Will Chauncey Billups play on Tuesday? Mike D'Antoni cracked a sly smile when he was asked the question.
"What are we saying about him?" the coach asked Knicks P.R. chief Jonathan Supranowitz after practice on Monday.
"Questionable," Supranowitz said.
"Questionable," echoed D'Antoni. "Very questionable."
Indeed, all indications are that the Knicks will be without their veteran point guard against the Celtics in Game 2 of their first-round series. Billups didn't practice on Monday, instead watching from the stands in a beige sweatsuit. His left leg has been immobilized since he strained his knee after coming down awkwardly in the final minute of Game 1, and the Knicks' medical staff spent most of Monday icing the area to reduce the swelling. Following practice, Billups walked gingerly and didn't sound optimistic about his chances of playing.
"I'm not feeling that great, honestly," Billups said. "This is tough. Getting hurt at this point of the season, it's just frustrating. Hopefully I can get back as soon as possible. I just know that my team really needs me and I feel like if we're playing good basketball, we have a chance to win this series."
With Billups likely out, the Knicks will turn to Toney Douglas, the second-year backup who scored eight points (on 3-of-8 shooting) in 26 minutes in Game 1. In nine starts during the regular season, Douglas averaged 13.9 points and 5.7 assists while connecting on 52.2 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from three-point range.
"You hate to lose Chauncey but at the same time we feel good about Toney," D'Antoni said. "He's going to have to save his energy up because he is going to play a lot of minutes."
Interestingly, the Knicks' offense functioned more efficiently with Douglas in the starting lineup. Billups and Douglas started one game together this season, a 114-106 loss at Charlotte last month. But in the 20 games Billups started at point guard, the Knicks averaged 106.3 points on 43.8 percent shooting. When Douglas was the top playmaker, they posted 109.4 points on 50.5 percent shooting.
Douglas, 25, says he has learned a lot from Billups in the short time they have been together.
Douglas' time is now for Knicks
SI.com | Apr 19