Chat with J.A. Adande
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com NBA senior writer J.A. Adande will stop by to chat about the NBA Finals.
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 Monday!
Be sure to watch the NBA Finals on ABC.
J.A. Adande (3:00 PM)
Hello everybody. We had a bad game that got good at the end last night...can these Finals get good by the time they're over?
Jessie, Stamford CT
Hey J.A., if the Lakers end up winning the championship this year, which Kobe will have a lot to do with, where does this cement Kobe in the conversation of top players?
J.A. Adande (3:01 PM)
The cement won't be dry yet. Kobe probably has a 3 more years as one of the top players in the league (he says six), if he can get another couple of championships in that span you can start talking in terms of Magic and Jordan. Until then, no need to have that discussion.
Everyone wants to point out that Pau Gasol hit the rim, but why won't anyone talk about Dwight Howard's through the rim block? If that was called right, Lakers would have won by 2 and there would have been no overtime. Thoughts?
J.A. Adande (3:02 PM)
Here's the play Bryan is talking about http://lakersblog.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c506253ef011570d4185b970b-300wi
J.A. Adande (3:03 PM)
I've gotta say, .com colleague Chris Sheridan picked up on Pau's rim tip right away. I don't have a problem with the no-call. I don't think it affected the shot
J.A. Adande (3:04 PM)
Just like Denver's J.R. Smith had a jump ball violation that wasn't called...the net result was the Lakers' Trevor Ariza got the ball off the tip...then lost it. Smith leaving early didn't cause that.
Stan Van Gundy, Orlando FL
I've tried every lineup I can but my guards are struggling to score and make plays. We couldn't capitalize on a winnable game in LA. What do I try when we head home for 3, 4 and 5?
J.A. Adande (3:05 PM)
Here's something your players can try: making shots. It's amazing how much smarter you will look if that happens.
J.A. Adande (3:05 PM)
As for Van Gundy, hi lineup shuffles show he's trying to make something happen. But it's tough to experiment in the middle of the Finals. And it can't be inspiring confidence in his players.
Paul (Ann Arbor, MI)
Hi J.A., obviously re-signing Odom has got to be priority #1 for the Lakers. But do you think that they ask Bryant to opt-out of his deal and re-sign for less money so that they can re-sign Ariza too?
J.A. Adande (3:08 PM)
Have you seen those crazy looks Kobe gives to reporters that ask weird questions in the press conferences? He'd do the same thing if the Lakers asked him to take less money. That ain't happening. He's still mad that the salary max kicked in before he had the chance to get the huge, unlimited contracts like Shaq's and KG's. So he'll squeeze every $ he can out of the league.
Younger Lee (Los Angeles)
Everyone thinks that play by Courtney Lee was a shot that he should have made. That was an incredibley difficult shot and I think he did a great jobe given the circumstance. People need to lay off of Lee. The guy made a great effort and he is only a rookie.
J.A. Adande (3:09 PM)
True, it wasn't something in the pregame layup line. But you've got the ball at the rim, and the championship's on the line. You've gotta make that shot. Even with the degree of difficulty, wouldn't you ask for a layup to win the game if you could get it? Orlando did, and Lee couldn't capitalize
Jameer Nelson (Orlando)
Did i ruin my team's chemistry or is it just the Lakers defense?
J.A. Adande (3:10 PM)
It's not your fault. Nothing wrong with a player wanting to play. It's Stan's fault for leaving you out there so long in Game 1.
Aron (Orlando, FL)
Bryan from Boston point is moot. The game wasn't on the line when Dwight made his goal-tend opposed to Pau's. Given that J.A., why does the NBA have instant replay if they aren't going to consult it when things like that happen? Why is it that they only consult instant replay when a last second shot goes off (to see if it was in time) and when they need to see how much time is left on the clock? There has to other instances like the above for which they could use this system for? Right?
J.A. Adande (3:13 PM)
Right now it's for clock and three-point line issues, or to review Flagrant 2 calls to see the play warrants an ejection. Stern wants it to expand and they're slowly moving in that direction, but we had a couple of ref review sessions last night...do you want 20 of them per game? Would you really want an NBA Finals game decided after the fact on a play in which the defender didn't touch the ball or the shooter?
NBA Stalker (Los Angeles)
Game 2 was an escape win for the Lakers..no doubt. But let's look at what is facing the Magic now: They must win 4 times in 5 games against this Lakers team (2 of the games at Staples). Can they do it? Can any team in the NBA do that?
J.A. Adande (3:15 PM)
I can't see the Lakers losing 3 in a row or back-to-backs at Staples, which are 2 scenarios it would take for Orlando to win. That's why last night meant the whole series.
Any thoughts on Jameer Nelson's comeback? I feel like it messed with all of Orlando's guards. I know he's their best guard, but he's out for 4 months and the rotation Stan Van had in the first 3 rounds was working well for them. Most athletes are creatures of habit and I feel like the nelson comeback threw the team out of it's ryhthm. I thought he could've been used if, after games 1 & 2 in LA, it appeared they really needed him. Why do coaches do that?
