Before Wednesday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Hornets coach Byron Scott pulled Tyson Chandler into his office for a brief meeting with his 7-foot-1 center.
"I wanted to pull out his stats since he's been here from November to now,” Scott said. "I showed him in the month of January how he played. He played great, averaging a double-double. He blocked everything that went up.
"I told him to have better stats in February.”
Chandler couldn't have gotten off to a better start than he did in Friday night's 90-83 Hornets win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Chandler scored 16 points with a game- and season-high-tying 18 rebounds in 38 minutes. He made eight of nine shots and added four blocked shots to his 12th double-double. He also held Wolves forward Kevin Garnett to 17 points.
"He has a lot of confidence right now, and he is really comfortable knowing that he is going to play,” Scott said. "We have a lot of faith in him, and he is becoming a better and better basketball player.”
Chandler is now averaging 10.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks since January.
"This may be the most comfortable I've felt (since) the second or third year of my career,” Chandler said. "From Day One, Coach has made me very comfortable and he told me what he wanted of me, and I told him my expectations. It was all about grinding it out until I got to a comfort level.
"I told (coach Scott) early in the year that I feel like I'm just a hair away from being comfortable and breaking out of my shell, and he felt the same way. So it's starting to come out now. And now it's just a matter of doing that consistently.”
Chandler will get plenty of chances over the next five days, as the Hornets (20-26) begin a three-game road trip tonight against the Houston Rockets. He'll likely be assigned to 7-foot-2 Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo tonight, Sacramento Kings center Brad Miller on Monday night and Denver Nuggets center Marcus Camby on Wednesday night.