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Tag:Chauncey Billups
Posted on: February 7, 2012 6:39 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:04 am
 

Clippers can and must move on without Billups

Chauncey Billups will miss at least eight months after suffering a torn left Achilles tendon. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

You have to wonder how angry at fate Chauncey Billups is. 

Billups was traded from Detroit to his hometown of Denver. He was part of a winning team there, advancing to the Conference Finals and giving the Lakers a fight. Things were headed in a good direction for him to finish his career as part of a contender.

Less than 24 months later, facing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, there has to be a lot of confusion and resentment over how things got to this point.

After all, it wasn't Billups who wished to leave Denver. He had his agent leak that he would be unhappy being part of any move made. But the Carmelo Anthony saga was bigger than Billups, bigger than any of the other nearly dozen players involved. Billups was sucked up into it and shipped to New York. And Billups went along with it. He was a pro. He tried working in a system that was not suited to his needs, dealt with having his pride damaged by essentially being a tag-a-long to the gunner star Melo and his reality television wife. Here was a player who had a title to his name suffering to the whims of a superstar without jewelry. But he went along with it.

The Knicks were looking at moves. Billups asked them to not trade him. Then the Knicks started talking about bringing in Tyson Chandler, which would mean they'd need to amnesty Billups. Fine with him, he'd still get paid. But the way the amnesty structure was set up in a CBA (which Billups likely did not want but was willing to take like the rest of the players just to end the lockout), another team could claim him off waivers for a portion of his salary. For Billups, that was enough. He'd dealt with being traded like meat, that comes with part of the business. He'd dealt with being baggage to the Melo circus, again, part of the business. He'd done his best in New York like a professional. But if he was going to be waived, he was not going to wind up on a cellar-dweller. 

So he made it known. A professional his whole career, a locker-room leader and NBA champion, he had to openly threaten teams with disrupting their teams if they tried to bring him into a rebuilder.

The Clippers took him anyway.

And Billups was not happy about it, but in the end, his professionalism won out. He didn't show up surly. He didn't show up angry. Even when once again he became a part of a freakshow with the trade of Chris Paul, he did his thing. They wanted him to move to shooting guard. Sure thing.

And now, this.

Maybe he would have gotten injured anyway. Maybe his Achilles was a ticking time bomb. And he still gets paid, after all. The full amount of his contract. But consider that it's likely that Billups' career ends this way:

He suffered a potentially career-ending injury playing for a team who signed him off amnesty waivers after he specifically asked them not to using a clause in the CBA which he did not want from a team he didn't want to be sent to in the first place due the Melo drama which had nothing to do with him.

His season is over. He will not play for Team USA this summer. His career may be over. 

It is not difficult to come to the conclusion that Chauncey Billups deserved better than this. 

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As for the Clippers, many will begin talks that this damages their team irreparably. But a quick look at the roster confirms that the Clippers are in as good a position to survive this as any team can be. They have a number of options. Observe: 

1. Move Caron Butler to shooting guard, start Ryan Gomes. Butler has flourished in the small forward position, stretching the floor. But he can just as easily move to two-guard. Ryan Gomes can fill the gap at small forward and from there out, the Clippers employ a large number of three-guard lineups anyway.

2. Start Randy Foye, keep Mo Williams off the bench, Butler stays at the three. This is what the Clippers have done when Billups has missed games due to a myriad of injuries. Foye is not at all Billups, but he is younger and more athletic. What's more, Foye is less likely to force the issue and try and score on his own, more likely to facilitate both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin along with Butler.

3. Start Mo Williams, bring Foye off the bench. Mo Williams has been a potential sixth man of the year candidate this season and has played exceptionally well. He would likely welcome a move to the starting lineup for his pride's sake and despite not having Billups' size, can work just fine next to Paul as a shooter. Williams is a scoring point regardless, and with the Clippers using Paul as a decoy on many possessions anyway, Williams can create with Griffin and DeAndre Jordan just as well.

4. Sign J.R. Smith, use either he or Mo Williams off the bench. Smith is due to be released from this obligations with the Chinese Basketball Association sometime in the next three to six weeks depending on playoffs. The Clippers are being heavily discussed as a suitor for him, and it would be a natural fit. They don't have the cap space to offer him a long term deal, but he could come in immediately, be given as many shot as he can find room for, and play for a team in contention. This scenario makes the most sense, whether it's him or or Williams off the bench.

