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Chauncey Billups is adjusting to new role with Clippers [video]

December 20, 2011 |  6:21 pm

After watching Chauncey Billups play Monday night, it's hard to believe that only a short while ago the 35-year-old was contemplating retirement.

Billups led all scorers with 23 points on five-for-eight shooting in the Clippers' 114-95 exhibition victory against the Lakers. He lit the gym up from the arc, making three three-pointers in the third quarter. And in one spectacular play, he bounced the ball off  the backboard for Blake Griffin, who dunked with so much force that he was dealt a technical.

"It's gonna be a great situation," Billups said in the locker room after the game. "We're going to play free and everybody is going to touch the ball. We're going to be in a position to play some exciting basketball."

That enthusiasm was a far cry from the way he felt last week after he learned that New York waived him,  using the amnesty clause, on Dec. 11.

Billups threatened to stop playing basketball if he was not acquired by a good team -- then the Clippers claimed him, a franchise that had only six winning seasons in its first 41 years.

In an interview Friday, Billups acknowledged that he had to do a lot of thinking before agreeing to come to L.A. But after "three to four" days, he decided that he want not ready to hang up the towel.

Chris Paul is very thankful for that decision.

"Man, too much fun, too much fun playing with Chaunce," Paul said. "Chaunce, like I said, is like a big brother to me. Chauncey was at my wedding, you know what I mean, like we talk often. I've always been a fan of his.

"Now to get out there on the court -- that three he hit, did you see that in the third quarter, way out the three-point line? Awhile ago I would have to sit at home and be like, 'Man, that was a tough shot he hit.' Now I get to say, 'Yes, he's on my team.'"

Billups, who has played point guard for most of his career, will play shooting guard while Paul runs point. Even though he's being thrust out of his natural position, Billups is looking at the situation optimistically.

"Most two guards don't know how to guard pick-and-rolls,  so I'll have an advantage there," he said. "We're going to find ways to make it an advantage for us, but as you can see, we're going to be overmatched size-wise pretty much every night."

For the time being, Billups is focused on learning his teammates' tendencies.

"We just gotta get to a point where I know, second nature, I know what Blake  wants to do, where he wants to get the ball, where DeAndre [Jordan] can be effective. Caron [Butler], where are his sweet spots, his hot spots. And that takes some time."

Amid the transition, Billups does not seem to regret his decision to continue playing.

After Monday's game, he said, that "was a lotta fun."

It's safe to assume that Clippers fans felt the same way.

MORE:

Clippers: Chris Paul feels the urgency of a shortened season

Clippers' Blake Griffin: Playing with Paul, Billups 'unbelievable'

-- Melissa Rohlin

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