Tag Archives: Chauncey Billups

The Lakers and Clippers seek to add depth before the playoffs

With the Kenyon Martin signing done, the Los Angeles Clippers have obtained one more big body to help contend with the L.A. Lakers’ big front court in the future Battle of Los Angeles  Now, both teams are seeking to add yet more depth in order to bring home the bacon.  The returning players from overseas, like K-Mart, are one possible avenue for each team.  Everyday, it seems, the Lakers are rumored to be interested in so and so, or so and so is rumored to be demanding a trade to the Lakers (see Orlando Magic Dwight Howard).  Until recently, I cannot ever recall a single player either demand a trade to the Clippers or hope that the Clippers picked them up off of the waivers.  However, that has all changed with the formation of Lob City through the acquisitions of Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, and even Caron Butler, who now has an NBA championship ring.  Not only are players hoping that the Clippers might take them in, but are actually dreaming about it.  Even Dwight Howard, arguably the best Center in the league, has persistently been rumored, now, to want to end up with the Clippers.  While that may or may not be true in reality, the media has crowned the Clippers as the next Big Thing.

Out of the available pool of free agents, including those who are currently overseas, who is the best fit for either the Clippers or the Lakers to put either team over the top?  Starting with the China-boys, this analysis may become polarizing quickly.  First up is J.R. Smith.  Two weeks ago he annihilated the Chinese league for 60 points on 14 of 18 treys.  Qingdao will probably have to sell their team and give up now like the Seattle SuperSonics did.  J.R. Smith, one of the streakiest and most annoying players in the NBA (and its sister-leagues) today, probably set back the Qingdao team a decade with that explosion.  J.R. Smith

Not two weeks ago did J.R. Smith remind the NBA of his talents.  He exploded for 60 points over Qingdao in the Chinese league, drilling 14 of 18 three pointers in the process.  Now, everyone knows J.R. Smith can shoot the ball and shoot it well.  Everyone also knows that he can dunk the ball and dunk it well.  But his off the court behavior and me-first attitude on the court could end up being more of a burden than a blessing to the team that lands him this coming week.  The Lakers want to sign Smith to complement Kobe and finally get someone to hit a perimeter shot.  While I love Matt Barnes, he is a far cry form the player who regularly turned it on for Don Nelson in Golden State a few years back.  And while I love Ron Artest (read:  Metta World Peace), he has always been a chucker and a sort of offensive clunker.  He still brings it defensively and is vital to their success, but for as much as a chastise J.R. Smith, I’d still rather have him taking ill-advisde shots than Metta World Peace.  The Clippers are also interested but since they’re already defensively inept in the backcourt (largely due to a lack of size), adding Smith would only make them defensively worse.  Also, there are likely not enough shots to go around on the perimeter between Cp3, Billups, Foye (a chucker), and Mo Williams (another chucker).  What the Clippers need is a real backup SF (or even starting SF).  If the Lakers sign Smith, I’d give it a B+ signing (only if Kobe can keep J.R. in line).  For the Clippers:  C-.

Taking a look at the list of domestic players, the only one who really stands out for either team is Gilbert Arenas.  While Larry Hughes’ teardrop tatted beneath his eye does stand out, unfortunately his game does not.  Arenas so desperately wants to play for any L.A. team in his hometown that he’s scheduled his own public workout for later in this week.  Arenas was last seen sporting an ill-advised beard and a shaky jumpshot in Orlando last year, and the fact that no team has yet signed the enigmatic combo-guard is not a good sign.  Last year he played 25 minutes off the bench behind such wonders as Jameer Nelson and Jason and Quentin Richardson.  What?  If Agent Zero cannot even displace any of those three chuckers, who is to say that he can displace any of the Clippers’ chuckers, who are actually playing at a fantastic level right now (see:  Mo Williams).  The Lakers could use someone to create offense, but not someone to dribble out the shot clock.  I’d give the Clippers signing Arenas a D- and the Lakers signing him a C+.

