Chauncey Billups: Former Pistons coach Larry Brown ‘choked’ in 2005 NBA Finals

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Robert Horry hit more than his fair share of huge shots. Perhaps, none was bigger than his game-winning 3-pointer in Game 5 of the 2005 NBA Finals. Few single shots in have swung championship odds from one team’s favor to another’s. That one did.

With the series tied 2-2, Horry’s Spurs trailed the Pistons by two with 9.4 seconds left. Horry inbounded to Manu Ginobili, and Rasheed Wallace – assigned to cover Horry – trapped Ginobili. Ginobili kicked to Horry, who knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer to give San Antonio a 3-2 series lead. The Spurs won in seven.

Former Detroit guard Chauncey Billups on The Lowe Post podcast:

Here’s what’s crazy about that play. So, we’re in the huddle. Of course, me and everybody else is saying, “No 3s. No matter what, no 3s. No 3s. Press up. A two don’t kill us. No 3s.” We walk back on the floor. We’re getting set up. I see Lindsey Hunter come to the desk. I’m like, “Perfect. We good. He going to get Sheed.”

Billups listed his envisioned defensive matchups:

  • Chauncey Billups – Tony Parker
  • Lindsey Hunter – Manu Ginobili
  • Richard Hamilton – Bruce Bowen
  • Tayshaun Prince – Robert Horry
  • Ben Wallace – Tim Duncan

Billups continued:

We good. Buzzer goes off, and he says, “Chaunce, I got you.” I’m like, “What the hell.” I just didn’t understand it. So, obviously, there’s no time to – it’s time to win the game. You worry about it later. And for so many reasons, it’s just crazy. I didn’t have any issues defensively.

Not only that, what happens if the rebound comes off, and your free-throw shooter is not in the game? I mean, there’s so many different – I really think, for real, I think Larry just kind of choked in that moment.

I think he just, he kind of chocked. And I don’t know.

That was crazy. How do you think I felt? First of all, I’m the MVP of the series if we win again.

This is such an underdiscussed angle of that famous play. Horry gets and deserves credit for making the shot, and Rasheed takes plenty of criticism for his mental lapse of doubling off Horry. But why wasn’t Billups on the court?

Billups’ anticipated lineup would have been able to switch nearly everything, if not everything. (I’d be a little iffy on a Ginobili-Duncan screen defended by Hunter and Ben Wallace.) Rasheed could defend well on the perimeter, too, but he wasn’t quite as comfortable there.

Billups was a strong defender. He’s also spot-on about having him on the court to get intentionally fouled if San Antonio missed. Though Hamilton was a good free-throw shooter, Billups was the most dependable Piston from the line.

Larry Brown was a great coach who helped the Pistons reach that level, including guiding them to the 2004 title. But there’s a strong case he erred in this huge situation.

That said, we’ll never know what would have happened if he left Billups, not Rasheed, in the game. Billups’ criticism has the benefit of hindsight. Maybe the Spurs would have made a shot over a smaller defender. Maybe Detroit would have forced a miss, but – with Rasheed on the bench – surrendered an offensive rebound. Or maybe the Spurs wouldn’t have scored at all and fallen behind 3-2. But they also had Games 6 and 7 at home.

That the Pistons won Game 6 in San Antonio bolsters Billups’ case. Maybe that game would have gone differently if it were a must-win for the Spurs, though. There’s no way to tell.

But it seems more likely than not Billups is right: If Brown left him in the game, Detroit would have won the title and Billups would have gotten his second Finals MVP.

Instead, the Spurs got rings, and Duncan won Finals MVP, and we’re left with this “what if?”

Report: Wizards-Suns-Grizzlies Trevor Ariza-Kelly Oubre trade falls apart due to Brooks confusion

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The Wizards, Suns and Grizzlies, according to multiple reports, agreed to a three-team trade:



  • Give: Trevor Ariza
  • Get: Austin Rivers, Wayne Selden, Brooks


  • Give: Wayne Selden, Brooks, 2019 second-rounder, 2020 second-rounder
  • Get: Kelly Oubre

But it was unclear which Brooks – Dillon Brooks or MarShon Brooks – Memphis would send to Phoenix. It was initially reported as Dillon then “corrected” to MarShon. But that correction didn’t provide much clarity.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports:

This is AMAZING. Humans are smarter and more connected than ever before. And a few NBA general managers couldn’t keep their Brooks straight.

Dillon is a 22-year-old with 3-and-D skills and potential to become more of an all-around contributor. MarShon is a ball-dominant 29-year-old who’s generally not efficient enough to justify his high usage.

No wonder Phoenix wanted Dillon. And no wonder Memphis wanted to part with MarShon.

This could leave hurt feelings on all sides. What will Oubre, Ariza, Rivers, Ariza and even the Brooks think now? There’s plenty to clean up after this mess.

Including the tears streaming down my face from the laughter.

Is part of Markelle Fultz’s problem a too-tight, family-dominated inner circle?

