Here is where things stand Clippers fans — Chauncey Billups, at age 36 and recovering from a major Achilles tendon injury, will be back with your team before Grant Hill.
Billups could be back by the time you’re taking a nap after eating too much turkey and stuffing, with a side of sweet potatoes. That’s what Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Del Negro said that guard Chauncey Billups is closer to returning than Grant Hill, though there is no definite timetable for either player.
Billups, recovering from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles’ tendon in February, may be able to play around Thanksgiving, Del Negro said. Hill has a bone bruise in his right knee that has kept him out since early October.
The Clippers could use Billups. Last season when Billups was on the floor the Clippers seemed to run the offense more fluidly and have a better focus on defense — two things they seemed to lack in their losses this season. Last season the Billups averaged outscoring opponents by 4.7 points per 48 minutes when he was on the court, fourth best number on the team.
With their current lineup the Clippers are going to put up plenty of points this season, the question was always defense — that determines just how good they are now and how they do in the playoffs. Through four games the Clippers have been pretty pedestrian at that end of the floor. And that may be kind.
As for Grant Hill, he will be a nice little boost off the bench when he’s ready. But that’s a long ways off.
Report: Trail Blazers receive permission to interview Stephen Silas
Portland also was granted permission Sunday to talk to Silas about being its top assistant, league sources said.
Working for Steve Kerr in Golden State – which propelled Alvin Gentry to Pelicans head coach last year and Luke Walton to Lakers head coach this year – is probably preferable. But Silas’ star is rising, regardless. He’s a highly regarded assistant coach.
Terry Stotts, contract extension in hand, could add Silas without fearing being undermined. That’s the value of giving head coaches security. Hiring good assistants becomes more tenable.
Why would Silas leave another good coach, Steve Clifford in Charlotte, for the Trail Blazers? I don’t know for certain, but in these situations, there’s usually one place to start: money. Portland’s willingness to spend could pay off.
Coaching carousel report: Nate McMillan targets Bill Bayno in Indiana; Dave Joerger to keep Nancy Lieberman with Kings
Bayno, the former UNLV head coach, had not been in the NBA this season but had been with Dwane Casey in Toronto the two seasons before that, and before that had been an assistant with Minnesota and Portland.
Corliss Willamson had been popular with players in Sacramento, as had Nancy Lieberman — but she also had a big fan on owner Vivek Ranadive. She is one of only two full-time female assistant coaches in the NBA (along with Becky Hammond in San Antonio).
Kevin Love steps on referees foot, tweaks knee, sits fourth; expect to play in Game 5
“I think Kyrie [Irving] was shooting towards the end of the third quarter, and I stepped on the official’s foot, and it didn’t feel too great,” said Love, who had a total of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Games 3 and 4. “More so the knee [than the ankle hurting]. Will be sore tomorrow, but nothing that will prevent me from playing.”
Love had seemed to find a groove playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to start the playoffs, averaging 18.4 points per game and shooting 44.9 percent from three in the playoffs as the Cavaliers opened the playoffs with 10 straight wins. But like a few Cavaliers, his shooting has gone ice-cold in Canada — he also was rejected at the rim by Bismack Biyombo. Frye has played in crunch time because he is hitting shots.
“I had a lot of great shots, I just didn’t knock them down,” Love said. “It’s a simple as that. I had a lot of confidence in shooting the ball, a lot of really wide open 3’s, especially to start that first quarter. A number of them went in and out, so I just need to continue to stay aggressive.”
This series is knotted 2-2, and the Cavaliers need Love to find his shot before Wednesday night’s Game 5 — the Cavaliers have a series on their hands.
Kevin Love shut down at the rim by Bismack Biyombo (VIDEO)
His biggest play of the night was this clean block of Kevin Love at the rim. Love passed to LeBron James in the post, caught his defender napping and cut the rim, got the pass back from James and… denied.
Biyombo also got LeBron James at the rim but was called for a foul much to the dismay of Biyombo, Raptors fans, and the ESPN broadcast crew (it was the right call — watch Biyombo leap across the lane, he is anything but vertical, he contacts LeBron’s body, that’s a foul). Either way it’s worth watching.