All right, I don't think there's ever been more to discuss during a chat. One important note: We're going to be openly and liberally discussing the Sopranos over the duration of this chat. So if you missed last night's show, I don't know what to tell you. For everyone serving overseas who didn't get to see the show, my deepest apologies, you might want to skip this chat if you still intend on seeing the show. Let's get going...
Which did you TIVO last night; The Sopranos Finale or game 2 of the NBA Finals? I would assume the Sopranos would have taken precedence. Who was crushed harder; The Cavs or Phil Leotardo?
I TiVo'ed the game and watched the East Coast feed of the Sopranos live. Then I watched the second half of the game and watched the West Coast feed of the Sopranos hoping that the ending would make more sense the second time around. And actually, it did.
Most people will hate the end of the Sopranos, but then again, most people suck. David Chase handled the ending with the same delicate, subtle nature that he did the entire show. The ending showed us that this is the life Tony made for himself, a life of fear, a life where you should concentrate on the good moments (as AJ said) because there will be bad ones to come (like his impending arrest). It was well done. To anyone expecting a bloodbath, go rent Cleaver. You've been watching the wrong show all these years. Oh, and if you tell me im wrong, up yours.
I agree with this... the problem was that, on the first viewing, right when it ended, everyone had the same reaction: "Oh, no, my cable just went out!" I don't think that's the reaction you want for the last scene of one of the greatest TV series ever,
but I watched the ending a second time (and about 6 more times, actually, I was fascinated by how they constructed it) and it's clear what the intent was: There was no ambiguity, the whole scene was centered around the fact that his head kept popping up every time the front door of the coffee shop opened.
So in the final last few frames, the person he loves most was coming through the door, but they cut away right as his head was popping up in that split-second of "Uh-oh, who's this?" fear that will consume the rest of Tony's life. I thought that was cool and a good way to end it. The problem was, I didn't figure this out until the 4th or 5th time.
So that's bad. I do think that, if he was really getting killed right at the end, they would have shown the guy coming out of the men's bathroom, even for a split-second. That's why I'm certain he didn't get killed. Anyway, that was my interpretation.
Bill, You refer to the Sopranos as one of the greatest series' ever and yet it has gotten panned by reviewers and lambasted by some of the hardcore fans it had in the earlier seasons...what gives?
That happens to every TV show. Look, I don't care what people say after the fact, there has never been a television experience - EVER - like those last 2 episodes. Name me another time where the viewer was literally having a heart attack wondering what was going to happen. People will appreciate those shows eventually. But I do agree that there was a much better way to execute the whole "did my cable just go out?" fade to black. It's too bad.
I was really amazed at how they were able to build the tension so well by using sharp camera angles, seemingly inconsequential occurences and the cheesiest power ballad of all time. My heart was racing even after the third viewing. Fantastic finish. Also Leotardo's death was one of the funniest death scenes ever.
Totally agree. The amazing thing about the final scene was how, on the second viewing, everyone who entered the coffee shop was so harmless... but on the first viewing, you're completely convinced that each of them is up to no good. And the cuts to Meadow parallel parking were so freaking tense, but in reality, that's one of the more mundane things a human being could do... on the second viewing, it was just someone trying to park their car. I feel like that was the whole point of the ending. Even something like meeting the family at a coffee shop had now become a nerve-wracking experience for Tony. His life was screwed.
Bill - everyone wants to know your take on the Sopranos ending...do you buy the theory that the "black screen" was Tony's last moment before getting popped?
I liked that theory but I feel like they would have topped it off with the guy coming out of the bathroom. My stepdad was furious afterwards, he's the biggest Sopranos fan ever... after the show ended, when it was ambiguous what happened, I said, "Well, maybe David Chase meant for everyone to have their own interpretion for what happened," and my stepdad screamed, "Maybe I shouldn't have watched the last episode at all, I could have just imagined how it would have ended!" He was pissed. I think he's calmed down after the second viewing though.
What are your thoughts on the trade rumors involing Shawn Marion to the Celtics for the fifth pick, theo ratliff and one of the guards?
I don't think it makes any sense for Phoenix. if they trade Marion or Stoudemire, the goal would be to get under the tax. Well, how does Ratliff's contract help? Yeah, it expires next summer, but it still counts on the cap this year... and he's adamant that he's not retiring. So that trade makes no sense. If they deal Marion, it has to be to a team under the cap that can absorb most/all of his contract, like Atlanta or Charlotte. For instance, if Atlanta offered the No. 11 pick, Josh Childress and Marvin Williams, that could work.
What's next for the Soprano's?? Do you see a full length movie in the making? I don't think they can because so many main guys are dead.
My worst fear is that a coupla years pass and they do make the movie... and it's a train wreck. By the way, did we ever figure out who "Carlo" is? That was the guy who finally turned on Tony? I have watched every minute of this show and can't figure out who he is. They should have had Little Stevie turn on him.
When Tony and Bobby were fishing in this year's season premiere, Bobby asked Tony how he thought it all ended. Tony's answer? "It all goes to black." I don't think he got whacked either, mostly because I have no idea who's left to order the hit, but I don't see how having Meadow come in and sit down and having Tony continue to look up every time the door opened would be any less effective.
A few readers e-mailed me this theory. I still think they would have foreshadowed it with the guy coming out of the bathroom.
Is Mike Brown the worst ever to coach in the NBA finals?
An excellent question. He's on the short list with Brian Hill, Mike Dunleavy and Del Harris. Let's see if they get swept first. I am still in disbelief that Hughes played more than 1 minute and Z played more than 10. it's like nothing was learned from game 1. Plus, Gibson is the only guy on the roster who can stay in front of Parker! What a botch job.
