by Brett Edwards
Chauncey played like he was hitting the bottle in Game 4.
Chauncey Billups led the Pistons in scoring and rebounding in Game 4, contributing 23 and 9 to Detroit's losing effort. So it may seem unfair to place the blame for this loss squarely on his shoulders, but that's exactly what I'm going to do. Those numbers are a little deceiving, in that Chauncey went only 6-16 from the field, and got nine of his points at the free throw line. He also continued to struggle with turnovers, committing five while dishing out just two assists. But his normally solid decision making down the stretch is what really cost the Pistons the game.
Detroit was down six with about 2:30 to play, so every possession was critical as they tried to fight their way back into the game. Chauncey took the ball and drove to the lane, but ran over Daniel Gibson (who had the game of his life by the way - fucking home court advantage, I guess) for the offensive foul. This was the least of Billups' poor plays, but Gibson was clearly outside the protected area, and Chauncey should have pulled up before running him over and picking up the foul. Rip Hamilton did precisely that on the next possession to cut it to four.
The Pistons got a stop, then Chauncey made two bone-head plays on the same possession. First he started to drive, then left his feet with nowhere to go, and turned in mid-air for a pass to ... Drew Gooden. If that wasn't enough of a WTF play, Billups compounded it by immediately fouling Gooden, with 1:15 still on the clock. Why give the Cavs a chance to add to their lead at the foul line with so much time left? The correct play would have been to just come down and get a defensive stop, there was absolutely no reason to foul there, and Billups should have known that.
So Gooden makes one of two, Rip Hamilton scores again on the next possession, and the Pistons get a stop. Incredibly, they've still got a shot with the ball, down three, with :47 left on the clock. Plenty of time, right? Just come down, and take the first good look you get. If you get a quick two, you may not have to even foul, there would have been well over 24 seconds left, so one final defensive stand might have given you a shot to win the game. But Billups considers NONE of this, and pulls up for a wild 3-point attempt in transition with a defender creeping up on him right as he shoots. An absolutely HORRIBLE shot in that situation, all of a sudden Billups is going Steve Nash on us with the game on the line?! That's a bad shot in a freaking pickup game, when all that's at stake is if you get to play the next game or not. I certainly don't expect to see that from a former Finals MVP, on the road, in the Eastern Conference Finals.
I don't think I've ever been watching Chauncey Billups in the fourth quarter, and on consecutive plays said, out loud, "what the hell?" followed by "WHAT the FUCK?!" while reacting to his Devean George-like decisions. But that's exactly what I found myself doing while watching the end of Game 4. I don't know if Billups' impending free agency is weighing on him or what, but he seriously needs to pull his head out of his ass if the Pistons want to get to the Finals.