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.
With Billups Questionable, Douglas Could Start Game 2
BOSTON — Chauncey Billups had high hopes of leading the Knicks to a first-round upset of the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs.
Instead, he is questionable for Tuesday’s Game 2 and may have to watch from the bench after suffering a strained left knee on a drive to the basket in the final minute of Sunday’s 87-85 loss in Game 1 at TD Garden.
“That’s a big concern, man,” Carmelo Anthony said Monday after practice. “You never want to lose a guy like that in the midst of a battle like the one we’re in right now. I just pray that it’s nothing serious. Just be confident and pray once again that he’s able to go [Tuesday].”
Billups, 34 plans to get treatment Monday and Tuesday in hopes of suiting up. If he can’t go Tuesday, he hopes to return for Friday’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.
“I’m really sore today,” Billups said. “I’m gonna treat it all day [Monday] and [Tuesday] and just kind of see how it goes.”
Billups said he will see how he feels Tuesday before the game. The Knicks will hold shootaround Tuesday morning.
“I’m disappointed,” Billups said. “This is the worst time and this is the worst that could possibly happen, getting hurt in the first round of the first game of a tough series. I know the team really needs me. It’s just frustrating, but that’s kind of the way the ball bounces and hopefully I can get back soon.”
Without him, Toney Douglas, who hit a 3-pointer to put the Knicks up 85-82 with 37.8 seconds left, would get the start and Anthony Carter’s minutes would increase.
Douglas, in his second season and first playoff series, said he was up for the challenge.
“Yes, I’m ready,” said Douglas, who had eight points in Game 1. “I always prepare my mind, my body, for any situation that happens so I’ll be prepared already.”
Billups recently missed six games with a deep left thigh bruise after running into Dwight Howard’s knee. He then banged the knee again last week against Chicago.
The Knicks went 4-2 during the stretch when Billups was first out and Douglas said he gained confidence during that time. He ran the offense, played most of the game and worked with the starting unit featuring Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
“Most definitely, that helped me a lot,” Douglas said. “Knowing that Chauncey, even though he was out, he was still helping me. And playing with Amar’e and ‘Melo on the floor, my confidence is up and I’m not going to lose that.”
Douglas would draw Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo on the defensive end if Billups can’t go.
“It doesn’t matter is he a good player or not,” Douglas said, “I’m ready to take on the challenge and play defense and do what I gotta do to help the team win.”
**Knicks lose ‘Mr. Big Shot’ to knee injury
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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.