Chauncey Billups’ take on the Clippers’ ‘Miracle in Memphis’

Clippers guard Chauncey Billups is sidelined with a season-ending torn left Achilles’ tendon, but he is with his team in Memphis as the Clippers face the Grizzlies in a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

And a day after the Clippers’ improbable Game 1 win here on Sunday, Billups shared his thoughts with The Times on his team’s performance and more.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Those first three quarters, some of our guys just didn’t know what playoff basketball was all about. It really took us three quarters to realize how hard you have to play in the playoffs.

And, honestly, when we started coming back, I was just happy that we had started coming back. And I was happy that probably the next day, we would be able to show some things on tape that we could say, “This is how hard you’ve got to play.”

But at the time, I wasn’t thinking we were going to win the game. I wasn’t thinking that we were going to come all the way back with seven minutes left. That was incredible. 

We’ve got a lot of guys on this team who aren’t experienced at this time of the season and I think those first three quarters showed us a lot. We learned a lot as a team. We also learned a lot from the effort that we played with in the fourth quarter.

During our comeback, what changed was you had Reggie Evans and Eric Bledsoe out there scrapping for every little thing that they could get. And in turn that made everybody play hard.

Nick Young stepped up and made some big shots. Blake Griffin started feeling a little more like himself. Chris Paul was out there doing what he does, orchestrating.

And everybody on our team just started going crazy. The bench almost got a technical foul because we couldn’t sit down. We were going crazy. That’s what a team is all about, man.

We know it’s not going to be like that every game. And can we do that again in another game? Well, probably not. But if we don’t get down by 20-something points, we’ll be OK.

Going into the next game, the key for us is not being overconfident, knowing that what we did Sunday was miraculous. We can’t do that again. We just have to play with the same effort and heart that we played with in the fourth quarter and we’ll be in a better position to win.

— As told to Times staff writer Baxter Holmes


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