The Clippers will miss Billups' on-floor leadership, his scoring, his defense, and his experience. But Billups also hasn't been a very productive player due to age. He fit well on the Clippers, but with their guard depth, they're well-suited to withstand this blow in time. It doesn't make it any better, but it's still a huge loss, but it's not one that creates a crisis in their backcourt. This team has too much talent left and too much at stake not to press forward.

Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:01 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 1:05 am
 

Monday, bloody Monday strikes the NBA

Chauncey Billups was one of several players to go down with injuries Monday. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

If there was a tipping point for when the compacted schedule would really start to take a significant toll on the league through injury, you have to wonder if it was Monday night. Here's a rundown of the M*A*S*H* unit the league turned into Monday night in a torrent of injuries. 

  • The Hornets announced Jason Smith is out one week with a concussion he sustained Saturday against the  Pistons. 
  • Elton Brand was held out of the Sixers' game against the Lakers with a thumb injury. 

 That's one night of action and we haven't even gotten the random trickle-down injuries from the late games yet. Usually we'd be about a week away from the All-Star Game but since we haven't actually gotten through that many games due to the late start following the lockout, there's another three weeks before the All-Star break provides some relief. Vince Carter said last week that this year was about survival and you can tell how much that has an impact on teams' approaches. It's just a rough year for all teams in terms of managing wear and tear with this schedule, and Monday night was one in which a lot of teams lost that battle.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:22 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:01 am
 

Chauncey Billups (torn Achilles) done for season

Billups could possibly be done for the season with a serious Achilles injury. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

Update (Tuesday): The Los Angeles Times reports that the Los Angeles Clippers' worst fears have been confirmed. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro told the paper that an MRI test has revealed a torn left Achilles' tendon for guard Chauncey Billups, an injury that will cause him to miss the rest of the 2011-2012 NBA season. 

The Clippers confirmed the news in a statement on their website on Tuesday.
Billups underwent an MRI today at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio which confirmed the injury. He will return to Los Angeles on Thursday for further evaluation. A date for surgery is yet to be determined.

Billups, who was claimed off of amnesty waivers after he was released by the New York Knicks, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Original Post (Monday):

The Clippers' dream season might have been dealt a major blow.

With 5:48 left in the fourth quarter, Chauncey Billups injured his left Achilles tendon. But not just a tweak type of thing. Billups was helped off the court and didn't return.

According to the L.A. Times, Billups will be evaluated Tuesday when the team arrives in Cleveland.

“He’s going to be re-evaluated,” coach Vinny Del Negro told reporters after the game. “He’s got an Achilles injury. I don’t know the severity of it but it’s kind of bittersweet. We will see what happens but we will re-evaluate it tomorrow.”

HoopsWorld reports that Billups could potentially be finished for the season.
Many of Billups teammates commented in the locker room that Billups was “done”, hinting that the Achilles was more than a strain and was in fact a full tear.

Billups left the locker room with his foot in a boot and walking with the aid of crutches and did not speak to media.

One of the Clippers coaches commented under his breath that losing Billups was “a damn shame” shaking his head.

Yahoo! Sports adds this via a source: "Doesn't look good. MRI tomorrow. I'm sick for him."

Obviously more information will be available Tuesday once Billups has all the necessary tests done, but if the Clippers have indeed lost Billups for the remainder of the season, that could change their positioning in the Western Conference. Not only is he a steady veteran player, but he's also their starting shooting guard. Subtract him and the Clippers' backcourt suddenly gets very thin with either Mo Williams or Randy Foye having to step into the starting five.

Billups, 35, would likely miss 12 to 16 months if it's an Achilles tear. Regardless of what it is, it appears to be a significant injury that will cost him some time. 

Posted on: January 19, 2012 1:55 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 2:20 am
 

Report Card: Big Shot Billups beats Mavs

Posted by Ben GolliverMatt Moore, and Royce Young



Chauncey Billups and the Los Angeles Clippers

One week ago, we noted that the easy start -- just six games in 16 days -- was over for the Los Angeles Clippers. Since then, wins over the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets. That's four wins to go with just one loss, to the Utah Jazz on the road, during a brutal 5 games in 7 days stretch that had to be managed without All-Star point guard Chris Paul. It doesn't, reasonably, get much better than that, as the Clippers sealed their magical win thanks to a last-second jumpshot by Chauncey Billups, who stepped up as primary ball-handler in Paul's absence and finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 32 minutes against the Mavericks.  -- BG

