Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 31, 7:33 PM ET
Chat with Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons
  (12:00 PM)

All right, let's get this going. (Cueing Howard Finkel's voice) "The following chat has a 2-hour time limit..."

Rob Newport Beach, CA

Bill, how dare you attempt to do a "reverse jinx" on the Lakers! after your comparison of the Pats to the '86 Celtics (one of the best teams ever in the opinion of this Laker fan) and the subsequent collapse of the Pats, i know you were looking to undo the bad voodoo. hate to tell you pal, it isn't gonna work this time. for picking against your team the gods will frown upon you! i hope that blows up in your face and the Celtics go down quick.

Bill Simmons
  (12:03 PM)

I'm done with the reverse jinx thing - I spent 2 days crafting that last column and sold it too convincingly, there are some people back home who actually think I'm a Lakers fan now. I had a whole master plan to make up for what I did to the Pats in January but I'm abandoning it. Although I will say that I'm a little wounded that anyone from back home would ever think that I liked the Lakers and not the Celtics. There were some obvious clues in the Friday column that were right there ... I am amazed that anyone would think I would just blindly write that the Lakers are completely unbeatable when their backup big man for the 4-5 spots is Ronnie freaking Turiaf.

Bill Simmons
  (12:04 PM)

Anyway, I'm done with the reverse jinxing. If the Celtics lose, don't blame me.

Grant (Chicago)

Can someone put an end to all the "Kobe is as good as MJ talk." Kobe wins one championship (i'm assuming the Lakers win) without Shaq and he's all of a sudden as good as MJ? I don't get it, Kobe hasn't even had one season that would crack any of MJ's top 10. Not to mention that Kobe isn't mentally tough enough to have gotten through those physical eastern conference playoffs in the 90s.

Bill Simmons
  (12:06 PM)

It's such an absurd argument that it's not even worth writing about. Kobe has shown flashes of MJ-dom, and he definitely dipped into those waters in the playoffs, but Jordan played at that level for 10 solid years, and he was doing it during an era when players got pounded and they didn't have the hand-check rules. I have written this before but I honestly believe that, if the MJ from '87 to '93 played with the rules in place from '05 to '08, he would have averaged 45 a game

Raymond (Lakerland, CA)

First two games at Boston -- do you think the Lakers win only one, or win both? Certainly, Boston doesn't have what it takes to win both.

Bill Simmons
  (12:07 PM)

I think the Lakers HAVE to go for Game 1 because there's a 3-day break until Game 2 - they can playu Kobe 46 minutes and that one and try to steal it.

Alex (Vegas)

What do you think is the key factor of the series? I believe is the coaching, on one hand you have the Zen Master, other one, "Doc". Good luck buddy

Bill Simmons
  (12:09 PM)

I actually think Doc will be OK in this series - he's shown that, when he absolutely HAS to win a game, that's when he will shorten the rotation and do many of the things that need to be done. The game plan against LA is relatively simple (I'll cover in the preview column). But the key to the series is Odom. When he's playing great, the Lakers are on a whole other level - you can't totally stop them offensively.

Drew (NYC)

With the 2-3-2 format being used for travel reasons, isn't it ABSURD that they then have two three day breaks when the teams are not traveling?

Bill Simmons
  (12:11 PM)

I hate the 2-3-2 - they started it before the '85 Finals and I'll always think that's why Boston lost that year, it would have been 2-2 after DJ's game-winner coming back to Boston for Game 5, no way we lose that game. They do it for travel reasons for the media - because God forbid the media has to travel more than twice in a 2-week span.

Dave Los Angeles, CA

Bill, who's your pick for Aberration Guy for Game 1? Is Ray Allen even a candidate now? Is Paul Pierce?! Are the Celtics totally doomed by the fact that nearly all their best players are considered an Aberration if they raise their game to a championship level. Sounds like a dubious position against these Lakers...

Bill Simmons
  (12:13 PM)

That's one of Boston's strengths - you never know where the Aberration Guy is coming from. My pick for the Aberration Guy in the series is Eddie House - now that Lindsay Hunter is gone, Eddie could be huge in this series. For God's sake, the crowd chants "Eddie! Eddie!" every time he comes in. My second choice is Eddie's son, who will definitely run onto the court like Dusty Baker's kid at some point during the Finals and hopefully not get trampled by Luke Walton.

Mike Boston

Why is it a lock the lakers will one in boston? Will everyone get off Kobe? I cant wait till game 6 when its over and we all realize the Celtics are the better team

Bill Simmons
  (12:14 PM)

I don't want to step on the preview column, but the Celts have 2 legitimate advantages in this series that nobody is mentioning. The strangest thing I've heard - and I've heard it multiple times - is that LA would have rather played Boston than Detroit. That's just insane.

Dave (Celtictown, MA)

First off, after being one of the people who was bouncing on my grandfather's lap while he as regailing with the story of Game 4 from 1984, I really enjoy your columns, but my questions is which Ray Allen do you think is going to show up in this series? And how important is hsi performance to winning?

Bill Simmons
  (12:16 PM)

I don't know what to make of Allen anymore. He looked washed up, then he came through in game 5 and the first half of Game 6 and had hop in his step again. The thing I like about him in this series is that he has a stormy history with Kobe, they have always hated each other and played well against each other. Not sure why.

Terry M (Arlington, TX)

SG, who do you think are the most likely combatants to get into a fight this series? Or if not a fight, at least a "scrum"? I am gonna make a random guess and say Posey and Odom.

