Chat with J.A. Adande
Prior to working at ESPN, Adande was at the Los Angeles Times, where he started in 1997. He has been a frequent panelist on ESPN's "Around the Horn." He has covered every major pro championship, every major college bowl game, the Final Four, the Masters, Wimbledon and the Olympics, and his work has appeared in the "Best American Sports Writing" series.
Send your questions now and chat with Adande at 3 p.m. ET on Friday!
Watch the NBA Playoffs on ESPN & ABC and the Finals on ABC.
J.A. Adande (3:01 PM)
Hello from Salt Lake City, where it's a series again. Although, for a 2-point game with a last-second shot, Game 3 was way down on my list of memorable playoff games. Maybe because there were only two great performances: Boozer and Lamar. Your thoughts?
JA - Love your stuff. Tough game for LA but even playing like garbage they were right there. I think that says a lot about them. Now my question ... don't you think its a bit rediculous that Cleveland in their first 4 games 2 days rest between two of them ... that's the same as Boston while the Lakers play all 4 games with 1 day between. I find that scheduling rediculous and unfair. Its one thing for the Lakers to have to play an 8th seed that wins 50 games but then to make them play 4 games in 6 days while Boston and Cleveland get added rest and play JR Varisty teams
J.A. Adande (3:03 PM)
Scheduling is mostly about name brand, and if teams like Cleveland and the Lakers can bring viewers to the TV sets their schedules will be tweaked by the various broadcast partners to get them in the prime TV windows. NO other agenda than the networks trying to get the highest ratings possible
Can we officially say that Boston has a big 4 now instead of just a big 3? Rondo seems to have a legitimate case in saying that he is the best point guard in the playoffs this year.
J.A. Adande (3:05 PM)
Or we could say that he's the replacement 3 for KG. Whatever you want to call the group, it's obvious Rondo is every bit as important to Boston's success as Allen, Pierce and KG. More important than Pierce in this series. As for best PG in the playoffs, right now I'm giving that title to Chauncey Billups. 67 points, no turnovers, 2 easy wins. He's dominating
Scott, Sydney, Australia
Pistons chances on winning a game?
J.A. Adande (3:07 PM)
I'll say 15%. And this is really more about Cleveland's determination and ability to shut this series down than it is about Detroit's resolve. The Pistons won't be getting the type of home boost Utah got last night; they're only 21-20 at the Palace this season. Cleveland is superior and Detroit knows it, the biggest threat to the Cavs is if they think that way and stop playing hard.
Cosmo (anytown, USA)
I am having a kid on Monday (well, my wife is). If it's a boy, should I name him Kobe or LeBron?
J.A. Adande (3:08 PM)
How about Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo?
JA after watching he celtics return to form last night do you think this team has a shot to beat cleveland?
J.A. Adande (3:09 PM)
No, not without KG. Although they'd have a great chance to get past the Magic or 76ers. Funny who in just a few days Celts fans have gone from feeling doomed to picturing a trip to the NBA Finals. Another reminder not to put too much stock in 1 game of a series
is it just me or does Pau Gasol seem to get nervous under pressure; I saw it in the finals last year and it just seems like in crunch time the ball is like a hot potato to him and he must get rid of it which of course leads to bad turnovers, is he tough enough?
J.A. Adande (3:11 PM)
This is one of the main things standing between a coronation of the Lakers. We didn't see him come through in the Finals, and he looked scared at the free-throw line last night. We've seen him play well against Boston this regular season. Can he do it when it matters most?
J.A. Adande (3:12 PM)
I'm going through my head and trying to think of him doing well in road playoff games that I've covered....nothing coming to mind
Kobe to the Rim
in last nights game when kobe could not deliver the jumpshot, why was he not taking it the rim, i understand he was covered pretyy well, but he KOBE, run a pick'n'roll or something??? especially towards the end...
J.A. Adande (3:13 PM)
When they tried the pick-and-roll the Jazz smothered him, one time even forcing him to call a timeout when he was trapped in the corner. That's why the smartest thing the Lakers did all night was run a middle pick-and-roll out of a timeout, when Gasol cut and Kobe passed to him for a dunk. They're going to have to get more plays like that, using Kobe as a decoy, because the Utah defense is keyed to him.
by your logic JA regarding not putting too much stock in 1 game(boston vs chicago) then how come so many have written off orlando? they have played poorly, but still look better to me than anyone in the east. what can cleveland do to stop them?
J.A. Adande (3:15 PM)
We have two games of evidence with Orlando, and they didn't look overwhelming in either. All Cleveland would have to do is contest the threes...I don't think Orlando can knock down enough of them over a 7-game series to overtake the Cavs
Maurice (Chicago, IL)
Hello J.A., your chats are great! If the Cavs win the championship, can you think of any other team put together like this and actually won the championship? One Mega-Star and a bunch of productive role players. Normally teams have 2 or 3 stars, but this Cleveland team only has LeBron. Mo is a good player, but he isn't a star. Does this say something about greatness of LeBron or do you think it's a fluke?