An excellent question. He's on the short list with Brian Hill, Mike Dunleavy and Del Harris. Let's see if they get swept first. I am still in disbelief that Hughes played more than 1 minute and Z played more than 10. it's like nothing was learned from game 1. Plus, Gibson is the only guy on the roster who can stay in front of Parker! What a botch job.
What amazes me about the end of The Sopranos is how David Chase has seemed to anticipate everyone's reaction, and he doesn't care. I was with everyone who shouted at the TV set when it went black. Then like everyone else I watched it again and began to appreciate it at an artistic level...the notion that Tony's life is one big existential and ultimately pointless loop. That's fine. But you know what? I still hate the ending, and I can't help but feel like this was David Chase sticking up his middle finger at the fans. You wanted closure? Too bad. This thing is going to end the way I say it will end. I feel like he pulled the plug not on Tony, but on the rest of us who invested in the show. Seems sad that I feel like I'm owed better by a TV show, but there you go.
I can't argue with this... but that's what I like about Chase, he did the show his way, he didn't care what people thought, and that was that. Everyone should do a TV show this way. That's what killed Studio 60, just as the show was starting to show some promise, Sorkin caved and turned it into a romantic comedy. I don't think you can care about pleasing everyone when you're writing a big show like that, you have to stick to your guns.
Is this Cavs team the worst team to ever make it to the NBA finals? I'm not sure if they are worse then the ending of The Sopranos though. That was one of the ultimate letdowns in my opinion. Anyways, do the Cavs have any shot to even win 1 game?
Since 1976, I actually think they have a chance... at least the '81 Rockets had Moses, he was the best player in the league back then. And the 2002/2003 Nets teams, as limited as they were, had J-Kidd running the show. If the 2007 Cavs get swept, they're the worst in 3 decades. But why is any of this a surprise? We knew going into it that the East/West thing was like JV/varsity.
Out of all the East teams, I think the Bulls would have had the best chance to at least be competitive against this Spurs team.
Bigger surprise let down: The finale of the Sopranos or Lebron's performance in the finals thus far?
You can't call it a letdown, he's only 22 and playing for a team that isn't nearly good enough to be in the Finals. I mean, if the '86 Bulls had made the Finals, you really think MJ would have done damage with Corzine/Macy/Sellers et al? Of course not. My one gripe with Bron is that he should be attacking the basket more - he's settling for too many jumpers and trying to reenact Game 5 of the Detroit series.
I think we can blame any series ending letdown on Jerry Seinfeld. After that stink bomb every director is gonna try to do the same thing and put their "stamp" on the finale.
See, now that was a bad series finale! The show should have ended with Elaine and Jerry ending up together. By the way, I'm sorry this chat is so serious, I am still tense from the Sopranos, I might have to do a shot of Patron or something.
Sopranos finale - brilliant or poorly executed mindmolestation? It reminded me of the autistic kid episode of The White Shadow where the final scene simply showed the kid heaving a shot. Don't stop believing.
Glad someone brought this up. That was the first great ambiguous ending to a TV episode.
I did not shoot Tony Soprano. I only went to the bathroom to wash my hands before eating my onion rings.
I'm glad we settled this.
So, who was the cat? Ade? Chris? "Little Pussy"?
Interesting... you're right, maybe it was Big Pussy come back to life? I'm just excited that I get to write "Big Pussy" in a chat and not get fired.
Bill, who do you want the Celtics to take with the 5th pick?
Arenas anouncing he will opt out is an obvious shout out to the Lakers. If the Lakers were to trade Kobe and Vlad's contract to Chicago for Deng, Thomas, the #9 and expiring contracts/PJ Brown 1 year sign and trade, LA would be significantly under the cap in the summer of 2008. They could then sign Arenas to a max deal and roll out a lineup of Bynum, Odom, Deng, Arenas and Mike Conley/Acie Law. Thomas, Farmar, and next year's lottory pick come off the bench. They would be in perfect shape to contend as the Spurs and Nash will both be on the decline. Why wouldn't both LA and Chicago pull the trigger on something like this?
See, now THAT was the biggest story of the weekend. For teams with expiring contracts that have a real chance to get under the cap next summer, Gilbert now becomes the big fish - he's still in his mid-20's, he's a franchise guy, you can sell tickets with him, etc. etc. I feel like that one announcement totally changed the off-season. Before Arenas, there were no potential superstars available in 2008. Now there are. So that changes the thinking of teams like the Celtics, the Hawks, the Bobcats, the Bucks and some other young teams that were thinking about absorbing a big contract this summer. Imagine Arenas with Pierce, jefferson and Corey Brewer? Yee hah!
So I was looking through some of your old "Ramblings" columns the other night and I ran across this little tidbit from July 19, 2003: "I wish I could buy stock in things like 'Roger Clemens will make an ill-fated comeback at age 44.'" I know he looked good the other night, but I still have reason to believe (hope?) this could have been one of your greatest predictions ever. What do you think the over/under is for implosion date?
That wasn't a hard one to predict - the guy would cross a busy highway to pick up 50 bucks.
If you are the Celtics GM, what is a possible trade offer you would make the Sonics that they would have to seriously consider for the #2? With Durant having "dissapointed" in a workout, might as well throw something out there.
The Sonics aren't trading No. 2. They just hired the best GM candidate that was out there - Sam Presti. He won't screw that pick up. The people of Las Vegas will enjoy watching Durant for years to come.
Have you been able to talk ESPN into changing Eye of the Sports Guy to the BS report?
Yes, starting this week. Now we just need to find a guest.
We also incorporated Ronald Jenkees's music (and some of his sound bites) into the new intro. I don't think I've ever been more excited about anything so dumb. It's fantastic. I listened to it 760 times this weekend.