Jason Terry and the Dallas Mavericks

it would have been an A+ on any other night, but Jason Terry's resume was robbed of a dramatic game-winner thanks to Billups' heroics. Terry had an uneven game on Wednesday but was huge in the fourth, sinking a 3-pointer with 36 seconds left to cut it to a one possession game and then burying another one with 5 seconds remaining, see below, to improbably put the Mavericks up by one. The lead lasted just four seconds. The Mavericks fall to 8-7 and continue to search for a sense of certainty. What a difference a shot would have made in that regard.-- BG



Old Man Games

Andre Miller with 28-10-8. Steve Nash with 26-5-11. Chauncey Billups going Mr. Big Shot. It was a night for the old guard, literally, to step up and deliver. There's something to be said for having a guy out there who knows what he's doing, and while none of those guys are going to lock down Dwyane Wade or give you 40, they're still contributing for their teams, all past the age of 35. -- MM

Denver Nuggets

Getting a road win against Philadelphia is A-worthy. But they could have closed it out in regulation had they just played a bit tighter. After looking a bit shaky over the weekend, Denver gets a huge win in overtime on the back of their depth, against a team that had over half their points from the bench. A little tighter play and Denver could have saved itself a later departure.  -- MM

Nick Young

In the end, Young put up 24 points, hit 5-10 from 3 and helped the Wizards pull off the upset of the season with a 105-102 win over the Thunder. But Young started the game 0-7 and even the shots he ended up making weren't of the smart variety. He was hoisting contested 3s, fadeaway jumpers over the outstretched arm of Kevin Durant and never attacked the basket. Again, it worked out for him and he was a big part of Washington's win, but I don't think Flip Saunders wants to see that kind of shot selection routinely. -- RY

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies were out-rebounded, gave up a 49 percent field goal mark, and had 16 turnovers. But on a night where Rudy Gay was not prominently featured, the still got the win. The Grizzlies are back to "finding ways to win" which is such a huge part of their game. Lionel Hollins should get some pop for how he's managing minutes night to night based on who is thriving and who is struggling on any given night. You would have liked to have seen a wider margin of victory against the Hornets and some better defense, but more than enough for a passing grade. the end. -- MM

Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers lost to the Hawks in Atlanta, 92-89, losing their sixth straight to the Hawks and dropping to 1-3 on their current 6-game road trip. They lost forward Nicolas Batum to a scary eye injury during the game and, afterwards, the team reportedly held a players only meeting to discuss accountability. That's not good, considering this team's captain, LaMarcus Aldridge, was touting his squad as a Western Conference contender just a few weeks ago. The only thing keeping this from being an "F" was the play of point guard Raymond Felton, which has been terrible of late. Felton shot just 3-for-9 but finished with 10 points, 8 asssists, 1 steal and just 1 turnover, after committing 8 in a Monday win over the New Orleans Hornets. Hey, it counts for progress right now. Jamal Crawford, who finished with 22 points on 22 shots and added 5 assists, was another (sort of) bright spot. -- BG

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder hit 48 percent from the field and held their opponent to 38. And they lost? How? Because they gave the Wizards 40 free possessions. With 21 turnovers and 19 offensive rebounds for Washington, Oklahoma City completely fell asleep in the second half, allowing 59 points while losing to the league's worst team. Remember, the Wizards have had trouble breaking 70 lately. And they just beat the West's top team? Somebody failed, big time. -- RY

Glen Davis


Keep your pants on, bro. -- BG





Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:59 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 6:12 am
 

Paul (hamstring) day to day, MRI results negative

Posted by Eye on Basketball staff

Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul is listed as day to day with a hamstring injury after an MRI Sunday revealed no major results. Officially the injury is being called a strained hamstring.

Paul suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 102-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The injury comes at a particularly inopportune time, with the Clippers embarking on a back-to-back-to-back with games Monday afternoon at New Jersey, Tuesday night at Utah before returning home Wednesday against the Mavericks.

The Clipppers started the season with four point guards: Paul, Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe. They may be down to only Billups by next week. Williams (foot) sat out Saturday's game and Bledsoe (knee) is still 2-3 weeks away from returning.

Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 2:19 am
 

3-on-2 Fast Break: Clippers vs. Lakers



3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Saturday night's showdown at Staples between the Los Angeles Cippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook

1. Let's keep it simple. Which of these two teams wins on Saturday night and why?  

Royce Young: Lakers. The Fighting Kobes are in a really good rhythm right now. Kobe is playing great, Andrew Bynum is looking dominant and all the pieces are fitting together. The Clippers kind of put all their eggs into the basket of beating the Heat and while I'm sure they'll be up for the Lakers, they've got to get past that overtime win first. And don't think the Lakers have forgotten everyone getting all excited about the Clips sweeping the two exhibition games at Staples in early December. People were talking about the changing of the guard in L.A., but those games didn't count. This one does. 