J.A. Adande (3:17 PM)
It's interesting, all the former players I talked to thought it was a bad idea to bring Jameer back, while all the coaches I talked to said they'd do it in a second. Players thought it would ruin chemistry. Coaches thought you could never have enough scorers. I think it was asking too much to have a guy step from a 4-month layoff into the NBA Finals. By bringing back Jameer Stan Van has lost Rafer and Anthony Johnson. I wouldn't make that trade right now (especially when you're not getting the All-Star version of Jameer)
What can the magic do to improve long term? Do you think Alston will be back next season? Any ideas on Hedo contract?
J.A. Adande (3:20 PM)
They don't have to change much of their roster if they get the real Jameer back last night. Big Q is if they want to spend on Gortat, who will get some nice offers out there. I think it's like having a valuable backup quarterback. I wouldn't have opted out if I were Hedo during the regular season, but the way he's played in the playoffs, with all of his big shots, I would opt out now. He can hit threes, he can beat you off the dribble, he can start your offense. How many guys can say that?
Is it possible for me to sign both Odom and Ariza next year?
J.A. Adande (3:22 PM)
When the Lakers win, Buss tends to spend to keep the team together. Someone in the organization told me a lot depends on what Lamar asks for/is willing to take. I they can get Lamar and Ariza back for $11 million or so combined per year, I think they'll do it.
The NBA has to do something about the refs. Its getting ridiculous. There are always blown calls but its so inconsistent. Ariza hip checked Turk on 2 occasions late in the 4th and he didnt get a call either time. I mean turk stumbled from the hit and then they call the most weak foul the next time down.
J.A. Adande (3:23 PM)
I thought they could have called Ariza for a bump or Hedo for a pushoff almost every time Hedo had the ball in the 4thQ/OT. As long as Hedo didn't lose the ball or was in the act of shooting I could live with the no-calls.
Jude Santa Barbara, CA
Everyone's talking like this series its over but its only 2-0. Can the Magic comeback from this hole?
J.A. Adande (3:26 PM)
the Magic will extend the series, but won't win it. The only time a team has dropped the first 2 on the road and come back to win in the 2-3-2 format was Miami in '06 vs. Dallas. Kobe is a better closer than Dirk and Orlando doesn't have anyone playing like Dwyane Wade did in '06 (or getting the calls like him)
I saw today Tiger Woods is rooting for the Lakers, even though he has been supporting the Magic all year. Not sure if Tiger's planning on attending any games in Orlando, but if you're the Magic organization, do you refuse him as a fan in the future? I would, this is a time when their most famous fan needs to be on their side.
J.A. Adande (3:27 PM)
Bill Simmons has Clippers seasons...do you really think he'd be rooting against the Celtics if they played the Clips in the Finals?
J.A. Adande (3:27 PM)
Gotta stay true to your original team.
J.A. Adande (3:28 PM)
BTW, Wilbon and I had this argument last night: he thinks Tiger is crazy to be living in Orlando and not Cali. I told him as much as I love LA, I wouldn't pay the extra millions in state tax it would cost me to live here instead of Florida if I were making Tiger's loot.
Did you just put "Clippers" and "Finals" in the same sentence? I know it was only hypothetical, but I think that is even taking it too far.
J.A. Adande (3:29 PM)
Okay, give me a hypothetical slap in the head for even conjuring up that thought
Orlando needs to do one of these 1. Start Nelson 2. Nelson on the inactive list and go with Alston and Johnson
Referees Anonymous (NBA)
Sheridan pointed out that the correct call was made. A knowledgeable source said that it is only a goaltend if the rim-touch affects the shot, which it clearly didn't as the rim didn't move even though Pau touched it. The correct call was made.
J.A. Adande (3:31 PM)
Check the second Daily Dime item http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-090608
Josh (Los Angeles, CA)
We all know that the lakers don't play consistently great, but doesn't it say something about the caliber of the team that they don't always play their best yet they find ways to win. If it was just a slightly less talented team, we would be praising the fact that they find ways to win, but we don't for the lakers. Fair?
J.A. Adande (3:33 PM)
As I wrote about today, it says something about them that they're not the team making late mistakes, the other squads always are. But that says a lot about the league right now. There are some great players spread around, but there's not one great team. If the Lakers win this they should hang the banner in a different part of Staples Center, away from the other ones.
Lakers Die Hard, NC
Do you think Shaq statement that Stan Van Gundy Chokes in crucial moments is valid giving the outcome of games 1 and 2 in LA?
J.A. Adande (3:35 PM)
In the critical moment in Game 2 Stan Van drew up a play that got the Magic a layup with .6 seconds. That's not a choke. He isn't choking this series. His players are choking because they aren't making shots. The Magic were in position to win this game. That's a coach's job. That said, I don't think Stan's constant shuffling will help Orlando over the course of the series.
Really? I think that title banner goes up there right next to all of the other ones. If anything, this championship took a lot more teamwork than the 3-peat...
J.A. Adande (3:37 PM)
Were you around for the 3-peat? Do you remember big shots by Horry and Harper and Shaw? Or Fox's defense? That wasn't just Shaq and Kobe winning those rings. The Lakers did have the 2 best players in the game on their team, but they also had a cast of winning veterans around them.