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There needs to be context with this story. A lot of context. First, whatever is going on with Markelle Fultz, it cannot be traced to just one thing. It’s never that clean and simple. His agent and lawyer Raymond Brothers is trying to pitch his issues are all physical when clearly there are mental aspects and more involved.

Next, a close-knit family where the mother/dad/uncle is very protective of the elite basketball prospect and is deeply involved in everything is far, far, far from a new story in the NBA. It’s more the norm.

All that said, it’s fair to ask if Markelle Fultz’s family situation is impacting him. The amazing Candace Buckner of the Washington Post delved into this topic, interviewing Fultz’s former trainer Keith Williams among others.

“He’s a sensitive young kid, and I think emotionally he went through so much,” Williams said….

Fultz is now a professional on a four-year contract worth $33 million, but close associates said [his mother] Ebony still goes to great lengths to shield him. During Fultz’s first season in Philadelphia, Ebony had cameras installed inside his New Jersey home, according to several people familiar with the setup who described the indoor surveillance as unusual. The cameras have since been removed. Multiple people said Ebony has asked some who have dealt with Fultz to sign nondisclosure agreements for reasons that are unclear to them…

“There’s definitely crazy [expletive] going on with the mom and how involved she is and how overprotective she is,” said a person with a close connection to Fultz. “The best possible situation is if the mom just backs off for a period of time and gives him a chance to breathe.”

Again, overprotective parents are not new in basketball circles. NBA teams have dealt with it before and generally understand how to make that less of a problem. Just like your parents don’t get to follow you to your first real job after college, NBA parents don’t either. Just ask LaVar Ball.

That said, this concern it adds to the things making it hard to move him in a trade.

Ultimately, what Fultz needs is to be traded to a smaller market where he can develop out of the spotlight and demands that came in Philly. The Sixers are testing the market, but so far no deal has come close. That team will have to deal with everything going on around and with Fultz. And it’s not going to be just one thing.


Watch the video: How many times was James Harden fouled by the Lakers?

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James Harden has attempted 235 free throws this season, second most in the NBA (Joel Embiid, to answer your question about the most). He averages 9.8 free throws a game, again second most in the NBA.

Every team complains about how he draws fouls — driving into players bodies then selling it by throwing his head back, flailing his arms and going to the ground. Last night the Lakers were so frustrated they played with their hands behind their backs for a while.

How many fouls did Harden really draw? Watch this and decide for yourself.

The NBA referees think he was fouled more than you do. That includes a foul on Kyle Kuzma.

That second one is the correct call — Lonzo Ball has his hands down but he as the defender initiates the contact and drives into Harden. That’s a foul. Other ones are as well, the Lakers slid under him as he went up on a number of plays.

A lot of NBA fans complaining about the calls Harden gets may want to watch their own team more closely — a lot of players do the same thing. Not as often or as convincingly as Harden, but it’s the same idea, a lot of players do the same thing.

Harden is the master of drawing fouls, with his herky-jerky, old man at the Y game which includes a lot of stepbacks and flailing. It’s frustrated everyone, including Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook when they had to guard him as teammates.

Why does he do it? Because it works. It throws defenders off. Same reason Marcus Smart and others flop on defense, he gets calls and gets in opponents heads.

And it’s not going to stop.

No, the Heat are not going to tank, you can stop asking

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At the season’s end, if no trades or moves are made, the Miami Heat would pay nearly $6.3 million in tax. They have the sixth-highest payroll in the NBA.

The Miami Heat are 11-16 and right now out of the playoffs in the East. Even if they get it together, this is not a roster ready to compete with the top four in the East.

There is a lot of context is needed here: Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Dion Waiters all gave missed time this season (Waiters has yet to play), it’s not simply that this is a bad team asking too much of Josh Richardson. But it is an unimpressive team.

Which always leads to the “will the Heat sell off their good players and tank” question? A question the franchise is weary of hearing.

No. That’s not the way Pat Riley sees the world. That’s what everyone told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

“This is what pro sports is supposed to be about,” Spoelstra told The Crossover. “Competing every night. To try to win. Not the opposite. Obviously not every year you are going to have a realistic chance to compete for a title. Since I have been here, working for Pat, from day 1, that has always been the directive. For me, that brings great clarity. Keep the main thing the main thing. And everything else is just b*******….

“Do the history on it,” Spoelstra said. “What franchises have had the most enduring sustainable success over the last 24 years? We’re up there with the top three or four. The teams that constantly tank, I don’t know where they are. It would make for a pretty good discussion. But if you are hardwired to find a way to get it done without any excuses, you will find different pathways. There’s no one way to do it.”

Miami has advantages — the nightlife, the weather, no state taxes — that allows it to get free agents other franchises can only dream of. Miami is a destination. Build a core and try to attract free agents is a legitimate strategy for Miami in a way it is not for other franchises.

Building a core is just not that easy. Miami is a team is set to be over the tax this season and next, and their 2021 first-round pick is owed to Philadelphia unprotected (via Phoenix). Is the goal to stick around in the East and overachieve as Spoelstra teams tend to do the Heat are set up to go for it, but should they take a step back to try and take a step forward.

That’s not the way the Heat operate.