Clippers continue road trip in Cleveland minus Billups
The Los Angeles Clippers eye a third straight win this evening, but their thoughts may be with their fallen veteran, as they continue a long road trip in Cleveland.
Los Angeles will be without Chauncey Billups for the rest of the season after the guard tore his left Achilles tendon in the Clippers' 107-102 overtime win in Orlando on Monday.
The injury occurred with 5:48 left in the fourth quarter when Billups attempted a cross-over move, but fell to the floor without contact from another player and needed help off.
Billups, who had 18 points before the injury, had an MRI at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday which confirmed the injury.
A five-time All-Star, Billups was averaging 14.9 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 30.4 minutes a game for the Clippers. The 35-year-old is in the midst of his 15th NBA season, but vowed to return next season.
"I will be back," Billups told Yahoo! Sports. "I'm not retiring ... I will play again."
In Monday's win Chris Paul filled the stat sheet with 29 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter and overtime, to go with eight assists and seven rebounds. Blake Griffin had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who have won six of their last seven games.
"We just gutted it out," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said of the win. "It was going back-and-forth and we got a couple stops at the end and we were able to convert."
The Clips could get a boost tonight, as Kenyon Martin could see his first game action. Martin played for the Xinjiang Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association during the NBA lockout, and was contractually obligated to wait until the end of the Tigers' season before returning to the NBA. He was cleared to play by FIBA, basketball's international governing body last week.
Los Angeles is 2-0 on a six-game road trip that also includes stops in Philadelphia, Charlotte and Dallas. The Clips are just 5-4 away from home this season, but have won four straight as the visitor. The Clippers' franchise has not won five in a row on the road since Nov. 3-20, 1974, when they were the Buffalo Braves.
Cleveland, meanwhile, enters tonight's tilt on a sour note after falling to old friend LeBron James and the Miami Heat on Tuesday, 107-91. Antawn Jamison ended with 25 points and nine boards for the Cavaliers, who have lost three of four.
Alonzo Gee and Kyrie Irving tallied 17 and 16 points, respectively.
"We had some crucial turnovers. They were just executing," Irving said. "They made their run. Closing out the third quarter and going into the fourth quarter, they had a lot of momentum."
The Cavs, though, have dominated this series of late, winning 11 of the last 13 and 14 of the most recent matchups, including nine straight in Cleveland, where the Clips haven't won since March of 2003.