Chat with ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about the NBA and the Boston Celtics.
Forsberg has been reporting on the Boston sports scene since 1999. With his video camera in tow, Forsberg covered everything from Massachusetts high school sports to Boston's pro sports teams. Follow him at his Celtics blog.
Send your questions now and join Forsberg Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Chris Forsberg (11:01 AM)
Greetings from overcast LA, where I lost count of the Lakers flags as I made my morning trek to Robeks. That can only mean one thing: Game 1 is tonight. Let's get you warmed up by tackling some questions.
Who do you think will be the x - factor in the series?
Chris Forsberg (11:03 AM)
Can Rajon Rondo possibly be an X-factor at this point? But I think the Celtics need him to be even better than what he's been and dominate this series in order to claim Banner 18. I think that's their area of biggest strength and they need to exploit it, forcing LA to mix things up defensively, and maybe open up opportunities for Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. If Boston wins this series, I expect Rondo to be the MVP.
Rajon Rondo (LA)
Hey Chris, why does there seem to be so much talk about Artest guarding Pierce? Everyone knows that Kobe is going to guard me and everyone knows he can't keep up. If he leaves me open, I'll hit the jumper. If tries to guard me I'm going to go right by him. After this series Kobe will be embarrassed about being torn up by a point guard and I am going to submit my case for becoming the greatest point guard next to Magic. What do you think of that?
Chris Forsberg (11:05 AM)
Maybe we can get you another SI cover shoot if that happens. I do agree, the Lakers pretty much HAVE to put Kobe on you unless they want to watch him chase Ray Allen all over the court. You had some decent success against Kobe in the regular-season meeting in Boston, but you'll have to be even better this time around. Let's hope that back doesn't act up.
Dino Radja (Celtics)
Is Ainge in LA? Any word on his draft preparation vs. following the team?
Chris Forsberg (11:07 AM)
Ainge is here in LA. I'm sure there's still time to work on draft preparation and, presumably, most of that is done at this point, anyhow. Not much should change in evaluations after the college season and combines are over.
Leo (Charlotte (Plymouth native))
I know you were trying to make a point that the Lakers are better on paper but I disagree with the premise that their bench is better. Sasha!? Really? Have you seen him play this season? Lamar Odom will show up for roughly half the games (he will be keeping up with the Kardashians mostly); same goes with Farmar. Baby, Sheed, and TA have had a much bigger impact in these playoffs and this is definitely an advantage for the Celtics. My biggest concern is the Artest/Peirce matchup...Do you think Peirce becomes a black hole because Artest has been successful defeding him in the past? There have been several instances in these playoffs where the offense is stagnant and we have difficulty scoring one on one
Chris Forsberg (11:09 AM)
The Celtics bench simply has a habit of either being really good or really bad. I think they have to be consistently good in order for Boston to win this series. Again, the numbers suggest this bench, as short as the rotation currently is, is actually scoring more points per game than the 2008 counterparts. I'm stunned by that, but stats don't lie.
Do the celtics have a legitamte chance at stealing game 1? i beleive so. Rondo is going to go wild without the presence of Dwight down low to force him to adjust his shots. he will get to the hoop. mark my words. yeah kid!
Chris Forsberg (11:11 AM)
A lot is being made out here about the whole Phil Jackson is 47-0 when his teams win Game 1. The Lakers admit it's just one of those crazy stats, but it certainly shows how important Game 1 can be. It's like Stan Van Gundy noted in the last series: He's a big proponent of the fact that more games are won in the 1st quarter than the 4th. But people always want to focus on Game 7 and the final possessions. Games and series are won long before then.
Terry Deurod (Obscurity)
Was I the best #40 in Celtics history?
Chris Forsberg (11:13 AM)
Sorry, Terry, not even close. Dino Radja, Travis Knight, Tony Battie, Calbert Cheaney, and Ricky Brunson all had that sweet number. But I'm still surprised they didn't retire it after Joe Forte. They might have simply retired his Scooby Doo sweaters.
Bryan (Springdale) [via mobile]
Is Garnett going to back up all that smack talk he does on the court by actually producing some good play?
Chris Forsberg (11:16 AM)
KG certainly had a quiet series vs. Orlando, at least offensively. It wouldn't hurt the Celtics to get him some extra touches around the basket, but he certainly needs to be more aggressive. Get back to that 20-shot mentality he had against Cleveland. I wonder if he'll be a little fired up by going up against Gasol, who sorta suggested yesterday that KG was leaning on his intangibles as his play has declined.
