UPDATE 12:20 pm: Billups sat out practice and Mike D’Antoni called him “very questionable” for Game 2 Tuesday, night, according to a tweet from Alan Hahn of Newsday.
That could be real trouble for the Knicks. In that game and in the series.
8:11 am: The Knicks could have used Chauncey Billups at the end of Game 1 Sunday, and now they might not have him for Game 2 at all.
Billups landed awkwardly and tweaked his knee with just 50 seconds left in what was at the time a tie game Sunday and went straight to the locker room not to return. What he told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England is that he could miss time.
“My knee just kind of buckled,” Billups told CSNNE.com shortly after the game. “I’m not really sure what really happened.”
Billups later told reporters that he “had no clue” if he would be able to play on Tuesday.
“We got a couple days, and I’ll just be treating it as long as I can,” Billups said.
Added Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni: “I know he’s hurting right now and we’ll find out (Monday), I guess. I don’t think it’s anything more than it’s going to hurt. If it hurts too much he can’t play, and if it doesn’t, he’ll be ready to go.”
In a series that looks to be entertaining and tightly contested, the presence of Billups could be huge. He is the 2004 finals MVP and has a reputation for hitting big shots.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.