Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about 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 noon ET!
Chris Forsberg (12:02 PM)
Hey everybody, thanks for dropping by a day earlier than we usually roll. Let's talk Game 6 and all your Celtics questions for a bit.
C's handle business tonight. Rondo triple double. Book it. On that note, is there anyone else in the league you can expect to get triple doubles who actually delivers? Tapped into my crystal ball and called of for game 3.
Chris Forsberg (12:03 PM)
I expect a big night for Rondo as well. He took Tuesday's loss particularly hard feeling like he should have converted on that last possession and ended this series. I expect an engaged Rondo from start to finish tonight, and if that happens, it'll finish the series.
Corey Pegram (Richmond, VA)
In the games that Boston has won Pierce has scored 36, 21, and 24 points. In the two games they lost he had 12 and 16. Is his knee good to go tonight? He really seemed to be laboring out there last game. And will the Celtics look to get him going early and often? With the bigger Hawks lineup and Marvin Williams on him, I feel like Paul could take him off the dribble and get to the rim when wants.
Chris Forsberg (12:07 PM)
The knee didn't look good at all the other night, so it will definitely be something to watch. C's are now calling it a "sprained MCL," but Pierce made it through shootaround and is expected to be on the floor. It certainly didn't hinder him too much in Game 4, but he looked a step slow in Game 5. The Celtics really need him to give them a boost offensively as you noted.
I think Stiemsma needs more minutes with the Hawks new bigger lineup, thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (12:10 PM)
Stiemsma has really struggled defensively in this series. I don't know if it's lingering injuries, but he's just been a step slow on rotations at times and the Hawks have taken advantage around the basket. I thought Ryan Hollins did a real nice job in his minutes the other night, but the Celtics would really benefit from having STiemsma get back to being the force he was at the end of the regular season.
William Clooney (Albany NY)
With Paul still banged up, as he is our scorer, how do you see this game playing out? If Paul is struggling do we keep him in if we're close at the end or is he more of a detriment to the team like he was in game 5?
Chris Forsberg (12:11 PM)
I can see Rondo finding a better balance between scorer and distributor if Pierce is hobbled. But I think the Celtics will try to establish Garnett early on. He was their go-to option when they needed a bucket late in Game 5. It's easier if that mid-range shot is falling -- it's been off an on this series -- but even around the bakset they need him to continue to be aggressive.
Dan (Erie, Pa)
Its been killing me! I just want to know what KG yelled into the microphone after our last win at the garden. He did the post game interview and before it got started, KG grabbed the microphone and yelled.... something? do you have any clue what he said? its been making me and my wife crazy trying to figure it out.
Chris Forsberg (12:12 PM)
If I remember correctly it was, "BEANTOOOOOOOOOOWN!!!!!!!!!" Which, of course, is ironic because no one from here actually calls it Beantown. But you get the point. With KG, the Celtics should just be glad it wasn't a four-letter word.
Jack (Red Bones, MA)
WHo needs a bigger first quarter, Hawks or Celtics?
Chris Forsberg (12:14 PM)
When you're on the road, I think it's always important to take the crowd out early, so I'll go with the Hawks. If Boston gets rolling early and the arena gets loud, it's going to be that much more difficult for Atlanta to hang around. If the Hawks start fast, it takes the building out of it and continues their momentum from having won Game 5.
steve (middletown ct)
where do you rank paul pierce as an all-time celtic? top 3 in my opinion
Chris Forsberg (12:16 PM)
It's tough because other resumes have so many titles. I've always said it would be easier to put Pierce in the top 3 (or top 5 at least) if he had another ring. But by the time he hangs up his high tops, his numbers will be on par with the best of them. Just being top 10 on this franchise is reason to be celebrated.
Hey Chris can you make sure KG & the C's see Gearon's quotes from yesterday.....thanks.
Chris Forsberg (12:16 PM)
If the Celtics got motivation every time someone called KG a dirty player, they would have gone 66-0. But every little bit of inspiration doesn't hurt.
