So I’m at the game last night and the atmosphere was ridiculous. Even the fans were jockeying for position in the seats trying to get the best view and trying to eat up every inch.
And as I’m watching the game I couldn’t help focusing on the veteran Chauncey Billups and why, to me, he is still an elite point guard in this league.
The little things:
- Consoling Toney Douglas and giving him confidence during a free throw after D’Antoni yelled at him. The result? Douglas burying an open jumper next time down court. Billups prides himself in grooming young guards, so Douglas has himself an on court mentor.
- Hitting key shots: While Billups could have done a better job getting Amar’e in the flow, we’ll forgive him on the first night, he did hit key shots on his own and get players in position to succeed, like Douglas, and of course Carmelo.
- He took a huge charge on Brandon Jennings in the midst of controversy after Amar’e was called for one on the other end.
- Referee relationship: Mike D’Antoni was complaining of calls, particularly on Stoudemire, Billups calmly goes up to officials and has a conversation. Refs seems to have great respect for Billups and one would guess his ring would have something to do with it.
- Always knocking down FTs is the recipe for a lot of victories as well. When you have end of game shot makers, and FT makers, the result will be plenty of victories.