Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
As the game versus Dallas got chippy, Tyson Chandler and the Knicks didn't back down.
Last season, one of the Knicks' biggest flaws that ultimately held them back from advancing past the eventual champion Miami Heat, was their lack of heart and toughness.
Countless times in the playoffs, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and other Heat players would storm their way into the paint with little to no repercussions. When the Knicks attempted to drive the lane, hard foul after hard foul deterred them from easy buckets.
Knicks players simply didn't possess the indescribable key ingredient: the fire to rise up when it mattered the most.
This season, all of that is different. With a revamped, veteran core, New York's roster is stacked with seasoned players who have been there and done that all before.
This was personified in Friday's contest against Dallas, when things started to get chippy. Vince Carter and other Mavericks weren't thrilled with some of the actions of Knicks players, and before long, some jawing was taking place.
This year's Knicks team, led by Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith, didn't shy from defending their teammates. The Knicks nucleus has lacked the will to fight back in recent years, but this small showing demonstrated that this Knicks team has a brand new attitude.
The electric passion culminated with a few minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, when the former Maverick Chandler slammed home an Anthony miss. The center then exploded with excitement, and sent the Garden into a frenzy as he iced the game.
"I wanted us to put it away, so I wanted to try to do something to get my guys going," Chandler said to ESPN New York.