Two questions on the Spurs: Is Duncan the greatest power forward ever? I think that Malone and Barkley were both better (despite no ring). I also think Garnett is more talented (despite no ring). Also, I think this Spurs team would get smoked by virtually every championship in my lifetime (25 years) and think they are playing undoubtedly the worst team in the history of the finals (Cavs) Agreed?
Duncan is the greatest pure power forward ever, hands down, nobody comes close. It's not an argument.
Why does Julio Lugo continue to bat lead-off?? Has Francona been taking coaching lessons from Doc Rivers?
I really like how Francona has managed this year - he's shown a ton of faith in his guys - but as the '78 Red Sox proved, you're not winning a title when your top-2 has an OBP under .300. Eventually, I see Youk leading off (ala Boggs in the mid-80's) and Lugo batting second. The real problem is that somebody talked to Lugo about all the cup-grabbing, he cut down on it, and now it's affecting his play. he needs to go back to grabbing his crotch 300 times a game. He needs it, his crotch needs it and the Red Sox need it.
Re-read your Finals preview after Games 1 & 2. Do you feel like the genius you are? If gambling were legal, would your crystal ball have netted you a sizeable profit over the last weekend?
I will only feel like a genius if the Cavs win Game 3 because Duncan fouls out and LeBron shoots between 17 and 87 free throws.
Bill - I was in NYC over the weekend and overheard a couple TSA guys at the airport talking about the Yankees. "They're really coming on now. We have a chance." They were all giddy - it was hilarious. I can see this if they were Brewer or Reds fans.... since when does the team with the largest payroll in baseball talk about having "a chance"?
I'm more amazed that my Uncle Ricky e-mailed me this morning with the subject heading "9 1/2." Congrats, you swept the Pirates at home. We're all impressed.
As a fan of both you and Colin Cowhead I'm pleading that you settle you differences before one of you ends up getting whacked Phil Leotardo style.
Hold on, I'm fighting off 10,000 currents of electricity...
I have the worst headache this morning.....
I have no doubt that Duncan is one of the top 20 players of all time and top 5 in the last ten years, but "Pure" power forward? Half his career has been spent defaulting back to center to cover a better player than his "centers" could handle and being the true man in the middle. Not that it's a bad thing. Here's my take: He's not only the best power forward in NBA history, he's also been the 4th best center of the last 20 years.
Here's the point: In the 70's, 80's and 90's, if you wanted to create the perfect power forward, you would have created him. In the 00's, as the game became faster and smaller, he's even more valuable because he can play center ... name me another big man who matches up well against EVERY BIG MAN IN THE LEAGUE, and if that's not enough, EVERY QUICK FORWARD IN THE LEAGUE. The only guy in his class in this respect is Kevin McHale, who could go against everyone from Bernard King to Kareem and hold his own. We will not be seeing another Tim Duncan any time soon.
Nobody comes close? Malone was a force inside, a superb defender (could even handle Shaq in his prime), a great passer for a big man, developed a great 17-footer, always shot FTs in the mid-70% range, and a was a model of physical preparation. There were 2 major shot-clock violation mis-calls in the '98 finals and we all know about MJ's push-off. We could have very easily seen Utah win a title then.
We're not accepting any Karl Malone arguments - he was an incredibly consistent player, but someone who could never make his team better when it mattered. We have 17 years of evidence to back this up. I'm glad his stats were great, and I'm sure we'll have people pushing his case in the years and decades to come, but if you wanted to win a title from 1985 to 2000, Karl Malone would not have been one of your first ten picks.
That's why I hate stats. For instance, I love reading John Hollinger, I think he's one of the biggest assets we have on the website and I always appreciate his opinion on everything. But his scoring system to rank the best 60 Finals teams of the last 30 years was so inherently flawed... I mean, how could you not take into account the quality of teams during each season? Of course the '96 Bulls would win with that scoring system... the '96 and '97 seasons were the single two worst competitive seasons in the last 30 years. How is this not relevant to the discussion? Anyway, Malone's career was helped out by the '97 and '98 Jazzx teams making the Finals, but they made it simply because they stayed consistent while everyone else faded away - Lakers, Sonics, Blazers, Suns... suddenly there was nobody left and they won the West by default for 2 straight years. But those weren't the best 2 Jazz teams.
Here's the point: You always have to factor in "quality of the league" for any of this historical stuff. Malone's resume is "helped" by how they made the Finals for 2 straight years, but what about all the years when they didn't make it with stronger teams? All right, I'm done venting. But I want Hollinger to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better scoring system. Any system that makes the '96 Bulls better than the '92 Bulls (the single best MJ team) and doesn't make the 2001 Lakers a top-7 team of the past 30 years needs to be refined.
WOAH WOAH WOAH! Are you saying the 1996 Bulls aren't the best team ever? I HATE the Bulls but I still have to respect their alltime greatness!
Yes. Emphatically. I think they won the most games ever. I would not have them in the top-10. You're telling me they could have beaten the 2001 Lakers in a series? Or the '86 Celtics? Or the '85 Lakers? or the '83 Sixers? Gimme a break.
Overall, the movie American Pie has held up decently over the years, but after watching it this past weekend, one part definitely does not. Tera Reid making anyone wait months to sleep with her. Not a chance.
That's excellent. Somebody needs to make a list of the "Top 20 Movie Plots that have now become ridiculous because of what happened to the actor involved in that plot." I nominate Cracked.com, I enjoy that site.
Hey Bill, I liked the segment you played on your last podcast with calling your yankee friend and asking if he was worried yet, well can we reverse the segment and have him call you asking are you worried yet?
