Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
Mike just landed in Dallas. He will be here at 1:15 p.m. ET to take your questions!
mike wilbon (1:25 PM)
Hi everybody...just landed in the middle of Super Bowl madness about an hour or so ago...This is my 25th year covering the Super Bowl, the previous 24 for The Washington Post...although I guess I didn't do much at all three years ago in Arizona when the game was there...I had a heart attack three years ago last night and didn't do anything that week but watch the activities on TV from bed...Oh well...I think this has gotten off to a better start. People are spread from Fort Worth to Dallas, the weather is going to be downright winter. 70 degrees last week here in north Texas, 31 for a high Wednesday...This is why Super Bowl should NEVER be in cold-weather places, or places where potentially there's cold weather. Sorry New York. NYC should never have the game either. Miami/Tampa/Arizona is the rotation. New Orleans is fine, too. Those are the our cities, unless the NFL wants to put California back in play. Otherwise, forget it. No New York, no D.C. no Dallas, no Houston. IT'S WINTER PEOPLE! Doesn't matter if there's a dome for the game day. The Super Bowl, long ago, became about the week, not the game. The game can be in Lambeau or Soldier Field, doesn't matter. The Super Bowl week is one of America's biggest parties and there should at least be a good chance the weather is in the 60s, at least...Okay, with no real football news yet (the Steelers just landed at DFW, I'm told, Packers later) we'll jump heavily into NBA issues, starting with Celtics-Lakers yesterday...
Mike, was last nights games between the lakers and celtics a finals preview or are the spurs and magic sneaking in??
mike wilbon (1:41 PM)
Well, you have to start with the Celtics and Lakers, right? The thing that surprised me a little about the Celtics win yesterday in Los Angeles was that it appears the Lakers REALLY wanted to win that game. From everything I read and heard, the Lakers had a defensive-oriented practice on Saturday (maybe it was Friday). Phil Jackson showed the team clips from Game 6 last year in the NBA Finals. To me, Phil jackson doesn't go there if he isn't pulling out all the stops.I know, afterward Phil Jackson asked, seeming irritated, "Have the playoffs started yet? Was this the playoffs?" So, Phil has a very important message there, though I think he was trying to get it over to his own team as much as the news media and basketball consumers. But the Lakers are 1-5 against the top five teams in the NBA this season (Celtics, Miami, San Antonio, Bulls, Mavericks)...You've got Jerry West saying they can't play great defense anymore because they're too old (though I think jerry likes to tweak the Lakers to get a rise out of them)...The Celtics are a better team, right now, plain and simple. But there are no trophies handed out in January or February. Health and great chemistry come and go and come again. The Lakers have time to get their groove back, no question. But right now the Celtics and Spurs look better...I could see a Celtics-Spurs Final...I think the Bulls are threat to get to the conference finals, and we'll answer a question on that in a second...But I'm not about to count out the Lakers. A Lakers-Spurs Western Conference Final seems unavoidable, and I would LOVE to see 7 games of that at the end of May...
Derrek (Philadelphia, PA)
Michael: Gun to your head, proverbially speaking, of course, who wins the NBA championship in June?
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
Celtics. They had Game 7 in Los Angeles won last year...The Celtics are better this season, the Lakers are not better...Celtics, from where we sit right now, today.
Kenny (Naples, Florida)
Hello Mr. Wilbon. Mike Miller was my second favorite player on the Heat squad (2nd to Wade) before he even threw on a jersey. With the way he's been coming through for them, not just with his shot selection but being under the rim for OFF. rebounds in critical situations (as proven in the last seconds of the W vs. OKC), and House coming off the bench as a spark plug, do the Heat look like they are finally coming together, and who do you think will fit as the final piece(s) to propel the Heat to the elite (Boston-esque) level? I'm a Miami Heat fan for life but even I know they are no where near the C's level. Not without a dominant center like they had in Zo or a solid point gaurd like they had in Tim Hardaway.