J.A. Adande (3:20 PM)
The closest thing in my "NBA lifetime" (I really started watching in 79-80) would be the 94 Rockets. This speaks volumes about LeBron. How many other players could go to any team -- ANY team -- and you'd think they have a chance at a championship? I'd say Kobe, but his 1st three post-Shaq Laker teams weren't even "Sweet 16" material. D-Wade. Dwight Howard. It's a pretty short list
Sapana (Long Island City, NY)
Should the Cavs have taken a chance with Shaq given his resurgence this season or do you think it was a smart move to forego any possible trade in order to keep the team chemistry in tact and the payroll down? Remember, anything less than a championship for the Cavs this season is a failure, right?
J.A. Adande (3:24 PM)
I would have liked to see them add Shaq from a roster standpoint, but bring up a good point about chemistry. Shaq's a big personality. While the Suns liked the way he was so lighthearted, they also learned he can take over the locker room, and if he's in a bad mood one day it's hard for the team to overcome it. While Shaq would have fit right in with the clowning antics of the Cavs, at some point they would have been forced to choose between LeBron's ways and Shaq's ways. it's a lot easier for them to jsut be LeBron's team
adande, i know you guys hate second guessing but do it for me one more time. would riley and the heat have been alot better off trading for miller,salmons?
J.A. Adande (3:26 PM)
Are you kidding? Half of what we do is second guess? Without that we'd only have about 2 topics a day on Around the Horn. And yes, I would have liked to have seen them get Miller and Salmons if the Heat could have made it work?
Do you still see the Sputtering Spurs in 5 as you predicted?
J.A. Adande (3:29 PM)
this is example A of the dangers of making playoff picks at 1 am, as we were asked to do. When I first saw that pick next to my name I couldn't believe I said that. I thought Spurs in Six was a little more realistic, but now we're seeing even that looks unlikely. At least Spurs in 5 is still mathematically possible. So there's a little hope
Did you think that Broussard was on the money with his Detroit article? Bad season but will be worth it?
J.A. Adande (3:30 PM)
We can't answer either way until we see what the Pistons do this summer, then see how those moves work out. It's like the NFL draft. Everyone's going to say this team did great or that team blew it, when the truth is no one knows.
spurs in 5 isn't mathematically possible...mavs in 5 is!
J.A. Adande (3:31 PM)
sorry. meant spurs in 6
Billups: 33.5 points, 6 assits, 2.5 rebounds, 1 steal Rondo: 22.7 points, 9.7 assists, 10.7 rebounds, 4 steals I think Rondo has been slightly more impressive. Billups has been on fire scoring, but Rondo has been doind everything.
J.A. Adande (3:33 PM)
But Billups' man didn't have one of the all-time rookie playoff debuts against him.
Buddies (Columbus, OH)
With Kobe-lead teams constantly being criticized for their lack of "killer instinct (and rightly so)," why do these same people still call Kobe the "ultimate closer?" It seems contradictory.
J.A. Adande (3:35 PM)
I don't think killer instinct transfers. After all those years playing alongside MJ, did Scottie Pippen become one of the great closers? no. So if other players are timid I don't hold Kobe or Wade or LeBron responsible. I actually do think we can put the "Kobe doesn't make players around him better" argument to bed after watching the way Ariza, Shannon Brown, etc. have flourished when playing with Kobe lately.
Will Shaq do his "Kobe couldn't do without me" chant this season?
J.A. Adande (3:36 PM)
apparently Shaq's more focused on his off-season diet than the playoffs, if you've been following his Twitter
Joseph (Portland, OR)
Does Brandon need to do more to convince people of his complete Superstar status or is his 42 point game finally going to be enough to convince people he can do it in the playoffs?
J.A. Adande (3:38 PM)
One 42-point game in April doesn't get you there. He's got to do it consistently, in May and June to move up to the next tier. (On that basis, so does Melo). But Brandon's on his way.
Kwame, Smush, Shannon, Ariza...have all flourished playing for the Lakers. Is it Phil, Kobe or a combo of the two?
J.A. Adande (3:40 PM)
I wouldn't say Kwame and Smush "flourished", but they at least made more contributions than they have since they've left. It's a combo of Phil's system, which creates good space that any player can utilize, and Kobe's ability to draw defenses' attention
J.A. is taking two in Philly realistic for the Magic, or should I just look for the split to get homecourt back?
J.A. Adande (3:41 PM)
Be happy with your split
Ryan C (SD, CA)
J.A., whats the deal with Pierce not getting the upfake foul calls in the playoffs. Getting the guy in the air and leaning into him a bit is ALWAYS a foul and tons of guys use it. On that uncalled 3 Pierce hit last night he was absolutley fouled. Happened earlier in the game too and in the first two games. Is it just that NBA officiating is so uneven and despicable that we have to worry about obvious calls too? Happened in that Detroit Game 6 in last years playoffs too.