Bill Simmons
  (12:17 PM)

Vujacic and Ray Allen. Mortal lock to be separated at least once. In fact, Sasha will be under orders to get under Ray's skin because it's been done before. Second choice - Perkins and Turiaf. Third choice - Eddie House's kid and Luke Walton's right knee.

William hampton,va

You made a comment in a past article that A championship by Kobe would put him in the west, robertson category and you have mentioned that Tim Duncan is a top 12 alltime player well could you give me your top ten in order

Bill Simmons
  (12:19 PM)

If Kobe wins the title, he moves into the top-12 with Russell, Wilt, MJ, Bird, Magic, Oscar, West, Duncan, Kareem, Shaq and Hakeem and supplants Paul Mokeski.

Andrew (Colorado Springs, CO)

If you could recreate the Mchale/Rambis clothesline with two players on the current rosters, who would you nominate?

Bill Simmons
  (12:20 PM)

Nice question! It would definitely be Posey giving out the clothesline... and Pau Gasol taking it. With lamar Odom playing the Worthy/Peacemaker role and inexplicably shoving Gasol into the Laker Girls as he jumps up for revenge.

Matt (Chicago)

Is Chuck Esposito gonna let you create a prop bet for the finals? My candidate is times Jeff Van Gundy admonishes Rondo for not shooting an open jumper in game 1. Current line: 7.5

Bill Simmons
  (12:21 PM)

I have -75.5 for the Finals for "Number of times Jeff Van Gundy thinks that someone committed a dumb foul away from the ball"

ed (nashua)

What is the biggest misconception of this series ? The c's having a 'dominant' defense , or the Lakers having the 'deepest bench' in the league?

Bill Simmons
  (12:23 PM)

Boston's D is a little bit more of a misconception because the D ebbs and flows depending on who's on the court. For instance, in Game 6, Doc smartly played KG-Perk-Posey-PP-Rondo down the stretch - that's the best possible defensive lineup we have. And they won that game with defense. The problem is, Doc rarely plays that lineup. But that's the key lineup for this LA series. I'd say more but I don't want to step on the preview column.

DC (Los Angeles, CA)

Is it just me, or do you fight the urge to careen into any Lincoln Navigator, rolling down the 405, with at least 2 Lakers flags flying from the window? I swear I saw a car with six flags on it the other day. I'm still trying to figure out how it was even possible! If not for the fear of a Tupac/Biggie-like demise, I think any non-Lakers fan should at least be flipping off these people as we pass them.

Bill Simmons
  (12:24 PM)

The Laker flags are one of the 10 worst things about living in LA - I even have them ranked above forest fires. I know people from New England hate the Lakers, but you'd hate them 5X more if you lived out here. Trust me.

Kevin Garnett (Boston, MA)

I hate not playing until Thursday, it is stupid. I'm about to rip someone's head off!!!!!

Bill Simmons
  (12:25 PM)

No, no - it's good, KG! You needed sleep! Word on the street was that you didn't sleep for 4 solid days before Game 6. Sleep is good. Sleep is your friend.

Stephen (Nashville, TN)

So you do a chat about the Finals, but you refuse to answer any question too probing because it "steps on the preview column." Is this whole thing just a show so we know you and ESPN are still cool?

Bill Simmons
  (12:25 PM)

I am no longer sleeping on the living room couch. Altrhough we're still not having sex.

Bragg(birmingham, AL)

Where exactly will Kevin Garnett's legacy lie if the Celtics win and he is the MVP of the finals?

Bill Simmons
  (12:27 PM)

Him and Pierce are the two with the most to gain historically from this series. If KG wins the title and Finals MVP, he has to crack the top-20 all-time. And if PP wins the title and Finals MVP and matches Kobe for 5-6-7 games, suddenly we have to start thinking about him in the top-75. In Kobe's case, he'll land in the top-10 eventually just because of his numbers and the amount of seasons he'll end up playing. But KG and/or PP can transform their careers over the next 2 weeks.

chapin (Boston, ma)

Bill can you set the odds for's servers crashing after The Beast puts up 20 and 20 in game one? How do you think he will fair throughout this series?

Bill Simmons
  (12:29 PM)

Forgot to mention Perk as an enormous X-factor for this series. He was legitimately eye-opening in the Detroit series - nearly averaged a double-double and made some monster defensive plays. He's becoming the player we always wanted him to be.

Chaim (LA)

Isn't the real downside to the Lakers making the finals that we no longer get to see Greg Popovich's mid-game interviews with Tafoya and Sager? With his blunt, one-word answers and condescending stares Pop is the master at making his interviewer's questions seem as asinine as they really are. Do you think ABC can fly pop to Boston and LA just to treat the viewers to his mid-game obsevations?

Bill Simmons
  (12:30 PM)

We could only wish. I absolutely hatre the mid-game interviews - I don't get them, I don't understand the purpose, I can't remember a single time when we learned something other than that Doc is a little sweet on Tafoya.

Shane, Seoul Korea

Why is it that everyone....well at least most analysts on ESPN so convinced that the Lakers will roll over the Celtics. Considering most of them picked Detroit to win in 6 whats with the lack of respect?

Bill Simmons
  (12:32 PM)

It's because of Kobe. He's playing out of his mind - I don't think it's a lack of respect. I have been writing this forever - in a series with 2 relatively equal teams, the team with the dominant player wins. That's held in every Finals for the last 30 years except for 2004.

Chuck (Boston, MA)


Bill Simmons
  (12:32 PM)

Chuck, why the sarcasm? That hurts.

