Most players who have a major Achilles tendon injury at age 36 are done. It’s time to walk away from the game, spend more time with your family and your golf game.
Not Chauncey Billups. Not Mr. Big Shot. The Clippers guard was going to leave the game on his own terms and worked hard for 10 months to recover from a torn Achilles suffered last February in Orlando.
And Wednesday night at Staples Center he will have made it all the way back, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
This is a great pickup for a Clippers team that has struggled the last five games. Billups is not the athlete he was when he was winning an NBA finals MVP in 2004, but he brings a calmness and sense of purpose to the Clippers when he is on the floor. At least he did last season, when he averaged 15 points a game (but shooting just under 40 percent). It’s why Chris Paul pushed the Clippers to bring him back.
It creates a new headache for Vinny Del Negro — he has to find minutes for Billups, Eric Bledsoe (who has been fantastic off the bench and was playing some two alongside CP3) and Jamal Crawford. You get the feeling Willie Green is going to lose out here and go from starter to rarely-seen bench player.
But this is great for the Clippers. And great for Billups, a guy who has earned the right to chose how and when he leaves the game.
The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.
It didn’t get better afterward.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.