Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 1:30 ET!
Chris Forsberg (1:29 PM)
Good afternoon everybody. Thanks for hanging out. Let's tackle your Celtics questions for a bit.
Deven (New York)
Hi Chris. Does not having Avery Bradley have a big impact for Game 7 or do you think they'll be alright?
Chris Forsberg (1:31 PM)
It certainly doesn't help the Celtics' cause, particularly given the drop-off from Bradley's defense to that of Ray Allen. The Celtics still have enough talent to get past the 76ers if they play to their potential, but I do worry that the loss of Bradley will really hurt them next round if they advance to play the Miami Heat.
Raj (Boston, MA)
What adjustments will the Cs make to win Game 7?
Chris Forsberg (1:32 PM)
Better pick-and-roll defense would help; so would generating a little offense around the basket. Game 6 was pretty atrocious all around, but if Rajon Rondo comes out in attack mode and Kevin Garnett generates points near the hoop, the Celtics will have an excellent chance at winning this game.
Frank (New Orleans)
Who would have thought that before the season started the Celtics would be a worse team without Bradley?
Chris Forsberg (1:35 PM)
It's crazy, right? He went from being a fringe role player at midseason -- which is about as big of a leap as some expected considering how rarely he was on the court in his rookie season -- to being a starter and a key defensive element on this team. Heck, by season's end he was providing a nice offensive jolt -- even if he struggled at that end at times in the playoffs (maybe because of the shoulder). Clearly a tough loss all around for the already-dinged up Celtics.
Tony Allen [via mobile]
Dont you wish u had me now
Chris Forsberg (1:36 PM)
Imagine this defense with KG, Tony Allen, and Avery Bradley on the court. As Doc Rivers would joke, "coach's porn."
Can you ask Doc about utilising our defensive guys more to bridge the gap of bradleys absence? Sasha P, quisy and maybe some Moore (who can hit some shots) Significant minutes can be shared between these guys, i mean thats why 'we pay them all' right?? It would really take the load off our starters especially IF we advance.
Chris Forsberg (1:38 PM)
I could see the C's giving Sasha some minutes, especially in the next round (he always seems to thrive against old friend, LeBron). But to expect someone like E'Twaun to pop off the bench and provide an offensive spark as a rookie in the posteason -- when he's played limited minutes this year -- might be a bit overzealous.
Chris,Do you think the Celtics can beat Miami without Avery Bradley? I think if Rondo plays up to his potential we can beat anyone but wanted your thoughts.
Chris Forsberg (1:40 PM)
Let's see them get through Game 7 against Philly first, but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that they can push Miami. Do I think they'll win that series? No, even if Bosh is out for the duration. But I've long thought the C's match up well with Miami and have potential to exploit Rondo & KG, which will give them a chance.
Sean (New Mexico)
Will Stiemsma be able to play efficiently Saturday. It truly seems that at this point, he has the best opportunity of contributing big minutes, defensively and offensively. Hollins has no offensive skill as yet, and is truly a relay man on offense
Chris Forsberg (1:42 PM)
Stiemsma literally pulled himself in the second half of Wednesday's game, which is a bit concerning. Rivers said today he feels better, but I'm guessing it'll depend on how he's feeling as the game goes on. Hollins has brought nice energy, but his inability to finish around the rim (on anything but lobs) has hurt the team's ability to keep him on the floor when Stiemsma can't get out there (or is struggling himself).
What are the chances that we see a throwback performance by Ray tomorrow night where he puts up 20-something pts? Also, without Bradley is it necessary for Allen to have a game like that for the C's to win? Or will Allen's defensive input be more important?
Chris Forsberg (1:44 PM)
It certainly wouldn't hurt if Allen could give a vintage offensive effort. As Danny Ainge noted Thursday, his shot just looked better -- more natural -- in Game 6. That's an encouraging sign. The not-so encouraging sign is how poor Allen's defense has been -- hampered by the ankle injury -- and how the 76ers have fearlessly run the pick-and-roll on him knowing it puts Boston in tough spots.
Chris, why does Pietrus continue to get minutes over Pavlovic? Pietrus can't hit a shot--and aside from spot-up 3s his shot selection has been suspect--and his defense also hasn't been up to par, especially since his injury. Why hasn't Doc at least tried Sasha--or even E'Twaun Moore?
Chris Forsberg (1:47 PM)
Pietrus hasn't had a very good postseason -- even as shots have started to fall a bit more recently -- and you do have to wonder how much his knee is bugging him. That being said, if he was performing at the level he was at times during the regular season, I almost wonder if the C's would consider him in the starting role. But right now, he's just not the same player at both ends of the court. Boston really needs him to pick it up, particularly defensively, if they advance beyond Saturday. Again, I think we could see a little more of Sasha, but Pietrus is the better option over those guys despite his struggles.
Timothy (Louisville, KY)
Big hypothetical... If the Celtics some how manage to win it all this year, how does that affect the chances of the big 3 staying together?