Dan (Puerto Rico)
Trying to be objective, I beleive that the Celtics are actually their own worst opponent. Not diminishing the Hawks or any other team. But it seems to me that our own mistakes and unforced errors are actually more damaging than what the other team can do to us? What's your take to we lose games or do we really get beat?
Chris Forsberg (12:18 PM)
Brandon Bass said this is exact idea after Game 5. And it's true to a degree. When the Celtics don't allow themselves to endure lulls, take care of the ball, and just play fundamental basketball, they are tough to beat. When they get sloppy and make mental miscues in the final seconds, they lose as they did in Game 5. But give the Hawks credit. Even with Johnson & Teague having a quiet game, Williams hit big shots and Smith
Garron Chiu (Hong Kong)
Obviously the C's want Bulls/Sixers to go 7 games, but which team would they rather face? Bulls are more banged up, but Sixers give us home court.
Chris Forsberg (12:20 PM)
I think the Celtics want the Sixers to win in 7 games (with that final game going about 76 overtimes). Banged up or not, the Bulls frontcourt still worries me and we've seen how the Hawks have fared with Smith and Horford lately. The Sixers still don't have a lot of postseason experience and having homecourt would be a nice draw for Boston.
Grit and Balls tonight. That is all.
Chris Forsberg (12:20 PM)
I love that this is becoming the slogan of the 2012 Celtics. So appropriate.
Sean (Sheffield, UK)
Do you think we'll see a shortening of the rotation tonight? We've been playing 10 deep but I feel like we could get by with the starters, plus Allen, Pietrus and one of Hollins/Steimsma.
Chris Forsberg (12:22 PM)
You people are insatiable! I'm kidding, Sean. But for years now we've heard that Doc Rivers is too strict with his rotations (more so in the regular season), but he's really been unafraid to trot out lesser-used players this postseason. Guys like Ryan Hollins have responded well in those situations. I think Doc wants to lean on a 7- or 8-man crew, but he needs more from Stiemsma and even Pietrus right now.
If the C's win the title this year will the Big 3 stay together?
Chris Forsberg (12:24 PM)
Now we've got them winning a title?! No, even as far back as the 10 Finals, I thought some guys would consider hanging it up and going out on top. I think someone like KG would debate long and hard about coming back or sailing off into the sunset. But the way these guys have played lately, you can't rule out keeping the band together regardless of how this ends.
The media is making a big deal about Horford's return to action and, while he was impressive especially considering how fast he returned from injury, I don't think he was as dominant as everyone is making it out to be. How do you think he will fare in tonight's game?
Chris Forsberg (12:25 PM)
He shook his rust pretty darn quick. Game 5 was a pretty solid effort. Horford was unstoppable at times and made the Hawks final two shots of the game to win it. To me, he deserves all the credit he's getting. I thought for sure it would take him longer to get back into playing shape. Forty-one minutes the other night was rather amazing. As for tonight, I am interested to see how he bounces back after a hefty workload.
Matt (Austin, TX)
What does Pietrius need to do to get some serious burn from Doc? When he came into the game in the 3rd, the C's all but erased the 12 pt ATL lead and his D on Joe Johnson was tenacious. Doc subs Pierce back in and ATL goes on a run. With Pierce hurt, why is Doc not giving more time to Pietrius? He's clearly earned it.
Chris Forsberg (12:28 PM)
We're all still waiting for PIetrus to get going offensively. He's a mere 3 for 14 this series. The Celtics don't need 10+ points per game from him, but hitting a couple triples would aid the cause when he's getting good looks. Doc did lean a little heavier on Pierce that I expected given how hobbled he looked. That said, you want your best players on the floor when it matters and Rivers went back to Pierce in big situations.
i think pietrus should drive more to the hoop rather than settle for his jump shot thats not falling now. is he still affected by the concussion
Chris Forsberg (12:30 PM)
I think his hamstring and knee are more of an issue than anything lingering from the concussion. I agree though, when the shots aren't falling, I'd like to see him be more aggressive in attacking the basket. You gotta trust those open 3's will fall eventually for him. Fortunately for MP, his defense has been phenomenal.