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
Well, you sort of answer this yourself. I, too, am a Mike Miller fan and I think Coach Spo had better play MM some more to get him in mid-season form by the time the playoffs start because while he would be the team's best shooter, he does other stuff. He rebounds, unlike Eddie House, and passes, unlike House, and can play some pretty good defense...Miami needs him. But Miami, I think, has issues when it comes to half-court offense. That get-it-and-go offense the Heat has used so well the past 25 games ain't gonna work in May and June, even with two of the five best players in the game (LeBron and Wade) running it. You HAVE to have half-court creativity and execution and we don't see that from Miami yet. One of the reasons is they don't have a low-post player and don't have a natural point guard...I think Miami will be a 60-win team, finish first, second or third in the East, and win their first-round series easily. Second round, against Orlando or Chicago will be a tougher series...I thought when Pat Riley was putting the team together that next year will be Miami's year, and nothing I've seen so far changes my mind.
How hard is it to rank Paul Pierce amongst the leagues best players the last five years ?
mike wilbon (1:49 PM)
It's not hard at all. Why would it be? He's helped get his team to the NBA Finals once and won once. Of the swing players in the league, he's right there a half-step behind Kobe and LeBron, and he's been more clutch than LeBron. He's been one of the five best post-season players in the league the last three seasons...Not hard at all for me to rank him, certainly not in the playoffs which is what's important.
Jason (Sampson's Island, Cape Cod)
Mike, What does yesterday's Celtics/Lakers game tell us about each team? Was it a statement game for the C's or just another regualar season game?
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
I hate the phrase "statement game" but some regular season games are more important than others...Celtics-Lakers was one of them...So was Miami at Oklahoma City...You see how the Heat players made sure they were in that lineup yesterday? That game played like a late-April game. Miami WANTED to win that game, and the players clearly felt they needed to win it. The Lakers, no matter what they say in the aftermath, felt the same way but couldn't beat the Celtics at home...I think there were some minor conclusions you could draw from Sunday's matinee doubleheader.
Michael, do I understand correctly that the officials' game-altering failure to see a clear goaltending call in the last seconds that decided the Suns-Hornets game is not reviewable? That is ridiculous!! How can anything in the last minute (other than foul calls) not be reviewable. We review who a ball went off of late in games and we review whether a foul is flagrant at any time, so how can a game deciding play like that not be reviewable? Because it was just the Suns-Hornets noone is talking about this, but they should be.
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
You, Brett, are right on the money. The play should be eligible for review. Grant Hill smacked the backboard on that play, and it should have been counted as a basket for New Orleans. Yes, if it was Lakers-Celtics the noise over that play would be considerable...No doubt you're right about this and if it was the NFL there would be a letter from the league saying "Oooops, we goofed." Don't know whether we'll hear any such thing from the NBA or not.
12 of the Bulls' 14 losses have come without Boozer or Noah on the floor. If they get healthy, are the Bulls a real threat to win the Eastern Conference?
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
I hope you're right about that stat because if it's accurate I'm STEALING it as my own. Wow, what a trend! Look, I think Derrick Rose is the NBA's MVP PRECISELY because of that stat. And remember the Bulls have played nine five games this year with Boozer and Noah in the lineup, but only five games with both of them healthy. A lot of analysts are starting to think the Bulls, if everybody is healthy to start the playoffs, can get to the conference finals. I think the next dozen or so games will determine that, partly because I think there's an outside chance the Bulls can finish with the No. 2 seed in the conference. I definitely think the Bulls' run will begin next year. But if you can navigate the traffic sooner rather than later, you do it. With Rose anything is possible. He's got a mental toughness, a will that is second-to-none in the NBA today. It's--yes, I'm going to say it--Jordanesque. Nobody in the league is tougher than D-Rose. It's his No. 1 asset. He and Noah give the team a mental and emotional toughness that I think is unequalled in the league...that doesn't mean they'll win a second-round series; heartbreak in the NBA is almost a prerequisite for winning big. But wow, who could figure the Bulls would be 19 games over .500 missing the team's second and third best players for almost the entire season?
Buzzmaster (2:13 PM)
Thanks for chatting Mike!
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