BOSTON -- Chauncey Billups was on the inactive list for Tuesday night's Game 2 against the Celtics with a left knee strain that did not heal enough for him to play.
The Knicks are listing him as day-to-day. Billups has not yet had an MRI on the knee to see if there is any more damage. The plan over the next two days is to continue treatment. Billups said Monday that the knee was sore, but Tuesday it was showing signs of improvement. He will receive an MRI Wednesday.
Stability, of course, is just as much of a concern as pain. Billups said the knee buckled as he drove to the basket against Jermaine O'Neal late in the fourth quarter of the Game 1 loss.
The goal is to have him ready in time for Friday's Game 3 at Madison Square Garden, but at this point, his availability is uncertain.
"I don't know about Friday," Mike D'Antoni said before Tuesday night's game. "We'll go back and evaluate, see how fast he mends and the pain level and all that. It's day-to-day, but we'll figure it out."
Melo takes out trash
Paul Pierce is notorious for trash-talking during games and it used to get heated between the Celtics star and former Knicks forward Quentin Richardson. They were ejected for carrying on a nasty verbal exchange during the Martin Luther King Day matinee in 2008.
But so far, in his matchup with Carmelo Anthony, Pierce has been quiet.
"He don't really be talking when I'm out on the court with him," Anthony said. "At least not to me."
Anthony doesn't talk much, either, which may have something to do with it.
"I don't do no talking, I don't get into all that," Anthony said. "I play the game, I don't talk. I let the other players do that."
Jermaine O'Neal suffered a mild sprain in his left wrist early in the game, but did return to action. O'Neal is critical to the Celtics, who are very thin at center with Shaquille O'Neal still out with a strained calf. Shaq's status for Game 3 remains uncertain . . . In Billups' absence, the Knicks added Derrick Brown to the active roster.