DALLAS - Tyson Chandler spoke his piece about the Knicks in September when he believed he was wrongly cast as a big part of the team's problem last year. Chandler said Tuesday the problem was their approach.
"We were never consistent," Chandler said after Mavericks practice. "When you don't approach things consistently on a day-to-day basis, it's just a matter of time before things start falling apart and your bad habits are exposed."
Wednesday night, Chandler will face his old team for the first time since being traded to Dallas. Carmelo Anthony is doubtful with back spasms, so the game lacks some of the hype it would have if he were healthy -- but Chandler should be motivated.
He told ESPN-Dallas this week that "at times" he felt like the scapegoat for the Knicks finishing 37-45 last season after he helped them win 54 games the year before. Actually, ex-coach Mike Woodson and point guard Raymond Felton, who was sent with Chandler to Dallas, received more of the blame.
But Phil Jackson said he made the trade -- for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks -- "to change some of the chemistry."
Chandler, who for most of his career was widely considered a consummate professional and great teammate, last year was perceived to be a problem.
In September, Chandler called it "a shock to me that I didn't appreciate." He still doesn't understand why he was portrayed that way.
"I don't know why they did that," he said. "Only they can answer that question. I've since then moved on and don't pay it any more attention, to be honest . . . In all honesty, I've kind of swept it behind. It's in the past and under the rug and I'm moving on with my future here."
Back in Dallas, Chandler, who helped the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA title, is playing like he did his first season with the Knicks when he was the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year. He's averaging 10.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
J.R Smith expects Chandler to be intense Wednesday night.
"I hope so," Smith said. "I don't want him playing when he's not fired up. I don't want to hear no excuses from him. I think he will be. Tyson's a fiery guy, anyway. I don't think he'll take it personal with the team he's playing, I think that's just the type of player he is."
Smith also said he understands why Chandler would be upset that he has received some of the blame for last season.
"This is a team game," Smith said. "You can't just put it all on one person. This is a collective group. When we won as a team it was a team thing, when we lost, it was a team thing. So I don't think it should be just on him, it should be on all of us."