In 1969, NBA Hall of Famer Willis Reed was in a class of his own as the only New York Knicks player to corral 20 or more rebounds in three consecutive games. Now he has company—Knicks center Tyson Chandler got his third straight 20-rebound performance in a 99-85 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night at Madison Square Garden—the perfect stage for reaching a franchise milestone.
"Anytime you get your name in a Knicks' franchise book, it's huge so I'm just very thankful for this moment," said Chandler following the win.
The accomplishment started with back-to-back 20-rebound performances beginning on a February 1 win against the Milwaukee Bucks and then a February 2 win against the Sacramento Kings. Oddly enough, Chandler had exactly eight offensive rebounds and 12 defensive rebounds in both of those games.
In the win over the Pistons, Chandler had 11 rebounds in the first half alone and knew that the record was within reach, but had a more selfless goal.
“I’m really motivated (to tie the record),” said Chandler at halftime. “First of all, I want to secure the win, but getting rebounds is only giving my team opportunities so hopefully I can get it in the second half.”
In the first half, New York had their way with a Detroit team that came into Madison Square Garden having lost four of their last five games, and toting a 18-30 overall record. The Knicks shot an efficient 50 percent that included 10-of-20 from three-point range, giving New York a 21-point lead at halftime. The Pistons outscored the Knicks 49-42 in the second half, but given the size of the first half lead, it was all for naught.
Chandler’s 20th rebound was achieved at the 6:05 mark of the fourth quarter—Pistons guard Will Bynum missed the second of his two free throws and Chandler sprang up to collect the board uncontested. The Madison Square Garden crowd was cognizant of the feat and responded to the 20th rebound with applause.
Following the game, Chandler dispelled his secret for prolific rebounding, but it had nothing to do with some new, revolutionary box out method.
Chandler also added eight points, a steal and a block to his 20 boards. Game-high honors went to Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony who scored 27 points on a proficient 10-of-17 from the field with seven rebounds of his own. Amar’e Stoudemire added 20 points, three rebounds and a pair of steals off the Knicks bench.
Pistons point guard Jose Calderon made his debut after Detroit traded the last piece of their 2004 championship team, Tayshaun Prince, and young project Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies to acquire Calderon. Prior to that deal, Calderon, forward Ed Davis and a second round pick were sent to the Grizzlies via trade for forward Rudy Gay and center Hamed Haddadi.
Calderon finished with a team-high 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting, but could only muster three assists. Calderon’s services were sought after in order to shore up the Pistons point guard position, but as he builds more chemistry with the team, hopefully that assist number will uptrend.
Meanwhile, the Knicks won their fifth straight and improved their record to 31-15. Much of their success the first half of this season is due to Chandler’s stellar play—his work didn’t go unnoticed—he was selected as a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, his first appearance in an All-Star Game. With head coach Mike Woodson putting his defensive cachet on the team, Chandler, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, is a big part of establishing that identity.
Chandler now has the opportunity to shatter the 20-rebound franchise record when the Knicks head to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to face the Washington Wizards. Washington is currently last in field goal percentage in the NBA, so a lot of missed shots will be a perfect breeding ground for Chandler to accomplish that feat.
"He's done it three straight games so I'm expecting it for four games,” said Coach Woodson.