Pistons' Billups ready for conference finals Print
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Thursday, 15 May 2008 11:15
NBA Headline News

 AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -Chauncey Billups is taking advantage of the Detroit Pistons' break, pushing himself through scrimmages to get his right hamstring into game shape.
``I haven't done anything in like a week, so that takes a toll on you'' the All-Star point guard said Thursday. ``Being able to get up and down is a plus for me.''
Detroit earned at least a few days off to rest and give Billups a chance to recover by sweeping the Orlando Magic.
If the top-seeded Boston Celtics win on the road for the first time in the playoffs on Friday night in Cleveland, they will host the second-seeded Pistons on Sunday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. If the fourth-seeded Cavaliers extend the series to a Game 7, the next series will likely start Tuesday night.
``We're approaching it with the idea that we're playing Sunday,'' Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. ``If something happens on Friday and Cleveland happens to win, we'll readjust.''
Billups strained his hamstring on May 7 and missed two-plus games in the second round. He went through a full workout with the team Thursday for the first time since getting injured.
``He went through the whole practice, full contact,'' Saunders said. ``He would've played today. He looked good in practice.''
Billups said he can't sprint straight ahead as well as he'd like, but was encouraged with his health after scrimmaging longer and harder than he expected to be able to do.
Now, he just hopes the break will be long enough to help him get healthy without stunting the team's rhythm.
``That's always a concern when you get so many days off,'' Billups said. ``It's a Catch 22. You want the days off to recover and get healthy, but you want to keep that rhythm when you're playing well.''
The Pistons have won seven of their last eight games, including one at Orlando to make them the first team to win a road game in the second round.
Detroit is in the conference finals for the sixth straight year, joining the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s as the only teams to be that consistent in the NBA playoffs since they expanded two-plus decades ago.
Before Detroit eliminated the Magic on Tuesday night, Pistons power forward Antonio McDyess was told his grandmother died. He practiced with the team on Thursday, then was expected to fly to Mississippi for her funeral before returning Saturday to Michigan.
 

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