Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET!
Chris Forsberg (12:32 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for dropping by. C's start practice shortly, so won't be hanging out too long today, but let's get through as many questions as we can.
Jeremy H (Minneapolis)
Do you think it is more important for Shaq to be healthy heading into the playoffs or having played a few games a little hobbled to build chemistry?
Chris Forsberg (12:34 PM)
Clearly, the ideal would have been to get him back on the floor for a handful of games under limited minutes to help both shake rust and get that chemistry. Now you just gotta hope that he can get that calf right before the playoffs. Regardless of how severe the injury, he's had so many troubles with the right side, it's hard to imagine him jumping back in the fray too quickly.
If the Celtics had 4 healthy big men come playoff time- who gets the most minutes (in order)? Shaq-J ONeal- Murphy-Kristic
Chris Forsberg (12:35 PM)
Well, I think Krstic is going to be a bit of a wild card. Heavy minutes one night, maybe not so much on nights the O'Neals can give you more. In general, I think they were hoping for like 20 minutes from Shaq and top that list; now it might be more realistic to hope for that from J.O. and get what you can from Shaq when healthy.
Punjabi Singh (Manhattan, NYC)
Where is Troy Murphy?
Chris Forsberg (12:37 PM)
Still nursing a right ankle sprain. He was in an immobilizing boot for a while, but there's hope he can be back on the court as early as Tuesday. He's gotta get back on the court and show he can be an impact player if he wants a role in the postseason. But the continued injuries up front will give him every opportunity to earn a role.
Shaquille O'Neal's Legs (Boston, MA)
Would everybody just leave me alone!?! Can't you see the stress I'm under every day!??! I just can't do this any more...
Chris Forsberg (12:38 PM)
All joking aside, Shaq is 39. The Celtics expected some of this, just not so much of it. He does look in good shape for someone that was out so long, but these injuries come get you when you're at an advanced NBA age.
What do you see as the Celtics biggest strength/weakness at this point going into the playoffs?
Chris Forsberg (12:41 PM)
Biggest strength is that they've been here before and proved they can win a title with this core. That and the forgiving playoff schedule (well, maybe not in terms of opponents if they slide to the No. 3 seed) will aid Boston's quest.
The weakness right now is health and getting everyone back at one time. It'd be a shame -- for any team -- if health was the main detriment to a world title pursuit. Boston still has plenty of talent regardless of whether Shaq (or J.O. or Krstic) limp through the postseason, but the Celtics were clearly hoping to have all their guns available by this point.
Mike P (Florida)
Hey Chris, what do you think Bostons best lineup is for finishing playoff games?
Chris Forsberg (12:43 PM)
I still like the Big Four and Baby on the floor to finish games. The most experienced unit together and it's strong on both sides of the ball. With Shaq you get more offense; J.O. more defense. But Baby gives you a burst of both. And, Atlanta final moments aside, he's the best free throw shooter of the bunch.
I'll be honest, I did not have Jermaine in my "Which O'Neal will look healthiest come playoff time" pool.
Chris Forsberg (12:44 PM)
I'll join that guilty club. I really thought if the Celtics got anything from Jermaine O'Neal, it would be simply a bonus. And there he is starting games at the end of the regular season. Maybe we just flip the script and say anything from Shaq is a bonus.
How much do you think the C's will be effected by not being able to establish consistent rotations coming down the stretch with all the players they are going to play in the playoffs (if everyone ever is healthy at the same time)?
Chris Forsberg (12:46 PM)
It's a detriment, no doubt. But nothing that should detour them in the opening round. That's four to seven games that will aid the process of establishing a consistent playoff rotation. Just a matter of whether guys get -- and stay -- healthy during the postseason.
Project the playoff roster.... who's on the bubble, who is out? Von Wafe vs. Sasha Pavlovic is an interesting battle. You have to think Murphy is off the roster if Nenad, JO, and Shaq can give us anything, right?
Chris Forsberg (12:49 PM)
I admittedly didn't remember this, but the 12-man roster is set before each game, so it's not as if Doc couldn't make Murphy inactive one night, then bring him back later in the series (or playoffs). This isn't like the old days where rosters were set in stone.
As for the playoff rotation, you've got the starters (with whichever center emerges) and a bench that will lean heavy on Glen Davis, Delonte West, Jeff Green and any leftover centers (whoever doesn't start and is healthy between Shaq, JO, and Krstic). After that, you probably will only see the others in emergency situations anyhow. But it would be nice if Wafer or Pavlovic could establish themselves as steady options that Rivers could use to keep Ray and Pierce's minutes from getting out of control.
grandjordanian (San Diego, CA)
First of all, a good luck to my UConn Huskies tonight. Speaking of Huskies, I'm wondering about your opinions on the Ray Allen shot attempt phenomenon the past few games. Doc seems to be saying Ray is "pressing" but then I keep coming back to the game when they lost and Doc talked about getting Pierce the ball more, and since that day Ray's been standing around and watching Paul shoot a whole lot. I think Ray alluded to that the other day. Pierce is great, but do you think this team is better when the shots are spread out a bit? Or are there just not as many transition opportunities these days resulting in Ray threes?
