Wade expects Chandler to start for Olympic team

Tyson Chandler #6 of the New York Knicks

Tyson Chandler #6 of the New York Knicks celebrates a play against the Miami Heat during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. (May 3, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

BOSTON -- The Knicks' Tyson Chandler was a safe bet to make the Olympic team this year, because the coaches love the center's selfless style and defensive mentality. It turns out the players feel likewise.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade said that because Dwight Howard has undergone back surgery, he expects Chandler to start at center for Team USA in this summer's London Olympics.

"Absolutely," Wade said. "We watched Tyson, the things that he does, his ability to cover so much on the basketball court, from the three-point line to the rim. He's phenomenal."

"And especially the style of play in the Olympics is a little different. The style is not necessarily post-up, post-up, post-up. It's more so of having a big guy down there, someone who can defend, someone who can rebound, someone who can catch and finish. So he brings that to the team."

Chandler helped the United States win the gold medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championships. This past season he averaged 11.1 points and 9.4 rebounds for the Knicks and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Carmelo Anthony also is a finalist for Team USA, which will begin training next month in Las Vegas.


Spoelstra: Rivers is great

With so many marquee players in this series, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra jokingly said no one is "paying any kind of money" to see the matchup between him and Celtics coach Doc Rivers. But Spoelstra said he has incredible respect for Rivers and has picked his brain about dealing with star players.

There has been speculation about whether Spoelstra has the full respect of Miami's stars. But Rivers has been able to juggle the personalities and egos of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo.

"He's a great coach," Spoelstra said. "He's a great X's-and-O's guy, but you can see what really separates him is his ability to manage personalities. That's the part that I was interested in when we've been able to talk. Anybody who's won a championship you have great respect for."

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