ATLANTA (CBSNEWYORK/AP) — The New York Knicks gave center Tyson Chandler, the key to their improved defense, a day off yesterday. Other starters might soon find themselves on the bench also.

The Knicks have played their eighth game in 13 days, and it might be time to start getting key players some rest, even if Woodson has talked about using the final three games to build momentum heading into the playoffs.

Before his Knicks defeated the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, 113-112, to put a firmer grip on the No. 7 seed in the East, Woodson said he plans on playing everyone in his main rotation against the Clippers Wednesday at the Garden and at Charlotte on Thursday according to the Daily News.

But Woodson also might sit Carmelo Anthony for some rest in Charlotte. He thought about giving Anthony Sunday off, but his top scorer asked to play.

Without their top interior defender the Knicks blocked only one shot against the Hawks, by Stoudemire, and Atlanta shot 54%. The Knicks have allowed 116.3 points in three games without Chandler, and 93.8 when he plays.

“It just shows you how valuable Tyson Chandler is to our ballclub,” Woodson said. “He plugs up a lot of holes for guys when there are breakdowns.”

After taking the day off, Chandler says he’s ready to return to provide the last line of defense.

“I want to be fresh for the playoffs,” he said. “By taking this game off, I will be off for four days. It’s perfect timing.”

The Knicks (34-30) are one-half game ahead of Philadelphia (33-30) for the No. 7 spot in the East.

NOTES: Knicks F Jared Jeffries missed his third straight game with a sore right knee, and Woodson said he will not play in the last two regular-season games Wednesday against the Clippers and Thursday at Charlotte. … Knicks uber-fan Spike Lee was at the game. … Hawks center Zaza Pachulia missed his fifth straight game with a sprained left foot. Josh Smith started at center. … Stoudemire started at center for New York.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Should the Knicks rest their staters? Leave a comment below.

Watch & Listen LIVE