Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Billups Questionable, Stoudemire Day-to-Day for Game 3
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Chauncey Billups took a cortisone shot in his injured left knee Wednesday and will now wait to see if he can play Game 3 Friday night against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden.
“They told me what I had to do was I just drained some blood out of there, shot the cortisone and just kind of see how it feels in 48 hours,” Billups said Thursday after getting treatment at the Knicks’ Westchester campus.
“And obviously we’re kind of in that stage right now, and just hoping for the best. There’s nothing I really can do. I gave myself the best chance, so I’m just hoping at this point.”
While Billups was at the facility Thursday, Amar’e Stoudemire got treatment at home from the Knicks’ medical staff on the pulled muscle in his back. The Knicks did not want him driving two hours round trip to practice.
“I’d say I’m optimistic,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of Stoudemire. “You don’t know until he wakes up [Friday]. I’ve had a few [back] spasms, but I think he’s feeling better today and hopefully it continues.
“We’ll work it out [Friday] morning. He’ll get here, get in the pool and work and make a determination. But I’m pretty optimistic.”
D’Antoni said he would start Shawne Williams if Stoudemire can’t go. If Amar’e’s not 100 percent, the Knicks still might give him a chance.
“We can try [Stoudemire] and if it doesn’t work out then we can change,” D’Antoni said. “But hopefully he’ll be full speed.”
D’Antoni said he was “a little bit less optimistic” about Billups, who missed all of Game 2 after straining a tendon in his knee on a drive to the basket during the final minute of Game 1’s 87-85 loss.
Billups said he will reassess his situation prior to shootaround Friday morning.
“I just want to be able to run around out there a little bit,” he said. “I know at this point there’s no way I’m going to come back and be 100 percent. But I don’t have to be 100 to come back. I just want to be able to help the team, and not hurt the team. And if I can get to that point, then I’ll be out there.”
Billups said he was told there is no risk of long-term damage to his knee.
“No surgery, I don’t need nothing,” he said. “No structural damage. None of those kind of things, so I don’t think I’ll be in a position where I can further hurt myself.”
In the meantime, he will do whatever is needed in the hours between now and the game.
“Since the shot and everything, a lot of ice and stim[ulation] and just trying to keep it compressed and keep the swelling down,” he said. “Since we drew blood out of there, trying to keep the blood from getting back in there.
“Everything that I can do, man. Everything that I can do.”
TURIAF COULDN’T FINISH GAME 2
As if the Knicks didn’t have enough injury issues, D’Antoni revealed that starting center Ronny Turiaf was unable to finish Game 2 because of a knee injury.
“He came to me at the start of the fourth and he was limping,” the coach said. “I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ His knee’s hurting him so I got him out, and then the assistant coaches talked to him. He said his knee’s killing him.
“So in my mind at that point he was done for the day. It was really never a question at the end who had the play.”
Turiaf started and played 29 minutes, finishing with nine points and five rebounds. Jared Jeffries was on the floor down the stretch, and failed to shoot — or score — when Carmelo Anthony passed it to him out of the double-team. His pass to Billy Walker was intercepted on the baseline by Kevin Garnett.
Turiaf practiced Thursday and D’Antoni expects him to be available to start Game 3.
“I think he’s OK,” he said. “It does flare up every once in a while. I hope he’s OK to start the game.”
Knicks president Donnie Walsh admitted it was “frustrating” losing two of the team’s “Big Three,” but conceded “that’s the nature of the game.”
“I think they’re both warriors,” he added, “and if they can play, they’ll play and they’ll play well.”
**’Melo ready to play 48 minutes in ‘must-win’ Game 3
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.