Eric (Clinton, MA)

Are you refreshing ESPN to hear the latest about Big Brown's cracked hoof, or are you a normal human being?

Brian, Boston, MA

Forget the Finals for a minute! They are not on until Thursday night. Give me your breakdown of Gus doing the play-by-play during Saturday's MMA fights. How many times did he say "cut kick?"

Bill Simmons
  (12:34 PM)

Obviously I was in heaven with GuJo announcing an MMA event, I have been pining for this for years (either MMA, boxing, wrestling or the Real World/Road Rules Challenge for Gus).

Bill Simmons
  (12:35 PM)

The prob was that they stuck him with Frank Shamrock (who was fine) but also this crazed Canadian guy who was the third guy in the booth, sounded like an SNL sketch and seemed determined to jump in and keep talking every time something exciting happened just so Gus wouldn't be able to be the one who got excited. It was the first ever broadcast c**kblock. We need to kidnap this guy and keep him away from Gus. I mean it.

Rich (Bayonne, NJ)

I hear you Bill, I am surrounded by Laker fans in NJ at both of my jobs! Laker fans are like Kobe, the biggest front runners in the league!!! Hey since you live in LA, do Laker fans arrive only 30 minutes after tip off instead of 45 minutes since it's the Finals!!!

Bill Simmons
  (12:37 PM)

The Laker fans with good seats arrive in the second quarter or late in the first quarter. It's just a fact. They get a bad rap for their cheering during the game - they do know when to cheer and how to affect a game - but the tardiness is unacceptable. it's also worth mentioning that they booed their hero Kobe on Opening Night. Would the Boston fans have ever booed Bird in a million years?????????

KMD (Bennington, VT)

Who wins in a one-on-one game today: Magic or Bird? Please break it down Dr. Jack style. Of course, we'd need Mutombo to announce the game to shatter your unintentional comedy rating.

Bill Simmons
  (12:38 PM)

I think Magic would win because of Bird's back, and also because Bird would be playing 10 feet off him.

Mike (Cincinnati)

So do you bust out the Larry Legend Jersey for the finals? Or are you going to go with one from the current ?Mid-Size Three??

Bill Simmons
  (12:39 PM)

I'm officially too old to wear jerseys in public. I have a lucky Celtics shirt that I wore for Game 5 of the Detroit series as well as Game 7 of the Cleveland series.

Bill Simmons
  (12:39 PM)

That's what I'm wearing.

Rick (LA)

Don't forget all these "true" Boston fans chanted MVP for Kobe in the Garden last year...Boston fans the best in the world!

Bill Simmons
  (12:40 PM)

That story is NOT true. half the crowd for that game were Laker fans, those were the ones chanting. They were able to get tickets because the Celts were something like 12-40 at the time.

Chet (MA)

and celtics fans aren't front runners? just look at the attendance last year compared to this year and it'll tell you all you need to know about celtics fans. you know what? you could say the same about all the boston teams if you look at the attendance before parcells for the patriots and the attendance before 1998 for the red sox.

Bill Simmons
  (12:41 PM)

Ridiculous. The Celtics fans were always there - it's just that it's freaking expensive to go to an NBA game, it's tough to shell out 75 bucks for a ticket to go watch Sebastian Telfair play point guard. The fans never left.

AC (Chicago, IL)

Since we have about another month until the Finals actually start, how about a non-Finals question? What do you think the Pistons should do in the off-season? They won 59 games, took the 66-win Celtics to six games, and clearly still have a good team. But they're not getting over the hump. Aside from turning Stuckey into Vinny Johnson in a three-guard rotation, what other moves would you make....if any?

Bill Simmons
  (12:43 PM)

I thought they should have blown it up last spring. They need to move Wallace - it's time for him to play somewhere else. And they need to move one of the Hamilton-Prince-Billups group so Stuckey can get big minutes. I'd move Prince because he's one of those "used to be underrated, now he's overrated" guys.

Bill Simmons
  (12:44 PM)

One more thing on the Pistons: What happened to those fans????? They used to have one of the best crowds in the league - now you're banging Thundersticks and wearing white T-shirts and clamming up when your team falls behind? What happened to the fans who used to throw beers on opposing players and charge on the court to fight them? Deeee-troit Basssssssketball has gone soft. You need to do some soul-searching this summer.

Dan (NY)

After Kobe shot what 8 free throws in the whole Spurs series after you predicted something in the triple digits are you ready to admit the refing seems to be on the up-and-up?

Bill Simmons
  (12:45 PM)

Please. The biggest game of that series was Game 4... and the NBA assigned Joey Crawford to it. That was literally amazing.

Chandler (Chicago, IL)

As a Bulls fan, I hate the Pistons, but how can you say that Prince is overrated? He made some big plays on the defensive end in the playoffs.

Bill Simmons
  (12:46 PM)

I'm saying he was once overrated, but then he came overrated because everyone was talking about how underrated he was. If he's your third best player, youre not winning a title.

Chris ( Woodland Hills, CA )

How can you say KOBE BRYANT at age 29 with (possible) 4 rings and counting and averaging around 30-6-6 over the past 4-5 seasons ISNT already in the top 5 all-time,???? he doesnt get enough props for what hes done with a medicore team, thats plagued with injuries every season!

Bill Simmons
  (12:48 PM)

The Laker fans conveniently forget that Kobe was a GRADE-A CANCER from 2001-2006. Hell, he was having probs with Shaq as far back as 1999. Of the 25 greatest players ever - and he's one of them - he was by far the worst teammate over the course of his career. Just because he's settled down and embraced things principles like "not showing up guys on the court" and "not being a jerk" doesn't change what happened from 2001-06.

