Chauncey Billups probably won't play tonight. And on the surface that seems like a good thing for the Celtics. But as Philip Rossman-Reich wrote on Crossover Chronicles… maybe it's not.
Boston was actually pretty efficient with Billups on the floor this season.
According to the NBA.com StatsCube, Boston had a 115.4 offensive rating with Billups on the court, compared to a 100.9 rating with him off the floor in the regular season. The Celtics' season average was 104.0.
This shows two things: First, Rajon Rondo has a matchup advantage against Billups on offense. The Celtics shoot a 57.1 percent effective field goal percentage and a 61.9 percent true shooting percentage when Billups is on the floor. Second, the numbers may be slightly skewed because the Knicks' defense is so bad and that Billups is somewhat a victim of the poor defenders around him.
This is not to say Billups is still the defender he was several years ago. He is not. He has slowed down significantly from his championship days in the mid-2000s.
What is most surprising is how the Celtics' defense improves with Billups on the floor.
Follow the link for the whole piece. My head tells me the ripple effect of not having Billups on the floor favors the C's because that thins out New York's bench even further. But there's no doubt Billups is a matchup advantage for Rondo (when he takes advantage of it). So we'll see how tonight pans out.