Chat with John Hollinger
Send your questions now and join John in The Show Friday at 4 p.m. ET.
John Hollinger (4:08 PM)
Greetings on an absolutely beautiful day in Denver. Keep it interesting or I'm ditching you guys and going outside ...
Jason (New Orleans)
How tired are you of hearing about NBA conspiracies? I know the refereeing has been inconsistent but why cant people realize its been inconsistent to ALL teams overall, not just LA and Cleveland. What do you say to 'conspiracy theorists'?
John Hollinger (4:10 PM)
Two words: San Antonio. I've never heard an NBA conspiracy theorist offer a credible explanation for the Spurs winning two lotteries and four championships, let alone for having two players on the league's most popular, TV-friendly team suspended in the middle of crucial series when the Spurs were their opponent.
I think the NBA shouldn't have Referee's period. Go old school and let the players call there own fouls. It's not like the Ref's get it right anyways
John Hollinger (4:11 PM)
Yes, I always love those 30 minute delays while two guys argue over a call, especially when I've got next. I'd say using the refs is a less imperfect system than the alternative.
The Denver Nuggets (Denver)
Can you PLEASE keep quiet about getting Pau Gasol the ball? We're trying to win a championship here.
Kobe Bryant (Denver)
Do we get it done tonight?
John Hollinger (4:12 PM)
The first question is tied directly to the second. If the Lakers realize what an advantage they have with Pau I think they have a chance to close it out. If they keep freezing him out Denver will win by 17.
Kurt (Wilmington, NC)
Howard's elbow on Wally...Dirty or not worth mentioning?
John Hollinger (4:13 PM)
An arm flail from the Cartwright/Mutombo school, nothing more. And how weak a tech was that on Wally?
Ron (Cranston, RI)
With Jameer back next year, should the Magic keep Rafer on the bench, or trade him?
John Hollinger (4:14 PM)
Seems like a strong trade candidate just because of the Magic's tax situation and their need to keep Hedo -- that money has to come from somewhere, and $5 mil for a backup point guard (that's estimated, don' have my cap #s in front of me) seems ritzy in that analysis.
Christien (New York, NY)
Why isn't Pau taking more control of his team. It seems like he is more crucial than Kobe at this point. Is Kobe too strong willed and Pau too meek?
John Hollinger (4:16 PM)
What's he supposed to do, go steal the ball from Sasha Vujacic? If Pau is wide open in the post and nobody passes is to him, how is he supposed to assert himself?
Muaz (Norwalk, CT)
Hi John, seeing Cleveland adjusting defensively last night(finally) what do you think their chances are of pulling out the series?
John Hollinger (4:16 PM)
I had a good feeling about how they played in Game 4 even though they lost, and I think they've slowly (too slowly, in my opinion) figured out how they need to match up against this team. They've put themselves in a tight spot obviously, but I wouldn't be shocked at all if they end up winning.
Rashard Lewis (Orlando, FL)
Back again. It seems Otis Smith is looking even more of a genius even after game 1. Do you think we can beat the Lakers when we advance?
John Hollinger (4:18 PM)
Magic-Lakers would be interesting because it would totally depend on Andrew Bynum, a fact that probably makes both sides nervious.
Alex (Orlando, FL)
John, with the way the Magic have played this year, can I rest assure that I won't have to write to you guys in every chat asking why you won't give my team respect?
John Hollinger (4:19 PM)
I think we've safely moved past that point, yes. People had a lot of trouble accepting them for some reason but after Game 7 in Boston they appear to have bought in.
Mike (Detroit, MI)
John we here in Detroit keep hearing Chris Paul rumors to the pistons. Is there any truth to this.
John Hollinger (4:20 PM)
You keep hearing wishful thinking on the radio, is what I think you meant to say. If the Hornets get into a tight enough financial spot it's possible they might trade West; it's inconceivable they would trade Paul.
Win or lose, where does Lebron's performance in this series rank all-time? 41/9/8, 50% fg, with more then a steal and block per game is just sick.
John Hollinger (4:21 PM)
LeBron is having quite possibly the best playoffs ever. I know some will consider this a sacrilege on multiple levels since his team might be eliminated, but individually he's been completely off the charts.
You can't end this chat without answering this: prediction of both Game 6s.
John Hollinger (4:22 PM)
I like Denver to win tonight and then to lose Game 7. Orlando-Cleveland is the one that's bugging me. I have a good feeling about the Cavs and Orlando isn't a strong home team; I'm thinking Cleveland wins and then the 7th game goes down to the final minute at the Q.