Michael (Hollis, NH)

How much time should Doc let Sam play in the finals? In the Detroit series they were outscored by 21 when he was on the court and outscored the Pistons by 31 when someone else was controlling the point.

Bill Simmons
  (12:49 PM)

We should not see Sam in the Finals. Not once. Unless there's an Old-Timer's Game at halftime. God bless him, and it was worth the gamble, but he's got a pitchfork coming out of his back.

Dick (pittsburgh, PA)

Please react or give a play by play of your reaction to the would be four-point play by Paul Pierce the other night getting called as a blocking foul?!? on Pierce ? How can an offensive player even commit a blocking foul? I had to call my dad who is a long time Celtics fan just to make sure he was alive after that call

Bill Simmons
  (12:50 PM)

I have been watching hoops for 35 years and have never seen that play interpretated like that - EVER - not at any level. The correct call was "traveling," and if you watch PP on that play, he turns tro run back up court because he assumed it was a travel. That call was amazing. Bennett Salvatore never disappoints. He is a mortal lock to referee Game 3 of the Finals. Etch it in stone.

Sam (Greenville, NC)

Maybe want to mention even once that you pushed hard for the Celtics to pick up Sam Cassell before you started complaining constantly about him playing?

Bill Simmons
  (12:51 PM)

I absolutely pushed for it - it was a worthy gamble. And it didn't work out. Time to cut the cord.

Pat, Brighton

Where does Vujacic's game 5 three among all time great cover the spread shots?

Bill Simmons
  (12:52 PM)

It's on the short list and was even better in person because anyone who had the Lakers was celebrating like they had just won the Finals.

Adam (Boston, MA)

You credit Doc for "tightening the rotation" in your first answer, but I don't understand how he could play only 7 guys back in game 5. I was there, and Pierce (who didn't come out in the first half) and Perkins were completely out of gas in the 4th, which opened the door for the Detroit comeback. With that being said, how important is Leon Powe to this series, and do you think Doc will be smart enough to give him the minutes he deserves again?

Bill Simmons
  (12:54 PM)

I disagree, I went to that game - I didn't think the guys were gassed. Maybe perk a little. With the absurd length of the TV timeouts, minute totals don't matter as much. My buddy Hench and I were talking about this - if normal guys can play 3 hours of pickup hoops with occasional 10-minute rests, why can't conditioned NBA players do it? You can rest for 10 minutes during these playoff games and miss 2 minutes of actual game time.

Aidas (Eastern Europe)

I'm a Laker fan, and I hate the car flags. I used to laugh at Red Wings fans with those flags in the mid-90s. Then, a few years later, I came home from college to find that the disease had infected L.A. As much as I love L.A., I have to admit that L.A. steals a lot of trends from other places, and most of them are not cool. (But stealing star centers from other NBA teams will always be cool.)

Bill Simmons
  (12:54 PM)

The car flags are amazing. I can't say enough about them. It's the all time yahoo move.

Mike (SLC)

In an earlier question you listed the top 12 guys of all time. Was that your order with MJ third or just a random order?

Bill Simmons
  (12:55 PM)

Random order. I have MJ first now and forever until someone crushes everyone from his generation and wins 6 titles in 8 years again.

Al (NJ)

Did you catch the MMA bouts on Saturday night, and if so what was your reaction to the cauliflower ear in HD? I felt like no matter where I moved to in the living room, it was still looking at me.

Bill Simmons
  (12:56 PM)

The cauliflower ear in HD coming one day after Salvatore's call on Pierce almost put me in the hospital. I am not kidding.

Super Fans (Chicago)

Would have been a minimum 8-peat if MJ didn't retire in 1993.

Bill Simmons
  (12:57 PM)

I don't agree. MJ was burned out, he needed to recharge his batteries - that "layoff" helped him win the next 3. I put "layoff" in quotes since we all know he was suspended for gambling. Um, don't we?

Alex K. (New York)

My Laker friends are already using the dreaded "dynasty" there any hope for the rest of the league?? As a Kings fan, I'm prepared to light myself on fire...

Bill Simmons
  (12:58 PM)

I will say that LA is in much better position for the next 6-7 years than Boston. In my opinion, the Celtics will never have a better chance to win the title than right now. For LA, they get Ariza and Bynum back next year, plus their midlevel exception... I mean, that might be a 72-win team next year. If you're beating them, it has to happen this year.

Kyle (NC)

You say Kobe's a jerkto his teammates...Didn't Bird call his teammates little girls after they lost a Finals game? All the things you're saying about Kobe, they used to say about MJ...A lot of the greats were sometimes jerks to their teammates.

Bill Simmons
  (12:59 PM)

True. And the next game, McHale put Rambis on his ass and we went on to win the series. Bird did it for motivation, Kobe did it because he's socially inept.

John Paxson (Chicago, IL)

Bill, I need help. What should I do with the number 1 pick? I gotta go with the hometown prince - Derrick Rose, right? But then who am I trading? You are a better expert than me at the trade machine; what can you come up with?

Bill Simmons
  (1:01 PM)

It's a tough one - I'm still sorting out my opinions on this. Rose is my favorite player in the draft, but I hate the thought of him playing at home. Just a ton of potential probs there. On paper, they should take Rose and deal Hinrich, but the Rose/home thing makes me nervous. Stay tuned for an opinion, I swear I will have one.