Elmo (Miss Piggy's House)
Why does Shaq want Kobe to win?
J.A. Adande (3:40 PM)
A) I think his feuds with SVG and Dwight are the more active of the volcanoes right now; feud with Kobe is a little dormant. B) If he's seen as a Lakers sympathizer it will help get him back in good graces to have his jersey retired in LA...which he wants.
Anthony (Los Angeles, CA)
Has anyone brought up the fact that Kobe could have kicked out to Ariza or Fisher instead of forcing a (blocked) shot up 1-on-4 in that penultimate play during regulation?
J.A. Adande (3:42 PM)
Others have, just haven't gotten around to posting it yet. Not one for the archives for Kobe last night. Got too caught up in 1-on-1, and the rest of the Lakers came to a standstill. That last play of reg was him trying to take too much on. The dish to Pau for the and-one was much better.
You really think beating three great West teams and the Magic (#1 defensive team, etc) is a lesser accomplishment than killing those terrible Nets or Sixers teams? Those finals were jokes.
J.A. Adande (3:44 PM)
Lakers haven't faced anyone like the Blazers or Kings teams the three-peat squads did. Or the Spurs with Duncan and Robinson. And don't even get me started on the Hall-of-Famer-stuffed teams the Lakers beat in the 80s.
There is no question that both Lamar AND Ariza were frustrated that Kobe did not pass the ball to them in the last seconds of regulation. Jordan to Kerr... Jordan to Paxton... Kobe too much.
J.A. Adande (3:46 PM)
Please remember this the next time LeBron gets criticized for passing to the open man with the game on the line. LeBron gets too much flak for making the right basketball play when he sees it.
Who is that white guy in the media room who wears a bright yellow hat and dreadlocks and asks wierd questions?
J.A. Adande (3:49 PM)
That's Vic "The Brick" Jacobs, a local radio reporter. Those aren't dreadlocks. And he is NOT representative of the rest of the LA sports media corps.
Are we all guilty of Fisher-hating prematurely?
J.A. Adande (3:53 PM)
Not everybody, just those who wanted to fire Phil for playing Fisher at all. It's fair to criticize Fisher's 37% shooting in the playoffs. But have you seen anything from Jordan Farmar or Shannon Brown that warrants heavy minutes? Farmar was looking for his own shot too much in Game 2, and is prone to making turnovers. Brown isn't used to playing at this high level. Fisher keeps making little plays that are big. Sometimes it's as subtle as an extra pass. Sometimes it's as big as that steal last night. Um, I think Phil knows what he's doing.
Ravenback (Suisun City, CA)
Isn't it funny how quickly people will criticize Kobe, but completely ignore the numerous times he had to save the Lakers' butts? Or the number of times they will give Kobe the ball with less than 7 seconds left on the shot clock? Kobe is human like everyone else. He brings far more positive than negative. Odom's playing great now, but I remember all the disappearing acts he performed throughout his Laker career.
J.A. Adande (3:54 PM)
I think Kobe had plenty of praise for that 40-8-8 he put up in Game 1. He played worse in Game 2. It's totally reasonable to point that out. People need to stop being so sensitive on everything Kobe-related.
J.A. Adande (3:57 PM)
hang on, looking something up for a question
Jimmy (San Fran.)
Do u believe Dwight Howard will ever reach the level Shaq was playing at in his prime?
J.A. Adande (4:00 PM)
I don't think he'll be as dominant. He can be (is) a better rebounder, but I don't think he'll punish people for single-covering him and/or force the double-team as much as Shaq did at his peak. There's no way Shaq would go through an NBA Finals game with only one field goal. Howard can get better and will get closer to Shaq, but in terms of a singular scoring threat he won't be the Diesel.
J.A. Adande (4:02 PM)
I was checking Shaq's numbers the first season he went to the Finals: he averaged 29 points and 11 rebs in regular season. Dwight was at 21ppg this year (a year older than Shaq in 95)
Ravenback (Suisun City, CA)
Don't you think that you are being a bit ridiculous about placing a championship banner separate from the others? Winning a championship is winning a championship. This current Laker team isn't as strong as some of thed previous ones, but they are still getting the job done. Every other team would trade places with them in a heart beat.
J.A. Adande (4:04 PM)
I think I was being playful and everybody's overreacting. Yes, this championship would count. But this team isn't as good as the ones that are already represented on that wall.
As a lakers fan, I admire Rashard Lewis's passion and determination so far in the finals. Hedo and Dwight are labeled Mr. Clutch and Superman for good reason, but Rashard has been the heart and soul of the Magic. Rashard has been a shard in the backs of the Lakers and saved the Magic from a 15-point drubbing....again. Am I right?
J.A. Adande (4:05 PM)
Rashard single-handedly kept the Magic in Game 2, but Hedo's been more valuable in crunch time in these playoffs. And they ask him to do more things than Rashard.
J.A. Adande (4:06 PM)
Okay folks, that's a wrap. Thanks for your questions. Don't have a specific time/date for the next chat yet, but we'll do it up soon.