Ironically, JackO emailed me today asking if the segment had been cancelled. Um... no. You guys are still 9 and 1/2 back.
I think that Hollinger is making the assumption (which you have to in an "objective" system) that the quality of play is constant. Otherwise, it devolves into argument about the level of play, which can't be proved, and you wind up with (as I saw on a blog this weekend, referring to the statements you made in a column) someone saying that the Celtics and Lakers of the eighties can't be among the greatest ever because Bird and Magic weren't "athletic" by today's standards -- like they were considered athletic then.
Then that's the wrong assumption. You cannot evaluate the last 60 Finals teams without coming up with some method to figure out A) quality of the league for that season, and B) quality of each conference. For instance, if the Spurs destroy the Cavs (which they should), does that make them one of the best teams ever? Hell, no! I think they're the 2nd best team of the past 10 years, but again, they shouldn't get extra credit because they happened to beat a subpar Eastern rep four teams in the Finals.
The fix for Hollinger is easy - include a variable where he awards points for each season for strength/weakness of the league and strength/weakness of the Finals opponent. For instance, the '85 Lakers beat a really good Celtics team. Isn't that between 10-15 times more impressive than the '96 Bulls rolling through a terrible conference and beating a young Seattle team that was about 2 years away from peaking (and never did because Kemp went nuts)?
Bill, what are you watching now that television has gone into rerun mode?
I am ashamed to admit that the Sports Gal roped me into this stupid CW show called "Hidden Palms." It's an OC ripoff from the guy who did Dawson's Creek. She's made me watch both under the "you made me watch the NBA for the past 2 months, throw me a bone" rule, which my attorneys encourage me to be flexible on.
Anyway, it's a good summer show - ridiculous, far-fetched, and stupid.
Sorry, going to keep riffing on this: Paris Hilton is all of the Sopranos family combined. Dumb as AJ, priviliged as Meadow, manipulative as Carmela, and a force of nature like Tony. Make a TV show about her in 30 years, and it'll be as riveting as the Sopranos.
All great points. I still want someone to chop her head off to see if she lives. By the way, living in LA was a solid A-Plus this weekend... the Paris Saga was like the OJ Bronco Chase all over again. And on a personal note, it was so nice to see the legendary Jake Byrd finally get his moment in the sun. The whole day was right in jake's wheelhouse. A tour de force all the way around.
So just like every other woman on the planet, Meddow Soprano can't parallel park huh?
What did you think of John from Cinncinatti? Did you watch?
Made it 10 minutes. Wasn't in the mood for it, was still rehashing the Sopranos, couldn't concentrate on a new show yet. Good to have Luke Perry back in our lives though!
Hey Bill, I understand your point about Hollinger's rating system, but yours is flawed as well. How do you define a "really good Celtics team" objectively? Sure, it's a fair assumption that they were better than the '96 Heat or Knicks, but how do you compare on a standardized basis? You can't, because if the entire league is subpar one year, you can only statistically compare it to itself.
You just described my problem with NBA stats in a nutshell: You cannot interprete the NBA solely through stats. It's inane. Too much depends on situations, talent levels from year to year, quality of teammates, circumstance and everything else. Stats are incredibly helpful, but at a certain point, you have to incorporate analysis, homework and opinion as well. The 2001 Lakers didn't peak until the playoffs, but they decimated a really good conference (an especially strong year for the West), crushed the Sixers in the Finals and trotted out a team with an unstoppable center at his absolute peak, as well as Kobe during a point in his career where he may have been his most valuable because he was still OK with being Robin to Shaq's Batman (and was still awesome by himself, as witnessed by the way he destroyed the Kings with the 48-point game in the playoffs).
Anyway, any scoring system that A) overvalues the '986 Bulls, and B) undervalues the 2001 Lakers needs to be tinkered with... that was my only point. I am confident that Hollinger will figure this out.
I don't understand one thing about your Malone argument. You said that he made it to the finals by default because the rest of the teams had finally declined, but you say the Bulls played in a horrible year for basketball in 96. How can both of those be true?
'96 thru '99 was the weakest stretch in the history of the league. the Jazz were heavily favored to come out of the West in '96, they choked against the Sonics.
Curious if you caught the ESPN movie Ruffian? I missed, but was somewhat intrigued.
Actually, I did. Very enjoyable for the first 2/3rds... until you remember that Ruffian breaks her leg anjd has to be destroyed. Really well done movie and I'm not sure why it was made. It's like somebody said, "Let's make a really depressing version of Seabiscuit!"
Bill, you are boring everyone with your discussion of a ten year old 2nd place team. Talk about important stuff like Real World Reunited
Glad you brought this up. Um... I kinda wish they hadn't been reunited. It's like a 2-week train wreck. And I'm terrified that Stephen and Frank are about to fall in love. Terrified.
Hey Bill, what's your favorite episode of Sopranos? Mine has to be the one where Chris and Paulie are stuck in the snow and are trying to kill the Russian and some how they end up spending the night in an abandoned van, dining on ketchup packets and blaming each other. Best episode ever.
My favorite - the fifth one in Season One when he took Meadow college-hunting. That was the episode when the potential of the show was realized. And it still holds up. I thought that was an astounding hour of TV.
To promote the upcoming Wolves season the team is sending a statewide caravan of Ricky Davis and Mark Madsen to generate interest. This should be the next Road Rules. If Ricky brings his entourage...it could resemble Dave Chappelle's skit on the Real World.
Is this true? I hope to God this is true.
You think ultimate fighting will ever be accepted as major sport? I think it's way better than any other sport right now.
We won't know the answer to this question until something terrible happens during one of these fights. They've been incredibly lucky so far.