Ryan (Easton, MA)

If you could take over for Doc, who would be your 8/9 man rotation for this series?

Bill Simmons
  (1:02 PM)

Posey would play 25 minutes off the bench. Eddie House would be my backup PG - 5-6 minutes each half. PJ brown would be my backup big. And that's that. I'd play 8 guys unless foul trouble intervened, then Powe would be my 9th.

Victor (NYC)

How devastated would you be in the C's lost this series? And you would recover in time to write a baseball column sometime this season?? The Devil Rays, whoops, I mean Rays, are in first place for crying out loud!!

Bill Simmons
  (1:04 PM)

Put it this way: My worst-case scenario for any sport was always "Lakers beating Celts in the Finals" (especially living out here) until we randomly had the "A NY team spoiling a 19-0 Pats season" scenario. So the thought of those happening within 6 months... I mean...

Ted (Philly)

If you don't give us your thoughts on the Lost season finale, I'm going to be effing mad.

Bill Simmons
  (1:04 PM)


Bill Simmons
  (1:05 PM)

I loved it, thought it was incredible, never saw the ending coming, the show continues to come through, etc etc. But I really want to know how the baby A.) survived the helicopter crash, and B.) never cries or needs to eat. Can you have the Lost baby in real life? That's the ideal baby, isn't it?

A.J. (New York)

Bill, Don?t you think that it would be appropriate to have a first class HOLLYWOOD director, or WORLD CLASS documentary filmmaker putting together the pregame Lakers vs. Celtics video montage before game one. I mean, wouldn?t this thing be about 30 minutes long???? And who would narrate this thing anyway? George Clooney? Gene Hackman? Morgan Freeman??????

Bill Simmons
  (1:06 PM)

No. No. No. ABC should just do CBS's old 1984 pregame intro, steal the graphics, steal the music and have Brent Musberger do the intro. That's what America wants.

Ryan (West Palm Beach, FL)

Gina Carano - hot or not? I find her smoking hot. She beat the crap out of that chick this weekend. I'm terrified of her and oddly aroused.

Bill Simmons
  (1:07 PM)

She's definitely hot. Very likable. Even the Sports Gal gave a thumbs up for Gina with the "She seems nice" compliment as she looked up from an Us Magazine on Sat. night.

Bill, Wakefield MA

I just moved back to Boston from Los Angeles and couldn't be happier. The ladies are walking around the Common in their sundresses, the Dunks is flowing like wine and the steak and cheese subs are made by Greeks. What am I missing in California, besides wandering around the Grove and possibly Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles?

Bill Simmons
  (1:08 PM)

For me, the No. 1 thing is that the games come on earlier. I just love having Sox games and playoff games coming on at 4:00 PM. Then again, I am one of the few without a real job, so maybe that's not an appealing thing for everyone. But it's so much easier to follow sports on the West coast.

Sam (Belleville, MI)

Wait wait, THAT is your thought on the LOST finale? No in depth discussion, just "I loved it"? What has HAPPENED to you?

Bill Simmons
  (1:09 PM)

Look, every time I got into depth about a TV show, I get all these crazy-upset emails from the 15 people who haven't seen it yet wishing that something horrible happened to me.

Adam (Raleigh, NC)

Can you write an article about how the Lakers are going to dominate the Celtics in this series every day for the next 2 weeks please? Why stop with your reverse jinx from Friday afternoon? Let's go all out, a new article everyday. Maybe one article is just focused on how Derek Fisher has too much experience for Rajon Rondo, another about how Lamar Odom is too talented and skilled for KG to defend him. Another about how the coaching disparity between Phil and Doc is the biggest in Finals history. The possibilities are endless. This is the role you play in the 2007-08 Boston Celtics Bill. Embrace it. Thanks.

Bill Simmons
  (1:11 PM)

I'm done with reverse jinxes. Don't blame me if Boston loses. That's all I am asking. I am still scarred from the 5,000 "YOU BLEW THE 19-0 SEASON!" emails from February, can you tell?

Ryan (Boston, MA)

Will Larry Legend show up at The Garden during this series?

Bill Simmons
  (1:12 PM)

I mean... he has to, right? How can he not? The Celts should have every living Celtics legend in the house for Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 and even some of the dead ones.

Nikita (Boston, MA)

It's great to hear that you enjoy MMA, Bill. It seems that so many of the ESPN analysts are quick to brush it a side as barbaric, which is disappointing since I doubt they ever gave it a fair chance. When did you start watching the sport and what's a favorite fight of yours? Couture-Sylvia sent chills down my spine.

Bill Simmons
  (1:13 PM)

I have always appreciated MMA and remain disappointed that ESPN shunned it for so long. Like anything else, it's taken a few years to work out the kinks - the sport is in a much better place than it was 5-6 years ago when I wrote about a UFC event.

Neil (Queens,NY)

Is it just me or did the Celtics appear a little "too happy to be here" in the locker room the other night, whereas the Lakers looked like they wanted a whole lot more?

Bill Simmons
  (1:14 PM)

That did worry me a little. I can't lie. On the other hand, that was the first game in six weeks where they took over a game on the road with defense/intensity, which is something they'd done all season. So I think they were giddy about that. They looked like the 66-win team in that game.

Bill Simmons
  (1:14 PM)

That did worry me a little. I can't lie. On the other hand, that was the first game in six weeks where they took over a game on the road with defense/intensity, which is something they'd done all season. So I think they were giddy about that. They looked like the 66-win team in that game.

