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Tyson Chandler knows he must improve against Pacers' Hibbert

Knicks center Tyson Chandler, left, shoots around Indiana

Knicks center Tyson Chandler, left, shoots around Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert during the first half. (Feb. 20, 2013) Credit: AP

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Roy Hibbert has only one inch on Tyson Chandler in terms of height, yet the 7-2 Pacers center has played this series as if he towers over the Knicks center.

And Chandler knows it.

Chandler said Thursday after practice that he was so disappointed by just how much Hibbert dominated the paint in the Pacers' 102-95 win in the opener that he watched the tape "1,000 times."

Chandler said he picked up a few adjustments on tape that he believes helped him better contain Indiana's shot-blocking and rebounding force in Game 2. which the Knicks won, 105-79. But he said he's looking to do a better job of offsetting Hibbert's impact when the series resumes in Indianapolis Saturday night.

"I understand my team needs me to take him out for our success," Chandler said, "or at least make things difficult for him."

Hibbert has totaled 20 rebounds and nine blocked shots in the two games, disrupting the Knicks' offensive flow, banging bodies with driving guards and limiting the frontcourt's second-chance opportunities.

Chandler understands he needs to be a bigger, more physical presence in the paint to get Hibbert out of position. But he also wants the guards to help by taking what Hibbert gives them in the form of open, midrange jumpers.

"He's daring our guards to make that shot," Chandler said. "We've got to make it. He's laying down in the paint. And we've got to take advantage of that, him just standing under the basket."

Under the basket, of course, is where Chandler has his hands full, and part of the problem is that he's still working himself back into game shape. He missed 16 of the final 20 regular-season games because of a bulging disc in his neck, and an illness at the end of that stretch sapped him of much-needed strength.

Chandler looked to be back to his old self late in the first-round series against Boston, grabbing 35 rebounds in the final three games, but he said Thursday his fitness still isn't where he would like it be.

"It's been difficult for me trying to get my conditioning right, timing right," he said. "I thought I was there in the Boston series, but then I realized I'm not in the condition I thought I was, and the timing."

Chandler said the three days of down time between Games 2 and 3 of this series are allowing him to work on his strength more than he usually would between games. That's a good thing, he said, because he needs every ounce of extra bulk to bang around with the 280-pound Hibbert and the rest of the Pacers' front line in the paint.

"In order for my team to have a chance," Chandler said, "I've got to keep those bigs at bay."

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