After enduring a defense-free 113-112 shootout win yesterday over the Hawks, Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson couldn't help himself. He mentioned the lone player who didn't compete.

"It shows you how valuable Tyson Chandler is to our ballclub,'' Woodson said of his center. "He plugs a lot of holes for us when there are breakdowns.''

Chandler, a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, sat yesterday, getting his wish to rest up for next weekend's playoffs. After missing his third game this season, Chandler said he plans to be back for the next game, Wednesday vs. the Clippers in the home regular-season finale.

The rare break in the lockout schedule gives Chandler four full days without playing.

"All the games I took to get to the playoffs and clinch, a lot of minutes during that stretch, I want to be fresh for the playoffs,'' Chandler said. "I'll have four days off. It's the perfect time to take off a game. I'll be back Wednesday.''