Craig, Monmouth Beach, NJ

Bill: There are matchup problems for both teams, but the one matchup problem the Celtics can't address is at coach. Can we expect a Chris Webber moment from Doc Rivers in this series? Historically, has there ever been a bigger mismatch at coach in the NBA finals? I've looked back all the way to the 1980's and just can't find any coach less qualified to lead his team to a championship. We can find many examples of coaches who were outmatched in the finals: Del Harris Houston 81 Mike Dunleavy Lakers 91 Rick Adelman Portland 90 & 92 Brian Hill Orlando 95 Byron Scott Nets 02 & 03 However, these coaches on their worst days would outshine Doc on his best day. The fact that Doc even got here is the biggest story of the NBA finals. I know that the games are won by the players, but this is just unprecedented. And what if he won it all? Would we suddenly think of Doc as a good coach? That is a truly disturbing thought.

Bill Simmons
  (1:16 PM)

Mike Brown/Gregg Popovich was the biggest coaching mismatch in Finals history.

Joel T. (Santa Barbara, CA)

You constantly harp on Chris Wallace and Memphis' gift of Pau Gasol to the Lakers (true) . . . yet you seem to constantly overlook an even BIGGER gift - ex-Celtic Kevin McHale handing Garnett to his former team for the poo-poo plater of Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair. Legit omission or another "Kevin Garnett for MVP" homer moment?

Bill Simmons
  (1:18 PM)

The Lakers got two tangible things in that trade - Al Jefferson and the rights to their own No. 1 pick back (which could have eventually been top-3). The grizzlies got back NOTHING. They got back a young PG when they altready had 2 young PG's. They got back Pau Gasol's FranK Stallone brother. They got back Kwame Brown. They got back two first rounders that will be between 28-30. And that's it. That's a good trade? How does Gasol go for half as much as Jason Kidd or Shaq? How? Explain that to me.

Bill Simmons
  (1:20 PM)

Watch this clip - Phil Jackson on the Gasol trade. Just watch it. He cannot keep a straight face. v=RYFNhjVWQKk

Bill Simmons
  (1:20 PM)

Zo (Arlington, VA)

What Kobe instance gets the best Nick Cage Overacting Award: Kobe laughing at the Kenny Smith car jumping clip, or the Kobe praise for MJ during the Sunday Conversation?

Bill Simmons
  (1:21 PM)

Nothing will top Kobe fake-laughing at the Kenny Smith clip. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Ohhhhhhhhhh mannnnnn! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!" It was like he studied the way the Torry Brothers react at a celebrity roast.

SamB (SLC)

I love all the conspiracy theorists pointing to game 4 of that Lakers-Spurs series...If you even bothered to watch the game, you'd know that the Spurs were given EVERY opportunity to win that game. 1 blown call at the end of the game does not make up for the 10 blown calls against the Lakers...Seriously, get off your conspiracy chair and join us in the real world!!

Bill Simmons
  (1:22 PM)

Conspiracy theorists? They assigned a ref to that game who was SUSPENDED LAST YEAR because he was so biased against the Spurs? I am a conspiracy theorist for pointing that out????

Nathan, Netherlands

No but did blow the 19-0 season

Bill Simmons
  (1:23 PM)

See - that's what I have been dealing with for 5 months. So I go the other way and now I'm a traitor. I can't win.

David (Philly, PA)

Where does Chris Mihm (and his 54 games played for the Celts in 03-04) versus Boston in the NBA Finals rank on the Vengence Scale? -3.4?

Bill Simmons
  (1:24 PM)

0.002 - one decoimal point ahead of OJ's search for the killers.

Spike (Southie)

The thing about the gasol trade - the grizz had time before the trading deadline - why did they rush? I want an investigation.

Bill Simmons
  (1:25 PM)

You don't need an investigation. Jerry West worked for the Lakers his whole life, expcept for a few years in Memphis, where he became best friends with memphis owner Michael Heisley. West stepped down from Memphis before this season and became a consultant with the lakers. In January, Memphis dealt Gasol to the Lakers for 20 cents on the dollar without even really shopping him around. Why do we need to investigate this?

Russell, Boulder, CO

Did the Celtics with that gutsy win in game 6 in Detroit to anything to change your mind about them? I mean a couple of years ago Pierce would have self-destructed after Benner Salvatore called an offensive foul after getting mugged on a potential four point play. This time he laughed it off and put his blood on ice and went for the jugular. Is he the man for the Celtics down the stretch? Is he good enough to hang with Kobe?

Bill Simmons
  (1:27 PM)

That's a great point about PP and I thought the same thing. Three years ago, that call would have killed him for the game. He would have been done. This time, he gathered himself and took it out on Detroit.

Alex B. San Antonio, Tx.

According to your last article, you attended game 5 for both the Eastern AND Western conference finals. My question is as follows: Hey Bill, do you realize you're living every sports nerd's dream? I just need you to acknowledge it for me, before I end up feeling the same antipathy towards you as i do all the the guys in porn.

Bill Simmons
  (1:29 PM)

I got a few emails about this - it really wasn't that hard of a feat. I flew into Boston Tuesday night, went to the game Wednesday and flew back Thursday morning. But yes, I realize I am extremely lucky. Plus, I saw Game 5 of Utah-LA which was better than either of the Game 5's in the Conference Finals - that was the most competitive game I've seen in person in six years.

Kevin (SF)

There is no way Lakers fans are more front running than Patriots fans. You couldn't find a Patriots fan to save your life before 2000, now suddenly they're everywhere and think they invented football. I'll take car flags over holier than though bandwagon Boston fans any day.

