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)
Hi everybody. Just got home from Houston. Was sad to turn on my Blackberry after the plane landed and see that Wayman Tisdale died. He was only 44, but think of how many people dream of being a pro athlete or a big-time musician, and he got to do both. Maybe that's why his smile was always so big.
JA, I believe is was Chad Ford who made a great point the other day about the Lakers reminding him of the Piston of the last few years in how maybe they just think they are better than they really are which is why they hit "the switch". It's funny because at least the Piston did WIN a title before they got cocky. Your thoughts?
J.A. Adande (3:03 PM)
The one difference is at least the Lakers didn't cruise through the regular season the way the Pistons started to. They were in contention for the best record until the final week. But their refusal to come out with top intensity in the second half of this series has everyone thinking less of them, deservedly so.
Which would be a bigger loss in Laker history - losing game 7 Sunday or losing to the Sampson-Dream Rockets in 5?
J.A. Adande (3:04 PM)
This game 7 would be a bigger loss if it happens. The Lakers still have a chance at a championship if they get by Houston. There was no way that 1986 team was going to beat the Celtics. No shot at all.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
It hasn't really happened yet, so how can the Rockets take that momentum from Houston in to Los Angeles for game seven?
J.A. Adande (3:06 PM)
If we've learned anything from this series, it's not to get trapped into the false concept of momentum. Neither team has been able to maintain it. Game 7 will exist completely outside of everything else in this series.
Post Moves (Everywhere, USA)
Shouldn't Dwight Howard learn a couple more of us before he demands any more touches?
J.A. Adande (3:08 PM)
It doesn't matter if he has great moves or not. If he gets the ball, there's a good chance he'll get fouled. If Perkins or Big Baby rack up fouls, then where does that leave Boston? It doesn't even matter if Howard makes only 50% of his FTs. If the Celtics get to the bonus quickly, then ticky-tack fouls on the perimeter will result in FTs for the good foul shooters. That's why the prime directive of basketball is get the ball inside. Even the Rockets did that last night, and their frontline isn't much taller than me.
I think its clear as day based on what we have seen this entire season thus far to win a game you would take Lebron over Kobe and its not close, the only thing I take Kobe over LBJ is down by 2 (not 1) with 10 seconds to go...JA are you ready to agree?
J.A. Adande (3:11 PM)
Yes, right now I'd give Kobe the ball with the clock running down, but I'd want LeBron leading my team onto the court to start the game. The interesting thing is neither has faced an absolute must-win game thus far in the playoffs, until Kobe's Game 7 on Sunday. We'll see how he responds. His pattern this series has been great every other game. That isn't good enough for a superstar.
Ben (Hamilton, NY)
I think it matters a good bit _where_ Dwight Howard gets the ball...he's not gonna get fouled unless he's got great position, and he hasn't been getting it.
J.A. Adande (3:13 PM)
What I liked about his game last night was he took it upon himself to get the ball in the paint by grabbing offensive rebounds. Too often centers complain about the guards not feeding them, but they have that optin as well.
Can Kobe's tech be takenout since Artest clearly sold it? In the end, will it be Cleveland and L.A.?
J.A. Adande (3:16 PM)
It should be and here's why: that would be his fifth tech of the playoffs. When you get to 7 that's a suspension. Hard to imagine him not getting 2 more if the Lakers make the finals
easy question..will the celtics protect their homecourt once again in a game 7?
J.A. Adande (3:16 PM)
Yes. I don't have the faith in Orlando to display the mental fortitude to win a Game 7 on the road.
Am I crazy to want to see DEN-CLE instead of LA-CLE in the finals?
J.A. Adande (3:18 PM)
That would provide more fun matchups. Not just LBJ-Melo, but Birdman and Varejao, 2 of the best energy guys of this era. Denver is a more colorful team than the Lakers.
J.A. Adande (3:19 PM)
But with so much at stake financially, I seriously wonder how the game will be officiated on Sunday. The biggest shame would be if the refs hand Game 7 to the Lakers. What's even worse is that's what everyone expects to happen.
