Originally written on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 11/16/14
So far, the Knicks' Western Conference road trip has consisted of three separate stops in three different cities. With each visit has come an all the more frustrating losing effort for New York. Unfortunately, a sure end to the team's misery does not appear to be in immediate sight.Only time will tell whether or not Carmelo Anthony and/or Tyson Chandler will take the court on Sunday afternoon against the Clippers. Nevertheless, it's safe to say their teammates will continue to have difficulty competing without them.The Knicks, as an overall team, have experienced set-back after set-back as of late. But as poorly as players on the squad from top to bottom have played, there have been a few rare bright spots to speak of.Over the course of two ten-day contracts, Kenyon Martin has without a doubt continued to make a positive impact for his new team, despite their recent ups and downs. In such a short amount of time, he's shown to be able to provide the Knicks with quite a few things they've been known to lack, such as toughness, an elevated rebounding presence, and/or a defensive stopper.Needless to say, Martin's steady play made it an easy decision for the Knicks to keep him in the fold for the rest of the season.Whether it's planting himself to make sure an opposing player doesn't drive through the lane, or staying on his toes in an attempt to keep the pace with a star like Kevin Durant, Martin has proven he's still a defensive force to be reckoned with. He's provided New York with an intimidating presence inside and down low against offensive talents who aim to take advantage of the Knicks' defense.The veteran forward is clearly not afraid to get down and dirty, as his gritty physical outings thus far have noted. He fights for rebounds, and doesn't seem to mind having to endure some bangs and bumps along the way.When Martin first donned his orange and blue jersey, he did so having already played with a number of current Knicks on different teams in different cities throughout his career. Certainly team chemistry is important, but who knew such camaraderie was going to result in the forward being quite superb offensively as well?After taking time to practice with the team and appearing in first two games rather gingerly, Martin has now seemed to have shaken any past rust off already. As much of a fighter as he is defensively, the veteran is that explosive on the offensive end. He communicates with his teammates quite well and has been able to cash in on a bevy of buckets inside, and was seen already electrifying the Garden crowd with his slams prior to the Knicks' road trip.During a West Coast slide that has so far been as disastrous as can be, Martin seems to represent what little good is currently left in Knickerbocker-land. Hopefully the team will eventually snap out of their funk, and Martin's hunger, grit, and intensity will prove to be infectious.That same type of packed fiery effort is what will be needed by the entire squad from top to bottom if Martin and the Knicks want to make any noise come playoff time.
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