Within the next week, Big Shot Brob's career numbers will look like this: 25 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 7 rings. Will this get him into the Hall of Fame when you consider that almost all of the 50s-60s Celtics are in?
if KC Jones is in there, Horry has to be in there. Has to.
Sopranos, Real World...Yet no talk about hockey?!?! Doesn't anyone out there care at all?
I'll tell ya, it was nuts here in LA last week when the Ducks won the Cup... oh, wait, it was nuts because of the Paris Hilton thing. Sorry. I got mixed up.
Why does Billy Donovan seemingly get a free pass and praise from the media for following his heart, and Nick Saban got crucified for doing the exact same thing?
I don't think that's true at all. Donovan got skewered for what happened. It's just that the Saban thing was worse because he gave the Dolphins fan some hope after 2005, had them headed in the right direction, then he screwed up the Brees/Daunte decision and obviously decided, "Screw this, I'm out of here!" and bailed.
Bill, Do you see any post-up players that the Bulls can pick up in a trade this offseason without giving away the house? I don't think we need a #1 go to guy, but someone who can put 15-17 ppg? (Excluding Zach Randolph, who'll end up in a brawl with Skiles about three practices in...)
I still think KG is headed there.
Sorry to keep harping on this issue, but you're way off on the '96 Bulls. Rodman was still very good (a hall-of-famer if he wasn't nuts), Ron Harper was solid, Kukoc was making the mold for Eastern Europeans everywhere and they still had the dynamic duo. And if you think p-o'ed Jordan in 1996 loses to anyone ever you haven't watched an NBA game in your life.
Congrats, but who's guarding Shaq on that team? Who's guarding McHale? Who's guarding Kareem? Shawn Kemp destroyed them in the Finals, what do you think those guys would have done?
This weekend I jumped out a moving car so I could get a fanueil hall sausage, I feel like you need to know these things
When the Spurs win the Championship, Do you think that Mike Brown should get the Finals MVP trophy, for his amazing coaching?
Soprano's is nothing compared to THE WIRE!
I'm with you. Depending on how Season 5 wraps up, it has a chance to be the greater show. The last episode of Season 4 was better than any season finale the Sopranos had, that's for sure.
Zach Randolph (a 23/10 guy) for the #5 and Ratliff. Why wouldn't Ainge get Pearce some immediate help and make a push in the wide open Leastern Conference? By the time Brewer or Yi pan out, Pearce will be eating pudding, the conference will be much better and Ainge won't have a job.
I don't think it makes sense for the Celts to include the No. 5 pick AND Ratliff in the same deal because those are 2 assets they're giving away for 1 asset back. They should be using the No. 5 pick on a player (cheap labor, cap friendly) and trying to move Ratliff's deal with other picks and/or Gerald Green and/or whatever else to get one more high-salaried veteran. I just wish I knew who that veteran was.
Mr Simmons - thanks for the hour and a half chat - I finally got my car parked.......
Is there any reason that you can think of why the Cavs have not put Tony Parker into the floor everytime he drives the lane? Seriously, can't Gooden, Varejeo, and Scott Pollard use a few fouls here?
That's a great question. The 2004 Lakers cracked him once and he was never the same. I thought the Suns should have belted him as well. Unfortunately, the NBA has turned into women's lacrosse and these things can't happen anymore.
Another great moment in the Soprano's finale: Agent Harris channeling Robin Williams' chest hair in the schene with his goomah.
"Simmons, you write for ESPN, which is, Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, not Everything Soap-Opera and Pansies Network." (Note: The above dialogue is similar as a mom to a little boy when being caught wearing his sister?s dress.) You creampuff stick to the sports and leave the soaps to the View or something.
So sorry you're being forced to read this chat with the gun to your head...
I have gotten fed up with NBA people using the term "3 point shooter" for complte bums like donyell marshall. all he does is chuck up 3's out of necessity because he is too slow to beat anyone off the dribble, can't even dribble, is a HUGE defensive liability, can't rebound, but still really isn't that good at shooting 3's in the first place. you can lump in damon jones witht hat group (he did hit 2 meaningless 3's when the spurs defense was just letting cleveland have shooting practice). that being said, mike brown's best lineup is lebron, side show bob, and three "3 point shooters." and as if this hasnt been said before- worst finals team ever
Is Flip Saunders the worst PLAYOFF coach in NBA history or am I not over my 2-3 year post-playoff failure depression yet?
Yeah, Flip's gotten a pass because of Mike Brown... he completely botched that Cavs series in Games 5 and 6. Makes me wonder what would have happened had the 2004 T-Wolves had a better coach.
Bill, did you read about that guy who broke the Japanese guy's record for hot dog eating. Will you be tuning in to ESPN2 to watch USA vs. Japan in hot dog eating?
Heard about this! We really need to get behind this guy... it's like the '80 Olympic Hockey team all over again.
Why isn't Rick Carlisle coming to Boston to coach????
Because we would have made the playoffs last year if not for all the injuries... we believe in Doc and we think he's the guy who can get us to the next level.
Are you preparing for your fantasy football draft? And who would you take first?
It's a little early, no? I don't know. I do have my first 2 opinions though: Love Wes Welker on the Pats, love McGahee on the Ravens.
I know you don't believe that BS you jsut spewed about Doc and the next level? The only next level he'll bring us to is the one for most cliche'd excuses for a losing team with a bad coach.
Doc is our guy. We're committed to him. We think he's one of the best coaches in the league.
Fantasy football talk is never too early. Would you go with Maroney or Addai?
I'm scared of Maroney this year... worried about his shoulder. He's the one X-factor for the 19-0 season.
No Amanda Beard talk???
