Chandler has been battling a neck injury, and he did not look like his normal self in his limited time. The big man had zero points, blocked zero shots and grabbed just five rebounds. However, Chandler insisted that his lackluster play had little to do with the injury, instead pointing to a lack of conditioning.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson decided to go with Kenyon Martin in the fourth quarter of the win. Martin delivered, scoring five points and three rebounds in the fourth and notching 10 points and nine rebounds for the game. Like Chandler, Woodson said the benching had nothing to do with the injury.
"Tyson didn't have it tonight," Woodson said after the game. "That's no knock against him. I just elected to go with Kenyon."
Woodson lauded the play of Martin as well as Jason Kidd, who came up with some big defensive plays in the fourth quarter.
"It's a plus having these veteran guys," Woodson said. "To have these veteran guys step up and make contributions is major."
The Knicks held the Celtics to just eight fourth-quarter points even without Chandler in the lineup. But while New York was able to get away with a no-show from Chandler in Game 1, they will need better performances from him moving forward if they want to make a deep playoff run.
Woodson quotes via NBA.com live stream