Robert (Los Angeles, CA)
Call me crazy, is Jameer Nelson's injury actually a blessing? I think Rafer is a true pg and the Magic have more than enough shooters with Pietrus, Turkoglu, Lewis, and to some extent Lee. Even though he has erratic shooting games, I like when he drives to the lane because he seems to make pretty good decisions with the ball.
John Hollinger (4:24 PM)
Totally disagree, actually the Magic played much better with Jameer than with Rafer. If he had been healthy I think they would be the odds-on favorite to win the championship.
David La palma, CA
John, if you were playing a pick up game 5 on 5, your first pick...kobe...or lebron?
John Hollinger (4:25 PM)
LeBron. Sorry Kobe fans, but this is an easy call. Reminds of the Bird vs. Jordan debates in 88-89, before Jordan had won a title. In retrospect, the answer was obvious.
Perry (Colorado Springs)
Why exactly is Dahntay Jones getting almost 20 minutes a game? Other than being athletic and something of a Kobe irritant, is there anything he does that JR Smith doesn't do a lot better?
John Hollinger (4:26 PM)
You mean besides "stay out of the way." George likes to play Dahntay early so he can get shots for Melo and Nene before J.R. starts flinging.
On a scale of 1-10, how terrified should Denver Nuggets fans be of a Kobe explosion in Game 6 to both close the series and punish Denver for the home crowd's treatment of him since the Colorado scandal?
John Hollinger (4:28 PM)
He wasn't exactly vengeful here in Game 4, was he? I'd be worried about Kobe in any arena, but not because of any weird psychological/karma thing.
Am I the only one who realizes what a matchup problem the Magic are for the Lakes? Howard would have his way with Bynum. Lewis brings Gasol out on the perimeter. Turkoglu can tire out Ariza and Alston is Fisher's nightmare.
John Hollinger (4:29 PM)
If Bynum can guard Howard, then Lewis has to check Gasol and, presuming the Lakers pass him the ball, which is always a bit iffy, then the advantage shifts over to L.A. That's why Bynum will be so crucial.
Chad (St. George, UT)
Am I the only one who thinks that the Dahntay Jones trip was intentional? He said it was an accident but I saw him do the exact same thing to Deron Williams in the regular season. It seems to be a strategy of his when he gets beat of the dribble and most the times the refs don't catch it.
John Hollinger (4:30 PM)
EVERYONE thinks the trip was intentional.
Rob (Portland, OR)
I hate to feed the Kobe/Lebron "debate" (Lebron's better), but isn't it amazing how well Kobe is still playing in his 13th season in the NBA? Most guys at this point of their career would be an average bench player at best.
John Hollinger (4:32 PM)
A fantastic point. When I wrote about LeBron and Kobe two weeks ago, this was the one area where I thought LBJ might be hard-pressed to match him. LeBron has a big body and it's taking a lot of pounding, so I'm not sure he can stay so close to his peak as he gets into his early 30s.
Hedo's opt out is about getting those additional years now instead of next year, but is he worth much more money? If he bolts, do they spend the money on Gortat or luring Fran Vasquez over?
John Hollinger (4:33 PM)
Magic have a lot of interesting salary questions next year, but it starts with this one: Will the new arena give them enough revenue to approve paying the luxury tax? If so, they can keep Hedo and Gortat and make another run at it. If not, they definitely lose Gortat and probabably have to dump some cash (Alston, Redick) just to keep Hedo.
the Magic went to 7 games with the Celtics, yet they have 3 games to close out the Cavs. Are the matchups making that big of a diffrence, or are the Celts that good w/o Garnett
John Hollinger (4:35 PM)
It's mostly match-ups -- Orlando matches unusually well with the Cavs, which is why they did so well against them in the regular season too (two blowout wins, one 4-point loss).
If Lakers fail to advance will they try to get a big man or a guard for next season?
John Hollinger (4:36 PM)
Depends what the reason is behind them not advancing. But I have to think point guard will be the biggest priority; if they can keep Odom frontcourt isn't in bad shape.
Eugene (Sherman oaks, CA)
Which still-active post-season free agent will cash in the most this summer?
John Hollinger (4:37 PM)
Hedo Turkoglu, definitely. After him, I'd say Marcin Gortat and Chris Andersen have done the most to improve their bank accounts with their postseason play.
Won't Lebron just be a PF in his 30s? He can develop a post game and be pretty unstoppable down low.