Bill, I'm tired of the "poo-poo"ing of championships. Everyone was disappointed in the World Series matchup, upset with Florida being in the BCS Championship, dreaded the seemingly inevitable possibility of a Pistons/Spurs NBA Final, was horrified with the Stanley Cup participants, and is now crushing this NBA Finals. Now, I'll give you that some of the matchups could be more exciting. But, as sports fans, what the hell? It's the freaking championship! Unless your team got horribly burned in the playoffs, and you need to heal, you enjoy watching the two teams that endured their way to the championship. Isn't that what makes sports better than Hollywood? I mean, if the Yankees, Suns, Red Wings, etc, are supposed to be in the Finals, let them earn their way in. This idea of, "I'm not watching because those teams aren't fun to watch," just goes to show that sports fans are just turning into logo fans.
Decent point. The problem is that the Spurs-Suns was really the Finals, it just happened 2 rounds too early.
So what is the best tv show ending of all time? I'm going with Cheers. Nothing better than Sam telling that guy, "Sorry, the bar is closed." M.A.S.H. probably comes in second.
I was waiting for this question! Cheers was really good, but Larry Sanders - hands down - had the greatest ending ever. It will never be topped. I will argue this to the death.
"Carlo" is the guy from Phils crew who brought Tony to Phil's house after curbing the other guy in Phil's crew. He's the one who brought up Phil's brother being killed at one of the NY/NJ sit-downs, and he's the one who met Tony at the golf course restaurant and declined to take control of the NY family, instead letting Phil and the older fat guy to fight for the top spot.
How did Ruben Patterson recently fail to register as a sexual offender. Shouldnt he have someone in his entourage have as his main responsibility make sure Ruben's got all sexual offense papers in order, like the assistant coach who's in charge of counting the men on the field?
That guy was fired.
BSG, you need to recant that repeated statement about Doc, before all 6 Celtics fans left gouge their eyes out so they don't have to read that company tagline again.
I don't know what you're talking about. Look, Doc is a great coach. We extended him because he did such a great job keeping this team playing hard last season when they could have just given up and kept losing games. He deserves a chance to show what he can do with a good team. He's only had seven full seasons of coaching at the NBA level, anyone who thinks that's enough of a litmus test is crazy.
Ben's wrong above...Carlo is the guy Tony pegged to replace Vito..he's seen in the final episode at Baccala's funeral, being told by his son about there being pork while everyone is attacking the buffet
It is trendy to say the Spurs are boring to watch, but it isnt true. I think we can all blame the Shaq-Kobe Lakers for this theory. Before the Shaq-Kobe Lakers, the characters were entertaining off the court (MJ, Barkley, the Dream, Malone, Magic, Bird, McHale, etc), but it never overshadowed the play on the court. The soap opera that is the Shaq-Kobe Lakers completely overshadowed the play to the point where we measure the games entertainment value based on the off the court subplots. Do you agree?
Yeah, everyone needs to stop blaming the 2007 Spurs - it's an entertaining team that didn't have the right foil this season, and even when they did, the Diaw/Stoudemire suspensions tainted that series. Plus, it's not their fault that Dallas completely imploded.
Watching that all-day NBA Finals marathon on Classic over the weekend really showed how lame the league has become. Those '88 and '92 games were brutal, with every superstar taking and giving hard fouls. It really makes you miss the NBA, and the saddest part is that I'm saying that and I'm only 23 years old.
agree with Cheers being the best finale....Sam fixing the picture at the end representing Coach....still get chills....
Yeah, it got a little dusty when that happened. Really nice touch. Cheers has suddenly become a severely underrated show... everyone 25 and under thinks Seinfeld was the best sitcom ever and there's a legit debate between Cheers and Seinfeld. I even tackled this in a 2002 mailbag. http://espn.go.com/page2/s/simmons/020221.html
You got it all wrong. Best series finale ever is "Boy Meets World". You never thought he was going to end up with Topanga, but he did.
And gave hope to fat women everywhere! You're right, that may have been top-3.
How would you have ended the sopranos if you had to do the final show? It would've been too cliche if Tony was killed. I'm glad he did it the way he did.
My old intern Jamie had the best idea, he watched it with us last night: Jamie thought they should have had a Pulp Fiction ending where the hitman unloaded his gun at Tony, but all the bullets missed, ricocheted off the table and the jukebox and somehow hit AJ.
Speaks of series finales, which NBA finals series do you think had the best finale?
1998 Finals. Can never be topped. I actually watched the last quarter on Sunday morning again, although they really need to re-do the audio and have Marv do the play by play. But geez, how will that ending ever be topped?
"Everyone, I would like to introduce you to the new Assistant Director of Player Personnel, Mr. William Simmons, or as he is known to many of you in Bristol, The Sports Guy, aka, Bill. Bill, is a Holy Cross Grad who blogs all day, editor of the Ewing Theory, and has a wife who writes columns about the Bachelor. Welcome to the CEltic family, William." (the reason Bill is praising Doc)
"Thank you, Danny... it's great to be here, I'm excited to learn from one of the best and work with Doc on a daily basis. Watching these guys and the owner spin their BS for the last 3 months, I have to admit, it took me awhile, but they finally roped me in. We're gonna turn this ship around. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to pick up Yi at the airport."
No one has mentioned the one thing that bothered me most about Sopranos last night. The loser AJ destroys his SUV, and winds up with a brand new BMW M3. How does he wind up with that car? Tony should have at LEAST punished him by giving him a 1989 Hyundai or something, as a penalty for burning down the SUV and for being an all-around bum.
See, I loved that - AJ sold out his "principles" as soon as they offered him a movie job and a car. I'm gonna miss him. That reminds me, was there a bigger TV upset of this decade than Robert Iler turning into a competent actor and a pivotal member of the final season? This was like watching Craig Ehlo suddenly playing 2-guard on a potential Finals team.