J.A. Adande (3:20 PM)
Speaking of refs, what do you guys think about Stern's idea of a replay challenge? he said it would be like NFL, where coach loses a timeout if call is not reversed. Would add a little more strategy to game...and might speed them up, if coaches aren't using timeouts because they want to save them for a challenge in the last minute.
Phil (River Vale, NJ)
Yo JA, if Tracy McGrady was playing in this series, do you think that the Rockets would have been in this position? What do the Rockets need to do in order to defeat the Lakers in LA? If you were coach Adelman, would you be making any major changes in the lineup just to mix and match things?
J.A. Adande (3:23 PM)
Fascinating question. Weve seen how well the Rockets have worked without any one player dominating the ball. I don't think he would change much because the game's haven't been close. T-Mac's greatest value is his ability to create his own shots. But if it's not coming down to possession-by-possession games, that service isn't needed.
J.A. Adande (3:24 PM)
Don't think T-Mac would've made the difference in the 40-point Laker blowout. As for Adelman, I wouldn't change a thing. He had a great start with Scola, great play from Landry off the bench.
Chun (Pasadena CA)
Should Derek Fisher start game 7?
J.A. Adande (3:25 PM)
I wouldn't start him. Lakers' best start in the past 4 games was when Farmar started while Fisher was suspended in Game 3. (Remember, Rockets had the early lead in the Lakers' 40-point blowout)
John (seattle, WA)
No way would the Rockets be where they're at with T-Mac...they'd be deferring to him more and that would lead to trouble, their biggest strength is their unselfishness and not having a focal point right now...T-mac would ruin things for them early by doing too much...if he was in I'd say LA in 5 wouldn't you? They got off to good starts spreading the love not relying on 1 guy
Kenneth (Portland, OR)
Hey JA! During his tenure with the Sacramento Kings, Rick Adelman was known for his offensive sets. The Houston Rockets were already defensive-oriented when Adelman became their coach and have become even more proficient in their defense. Did Adelman undergo a transformation or did he always have defensive skills that were simply hidden with the Sacramento Kings? Thanks!
J.A. Adande (3:28 PM)
Part of it was the mindset left by Jeff Van Gundy. Part of it the roster. Guys like Chuck Hayes know the only way they'll stay in the league is by playing defense. In Sac, who cared about D other than Doug Christie? Have CWebb, Vlade, Peja, Hedo, etc. been known for their D at any stops in their careers?
Christopher (Canton, OH)
I think the biggest problem with having a Challenge available is the number of calls in basketball which can affect either the momentum or the out come of the game. With 4 downs per possession, football has some"wiggle room" In basketball, 1 foul can make a BIG difference, depending when it is.
J.A. Adande (3:30 PM)
The other thing is the most critical element of football -- possession of the ball -- is something that can be determined by replay. In the NBA it's about foul calls. I don't think they want to make it subject to review. Too subjective. There could be a foul called on any possession.
if stern wants to adopt rules from other sports, y not adopt one from the nhl, give penaltys for flopping. even if ur getting hit, or if ur faking, if ur flopping u should get a techinical foul, so 2 and ur out, will hurt more then personal foul. then we can stop all this european weak crap, lets get back to MENS BASKETBALL, wat u think?
J.A. Adande (3:31 PM)
Artest should have been assessed a T for trying WAAAAYYYYY too hard to sell a flagrant/tech foul on Kobe. And it actually worked.
Kobe Bryant ( Newport, CA)
Why am I getting all the blame when Brooks/Scola is killing us?!
J.A. Adande (3:31 PM)
Because you get the credit when the Lakers win. That's the way it works.
aaron b. (houston, tx)
hey JA, I was wondering how do you feel about mike brown winning coach of the year? obviously he was a great coach this year, but do you think rick adelman got snubbed? i mean considering all the adversity the team has faced this year he has led them to game 7 in the western conference semi finals... seems like a great job to me! thanks!
J.A. Adande (3:32 PM)
I thought Adelman deserved COY (see my video lounge hit on the topic). But looking at the way the Cavs have bought into defense, and more importantly the way they haven't had any letdowns in the playoffs, it's hard to fault the selection of Brown.
