In a game with back-and-forth play throughout, Chauncey Billups showed why his middle name still remains to be “Big Shot.”
The Los Angeles Clippers (8-4) took down the Dallas Mavericks (8-7), 91-89, behind Billups and Mo Williams, who had to carry the load with Chris Paul missing the game due to a hamstring injury. They combined to score 47 of the Clippers 91 points.
After Jason Terry hit a three-pointer to put the Mavs up 90-89 with 5 seconds left in the game, the Clippers advanced the ball up-court. As any fan of basketball should know, the person inbounding the ball is the biggest threat – especially when his name is Chauncey Billups. After Billups inbounded the ball, he received a double screen, and drained yet another big-time shot.
I could only think one thing as Billups stepped up yet again: The Knicks management have to be cringing at the sight of Chauncey’s success. This man wasn’t traded by the Knicks. He was waived. By waiving Billups, the Knicks were sending him a message that they believe they could be a better team without Billups than with him on the roster. After a loss to the Suns, the Knicks (6-8) have had consistent, poor point guard play and could definitely use a quality leader such as Billups.
The bright spot for the Mavs has to be Delonte West. By halftime, he already set a season-high with 17 points through long distance shots, mid-range jumpers, and pounding the paint. If he can find a way to provide this type of energy for the entire game (instead of going on to score 0 points in the second half), Jason Kidd will be a much healthier and happier man.
By the end of this game, I began to notice a pattern with the Mavs game – they began settling for way too many jump shots. Even though this habit sometimes popped up last year for the Mavericks, they had a Puerto Rican that could instantly infuse penetration into the offense. With Carter out for the game, Beaubois still getting very few minutes, and Odom playing lackluster basketball, driving to the basket didn’t happen, and Jason Terry’s jumper became the main source of offense. His smooth jump-shot obviously has provided great help for the Mavs in the past, but for this to as the primary way of scoring won’t work. Having seven shots from 26-feet or farther after the 6:41 mark in the fourth quarter can’t happen if the Mavs want a grind-it-out win.
This now stands as the third loss of the season where the Mavs have lost a game because of a last-second three-pointer. Kevin Durant, Derek Fisher, and Chauncey Billups have made this Mavs team look to be a mediocre 8-7 team when they could easily be a rising 11-4 squad. I’m not saying those shots can simply be taken away, meaning the Mavs deserve way more respect. People just need to realize this team isn’t getting blown out like in their first two games, and can play with the big boys. Dirk and Jet have always been two of the best at playing in crunch time and will surely have their fair share of game-saving moments. (Dirk already has his own this year against the Celtics and Terry almost got his own tonight.) If this team’s offensive rhythm can somehow be established and the camera can stop going to Khloe Kardashian every time Lamar Odom shoots a free throw, mediocrity shouldn’t last very long.
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