Bill Simmons
  (1:29 PM)

That's not true, the Pats Bandwagon started in 93 when Parcells took over.

Mike (New Rochelle, NY)

Bennett Salvatore was on the grassy knoll. I'm convinced after the offensive foul on Pierce against Hamilton.

Jake (DC)

You can't win. You should have known this after however many years of marriage. Also, should/does the commissioner have any say in trades which are clearly made to help out old friends? I mean, doesn't that upset the competitive balance of the game while at the same rip the fans off? Something should be done about this...

Bill Simmons
  (1:32 PM)

The thing is, in both cases (KG trade and Gasol trade), it clearly helped the league as a whole. So nobody said anything. The interesting move would have been if the Spurs or Suns filed a lawsuit or tried to get an injunction on the basis that the Gasol trade was not fair and that other teams weren't given a chance to properly bid for him. Would have LOVED to have seen how that played out.

Pat (Boston)

Welcome to the spin/full denial zone. Someone presents you with facts about attendence and you just dismiss it with: "The fans never left" with a weak excuse that people cant afford $75 dollars? Gimme a break, I live in Beacon Hill and frequent "the Harp" and "the fours". Not only was there no one in the stadium, there was no one in the sports bars. Lemme guess, people just can't afford $3 dollar beers anymore?

Bill Simmons
  (1:32 PM)

In defense of the Celtics fans, the team was openly trying to lose games last year for Oden or Durant. Why would anyone go pay to see that?

Renaldo (Los Angeles, CA)

When are you going to admit you were wrong about Lamar Odom. The guy hit two game tying shots in game 4 of the Utah series, he hit all the clutch free throws in Game 4 of the Spurs series. The guy has been coming through

Bill Simmons
  (1:33 PM)

You're right, Lamar has proven himself - every question has been answered. The guy is an absolute sure thing in the Finals.

Jonathan, Toronto

Any chance you think the Raptors could land Melo? Maybe Jose Calderon, Moon, 2008 first rounder, 2010 first rounder, Kapono and take back whatever contract Denver doesn't want? Melo and Bosh would automatically propel the Raps to top 2 in the East for years to come

Bill Simmons
  (1:34 PM)

Matching up Melo and the Raptor Truthers would be one of the single worst marriages of all time - even worse than Mike Tyson and Robin Givens. They would eat him alive. I hope that doesn't happen. The Raps need to sign Calderon and trade TJ Ford or we might have a riot in Canada.

Jay: (Boston, MA):

Bill, you did not ruin the 19-0 season. Matt Light and that offensive line did everything they could along with Tyree making the catch of his life. I would say you are forgivin, but you did not cause it to begin with. Keep up the good work. GO CELTS

Bill Simmons
  (1:35 PM)

Thanks Jay! One down, three million to go.

Shihwan, New York, NY

Has Tony Allen taken over the "when he enters the game, every Boston fan cringes because we're about to have a heart attack" mantle from Byung Hyun Kim or Brandon Lyon? I'm terrified when I see him hopping around the "Ubuntu" dance during introductions, let alone when I see him walk to the scorer's table....

Bill Simmons
  (1:36 PM)

Put it this way: When he didn't come out for Game 5 and my Dad and I were trying to figure out where he was, I threw out the "I hope a Boston fan didn't try to run him over in their car" ... and I wasn't kidding.

Nick (Massachusetts)

BS on the Pats bandwagoning starting in '93. They hopped right off after 97. That's like everyone riding the Springsteen bandwagon every comeback he has. You start reading interviews about The Killers saying they "found" Bruce Springsteen again, it's all crap.

Bill Simmons
  (1:36 PM)

Not true not true not true. I was writing for my old website from '97 to 2001 - nobody hopped off, remember, we all banded together to get Pete Carroll fired?

Marcus (TN)

It didn't get dusty in the Simmons' household when Manny hit his 500th homer, did it?

Bill Simmons
  (1:38 PM)

it didn't get dusty, but I happened to watch it live and was legitimately fired up. Manny is like a family member at this point, he really is. I can't imagine life without him. He's like having a dog - you have him for 10 years, he does strange things, you always end up forgiving him, he always comes through when you least expect it, and then when it's over, you remember him fondly.

Adam, West Chester PA

SG, huge Celtics fan, and have said for years that this is the only thing that could save the NBA. How huge would the ratings be for a possible Game 7 of this series be?

Bill Simmons
  (1:40 PM)

The ratings will be bigger than people imagine, and here's why: The Mom Factor. I think I've written about this before, but you know a sporting event has gone mainstream when people who could care less like my Mom are saying, "How bout that Lakers-Celtics series!" and watching the games. When that happens, it's all over. And the NBA hasn't had that since Bulls-Jazz in '98. So I think the ratings will be even bigger than people think. John Skipper is driving around in a souped up Lexus with spinning rims right now.

Matt (Los Angeles CA)

by the way, as a USC man, thanks for getting Pete Carroll fired

Bill Simmons
  (1:41 PM)

You're welcome! It was a two-year odyssey and even led to me writing a 10,000-word Godfather parody in which Pete played the role of Fredo for my old website.

Matvei (Wrong Beach, CA)

Speaking of the competitive Jazz-Lakers series, how do you like the Jazz's chances next season? Deron Williams is a monster and I say they would've taken the Lakers series to seven, eight, or even nine games this year if Carlos Boozer hadn't moved around the court like he was wearing a ball and chain.

Bill Simmons
  (1:42 PM)

The jazz were a top-4 team this season - their biggest mistake was no tradeing AK47 for a reliable swingman. If they can do that this year, they will be the No. 2 favs behind LA next year.

