Defensive selection – his first (named to second team in 2011).
Jazz’s Paul Millsap Was Never On Trading Block: When it comes to forecasting personnel moves, one of the hottest topics fans love to discuss is the future of the Utah Jazz’s assortment of big men – Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Enes Kanter.
The prevailing thought is the Jazz will have to eventually deal one of those guys to eliminate a logjam in the frontcourt.
That time, if it ever comes, seems to be a very distant place according to Jazz officials who insist no trades are in the works for Millsap.
“He and Al (Jefferson) and a couple of other guys have been probably the most steady guys we’ve had all year, and Paul’s been great about just fighting through everything,” Jazz head coach Ty Corbin told Randy Hollis of the Deseret News. “Whatever the (trade) talk has been from outside entities, as far as I know they’ve never talked to him about any trade stuff. He’s just continued to play hard and try and get better himself and make us better as a team.”
Its obvious Millsap hears the ongoing trade rumors surrounding his name, but the distraction hasn’t impacted his preparation from a mental standpoint.
“It’s motivation for me,” Millsap said of the trade rumors. “I don’t get down on myself because I’m on the trading block or get down on myself for kinda being too small, and I use that to motivate me and to help me to continue to do what I do.”
The Hawks Squander Huge Opportunity: The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the most successful teams in the league over the past five seasons.
The problem is, the team’s postseason success, or lack thereof, has always left their fan base and the media covering the franchise uneasy about ranking them amongst the league’s elite.
Tuesday night’s loss to the Boston Celtics was another example of why the mainstream NBA audience doesn’t give the Hawks the respect they’ve earned over the past few campaigns.
The Celtics, playing without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo and future Hall of Fame shooting guard Ray Allen managed to pull off an 87-80 victory over the Hawks to even their first round series 1-1.
While a series tied at 1-1 certainly isn’t cause for worldwide panic, its clear the momentum has shifted back to Boston.
In game two, the Hawks squandered a double-digit late second half lead, then their home court advantage in the loss.
Without an ailing and injured Allen and the league suspended Rondo, the Celtics clearly resembled a prize fighter being battered on the ropes waiting for the knockout blow to be delivered.
It never was thrown by the Hawks.
Instead, the veteran laden Celtics now have new life headed back to Boston and fresh legs for Friday’s game three.
Veteran forward Paul Pierce scored 36 points and snatched 14 rebounds in game two and after the game talked about the importance of protecting their newly acquired home court advantage – something Atlanta failed to do.
“It’s important we take care of our home court,” Pierce told Frank Dell’ Apa of the Boston Globe following Tuesday’s victory. “The series is so emotionally draining, one minute you’re down the next minute you’re up. We can’t take this Hawks team for granted. Every game we’ve played with them this year has been awfully close. We just have to be able to protect our home court. It will be great getting Rondo back. Hopefully, we can feed off our home crowd in our first playoff game.”
Rondo will be back for game three and there is a possibility Allen may return in a limited role as well.
As for the Hawks, power forward Josh Smith suffered a knee sprain and his status for game three is in question. So is the status of centers Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia.
Uncle Mo(mentum) has shifted back to Boston and it’ll be interesting to see if Atlanta can wrestle it back.
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