The other issue with the challenge concept is that there is technically a foul on almost any play under the basket, it is judgment about whether they should be called. It would be as if you could challenge whether or not there was holding on the play in the NFL -- there is always holding.
Jason (Northridge, CA)
I am a die hard Laker fan, but don't we have to be honest here and say the last 2 years it appears Phil Jackson is being extremely out-coached by both Attleman and Rivers? Phil is so committed to the triangle offense, his 'prototypical' line up, and especially his use of timeouts in the first and fourth quarter; there is no adjustment to the team he is playing at that moment (i.e. no T-Mac or Yao). I mean, how does a Championship team get outscored 22-3?
J.A. Adande (3:34 PM)
At this point Phil's comeback is doing much more harm to his reputation than Jordan's comeback with the Wizards did to his.
Speaking of coaches getting snubbed, you can't say enough about the job Doc Rivers has done. Who would have thought the Celtics would win 62 games with KG missing so much time, or make it this far in the playoffs? I don't understand how he has gotten no recognition for this.
J.A. Adande (3:37 PM)
Because Doc Rivers can't coach! (sarcasm font) I think this year's playoff performance is doing even more to bury that fallacy than last year's did. Especially the way so many of Doc's late-game plays have worked out.
Jesse (Ann Arbor, MI)
So be brutally honest: Dumping Chauncey was a HUGE mistake by Joe D. Chauncey is heading to his 7th straight conference finals while the Pistons are home watching the Wings be the Detroit darlings.
J.A. Adande (3:39 PM)
It's a mistake only if you're satisfied making it to the conference finals. Let's say Detroit kept Chauncey, got on the other side of the playoff bracket and faced Cle in the ECF. Would they win and get tot he Finals? No. So what's the point in running on the treadmill? The NBA's about extremes. The only problem for the Pistons is they weren't quite bad enough...to get a lottery pick.
I'd rather have 5-8 really good players that play team basketball (2004 pistons model), rather than the "Franchise player" model even if it is Kobe or LJ. Twice as sure if I have to choose AI or TMAC
J.A. Adande (3:41 PM)
The problem is the 04 Pistons were the only team to win that way in the past 30 years. So I'd go with the model that wins more championships. And any GM would tell you they would if they could, too.
hey JA, if you added the master of panic van gundy to this indolent lakers squad would that mean they would have enough verve to actually win?
J.A. Adande (3:44 PM)
Let's just say if the MOP was coaching this squad you'd have a hit movie with Celine Dion's song leading the soundtrack.
stern doesnt want to see nuggs cavs. Brons previous finals appearance yielded the worst ratings. they need the lakers
J.A. Adande (3:48 PM)
1 of LeBron's biggest challenges is to prove he can win the crowd (as they say in "Gladiator). He has not shown he can deliver the ratings on his own. He doesn't dominate the All-Star voting. It's interesting that a phenomenal player who is just scratching his potential and hasn't been rocked by a major scandal just can't resonate the way MJ did or Kobe has. I don't blame him. I don't know what more he can do besides win a championship. Remember, MJ didn't really take off as a global marketing icon until after he won (the Be Like Mike ads came out that summer)
So is Andrew Bynum's play in the playoffs what we can expect from Greg Oden in three years? I cringe at the thought.
J.A. Adande (3:50 PM)
The scary thing is they both have gotten down on themselves when things don't go their way. At least the Blazers have Joel P to provide a little inside toughness
where do you think the mavs go from here? sign bosh or shaq? make a big splash in FA? or stay put and hope for the best...
J.A. Adande (3:51 PM)
The first thing they should do is bring back Kidd. He hasn't gotten enough credit for what went right there this season.
Paul (Oak Park, IL)
Good point, because the infamous ball-switching hands, "Oh what a MOVE by Jordan!" Marv Albert call came in that series on national TV.
J.A. Adande (3:53 PM)
Get it straight: it's "Jordan...a spec-TAC-ular move!" And shouldn't that be the next candidate for one of those playoff commercials when the players and crowd slowly appear in the empty arena? I love those. My favorites yet. What other great plays would you like to see done in those commercials? Starks dunk on Jordan and Grant? the Robert Horry shot vs. Sac?