J.A. Adande (3:43 PM)
Not to mention it happened in Game 4 in San Antonio last year, which could have changed that game and possibly the series. At least that Pierce call didnt keep the Celtics from winning the way it did the Spurs.
Lars (Pleasanton, CA)
Kobe is such a killer that he has given up in elimination games the past few years.
Coby (Long Island, NY)
If Bostons gets to the conference finals do you see KG making a Willis Reed-like emotional appearance in an elimination game?
J.A. Adande (3:46 PM)
I do have this nagging feeling we'll see KG again if the Celtics last long enough. I still think Doc's statement was to take the pressure off KG
On paper, the Hawks should be an elite team. Even their biggest weakness, the bench, should be less of an issue in the playoffs, where the starters play huge minutes anyway. What are they missing to take it to the next level?
J.A. Adande (3:47 PM)
They're not an elite team because they don't have an elite player. Joe Johnson isn't in the same class as LeBron, Wade, Kobe, Duncan/Parker/Ginobili, etc. We've discussed time and time again here that you have to have HOF players to get a championship, with one notable exception.
Brandon (Queen Creek AZ)
To follow up on the upfake calls, when will the NBA tell officials if the offensive player jumps forward or sideways into the defensive player then it should be called an offensive foul?
J.A. Adande (3:50 PM)
Sam Cassell would have fouled out of every game if that were the case. The problem is determining if the defensive player maintained his vertical space. That's a tough call when you're predisposed to thinking that people jump forward, not just straight up
With the notable exception you are talking about ('04 pistons), what if Denver adds a piece this offseason and wins a title next year, do you think Billups becomes a hall of famer, and ends that "exception" we talk about??
J.A. Adande (3:53 PM)
For a while I thought Rip Hamilton would become that elite player...but now Chauncey looks more valuable. But typically the Hall of Fame players are already certified by the time they win the championship. Was there any question about Magic and Bird's status even at an early stage in their careers? That's part of the Hall of Fame test. If you really have to ask, odds are they aren't.
Finals might be a foregone conclusion, but the NBA playoffs are still a blast to watch.
J.A. Adande (3:55 PM)
they've been better than I thought they would be, mostly because of the Bulls shaking up Boston. I hope Chicago can regain confidence and make this a long series.
J.A. I'll buy you some lunch. What do you feel like?
J.A. Adande (3:56 PM)
Hires Big H!
Alex (Durango, CO)
Is Okur being out the least talked about big story in these playoffs? He is the Jazz's 2nd leading scorer, 2nd leading rebounder, and their best 3 point threat. Imagine the fuss that would be made if the Lakers were without Bynum or Odom or even Gasol.
J.A. Adande (3:59 PM)
Underplayed story, and I'm as guilty as anyone. I still think Lakers win the series even with a healthy Okur, but we should be giving Utah more credit for what they've done so far without him
Re: your hall of fame rule, were Dumars and DJ and (eventually) Reggie Miller absolute HOF shoe-ins at any point in their careers? I think some players get in by accumulating lots of stats/awards etc
J.A. Adande (4:03 PM)
There are exceptions. Dumars and DJ should both be in. I think a Finals MVP should carry a lot of weight. They both have one...as does Billups. But I'd say DJ and Dumars were part of great teams for longer stretches...you think of the Dumars when you think of the Bad Boys Pistons era. You might think Bird and McHale first on the 80s Celtics, but you can't recall those Celtics-Lakers Finals without thinking of DJ. Hall of Famers dominate and/or define their era. Billups just doesnt come to mind quick enough when I think of the last decade in the NBA.
Do you think it's unfortunate that Dwyane Wade, dominating statistically over the course of the season, has failed to recieve even one substantial award from the NBA?
J.A. Adande (4:05 PM)
not when you take into account that his team finished third in the division.
J.A. Adande (4:09 PM)
By the way, if the Mavs get to the second round, is that enough to justify the Kidd/Harris trade one year later? I say yes...that's about as much as can be expected from this Dallas group, and they might have some cap flexibility in 2010 which they wouldn't if they signed harris long-term
Nathan (Berkeley, CA)
If you're in SLC, try the Red Iguana! Puzzlingly good Mexican.
J.A. Adande (4:11 PM)
If I've noticed one thing in traveling around the country, it's that the further you get away from the Mexican border, the worse the Mexican food gets. Nevada's about as far as I like to get.
J.A. Adande (4:12 PM)
This food talk has got me hungry. Thanks, as always, for your questions. We'll do it again next week.
Kirby (Denver, CO)
Who do you think we'll see the most improvement from next year on the Blazers? They are all so young...
J.A. Adande (4:13 PM)
The improvement will come from knowing what it takes and being prepared. They weren't ready for the season debut against the Lakers. They weren't ready for the first playoff game against the Rockets. Next time around, they will be