Woody's words spark Tyson's torrid play
February, 5, 2013
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Early last week, Mike Woodson called Tyson Chandler into his office to deliver a simple message: You're an All-Star, so start playing like one.
"I just wanted him to be complete," Woodson said. "I didn’t think he was playing complete basketball. He was taking possessions off, he wasn’t moving the pace offensively and he wasn’t getting it done in terms of rebounding the basketball. You can’t be an All-Star and not play like it."
Clearly, Woodson's message sunk in.
Chandler has been on a tear since his talk with Woodson, with three straight 20-rebound games.
The latest came Monday night against the Pistons, when Chandler scored eight points and pulled down 20 rebounds.
He earned a place in the Knicks' record book in the process, becoming the first Knick with three consecutive 20-rebound games since Willis Reed accomplished this feat in the 1969-70 season.
Walt Bellamy and Johnny Green also did it for the Knicks.
"Whenever you're mentioned in the same breath or you're able to accomplish all the records that (Reed) has, it's a tall task," Chandler said.
Chandler and Woodson both cited their talk after the Hawks game on Jan. 27 as the impetus for the center's strong play.
"It was like being called to the principal's office," Chandler said.
Before his chat with Woodson, Chandler admittedly wasn't himself. He'd scored single digits in the Knicks' four previous games and pulled down an average of just seven rebounds.
That wasn't good enough for Woodson. Not from a seven-footer playing 33 minutes a game.
"Mentally, he lit a little fire up under me," Chandler said. "(He said) the last thing you want is people to start questioning you. I agreed."
The next night, Chandler had 21 points and seven rebounds against Orlando. He then had back-to-back 20-rebound nights against Milwaukee and Sacramento.
"That's just effort and commitment in trying to get every rebound that comes off the rim," Woodson said. "He's been great and he's got to continue that pace because that helps us tremendously.
"That’s what I expect. He can’t tease me. He’s done it three straight games, so I’m expecting it the fourth game to get 20 rebounds."
Chandler wasn't ready to predict another 20-rebound game on Wednesday against Washington.
"I'll be lucky to get another one," he said.
He may not crack the 20-rebound mark against the Wizards. But he can be sure of one thing: He won't have to make another trip to Woodson's office.