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Chandler Ready for Big Showdown in the Big Apple

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The Dallas Mavericks will start their three game road trip tonight with a match-up against the New York Knicks.  The Mavs will see the Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats later in the week to finish off the road trip.  That means that the east coast swing will have Dallas play three playoff contenders.  The East presents a different brand of basketball compared to what the Mavs see in the Western Conference.  Teams tend to play at a slower pace and bring a more physical brand of basketball.  The Knicks are a wild card in the Eastern Conference as they will present a challenge based on the fact they want to push the basketball every chance they can get.  New York ranks second in the league in scoring at 106.7/game.  The downside to the Knicks style of basketball is that they do not play a lot of defense.  Over the course of the season, the Knicks have allowed 106 points/game.

Tyson Chandler tweaked his right ankle late in the third quarter Monday night against the Washington Wizards, but he reported Tuesday that the injury is not serious.  "Actually, it's feeling better than I thought it would,'' he said. "I thought it might swell up more. But it's OK.''  Chandler will be the primary defender on Amare Stoudemire and the Mavs center is looking forward to the challenge.  "I enjoy going against (Stoudemire) because he plays with passion every night and he’s going to bring it," said Chandler.  The responsibility of guarding the toughest low-post player for the opposing team has been Chandler's assignment over the course of the season.

Stoudemire has been a problem for the Mavericks in previous years while being a member of the Phoenix Suns.  Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle has seen a noticeable difference in Stoudemire's game and gave the center praise for his hard work during the season as a new member of the Knicks.  "I can't imagine an MVP conversation right now that didn't include Amare Stoudemire's name,'' Carlisle said. "Both statistically and how he's revitalized their franchise and their fan base and what he's contributed in terms of winning.  He's a load to deal with.  We know it better than anybody."

 

The match-up between Chandler and Stoudemire will feature two of the most athletic and versatile centers the league has to offer.  Stoudemire ranks second in the league in scoring (26.2 points/game) and he can score in a variety of ways.  "He’s going to have some kind of advantage on virtually everybody that he goes against," Coach Rick Carlisle said.  "There isn’t a weakness in his offensive game."  In addition to the scoring attack, Stoudemire ranks fifth in the league in blocks (2.19/game).  Chandler took his game to a new level in the month of January as he averaged 13.5 points/game and 9.9 rebounds/game.

Both players have made a huge impact on changing the overall fortunes for their respective teams with their stats and their intangibles.  Chandler's impact has been well-established in these parts, so we'll focus more on Stoudemire's impact.  The Knicks were mired in a terrible brand of basketball over the past several years and Stoudemire has done a lot to give the Knicks confidence and have now emerged as a playoff contender.  Being the star in New York is not easy and he has thrived in the situation. 

Tyson Chandler will be ready to go up against the best the Big Apple has to offer.  Amare Stoudemire might be playing at an MVP level, but the Mavs center is keeping the goal simple, "We just can’t let him be MVP like (on Wednesday)."