You ever notice that guys like Peter King and Chris Mortenson ALWAYS say "good fit" for players that go to the Cowboys, Redskins, Giants, and Pats? I would like that phrase stricken from the NFL lexicon.
That question was a good fit for this chat.
Bill, where did the Paris Hilton saga on Friday rank on the OJ-Media ridiculousness scale? Did you see the part when they were announcing Paris' incarceration when some guy off-camera yelled "Noooooooooooooooooo!" at the top of his lungs. Somewhere, that guy is a god amongst his friends
That was the great Jake Byrd! Google him.
Agree on the Larry Sanders finale as the best ever - that last scene with Larry, Artie, and Hank told you as much about the characters as every episode that preceded it. By the way, between Larry Sanders and Arrested Development, is the surest way to make a classic sitcom to hire Jeffrey Tambor?
Exactly, that's why I loved it. It was perfect. Please buy the new DVD (best 23 episodes) if none of this makes sense to you. Just do it. I've never steered you wrong. Just know that A.) it gets better as the series goes along, than peaks in the final 2 seasons, and B) they didn't include the Roast episode, which was top-5, as well as the episode when Colin Quinn plays Artie's son (top ten).
Crap, had to edit this: Go to Amazon.com and search for "Larry Sanders"
Bill, here's your envelope filled with cash for plugging my dvd. Thanks
Larry, it was the last I could do - your show brought me more joy than any show ever except maybe Seinfeld.
My 77 Blazer team ranked #26th?!! Oh the HUMANITY of it all. Quite possibly the WORST miscarriage of justice in this, the GREATEST sports league in the HISTORY of these United States, and maybe the ENTIRE history of modern civilization!
We disagree that the surest way to make a classic sitcom is to hire Jeffrey Tambor. Signed, The Ropers
Come on, the Ropers was a classic show! That and "It's Your Move" were the greatest lost sitcoms from 1979 to 1984.
Is there anything more awkward/hilarious/life altering than watching Mike Browns face when he realizes yet again that Popovich is 12 steps ahead of him? The only thing that can come close is Emilio Estevez screaming until the glass breaks in "The Breakfast Club"
No one has mentioned that Tony came into the diner wearing a black leather jacket with a button-down shirt on. He pictures himself in the diner. If you notice Tony in the booth in the diner is wearing a different shirt. So I think it's him picturing himself with his family and what it will be like for the rest of his life. Thoughts on this?
I did notice that the shirts seemed different... wasn't sure if it was just me though.
Why is everyone from Orlando calling me to congratulate me on being coach? How did they get my number?
Will you be taking any baseball questions today? (Other then about the Red Sox?)
Fire away! I'm ready.
Does the Julio Lugo era make you feel any differently about the Theo Epstein era in Boston? Is there anything more inexplicable than Epstein's ability to strike gold with minor signings AND screw up every major singing over the last few years?
Since 2004, Theo has made some good moves and some bad moves... considering he's operating a team with a top-3 payroll, I don't see how he can be ranked higher than a B-minus. The best move he made other than Big Papi and the Nomar trade was probably NOT panic-trading Papelbon in 2005. other than that, very up and down. The one good thing about this year's team is that they have the best team chemistry they've ever had, even better than 2004. The team reaction after Romero got out of "bases loaded no outs" in Oakland was my favorite moment of the season so far.
Has Dice-K lived up to your expectations?
Not totally. I knew he might struggle a little just from the extra media attention and adjusting to the US, but I've been a little surprised who quickly he self-destructs in innings. You could take a leak with one out and a guy on first in a 0-0 game, come back a minute later and three guys have scored. That part worries me.
All laughing and pointing aside, does the prospect of "2007 AL Wild Card: The New York Yankees" scare you in a playoff situation? The Yanks appear to be the only team right now that can smack around Beckett and Schilling, and have had at least 1 comeback against the Okajima/Pap combo.
I'm worried about the double whammy of Hughes and Clemens. I watched the game when Hughes got hurt, he had a no-hitter going and looked dominant. he's a huge X-factor down the stretch.
Sadder commentary on the current state of our culture; the ridiculous media coverage of Paris Hilton over the last week, or ex-Real World cast member Alton only being able to spare 15 minutes for wildly popular internet sports columnist Bill Simmons, due to heavy demands on his time. I was troubled by this. BTW, Mike Francesa is a must guest for the podcast. He's back on two shifts, and 932 Diet Cokes a day. We need to make sure he's okay.
thanks for the "wildly popular' even though it's not true. I posted this for 2 reasons - first, the Alton podcast will always be my favorite because it exceeded all expectations, he approached it like he was a major celeb and even bought cigs during it. I just loved it. I was so happy, I didn't know what to do with myself. Second, I'd love to have Mike Francesa on and will even send him a case od Diet Coke if he agrees. But he's so freaking busy, who knows.
Have you seen Ocean's 13 yet? I thought the addition of Pacino was an outstanding choice and thought this one might even be better than 11. Your thoughts?
Seeing it this week, looking forward to it.
Any chance Sir Charles would come and be your guest on the Pod? Would he still remember you from the "Inside the NBA" review column?
Charles is on the short wish list of guests, along with David Stern, isiah Thomas and Sean Stewart.
I'm still deliberating... Nicholson's performance gets worse and worse each time, it's such a monkey wrench, kills the movie on re-viewings.
Bill, last week you talked about how Parker was described by the announcers as "the best finishing PG in a couple decades" and noted how ridiculous this comment was. But have you watched the guy? He does look better than Isiah Thomas, the guy makes everything around the hoop its incredible to watch.