Ben Golliver: The Lakers have some serious positive momentum going thanks to a four-game winning streak which could become five if they top the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. That the Clippers get two rest days heading into this one while the Lakers are stuck with the back-to-back gives Lob City an edge, but that probably cancels out the revenge factor that the Lakers are feeling after getting wiped up in two highlight-filled preseason games. Chauncey Billups has hit double figures and shot at least 6 free throws in four consecutive games for the Clippers; they will need his production if they are to keep pace with Kobe Bryant and company. Chris Paul finally had his signature game with the Clippers, scoring 27 points and making 11 assists in a Wednesday win over Miami and he gave the Lakers fits in last year's playoffs. I see him doing it again on Saturday to give the Clippers the win.

Matt Moore: The matchups here are enough to make your head spin. All-Star, phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime guards? Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Behemoth young centers with size, strength and defensive ability? Andrew Bynum and DeAndre Jordan. Crafty veterans on the wings? Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes against Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, and Mo Williams. Power forwards with huge scoring ability who are almost unguardable? Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin. It's a tight set of matchups. I like the Clippers in this one. We saw what Paul was able to do against the Lakers in the playoffs last year, and they haven't upgraded a defender to guard him yet. On the other end, Pau Gasol doesn't like it when things get physical and the Clippers are in-you-face as they come. Bryant can swing this as he can any game, but I like Lob City to open up and outrun the older Lakers. 

2. We know Kobe's going to score, Griffin's going to dunk, CP3 is going to dish, and Pau is going to do Pau things. But what's the big unknown in this game that will end up deciding it?  

Royce Young: Points in the paint. Who gets the most easy baskets? Both teams are pretty solid defensively and both teams have players that can fill it up. But jumpshots only carry teams so far, especially late in games. The Lakers have Bynum and Gasol who are paint monsters, while Griffin gets a lot of his easy in transition. Execution will be tough because you know this game will be physical. It's going to come down to the little things like free throws, turnovers and again, easy baskets in the paint. Both teams can defend it well, but who is going to break down the other defense enough to score simple points. 

Ben Golliver: 
The answer to the big unknown question is always Andrew Bynum. He poured in his career-high 42 points against DeAndre Jordan back in 2009 and he's shown spurts of serious offensive productivity in this young season. Given that the game is on the second end of a back-to-back there's no guarantee that Bynum can fully exploit what is an exceedingly difficult match-up for Jordan. The only person who can keep Bynum off the offensive glass in this one is himself. The Clippers are second-to-worst in rebound rate on the young season and Jordan can be bullied with Bynum's width and strength. 

Matt Moore:  
Turnovers. The Lakers have turned the ball over a stunning amount this season up until the past few games, also notably the best games of Bryant's season. The Lakers are last in turnover percentage differential, while the Clippers are top-four in that same category. The Clippers also rank 3rd in transition offense according to Synergy Sports. The Lakers are ninth in transition defense. If the Clippers can get out and run, that's going to put more wear and tear on an older and banged up Lakers team. But if the Lakers get to grind it out, expect the Lakers' superior experience to win the day.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:34 am
 

Theory and Proof: Clips find their identity on D



By Matt Moore


Los Angeles 95 Miami 89

Theory: The Clippers needed some help, but found their defensive identity against the Heat to get their biggest win of the season. 

Proof: Moving past the prolific failure of the Miami Heat, particularly at the free throw line, the Clippers did win a fairly significant ball game Wednesday in their own right, an ugly affair against a tough defensive team, and they did it with defense.

For weeks the Clippers have been chided for porous defense. But Wednesday they took the most athletic team and attacked them at the rim. They turned the Heat over, they challenged jumpers, they helped and communicated, and DeAndre Jordan blocked everything in sight.

The Heat entered Wednesday night with a 107 offensive efficiency mark (points per 100 possessions). The Clippers held them to just an 89.9 mark. That's worse than the Wizards' mark for the season. L.A. brought a lot of help, but it was also lead by the same players who they were criticized for acquiring. Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler did tandem work on LeBron ames and Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul was his usual ball-hawk self.

Then there was DeAndre Jordan.

