Billups still doubtful; D'Antoni defensive

BOSTON -- Chauncey Billups is still listed as doubtful for Game 2 tonight against the Boston Celtics, and upon being prompted, coach Mike D'Antoni went a step further and said Billups was "almost out."

The Knicks have chosen not to perform an MRI on Billups' strained left knee, which buckled when Billups landed awkwardly on it in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's loss.

"It's a hole to fill, but I have a lot of confidence in Toney (Douglas), and Anthony Carter will back him up, and we'll just see how it runs," D'Antoni said after the Knicks' morning shootaround. "He (Billups) says he feels a lot better today than he did yesterday."

D'Antoni was in an upbeat mood for a coach whose team lost a chance to knock the Celtics on their heels, but he got a little defensive when asked if the Knicks would try to get the ball to Amare Stoudemire late in the fourth quarter more than they did in Game 1.

Stoudemire scored 12 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter but did not score over the final 2:46.

"I love people that maybe didn't watch the game, because I went back when I heard that, and at the 2 1/2 minute mark he scored a basket, and we went to him almost every time up to that point. On the next play we came down we went to him, and that was at the 2 minute mark, and he charged. Then at 1:40, we ran a play for him. They kind of knocked him off of it and overplayed him, and that's when Chauncey got hurt -- and he had an open lane to the basket," D'Antoni said. "You know, our guys can't be robots. They've got to play. But every play that was called was for Amare.

"They did two things well to snuff it out, one time we got Ronny (Turiaf) right to the rim, they got a block and Melo tried a 3, and he was wide open. So the team, the players, Amare, we were going to him. And I think it was four possessions after the last time he scored, we tried to go to him all four. Our team, we talked about it. They were great. They were trying to do what you should do."