Chris Forsberg (12:51 PM)
The only thing I'll say is that -- and this might be nitpicking because I'm watching it closer -- it feels like there's a lot more screens being missed with the potential to spring Allen. Everyone talks about him taking more shots, well, it's up to the Celtics to free him up to take those shots. In the grand scheme, it's not something I would be overly concerned by. I don't see it lingering very long.
Random Question: On Delonte's accidental three-pointer, if it misses, does that end up as a FGA or is it a TO?
Chris Forsberg (12:53 PM)
Great question. Without the luxury of asking the NBA, my guess would be it's at the mercy of the official scorer to determine whether he had intention to shoot or pass. Can't see any other way than that, but maybe if it hits the rim it has to be a shot? I'll try to remember to find out for sure.
Nick (Brooklyn, NY)
So who are we playing the first round as of today?
Chris Forsberg (12:56 PM)
C's would dance with Tuesday's opponent, the 76ers. Far from ideal given the number of close games they've played this season, but as I've stressed the last couple weeks, there's no cupcakes any more in the East and seeds No. 2-4 are going to have to work a bit. (You can certainly make the case that No. 8 Indiana isn't too daunting).
Nick (Brooklyn, NY)
Whats your current empty-arena, no one's looking three-point percentage?
Chris Forsberg (12:57 PM)
Haven't missed. And unless someone's watching the security cameras, you can't prove otherwise ;)
Peter - how excited are you to see the Lakers raise another banner?
Chris Forsberg (12:58 PM)
Wow, a double burn. Going with the hockey player first name and suggesting in a Celtics chat that the Lakers will win another title. As somneone who loves hype, I'm secretly rooting for another C's-Lakers clash. Los Angeles is playing like it wants another crack at a title.
Ainge said it earlier this week but I don't think it can be said enough - KG needs to take more shots! When he's hitting 12-15 footers consistently throughout the game, we win. When Big Baby takes more of those shots it scares me - don't get me wrong, if baby has the open shot he should take it, but he'd better be WIDE open and have ZERO other options available.
Chris Forsberg (1:01 PM)
Let's start a conspiracy theory that the Celtics are injuring all of their centers in order to force KG to be more assertive on the offensive end. We've certainly seen the benefits of KG taking more shots -- vs. Cleveland in playoffs last year. It certainly depends on matchup, but I don't think anyone would be opposed to KG and Rondo taking more shots when they have favorable situations.
Mike and Tommy keep talking about Jeff Green being able to do a lot of things "when he gets comfortable". I'm wondering if that time is going to come anytime soon. He NEEDS to give the Celtics more aggressiveness off the bench and more points. Are they just not looking for him or is he giving up too much shots?
Chris Forsberg (1:03 PM)
He's been here for more than a month now, that "comfortable" ship has probably sailed. I think all of us watch Green and see so much potential in bursts, it's more of a consistency thing. The Celtics need him to be full throttle every minute he's out there on the court, particularly when he's not playing the sort of hefty minutes he had in Oklahoma City.
MikeS1993 (New Milford CT)
Is there any information on when Shaq will be back?
Chris Forsberg (1:05 PM)
Not yet. C's are practicing at 1 p.m. (err, right now) and maybe we'll find out a little bit more afterward, but I'm guessing we won't know a real definitive time line for a couple days.
Who is your pick for COY? Doc, Thibs, Pops, Collins?
Chris Forsberg (1:07 PM)
You know, I'm torn. The easy pick is Thibs, right? Sure, that team was loaded and was probably going to be a top seed in the East, but he still turned them into the best defensive team in the league and a TOP seed in the East. That's gotta be good for something. So I'm going with Thibs.
And I'll say this: Doc Rivers deserves more credit than he'll get for all the injuries he put up with. I'm not saying top 3, but he should be in the top 6 for what he accomplished without a consistent center.
Sure to be a common one, is a front line of KG, Baby, Krstic, and JO enough for a deep playoff run?
Chris Forsberg (1:08 PM)
Absolutely. Ideal without Shaq? Of course, not. But any team that has a Big Four and the overall talent that Boston has is built for postseason success. Not having players due to injury just makes it more daunting than they would have liked.
Tyler (Worcester, MA)
Did the Perk trade ruin our chances of a championship?
Chris Forsberg (1:09 PM)
No, it's just the easiest scapegoat for people to point to.
Seriously...there is no way you can say with a straight face that you think the Celtics have a chance to win the championship...