Chris Forsberg (1:49 PM)
I don't think we have to worry about that hypothetical (though I suppose the C's could get past the Heat and maybe the Spurs and OKC will beat each other into submission in a seven-game war). Just for the fun of the hypothetical, I think someone like KG would be more apt to ride off into the sunset by going out on top.
Hey Chris, Ill be honest. I'm pretty sure we are going to win Sat cause this group comes up BIG(c) when the chips are down. My only issue is with Bradley possibly getting surgery. Who is go to harass Wade, Westbrook or Parker? Im starting to fear that without him, this team may not be able to keep up.
Chris Forsberg (1:50 PM)
Agree with you all around. C's have the big-game experience and that cannot be undervalued in a Game 7 (particularly with home-court advantage). I likewise wonder how exactly the C's can hold up without Bradley's defense on someone like Wade in the next round.
If the Celtics lose Game 7, will it be Ray Allen's last game in a Celtics' uniform? If so, are they content to go with Avery Bradley as the starting 2 next season, and what will they do with the salary saved when Allen comes off the books?
Chris Forsberg (1:53 PM)
Can't ever rule out Allen coming back, but, yes, there's always the chance that Saturday could be the final rodeo for the Big Three. I still think it's likely that KG could be back regardless of how it all plays out. But Allen is a bit more a wildcard.
As always with the C's they drive you nuts...one minute we're talking about them in the finals and the next losing game 7!...what is your prediction? I am thinking about taking Sixers money line just so the Celtics win
Chris Forsberg (1:54 PM)
I think the Celtics win. I can see them pulling away in the second half with the Garden getting loud and making it that much tougher on Philadelphia. Then again, I think a lot of observers were sure the Celtics would win in Game 7 vs. Orlando in 2009 -- and look how that played out.
Shawn (West Springfield, MA)
Hey Chris! I read your article about KG not posting up and I felt that you were way off base. If you were watching the game you would have noticed that KG was being double team when he got the ball down low. Also KG was getting pushed around down low when he tried to get the ball but the Refs let them play on. Finally Rondo didnt bring his A game which also affected KGs play.
Chris Forsberg (1:59 PM)
I'm fine with guys taking open looks from the perimeter, but there has to be a balance. To not generate any sort of tip-in, or put-back opportunity, or anything just seems unacceptable. I could understand if Garnett got the free throw line off those fouls, but he didn't do that. He's been phenomenal near the hoop this series and the Celtics need to find ways for easier looks, particularly when jumpers won't fall.
Tommy (Turners Falls MA)
Rondo looked really disinterested in game 6. Which Rondo should we expect to see for game 7? Also, should Ray Allen be starting, or should we save him for Miami who is not a great team at defending the 3?
Chris Forsberg (2:00 PM)
C's are in no position to "save" anyone. Allen's offense could be big if he's shooting like he was at the end of Game 6. As for Rondo, I agree, it looked like he got frustrated when the offense struggled and guys missed shots. I would expect a more aggressive effort in Game 7, but you can never really predict anything with this team.
Chris,In one of your articles your refer to the 1982 Game 7 "Beat LA" chant as infamous. I was curious as to why? I've always believed it to be one of the classiest moments in pro sports. Hanging Doctor J's #6 in the rafters in Boston Garden - another very classy move. Those were wars, but the Boston fans appreciated great basketball - regardless of the outcome.
Chris Forsberg (2:02 PM)
Oh, no doubt. That was a rather poor choice of words. It was infamous in the sense that it came out of a loss in a big game, but it was particularly enthralling because of how Boston's hatred of the Lakers sort of trumped a tough defeat.
Why is doc starting ray when he is so hobbled. This makes no sense at all.
Chris Forsberg (2:04 PM)
With Pietrus underperforming, there's simply not a lot of options at that spot. C's are clearly left hoping Allen can fight through the pain and perform at the level we're used to seeing from him (though you can make the case that, even when healthy, he's struggled to be a consistent playoff performer in recent seasons).
D Wade (Miami)
Just wanted to wish the Celtics good luck tomorrow night. I've been trying to decide who to take out against y'all. Last year Rondo, I was thinking about Bradley, but now he's gone. Guess Ray Allen. Since the media love me, nobody will say anything when I fall on his ankles. Remember, I'm D-Wade!
Chris Forsberg (2:06 PM)
I don't know if we're ready for the hype that will come with another Celtics-Heat showdown.
Rick (New Hampshire)
If the Celtics advance to play Miami do you think Doc would consider playing Marquis Daniels on Wade? Now that Bradley is out with a injury.
Chris Forsberg (2:07 PM)
Again, I think Pietrus gets first crack at a bigger role like that. If Daniels could get back to being the on-ball defender that he was a year ago, then I could see it. But he hasn't been nearly as consistent this year. He got a shot towards the end of Game 6 and gave up two baskets.
Do you think we throw some zone looks on defense now that Avery is officially out?