Sam Swartz (Jerusalem, Israel)
Does this series hinge on Pierce being able to score on Artest? Can the Celtics win the series without his ability to score in crunch-time?
Chris Forsberg (11:17 AM)
Balance has been key for the Celtics, but when Pierce is struggling, the entire Boston offense seems a bit stagnant. I'm also interested to see how he handles the emotions of being back in LA for the Finals. Lot of questions yesterday about how he might have been a little too amped for Game 3 last year and it hurt him.
why do people give the bench edge to LA. They only have three people that actually play off the bench, odom brown and famar. wouldn't the celtcs then have the edge with robinson, sheed, baby, finley, daniels, and allen
Chris Forsberg (11:20 AM)
I think it comes down to the fact that a guy like Odom has the ability to chip in 10 and 10, but I'm not sure anyone off the Boston bench can be counted on for any sort of similar production. Again, you might get a Tony Allen explosion for 15 points, or Rasheed might catch fire. But you never know which guy is going to have it that night -- and when none of the Bench Big Three (Davis, Wallace, TA) have it, that makes it might difficult on the starters to shoulder the entire load.
Ray Ouano (San Jose)
5 guys or In n out?
Chris Forsberg (11:21 AM)
Is this a real question? I'm one double-double animal style away from clogging my first artery. Look forward to it happening before Game 2 (hell, it might be before tip-off of Game 1). I'm not a huge Five Guys fan. In fact, I'd take Carls Jr. over it.
Ariel (New Jersey)
Status on Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace? are both okayed to play tonight?
Chris Forsberg (11:22 AM)
Yes, sounds like everyone except Marquis is a go, and even Daniels is doing much better. I'll be interested to see if 'Sheed's back can hold up over 48 minutes, but everyone else seems about as close to 100 percent as you can get at this time of year.
Eric Montross (Home)
Chris Forsberg (11:23 AM)
Sorry, Eric, Oliver Lafayette stole that "0" jersey.
What is your opinion on Tom Thibodeau? Will he be a good head coach? What team would be the best fit for him?
Chris Forsberg (11:26 AM)
Going simply by what players and Doc say, he's a tireless worker who sacrifices sleep to ensure his team is as prepared for an opponent as possible. His best fit is going to be anywhere that the team's superstar is willing to buy into a defense-first mentality. Then it all trickles down to the supporting cast from there. But they have to buy into what Thibs is selling or it will be especially difficult.
Do you think the Celtics would be better off if they had kept House instead of trading him for Nate Robinson?
Chris Forsberg (11:29 AM)
No, regardless of how these Finals play out, that trade had to be made. As I wrote earlier in the week, the trade had little to no impact on how the Celtics performed on the court since Feb. 18, but it sent a major message that, "Hey, we're not fumbling away a chance to win a title because this team can't focus." I think it was a much-needed wake-up call. There's no guarantee House would have ever found his shot this year and might be likewise at the end of the bench like Robinson is now (though he's clearly going to get a shot to keep things going after that Game 6 performance).
Daniel Eade (Melbourne, Australia)
I'm not a fan of the "7 Technicals = One Game suspension". Surely they NBA needs to change this rule, or at the very least allow players to start fresh for the Finals. I don't want an NBA Finals game decided because Kendrick Perkins gets T'd up in the previous game. As a fan, I want to see the best players play. Imagine the up roar if Kobe Bryant got suspended for a game 7 in the Finals. What are your thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (11:31 AM)
I'd be STUNNED if this rule isn't tweaked next year to eliminate the double technicals as part of that seven limit. It's simply become too much of a headache with Perkins' situation. The fact that five of his six are off double technicals is absurd. There either needs to be a level classification like flagrants, or make double technicals what they are in the game -- nothing more than something refs use to maintain control.
Antoine Walker (Cardboard Box)
With Andrew Bynum's knee still retaining fluid after being drained, should the Celtics have the rebounding advantage early on? Also know anyone interested in a good deal on a championship ring?
Chris Forsberg (11:33 AM)
If Bynum is anything less than 100 percent, the Celtics need to exploit early and often. I don't know if that necessarily translates to a rebounding advantage, but considering Boston is sure to be undersized, particularly when Glen Davis is on the floor, they'll take any advantage they can find on the glass.
perksa beast (boston)
Assuming Bynum doe3sn't play during crunch time, can Odom guard Perkins whose offensive play was much better most of the year but has been quieted by playing against Shaq and Dwight Howard in the playoffs. I think he could back him down easily for some easy buckets.