Chris Forsberg (1:11 PM)
Maybe some people were counting on more from the O'Neals than I imagined, but I'd be far more concerned about the Celtics' chances if it were one of the Big Four ailing right now. Again, as long as you get some serviceable time from J.O. and Krstic, the core is still here. I don't see why the lack of Shaq would deter some people so much.
"proved they can win a title with this core" Um Chris, their starting 4 has not won a Championship WITHOUT Perkins!
Chris Forsberg (1:13 PM)
Wow, now the Perk line is being used AGAINST the Celtics. Again, not under-valuing what Perkins meant to this team, but the Celtics still have plenty to compete with.
Fozzy, does a shortened chat mean no burrito questions? No questions on 'Sheed? What is happening to our in-jokes?
Chris Forsberg (1:14 PM)
I was actually traveling back from Texas last night when I heard about the Shaq injury and my first thought was: "Oh, man, here comes the Rasheed questions." And I'm sitting outside of a Chipotle for this chat. That work? If someone could just fill me in on what I missed with WrestleMania, that'd be huge. Undertaker won, right? The streak continues?
Snacks (Atlanta, GA)
Have the Bulls proven once and for all that magical combo of Thibs and Scal can take a decent/good and turn them into a title contender?
Chris Forsberg (1:15 PM)
Want to go to a NBA Finals? Just add Scal to your roster. It's got almost as much juice as the Big Four & Perk never lost a world title when healthy.
Tony (Peru, IL )
Bulls fan here, just seeing how your guys chat's rolling. I want your NBA Finals matchup without being bias. Friedell keeps telling us there is no way we can win a 7 game series vs you guys or Miami...what do you think? If you don't mind??
Chris Forsberg (1:17 PM)
First off, Friedell is awesome, so trust every word he says. But I actually think the Bulls have a very good shot in a seven-game series, especially with homecourt. I'll stick with my preseason prediction of Celtics-Lakers in the Finals. Not trying to be a homer, I simply believe the Celtics are built for the postseason and, if healthy, have a very playoff-friendly rotation. But the way the Bulls are playing, they'd be my next choice for the East.
Do you think home court adv will sway the results of a heat c's matchup in the second round? AND do you think the c's would rather the knicks have a shot to take out the heat in the 1st round than have home court in the 2nd?
Chris Forsberg (1:19 PM)
As always, homecourt advantage is a nice luxury, but not the decisive factor in any series. You gotta win on the road in the playoffs at some point to win a title. And, yes, the Celtics would absolutely deal with N.Y. in the first round in order to preserve homecourt in second round. It's not like that 3-6 matchup with Philly is overly enticing.
how long does it usually take for a 39 year old 7 footer to get over a calf strain
Chris Forsberg (1:20 PM)
Sounds like the start of a joke. I'm scrolling through to see if you added a punchline.... Regardless, we'll find out soon enough.
Ainge said that he was concerned with Perk's ability to stay healthly. Does he really expect the M.A.S.H. unit they have now in the middle to be ready to play
Chris Forsberg (1:20 PM)
No, but that's the spin any GM would put on a trade like that. You have to defend your own position, right?
Chris Forsberg (1:21 PM)
A few more, then I gotta hop over to practice.
This core of Celtics hasn't won a ring without Sam Cassell. FACT
Chris Forsberg (1:22 PM)
Or Gabe Pruitt.
Nate (Woburn, MA)
Chris 19-0, another classic match. Miz retained the title and Rock rock-bottomed Cena!
Chris Forsberg (1:23 PM)
I hope 10 years from now I'm still getting answers to questions about the Undertaker's streak. I was 10 when it started.
Six games remain. Fozzy, how many do you think they'll win? If they go 6-0 (crazy as it sounds) they would finish ahead of Miami...
Chris Forsberg (1:24 PM)
You'd say the C's would probably have to go 5-1 and beat Miami, no? Just can't see the Heat stumbling much with their schedule.
Crosby (Ojai, CA)
I am going to be bold and suggest that the Celts have been blessed with good health this year - the Big Four, regardless of age and minutes played, have held up remarkably well and they should all be ready to go 100% for the playoffs
Chris Forsberg (1:24 PM)
In a way, I can't argue with you.
Wrestlemania 27 was unfortunately a bit of a letdown last night. As a lifelong wrestling fan, what's your favorite Wrestlemania of all time?
Chris Forsberg (1:25 PM)
Hogan-Warrior at SkyDome was, what, WrestleMania 6? That's probably tops for me. I probably had on full Warrior makeup that night... and arm tassles.
You guys hold practice for chat sessions?
Chris Forsberg (1:26 PM)
And with that, I'm indeed off to practice. Stay tuned to the C's blog for the latest on Shaq & Co. Thanks to everyone for hanging out.