Chris Forsberg (2:08 PM)
The C's have used it at times this season, but more as a gimmick (though it did work well vs. Miami). I could see it in small doses, but wouldn't expect much. C's can't change who they are this late in the playoffs.
Last I checked we still have Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnet, and Rajon Rondo operating out there at a pretty high level for the most part. Not exactly chopped liver. Do you think we can get it done and show Miami what we're made of?
Chris Forsberg (2:10 PM)
The trouble is, lately, you've needed like at least 2 of the 3 to be really clicking in order to get by. Pierce is still battling through the MCL sprain, so KG & Rondo are integral to this team's success (as Game 6 displayed).
Ben Affleck (Cambridge, Ma)
this is not a Q, just saying hope you enjoyed this cause' C's are done, we will win tomorrow but MIA will crush us, with no AB and eveybody hurting we dont stand a chance, if healthy we could have won it all, but we are to banged up. watching the c's right now its like before all star break, its painful.at least the big 3 will say goodbya in a conf final.
Chris Forsberg (2:11 PM)
Mr. Optimism, everybody... But you bring up a good point, yet again, it might be health that derails this team. Just haven't been able to catch a break in recent years.
Paul P. (BOSTON)
Am I the key to game 7 ? have I been a little too passive ??
Chris Forsberg (2:13 PM)
You gotta think either Pierce or Allen will have a big Game 7. Again, the team still needs a big effort from someone else -- Rondo and/or KG -- in order to ensure a win. Just not sure either Allen or Pierce can single-handedly carry this team with their injury woes.
Brandon Bass (Getting up shots)
You asked in an article which Rondo will show up, but I'm more interested in whether I will show up. So will I?
Chris Forsberg (2:14 PM)
Clearly it helps when you get some easy buckets around the hoop and Philly did a good job denying dunks and layups for you and KG in Game 6. Just bring that Game 5-type energy and you'll be fine. You seem to snowball off early success. There will be shots that can help you get going if you make them.
I think it's hilarious that anyone would ask about the next round, Sixers have 3 players that are getting to the rim at will and are just the better defensive team.
Chris Forsberg (2:16 PM)
No doubt. The way the Sixers dominated in the paint and took away easy opportunities for Boston around the basket, there's plenty of reasons for Boston to be concerned. It's almost a little surprising how confident some seem in a Game 7 win for Boston. Philly clearly isn't settling for having pushed this thing to a deciding game.
In your opinion, who should shoot a game winning 3, Pierce or Allen
Chris Forsberg (2:17 PM)
game-winning 3 has to go to the NBA's 3-point king. if you just need a bucket, it probably goes to Pierce for a step-back at the elbow.
Pete (Yarmouth, Maine)
Is it strange that I expected them to lose game 6 and am now certain they will win game 7? What a roller coaster!
Chris Forsberg (2:18 PM)
Not strange in the least. The way they've made everything as difficult as possible before sneaking out with the win in the end only fits the pattern of the season. Again, I'm still a little surprised how confident some are they will breeze through Game 7. I don't get the idea it's going to be easy.
Answer my rant. Right or wrong: The Celtics play down to their competition like no other
Chris Forsberg (2:19 PM)
Absolutely, though they say the same thing in Miami. When a team's goal is a world title, sometimes they get caught getting bored by the process. That said, the Celtics simply don't have as much pure talent or depth as they have in year's past, and that's a big reason why this season has been such a grind.
Pete [via mobile]
Spurs or Thunder, who ya got?!
Chris Forsberg (2:21 PM)
I've got a seven-game war. I think OKC pulls it out in the end, but won't be stunned if it's the Spurs that emerge. They've looked so good this postseason.
cheeroo (Westfield, MA)
Am so nervous for tomorrow. I dont know if I will even watch the game. Go Cs!
Chris Forsberg (2:22 PM)
Won't watch the game?! These are the games you put up with 88 others to watch. Enjoy it, regardless of the outcome. Games 7 are fantastic.
when will the flexing shirts be created
Chris Forsberg (2:23 PM)
There are some out there. I don't have the URL handy, but google it (or check Marquis' Twitter). Some fun designs.
kg (top of this world)
bart scott voice cant wait game 7 we're ready
Chris Forsberg (2:25 PM)
I truly have no idea how it'll play out, but Game 7s and the winner-take-all nature should produce fantastic theater.
david (shirt to wear)
should i wear my white "i am a celtic" shirt or my rondo jersey and see if it helps rondo get going
Chris Forsberg (2:29 PM)
I wish we knew if the Garden was giving out free shirts for the game, that might help color selection. I'm a bigger fan of hilarious old jerseys. So if you've got like a Raef LaFrentz No. 45 shirt laying around, dig it out.
Chris Forsberg (2:30 PM)
Alright, let's wrap it up there. Enjoy Game 7, it should be fun. Let's see if we're back here talking about Game 3 of the Heat series next week ... or diving into all those draft questions I'm holding off answering until the season is over. Thanks for hanging out everybody.