Chris Forsberg (11:35 AM)
That assumes Perk is on the floor in crunch time. Remember the C's often seem to utilize a lineup with Rasheed/Baby on the floor late in the game, especially if they need offense. If Perk can avoid foul trouble, I do think it benefits the C's in this series to keep him on the court as much as possible as they lean on defense.
Paul B. (Springfield, Mo)
Is Scalabrine an option if Perk is suspended or Baby has foul trouble?
Chris Forsberg (11:37 AM)
Scal's likely to be active with Marquis still waiting for final clearance, anyhow. With rotations being as tight as they are, I'd be surprised if any of the bigs like Scal or Shelden at the end of the bench get much time. Obviously, Perk's potential suspension could change that a bit, but Doc seems content to really lean on his core 8 or 9 guys.
Julie Yes I'm a Girl (Jacksonville, Florida)
Don't you think that the even with the improvement Rondo has made with his jumpshot that the Lakers have to give him that rather than letting him drive to the basket? If he beats us off of a jumpshot, so be it...but don't let him in the paint to get the and one's and kick out to Ray Ray or Pierce?
Chris Forsberg (11:37 AM)
No doubt, but that's easier said than done. Put Rondo in the pick-and-roll and he's going to get into the lane with some frequency. In general, the Lakers would benefit from keeping Boston in a halfcourt set. Boston has thrived in transition, and LA is actually one of the worst in the playoffs at defending it.
what does the officiating crew of crawford, derosa and stafford tell us? how would donaghy wager on this game?
Chris Forsberg (11:39 AM)
It tells me that if Glen Davis gets wobbly, the C's can count on Joey keeping him upright. Other than that, I'm sure both sides will find something to complain about the refs by game's end.
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles)
why are people acting like I can't and won't go off in this series? The Celtics have no one that can really guard me!! Their team defense is predecated on not having to double. Do you think I can score 40 and dish out 10 assists?
Chris Forsberg (11:41 AM)
Some are saying the revenge angle is overhyped, but if I'm Boston, I'm legitimately concerned about you trying to score 50 points a night and win this series out of spite. Of course, Boston's defense is predicated on the fact that your supporting cast will do enough to supplement your big offensive outbursts. You can't do it all, but you might damn well try.
SOOOOOO, do you think the C's can steal game one? you never answered.
Chris Forsberg (11:42 AM)
Absolutely. In fact, if the Celtics want to win this series I"ll go so far as to suggest they HAVE to win Game 1. Now, the Cleveland series tells us that's not true, but I do think Boston needs to get off on the right foot, especially with Perk toeing that suspension tight-rope in the early going. They can't fall behind 1-0 AND lose their starting center or else it could get difficult quickly.
Mike (Falls Church, VA)
With the exception of one game in each playoff series, the Celtics have shut down D-Wade, LeBron, and Dwight Howard. Why would anyone think Kobe is that much better than those three that he won't be stopped?
Chris Forsberg (11:44 AM)
Because he's far more consistent as a spot-up shooter and can really hurt the C's from the perimeter. Wade only did that one night; LeBron was terribly inconsistent from the perimeter; and Howard was just a different beast whose offense was generated largely by Jameer Nelson's ability to cause chaos off dribble penetration. There are going to be games he can't miss and the Celtics will have to deal with that and hope he also has those rare games when his shots won't fall. I think it's more likely he'll be on than off this series.
was sheed a good trade? even though he had a bad regular season, his post season has picked up a bit.
Chris Forsberg (11:45 AM)
He was a free agent signing, so the fact that he costs you nothing in terms of players on your roster certainly makes it a decent acquisition. Listen, as I've said all year, no one could have know he would be so lackluster in the regular season. He's been better in the postseason, but still hasn't lived up to expectations. I do think the C's will look back and wonder if a three-year deal was worth it in order to bring him in.
Would you agree that Boston isn't quite as good as they were in the 2008 Finals and that the Lakers are better? If not, why?
Chris Forsberg (11:47 AM)
Lakers are certainly better. I'm not ready to deem the Celtics worse than 2008. Rondo's development, while it might simply offset the decline of an aging Big Three, it might also be large enough that it makes this team even better than their 2008 counterparts. I'm still not sold this team is deeper than 2008.
chad (Auburn Hills)
If the Celtics win will you change your pic to a happy one?
Chris Forsberg (11:48 AM)
Regardless of the series outcome, I think overdue for a cheery picture. Or maybe I'll go Perk scowl instead.