Bill Kennedy (Boston)
How excited is everyone to see me tonight?
Chris Forsberg (12:31 PM)
I don't know if Doc Rivers takes medicine for his blood pressure, but he probably did today. You knew the C's were going to hit the Bill Kennedy lottery eventually. Probably better now than (a potential) Game 7.
bill kennedy (boston)
i promise i have nothing against doc rivers...hahahahahahaha
Chris Forsberg (12:31 PM)
Someone keep an eye on Tommy Heinsohn tonight.
JC (Atlanta, GA)
Hawks in 7!!!
Chris Forsberg (12:32 PM)
If it gets to 7, you gotta like the odds of the home team. That said, the Celtics and Hawks have been so inconsistent this season, nothing would surprise me in Game 7 one way or another.
Did Brandon Bass get his crash course in defense yesterday? He missed several assignments in the 4th quarter of game 5 and we can't have him switching on a 2/4 pick & roll and be out on an island time after time with Joe Johnson..
Chris Forsberg (12:34 PM)
Bottom line: C's need more from Bass at both ends of the floor. He's got a bit of a reputation of wilting a bit in the postseason and he's done little to change that yet. I think we'll see a big Bass game at some point.
Any thoughts/predictions for the upcoming Heat/Pacers series? Who wins? How many games? X-factors?
Chris Forsberg (12:35 PM)
Let's got Heat in 6. Indy's talented enough to steal a couple, especially with their size. I just don't see Miami losing the series.
JC (Atlanta, GA)
Actually, Hawks tonight by 3 and then Celtics in Game 7 by 35.
Chris Forsberg (12:36 PM)
It's amazing how many times I've heard people make this joke. I get the feeling that Hawks fans have no faith in their team in Game 7. But, again, neither team has been consistent enough for me to be able to even fathom what will happen on a night-to-night basis.
Semih Erden's best friend (Somerville, MA)
The biggest thing in this series for me has been the number of wide open dunks the Hawks have been getting. I'm less worried about the hard earned points in the paint as the wide open no celtic close enough to foul if they wanted to points in the paint.
Chris Forsberg (12:37 PM)
Like Horford's dunk at the end of Game 5. How does that even happen in that situation? Clearly C's are adjusting to having Horford back on the floor and what it does for Atlanta, but they've got to eliminate the easy baskets, particularly in non-transition situations.
let's be honest, last possession of game 5, rondo's plan was to jack an errant jumper for the win
Chris Forsberg (12:39 PM)
I don't think there was a plan so much as he was trying to get to the rim, get the defense moving, and see what opened up. As Doc lamented, it would have been better to attack down the middle of the floor, but Horford made a good play in a switch situation. The Celtics haven't exactly thrived in after timeout situations late in games lately, so no surprise they couldn't convert without a chance to draw one up.
How is Bradley doing? He is a vital key for us moving on.
Chris Forsberg (12:40 PM)
I'm sure that shoulder is less than 100 percent, but he's grinding through. I think he's been what we expected of him in the playoffs -- his scoring is down a bit, but the defense has still been solid.
tommy (amherst, ma)
Just saw on twitter Pierce has a sprained MCL? This isnt a missed game type of injury right?
Chris Forsberg (12:41 PM)
No, he's expected to play. Just shines a little light on what he's battling through. Watch if he's able to get to the free throw line early, that will tell us how he's feeling.
Celtics in 6!!
Chris Forsberg (12:41 PM)
Celtics fans everywhere probably hope you're right.
Chris Forsberg (12:43 PM)
Let's wrap it up there. Thanks to everybody for taking the time to preview the game. We'll be back next week -- will we be talking about a semifinal series or breaking down the offseason moves and what went wrong vs. Atlanta? Regardless, enjoy the game tonight.