It’s official, Chauncey Billups out for season with torn Achilles

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After watching Chauncey Billups have to be helped off the court Monday night, everyone feared the worst but was coming but hoping against hope it wasn’t true. It is.

Chauncey Billups out for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

Usually these injuries take 12 to 18 months to heal, which makes you wonder if the 35-year-old guard with a lot of miles on those legs will ever set foot on an NBA court again. He told Yahoo Sports’ Adrain Wojnarowski he plans to make a comeback.

“I will be back. I’m not done. I’m not retiring….I will play again.”

If not, this is a sad way to see it end.

Billups had gone from being a hometown hero leading a good Nuggets team to being shipped out against his will to New York as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal. He adjusted, found his footing there then when the Knicks made a play for Tyson Chandler they unceremoniously used their amnesty clause to let him go. The Clippers picked him up and that was not a place he was looking to land at first, but once he got there and saw what was building in Los Angeles, he settled in and fit in well.

Billups had to adjust this season once the Clippers picked him up — Chris Paul is the Clippers point guard, Billups called himself a second point but really had to play a two guard a lot more off the ball. He had found his way — he had 11 points in the first half of the fourth quarter before his injury Monday — and the last week or so was playing his best basketball of the year. What’s more, he was the veteran, steady presence late in games that could help a young Clippers team grow and be a force in the playoffs.

Then this.

The Clippers have guard depth — both Mo Williams and Randy Foye will likely get a lot of time with the first unit to see who is a better fit. As pointed out at NBA.com, when Williams has been on the floor the Clippers offense has been better but the already not great defense has been much worse. With Foye it’s the opposite, the defense gets better but the offense struggles some. The Clippers also can toy with lineups as they have Eric Bledsoe just returning and Kenyon Martin about to join the team. But neither of them are a two guard.

The Clippers have a couple of trade exceptions and may go after J.R. Smith as well (although they can only offer the veteran’s minimum).

The Clippers will find their way.

But this is a sad way to see a great player — a finals MVP and gold medalist — like Billups go out.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.