John Hollinger (4:37 PM)
Probably, but I doubt he'll be putting up the same kind of monstrous numbers from that spot.
Are you coming out with another college number crunch article? When should we expect that? Thanks
John Hollinger (4:40 PM)
It's coming soon, yes. For now, let's just say Blake Griffin scores well.
Isn't LeBron already in his 30s?
John Hollinger (4:40 PM)
Sam (Springfield, MO)
John if the Magic win tommorrow night (and im 90% sure they will), what will this series teach all Analysts, because 99% of them all picked the cavs to win
John Hollinger (4:41 PM)
matchups, matchups, matchups, matchups. I'm still kicking myself for not looking closer at their regular season meetings before I said Cavs in five.
What grade would you give the officiating so far? Thanks.
John Hollinger (4:44 PM)
C-. It's been too inconsistent and nobody knows what a flagrant foul is anymore. NBA really needs to focus on improving the zebras in the coming years, the fact that Ed Malloy worked a second-round playoff game should be a blinking neon sign that there's a problem. If I wanted to see bad refs all the time I'd go over to Marc Stein's place and watch soccer.
Dave (San Diego, CA)
What do you think has kept the Lakers from giving the ball to Gasol and Bynum more often? In my opinion the nuggets frontcourt can't guard them.
John Hollinger (4:46 PM)
Nothing. That's why it was so baffling to watch the Lakers completely ignore him in the first half of Game 5. I know it's all well and good know because they won the game, but it was shocking how many times he had good post position and the guy on the perimeter didn't even think about throwing it to him.
John, do you see Orlando's style of play with one huge inside prensence and 4 capable three point shooters catching on in the NBA? That includes playing 2 6'10 forwards.
John Hollinger (4:47 PM)
Catching on? Go back and watch the Rockets in the 1994 and 1995 Finals. This isn't a new bag of tricks, it's just one they've taken further than their predecssors.
Everyone has been trashing the officiating, quit giving the tinfoil hats ammo. Who are the best three refs out there now?
John Hollinger (4:49 PM)
Scott Foster. Steve Javie. Joey Crawford is still really good, as long as he's not working a Spur game. And for the bonus round I'll go with Zach Zarba, who bizarrely hasn't worked a game in like two months.
Trevor Ariza (Denver via Los Angeles)
Don't forget about me Mr. Hollinger? Don't think I'll cash in on my playoff performance?
John Hollinger (4:50 PM)
Ariza was set to get paid long before the playoffs started, trust me. But I don't think he's done anything in the playoffs to change his dollar figure.
Why doesnt SVG play lee,MP,turk, lewis and howard together more. This seems like it would be their most dangerous lineup especially in the 4th. Cleveland is daring Rafer to beat them and while he has he isnt the most consistent shooter. Lee would be more dangerous if left alone.
John Hollinger (4:51 PM)
I was very surprised he didn't go to that unit last night since Rafer was struggling so much. Might be the first time all playoffs I thought he didn't push the right button.
John: Head over to the Falling Rock Taphouse downtown after the game. As a beer guy, you'll be in heaven. 69 craft brews on tap.
John Hollinger (4:52 PM)
I'd love to, but they had this crazy idea I'd write a story after the game. Had a me a Fat Tire at the Wazee Supper Club on the off day earlier in the series, that hit the spot.
If Cavs lose this year do they lose Lebron in 2010?
John Hollinger (4:53 PM)
No, but people will talk about it all summer and all next season anyway.
Eli (Irvine, CA)
I'm not sure how severe Jameer Nelson's injury is, but is there a chance he could play in the Finals?
John Hollinger (4:54 PM)
Absolutely none from what I'm told.
Greg (Long Island)
What do you think about having a dedicated replay official like the NFL does? The guy could just sit in front of a bunch of monitors that would show all the various camera angles at the same time. It would be REAL easy to get the call right quickly.
John Hollinger (4:55 PM)
I disagree on "quickly" -- the game would drag on too much because there are way too many subjective calls in the course of a game.
How much $$$ will Gortat command this summer? He seems like a great fit for the Cavs. And same with Villanueva. Thoughts?
John Hollinger (4:57 PM)
I think Gortat might get midlevel money. I know a lot of teams like him and quality size is hard to find. As for Charlie V, he's probably looking at something a shade over midlevel.
John Hollinger (4:57 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for the questions. We'll do this again next Thursday before Game 1 of the Finals ... and I still have no idea where I'll be doing it from...