The last candidate is Wilson Chandler, who may or may not ever get out of his contract in China.  Chandler is a young player with a multifaceted game.  For some reason, he reminds me of Danny Granger, although he’s never really had the chance to put up Granger-like numbers.  Chandler is not phenomenal at any one thing but is pretty good at most of them.  The Lakers don’t exactly need another wing to steal shots, but if Chandler could be used to generate legitimate offense off the bench (that does not come from off-balanced three pointers), then he might be a good signing.  However, he would likely command too much money for the Lakers.  The Clippers could also really use him, as his game would readily remedy a lot of the penetration problems the Clippers currently have (and also move Caron Butler to the bench where he belongs).  But Chandler would probably cost too much for them, too.  That being said, I’d give each team an A- for acquiring Chandler.  In the end, though, the Lakers ought to refrain from acquiring anymore older talent and begin looking at younger talent.  Maybe let the Mini-Mamba loose.  The Clippers should stand-pat and let the team gel first before acquiring anyone else.

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Clippers Vs Nuggets at the Pepsi Center Sun Jan 29th Wrap Up

Clippers Vs Nuggets at the Pepsi Center Sun Jan 29th Wrap Up

The postgame L.A. Clippers locker room had an old Nuggets feel to it. The Los Angeles Clippers face a tough test Sunday night as they hit the road to face the red-hot Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets have won six straight games and own the second best record in the Western Conference at 14-5. The Clippers, meanwhile, have lost nine straight games in Denver.

There, in the center, was Chauncey Billups, always the man of the moment in the Mile High City. Around him were all of the familiar media faces peppering him with questions about another night, another big shot, another big victory.

Only, this time, he left his old team with all the questions while he provided answers Sunday night.
In his first game back since being traded, Billups was every bit Mr. Big Shot as he and Chris Paul took over in the fourth quarter to outlast the Nuggets 109-105 at the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets, who had been riding high on a six-game winning streak, saw that snapped in excruciating fashion. Down the stretch they
Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov dunks in the first quarter. More photos. (John Leyba, The Denver Post) simply didn’t make enough plays to get the job done. The Denver Nuggets were outscored 15-6 to end the game.

“They made a lot of shots,” said Nuggets coach George Karl of Billups and Paul, who combined to score 19 of the Clippers’ 32 points in the fourth. “I think it was pretty good defense. I’m pretty sure the video will show that. We can’t do much more.”

The fourth quarter was a wild, back-and-forth affair, each team making one effective play after another on the offensive end.

A Nene bucket gave the Nuggets a 99-94 lead before the Clippers answered with five straight points, punctuated by a Billups 3-pointer with 3:01 left to tie it up. Billups then put the Clippers ahead 102-99 with a three-point play.

Paul rolled in a free-throw line jumper with 1:26 and L.A. led 104-101. But two Nene buckets — both dunks — got the Nuggets in front 105-104.

Two Paul free throws with 35.9 seconds left put the Clippers back on top 106-105. The Nuggets missed a layup on their ensuing possession and fouled DeAndre Jordan after the Clippers came away with the rebound. Jordan made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with 23.4 seconds to extend L.A.’s lead to 107-105.

After a timeout, Nene was called for an offensive foul with 18.1 seconds remaining, which was the biggest blow to the Nuggets’ rally hopes. The Nuggets fouled Paul with 17.2, and he made both to push the Clippers’ lead to four. A failed Nuggets possession after that sealed the team’s fate.

“We kept it close, kept it close,” Billups said. “And Chris was big for us in the fourth quarter, made a couple of plays … and that’s how you’ve got to win on the road.”
Billups returned to Denver in style. He scored a season-high 32 points, nailing six 3-pointers in the process. The Clippers drained 14 3-pointers as a team, outscoring the Nuggets 42-18 from the arc.

They had a really good percentage from 3-point, Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari said. Chauncey ha an unbelievable game. They hit some tough shots and contested 3s.
It was a tough start in a tough stretch for the Nuggets. On Saturday afternoon, Karl gathered his team, lent perspective to their hot start and relayed a message of urgency about what they will face in the next 30 days.

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Los Angeles Clippers at Denver – Game Preview

Recent Games:

First meeting of the season. The teams split four games last season, with each winning on their home court.

