BOSTON -- Mike D'Antoni downgraded Chauncey Billups' availability from "very questionable" on Monday to "very doubtful . . . almost out" at this morning's shoot-around before Game 2 against the Celtics at TD Garden.
Billups was not on the court for shoot-around (he was getting treatment on his left knee strain), but according to D'Antoni there is some optimism that the veteran point guard may return for Game 3, which is Friday at Madison Square Garden. The extra day in the schedule certainly helps.
"I think it's possible," D'Antoni said. "He says he feels a lot better today than he did yesterday."
A Knicks win tonight, and an effective performance by Toney Douglas, of course, may spark debate about whether Billups should come off the bench, especially if he's not 100 percent. I'm sure the Knicks would welcome that as an issue to deal with in the next three days.
Tonight's Game 2 is historically critical for the Knicks, who are still searching for their first playoff win in 10 years. According to the NBA, only six percent of teams who have fallen behind 0-2 in a series in league history have come back to win it.