If you switch mid-80's Isiah for Parker in this series, he would be scoring between 30-40 points a game with 12-14 dimes. Everyone forgets this now, but Isiah had the same scoring arsenal as Parker and gave you defense, passing, toughness and leadership. He sacrificed his offense for the team. It's no contest.
How long are you going to chat for? Just so I know when to leave work.
Wrapping up shortly...
My wife suggested that Daniel Gibson should be playing more than Larry Hughes. Should she be coaching the Cavs?
it's not a bad idea.
By the way, the Nicholson answer was to a question someone asked about "When was I going to review The Departed" that apparently didn't get posted. Sorry about that.
Just reading on ESPN.com about Jemaine Taylor possibly agreeing to fight Kelly Pavlik. What are your thoughts on this potential matchup?
I'd like to see Taylor fight one entertaining fight before the end of his career. This would be it.
Hey Bill, what past/present TV show would be wayyy better had it gotten the HBO treatment? My vote is for LOST. I get goosebumps just thinking about actually seeing some island breasts. What are your thoughts?
Like that question. I've always thought "Skin" would have been the best one. Remember that show, the one where Ron Silver played the porn czar and screamed "HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY!" NYPD Blue was great and would have been better on HBO.
You know what? Cagney and Lacey would have been good. They could have just gone at it and gotten it over with.
Who guards Shaq? Who guards Kareem? Who guards McHale? For crying out loud, who guards Jordan! I think you are grossly underestimaing the ability of a hungry Jordan (which is pretty much the only Jordan there is). I think Jordan was too mentally strong and the supporting cast was too competent to ever be defeated by anyone. Too much fire, too much willpower, too much Jordan that year.
Hey, I loved MJ, thought he was the best basketball player ever. But his career was unbelievably fortunate - he never faced Hakeem in his prime, or Shaq, or Duncan, or Moses... that team was constructed in a way that any big man and true point guard gave them trouble, but they never faced both at the same time.
Bill, who's coming on tommorrow?
Not sure yet. We might have to get Karl Malone.
The Man Show should have been on HBO. I found myself saying that at least 20 times during every episode. Not saying it was a great show, just that it should have been on HBO.
I also think there should have been an SNL-type show on HBO that could go 10 times further.
If the 2001 Lakers played the 1996 Bulls, would Ron Harper guard himself?
That would be fantastic.
"that team was constructed in a way that any big man and true point guard gave them trouble, but they never faced both at the same time." What about the 97-98 Jazz? The Bulls beat that team 2 years straight, and on the downside of their career.
Exactly. You just proved my point. Switch Duncan for Malone and the Jazz win one of those 2 titles.
so who is screening these questions? i am 0-4 today and feeling alot like JD Drew!!
JD, I'm excited that it took the scenario of you playing 3 interleague games against your little brother to get you properly motivated for the 2007 baseball season when you're making $14 million a year. Seriously, it's great to have you aboard.
yea, the 1991 Lakers didn't have a great point guard in Magic, and a good enough center in a young Divac + Sam Perkins Combo...Also, Ewing and Starks werent good. I think Ewing is underrated reason being Jordan always destroyed him in his prime
Not a good example - the Lakers got killed by injuries in that series.
Switch Malone with Duncan? Bill, are you smoking the crack pipe with Pookie from New Jack City? Nobody could stop Jordan in his prime. NOBODY!
Please, like Duncan would have gotten stripped like that on the biggest play in Game 6.
"I also think there should have been an SNL-type show on HBO that could go 10 times further." Mr SHOW?????
Liked it, enjoyed parts of it, but it was a little "too cool for school" for me. Same reason why I never fell in love with Arrested Development.
It was a sad spectacle this weekend, seeing all the bandwagon Sox fans at the Diamondbacks game in their brand new hats and jerseys with the tags still on them. What are your thoughts on being the trendy team now?
Part of me hates it, but still, I think it was a little inevitable. I covered this in the prologue in my book, the '67 Red Sox team was the bandwagon team, that was the one that won over all the people from that generation. Eventually, all of those people had kids, and those kids were raised to be Red Sox fans. Those are the people showing up for games all over the place now. There's a little bandwagonitis, but not as much as you think. Red Sox fans are like termites, we multiply when you're not looking.
Any thoughts on the Brewers this year? You've been to this city and we are ready for a playoff appearance. I think downtown may be unbelieveable come fall if the Crew is making their first playoff appearance in 25 years. Plus, Prince Fielder has to be the front-runner for NL MVP at this point.
They're not roping me in until Bernie Brewer starts jumping into the beer mug again.
Is there anyway we could combine Doc Rivers and Mike Brown, creating Coach Doc Brown, hop in a DeLorean, gun it to 88 and see how many teams he would be able to screw up throughout history?
Was watching the replay of game 4 87 finals (magic's skyhook), and heard this stat....the Lakers had won in the garden in 85, and since that point the C's were a ridiculous 94-3! I'm pretty sure either of those 2 teams would've handled the '96 Bulls
The NFL should be on HBO. Live mics on the field hearing all the trash talk, not to mention a broadcast booth where expletives are welcome.
Come on, they're bringing back Hard Knocks with Herm Edwards this summer! That counts for something.
Brendan gets a TOMMY point for that theory!!
Bill, you nailed the ending of the Sopranos...it only took you 6 viewings...anyways i'm glad you saw it the way i did...too many people just wanted a bloodbath, and that's not what the show is about...it's funny people watched 6 seasons of the show and didn't realize it was over their head until the finale?
That doesn't excuse the fact that, on the first viewing, everyone thought their cable went out. There had to be a better way to execute that.
I'm waiting for my screen to go black, wondering if the internet went down or the chat is over.
(Roll closing credits in silence.)