 

  • November 5th, 2010 in Denver – Denver 111 – Clippers 94
  • December 3rd, 2010 in Denver – Denver 109 – Clippers 104
  • January 5th, 2011 in Los Angeles – Clippers 106 – Denver 93
  • March 5th, 2011 in Los Angeles – Clippers 100 – Denver 94

 

Summary:

The Clippers are 10-6 on the season. But of those 16 games, only five of them have been on the road (and one of those was in Los Angeles against the Lakers). Five road games is the fewest of any team in the NBA, and more importantly, the 28 they have yet to play is the most. So there’s that. The fact that the team is 1-4 in those five games is not good, but it’s not a huge concern, given the quality of the opponents in those losses. Unfortunately, that logic doesn’t bode well for tonight, against the 14-5 Nuggets, who are 7-2 in the mile high altitude. There is some good news though. The Clippers should be well rested for this game, coming off two days of rest. There is also reason to believe that the team will be hitting peak form at some point in the near future — they looked great in wins over the Heat and Lakers two weeks ago, before Chris was injured his hamstring. In the two games since his return, Paul has not shot well. Hopefully after a couple of games and two more days of practice, he’s getting the rust off and the team will start firing on all cylinders again. They looked great for a quarter against Memphis on Thursday, but even that was more about hot shooting than super shard execution. So the team’s best basketball is still ahead of them, but hopefully not too far away.

 

 

The Antagonist:

A year ago, the Nuggets starters featured Kenyon Martin, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, and J.R. Smith was the sixth man. Now Anthony is in New York with the New York Knicks, Billups is with the Clippers, Smith is in China and Martin is waiting until February 15th to be a free agent after signing with and then leaving a Chinese team. The Nuggets were built around Anthony for years, and while the made the playoffs in each of the seven seasons he was in Denver, they also lost in the first round in six of those seasons.

Losing streak in Denver. The Clippers haven’t won in Denver in five full seasons. The last time they won a regular season game there was in January of 2006. They also won a playoff game a few months later. But it’s been one empty trip to the Mile High City after another since then.

Hot team. In their last game the Clippers played a Grizzlies team that had won seven of eight coming in. The Nuggets have won six straight and eight of nine. The Clippers just can’t get a break in terms of opponents. Oh, and their next three games after this are against Oklahoma City, at Utah and against these Nuggets again. Sheesh.

Twice in a week. The Clippers and Nuggets face each other twice this week, tonight and then again on Thursday. The Clippers have two games in the interim, the Nuggets just one.

Balance. About that balance: the Denver Nuggets have six players averaging double figures, with the highest being Gallinari at less than 18 a game. In fact, they have 8 players averaging between 8 and 18. Philadelphia has eight players between 9 and 16. Hat tip to citizen d2s4ui1 for catching my mistake there.

Lawson hurting. Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson, their second leading scorer, missed Friday’s win against Toronto with a sprained left ankle. Lawson told Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post that he plans to play tonight.

Billups in Denver. Chauncey Billups will be playing in Denver tonight for the first time since being traded away as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal. Billups is a Colorado native, who played his college ball in Boulder and had wanted to retire as a Nugget. He’ll no doubt receive a very warm welcome upon his return to Denver, where he played four seasons in two different stints. Billups was part of the Denver team that went to the Western Conference finals, they’re deepest playoff run since the mid 80s.

Matchups. It’s hard to figure how the matchups will go tonight. For one thing, you never quite know how George Karl will distribute minutes among the 10 or 11 guys in his rotation. Nene will begin the game defending Blake Griffin, which could give Blake trouble. Caron Butler will need to take the very talented Gallinari as seriously as he would Kobe Bryant. Afflalo is a big guard who will be a handful for Billups, But the key matchup will be Lawson versus Chris Paul. CP3 probably needs to dominate that matchup for the Clippers to win tonight.

Not counting the NBA All Star Game break, they’ll get one more such break the entire remainder of the season, and that one comes in April, between games 63 and 64. Great news for fans who don’t like to wait too long between games. Bad news for tired players and coaches who need time to prep for opponents.

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