That's why you overpay for a young center with his abilities. Eleven rebounds, six blocks (!) and a monstrous slam to finish the game and shut the door on the Heat. Jordan was everywhere, swallowing up shots and spitting them back out. Jordan was a monster and a huge reason why the Clippers could help and recover as much as they needed to against the Heat's athleticism.

The Clippers are still a work in progress. But there were enough positive signs to show that this team is not as far off as has been suggested recently. There are still things to improve on, though.

Blake Griffin is still learning to adapt to the new pressure and physicality defenses are now applying. Griffin finished with 20 and 12, but needed 23 shots to get to those 20 points. He was frustrated by the Heat's combined attacks and shook by their toughness inside on his drives. Too often he settled.

The bench is still very weak, and in need of a consistent scorer outside of Mo Williams.

But Chris Paul ties it together.

Maybe the defense won't play like this consistently enough to even warrant home court in the first round. But the pieces are there, and when they come together for the Clippers, with Paul drawing the strings and Jordan putting a big metal box over it, the Clippers have something as special as what they were hyped to be. It was a mentally exhausting, grinding battle Wednesday night, and at the end, the Clippers walked out with the signature win of their season so far.
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:50 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 10:15 am
 

Thomas 'not thrilled' with NY getting Chandler

By Matt Moore


If Knicks fans want a reason to believe in the quality of the Tyson Chandler acquisition, look no further than Iasiah Thomas. Because he didn't like it. The New York Postreports: 
Conveniently appearing on the Sid Rosenbug Show on Miami radio yesterday following the Knicks’ 2-4 start, Thomas questioned Glen Grunwald’s acquisition of Chandler, which forced the team to cut Chauncey Bilups to get under the salary cap.

Thomas said the NBA has become a guard’s league, and the Knicks cannot win solely with a star-powered frontcourt of Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. The Chandler commitment cost them a shot at point guard Chris Paul with next summer’s salary cap space, and Paul was subsequently dealt to the Clippers.

“The guard play right now in the NBA is off the charts,’’ Thomas said. “Losing Chauncey, I thought he brought a veteran leadership to the team. His savviness and guard play has always been severely undervalued. Detroit found that out when they let Chauncey go. I think there was a certain amount of leadership to what he brought to [the Knicks] last year.’’

...

“If you don’t have great guards, it’s hard to put together a game plan,’’ Thomas said. “You’re only as good a coach as your guards.’’
via Isiah Thomas, former Knicks president, not thrilled with Tyson Chandler acquisition - NYPOST.com.

Thomas is right, here.

I know, I know. We're uncomfortable with that statement as well.

But it has less to do with the state of the league than D'Antoni says. The Bulls teams that ended the Pistons' run didn't have great point guards. Yes, they had the greatest shooting guard of all time, but calling Jordan a guard is like calling a T-Rex a lizard. Yes, it's technically true but you don't compare its danger level to a gecko. Furthermore, the Lakers' dynasty under Phil Jackson featured a star shooting guard, but also had Derek Fisher at point guard. Billups was always going to play point gaurd for the Knicks, and the shooting guard scoring load on the perimeter is held by Carmelo Anthony. 

But the Knicks do need a point guard, because of their coach. D'Antoni is under heavy fire from fans and pundits right now, despite the fact that it's clear this is not the roster he would assemble if he had his choice. His system needs a playmaker. Anthony's only play is to score. It's not just Steve Nash. The Knicks looked more cohesive last year with Raymond Felton who is a huge downgrade from Nash offensively. It's like trying to run a car without an ignition system. So in that sense, Thomas is on target. 

But here's where he's wrong.

Chandlr wasn't the wrong acquisition. Chandler has brought defense and a better attitude to the Knicks. He can change the course of a game and provides a defensive balance to D'Antoni's offensively-geared staff. Chandler is not the poor fit for the Knicks. Anthony is.

Anthony is a scoring wing. But even that's fine and great in D'Antoni's system. And he's a small forward, who next to Amar'e Stoudemire, could be great. But Anthony is primarily an isolation, off-the-drible shooter. He's a great rebounder, and that's a legitamate boost for the Knicks, but offensively, there's not much more of a worse fit for the Knicks an D'Antoni than Anthony.

Chandler wasn't where they went wrong. And keeping Billups wasn't a mistake, as he has passed the point where he can consistently contribute efficiently, and isn't a playmaking guard at this point. But the Knicks' design may have been damaged already... by Thomaz' involvement in the Anthony saga.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com