Slug (Dartmouth, MA (but stuck in SoCal))
How ridiculous is it that the Lakers get cash incentives to take charges? That is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard. Thats like my boss giving me a quarter to not leave work early. My boss can keep his quarter and the Lakers will stay soft.
Chris Forsberg (11:49 AM)
When Glen Davis hears your incentive program and mocks it, you're in trouble. Informed of the $50 bounty, Davis said yesterday, "When you take charges, are you supposed to be tough? I think it's just smart basketball."
As a Laker fan I don't want Perkins to get suspended because when the Lakers win the championship I will have to listen to Celtics fans say we only won because Perkins got suspended.
Chris Forsberg (11:51 AM)
I think the feeling is mutual. Last round, Pierce stressed that he didn't want Dwight Howard suspended because of the flagrant in Game 2, because Pierce wanted the best competition on the floor. Unfortunately, I just don't think it's avoidable with Perkins. Unless the NBA shows a sense of humor and rescinds each and every tech he gets this series.
Liam (Wirral, UK)
If Boston win the championship, do you think it could be one of the best championship runs ever? I mean, the celtics were a very bad team coming into the playoffs and we've had to beat the 4 best players in the league
Chris Forsberg (11:53 AM)
It'll certainly make other teams question whether it's worthwhile to go full steam for 82 games. I think the Celtics proved that, sometimes, it's better to get healthy than go full throttle. Then again, their playoff path was pretty difficult coming out of that fourth seed.
Does Bryan mean in the same way that we have to hear about LA not having Bynum in '08??? Just checkin'.
Chris Forsberg (11:53 AM)
Will Tony Allen be the best defender on Bryant ?
Chris Forsberg (11:54 AM)
The stats suggest he's not on the Posey level quite yet, but he's solid. I think it comes down to how healthy TA is. He says he's never felt better. Not sure I'm buying it after watching him in the Magic series.
Chris Forsberg (11:55 AM)
Let's go lightning round for the final five minutes. We're going to hop off at noon so y'all can jump over to Mike Reiss' Patriots chat.
Josh (Norton, MA)
I think the 2-3-2 Finals format actually benefits the Celtics in this series. They've proven they can take games on the road and could potentially be in real good shape heading back to Boston if they take one in LA. I just have a hard time seeing the Celtics taking three in a row in Boston with the way they've played at home this year.
Chris Forsberg (11:55 AM)
Road team always seems at disadvantage because it's so hard to win three straight, even at home. But I agree, if C's steal one out in LA to start series, then get two out of three at home, they're sitting pretty.
Nanette (San Francisco)
Do you see Sheldon or Scal getting minutes in this series?
Chris Forsberg (11:56 AM)
Let's say Shelden, but only if Perk is suspended. Those guys are emergency situations only.
Will what happened in baseball last night affect either how tonights game is officated or at least how people look at the officating in this series?
Chris Forsberg (11:57 AM)
No, NBA refs are going to be NBA refs. It would be nice to see them swallow the whistles a bit when you get to the big stage.
greg (fairfield, ct)
how big of an impact do you think nate robinson will have in the series
Chris Forsberg (11:58 AM)
My gut says he won't be the type of factor he was in Game 6. But I do hope he at least gets a chance to see if he can do that on a consistent basis. Bench simply needs anyone who can provide some instant offense. And Michael Finley certainly isn't providing it.
Does T mean the same way we have to listen...if Garnett was only healthly last year????
Chris Forsberg (11:59 AM)
Sam (Not a Lakers Fan, just a sports fan) (Los Angeles)
Chris, what is it about Boston sports fans that makes them the most unbearable of any around the country (or world even)?
Chris Forsberg (12:00 PM)
Maybe Boston fans just care too much. I think the majority are just passionate, but there's certainly knuckleheads in every city that make everyone else look bad.
Chris Forsberg (12:00 PM)
And people typically despise any other sports fan when their teams are constantly successful.
Is there a chance we'll see an ambulance drive up onto the hard court for the first time to carry out Paul Pierce after another hard hit only to see him comes back dancing onto the floor?
Chris Forsberg (12:01 PM)
Staples Center security informs me they do have the magic wheelchair ready in case of emergency this evening.
Chris Forsberg (12:02 PM)
And that'll do it. We'll step aside. Hop over and check out Mike's chat. I'm sure he's got good stuff from OTAs.
Chris Forsberg (12:02 PM)
Check out our Celtics coverage throughout the day and through Game 1. Only nine hours 'til tip-off. Thanks to everyone for dropping by.
Chris Forsberg (12:02 PM)
We'll have plenty more chats throughout the Finals.