J.A. Adande (3:54 PM)
HOw cool would it be to see the ball bouncing out to halfcourt, then Horry just materializes like he was beamed down from the Enterprise, collects the rock and fires up the 3
Fahim (Santa Barbara, CA)
I understand the Lakers have a chance to win the title, but don't you think that probability has been greatly diminished over the past month? They've given up numerous double digit leads, been down by 18 and 29 points to a depleted (yet resilient) Rockets team, and just haven't performed well off the bench or the pg position. Has any other champion in the past ever gone through this sort of disappointment leading to the finals?
J.A. Adande (3:57 PM)
Last year's Celtics? The 2000 Lakers that were taken to the max in the first round vs. Sac, got blown out in Game 4 of 2nd round vs. Phoenix, almost blew a 3-1 lead to Portland? Got blown out in Game 5 by Indy? It happens. The 2009 Lakers' ability to win a championship hasn't decreased. Our expectations of them have, though.
I love Stockton's 3 in Barkley's face to advance to the finals... "John Stockton...sends the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals!!!!"
J.A. Adande (3:58 PM)
With the great Hot Rod Hundley call. Gonna miss him now that he just retired.
MVPuppets commercials the most annoying ever? It's commercials like that that spread the idea that the NBA desperately wants a kobe-lebron finals. How are we not supposed to think that the games will be rigged when it's obvious they favor those two guys so much?
J.A. Adande (4:00 PM)
Glad you brought that up. I hate those ads. For one thing, shouldn't they wait until we actually have Kobe vs. LeBron? You're using puppets and actors' voices, so its not like you have to worry bout getting the 2 stars together to shoot the ad. And the "Kobe" puppet looks and talks more like Stephen A. Smith than Kobe Bryant. Those ads don't work for me at all.
J.A. Adande (4:00 PM)
Bring back Lil' Penny
@ Chris: Those commercials are done by Nike NOT the NBA
J.A. Adande (4:01 PM)
important point. But it's not like the NBA would mind seeing Kobe vs. LeBron
Also on the puppets - why does puppet Lebron sound like Red Foxx?
Thank you for the point on the trade of CB! There is no chance Detroit wins the title if they kept CB...as this season showed the core group is starting to really show their age and they'd have no financial freedom for 2 years if they kept Chauncey. Getting AI's 22M expiring contract was the best way to rebuild on the fly.
Hey JA, how about a commercial showing Kwame Brown airballing a free throw?
J.A. Adande (4:05 PM)
With the sound up as the ball lands harmlessly on the baseline with a thud?
Can we now safely say that Denver is going to beat LA? LA is struggling mightily and Denver is playing their best ball... If you knew it was going to be nuggets v. lakers... who would you pick as of today?
J.A. Adande (4:07 PM)
For one thing, we can't safely say Denver is going to PLAY LA. But just like momentum doesn't carry over from game to game, it might not carry from series to series. Denver won't lose at Pepsi Center, but can they get a W in LA? You could say they didn't win in Dallas, if you accept the NBA's apology for Game 3 no-call at the end.
As far as teams going through disappointment on their way to The Finals, how about the Rockets Clutch City teams from the mid 90s, whose name arose from the newspaper article that read "Choke City", after they lost that huge 4th quarter lead to Phx. Not to mention they faced something like 6 or 7 elimination games over a two year period, and won all of them.
J.A. Adande (4:08 PM)
Good example. Then they wound up sweeping Orlando in the Finals.
JA, Gotta be the backcourt camera on jordan's stealing the ball from malone and then going down and hitter the game winner in '98!
J.A. Adande (4:11 PM)
I'll end with an answer to a question several of you have asked: Lakers win in Game 7.
J.A. Adande (4:11 PM)
thanks again everybody. See you next week.
J.A. Adande (4:13 PM)
Oh, and just to get marv's call precisely right: "Jordan...Oh! A spec-tac-ular move, by Michael Jordan."
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