Jim Fitzpatrick, Mean Streets of Sandwich, MA

SG, First of all, how can you explain the distance that Flip Saunders walks out on the court when he calls a timeout. Given his styish suits, is it possible that he sees it a fashion runway to walk across nearly the entire court? But I digress.....I see a 7 game series. There is no way Red allows Jackson to one up him in this series. You agree? Perhaps chanting "MVP" to Kobe will throw him off his game??

Bill Simmons
  (1:43 PM)

Thought this email was funny. Like the thought of Flip making a fashion runway walk.

John (Amherst, MA)

Eddie House: Reg Season- 19.0 min/g, Playoffs- 5.9 min/g Tony Allen: Reg Season- 18.4 min/g, Playoffs- 4.0 min/g Glen Davis: Reg Season- 13.7 min/g, Playoffs- 7.7 min/g I understand that you shorten your rotation in the playoffs but these are guys who made key contributions to the team at important times. House hit a ton of big 3's and don't forget Big Baby's 4th quarter in our first win against Detroit this year. Why the complete loss of faith in our bench by Doc?

Bill Simmons
  (1:44 PM)

Eddie House not playing in the first two series was inexplicable. Eddie not playing in the third series was more explicable because Lindsay Hunter eats him up, although they could have gotten a little creative and maybe brought Eddie in earlier. But he NEEDS TO PLAY in this series. Any good thing he does gets the team fired up, especially at home where the fans love him.

Ross (Austin, TX)

For all the positive attributed Rondo brings to the floor, he seems to have a knack for making some really stupid plays. One game in the Detroit series, he guarded Prince by putting his hand in his face and playing the "not touching you... cant get mad" game. He was then called for a foul and followed this up by throwing an underhand pass to the lane which instantly was stolen. He never ceases to amaze with his unnecessary behind the back passes (that sometimes get stolen). Is Rondo really a guy you want to control the ball in the final minutes of game 7?

Bill Simmons
  (1:46 PM)

He's a 2nd year point guard. They're up, they're done. He came up huge in Game 5 of the Cavs series and the last quarter of the Detroit series... other times, he might not. I'd say he's exceeded expectations considering he goes into every game knowing that he's the team's best PG by far. At least Tony parker had Speedy Claxton saving his ass every other game in 2003.

Steiny (NYC)

Bill, who do you think will be the MVP of the Finals?

Bill Simmons
  (1:46 PM)

If you're betting, the two choices are Kobe and Pierce. If Boston wins, it will be because PP played his best ball.

Matt (San Diego, CA)

What was is like to witness the postgame ceremony after Lakers/Spurs Game 5 in person??? I got goosebumps, and wasn't even watching in HD.

Bill Simmons
  (1:47 PM)

I was fleeing the premises even as Sasha's line-busting three was in the air.

Mike, Allston, MA

Hey Bill, I happened to notice that Belichick was sitting a few rows away from me at game 5 of the Celtics/Pistons game last week. He was there with a very attractive female, don't know if you had a chance to see her. My question is, how do you think he prepares for his dates? I bet he comes up with a few different post date game plans, probably draws up a few sexual plays on his belistrator and then depending on how the date is going he makes the necessary adjustments at the midway point. What do you think?

Bill Simmons
  (1:48 PM)

Good God, how did you miss the "taping her from the bedroom closet" joke?

Matt Walsh, From under some rock

Ok what if I said that I have a tape of the entire Patriots team clubbing baby seals. Would that keep me in the limelight for another week?

Bill Simmons
  (1:49 PM)

You're leading TMQ this week!

Matt Killeen Greenfield, MA

A change happened last June where Kobe Bryant was able to "instill his DNA into the rest of the team"? Can we make a joke here, or is it still too soon?

Bill Simmons
  (1:49 PM)

Too soon

McHale (Bahamas)

Your Welcome!

Andrew (D.C.)

Do you agree that Ray Allen is the single biggest X-Factor we've had in an NBA Finals this decade, aside from maybe Tony Parker in '03?

Bill Simmons
  (1:50 PM)

Absolutely. We saw it in Game 5 - if he's making threes, the Celts jump a level. I don't know what to expect... I mean, we're Game 103 for Ray's ankles is Thursday night, not including exhibition and the Italy trip.

Bill Simmons
  (1:51 PM)

We might need to get Mr. Miyagi to massage him.

Jeff (Toronto)

Can you give me a background on the "Allen vs Bryant" beef, and is their any chance Kobe doesn't average more then 35 ppg? I mean who can stop him on the Celtics?

Bill Simmons
  (1:52 PM)

I don't know the background, it's a total mystery. Even stranger, I have asked multiple people who normally would know the answer to a question like that, and even THEY didn't know. Which means there's a 100% chance it's over a woman.

Mark (Chicago)

Admit it...Sid the Kid, the Red Wings' uniforms, Chris Chelios, aka the Julio Franco of hockey, unbelievably great crowd in're into the finals, aren't you. Its ok to admit it...your credibility will remain intact.

Bill Simmons
  (1:53 PM)

I've been watching. I love watching Sid the Kid - loved the end of Game 4 when he wouldn't leave the ice and wanted to go after the Red Wing. They're a year away. By the way, how does it help your team to have 15,000 fans wearing white? Isn't that the color of the surrender flag?

Matt (Los Angeles CA)

Is there anyone anywhere more deserving of just walking around with both middle fingers held up, saying F*** you to every critic he's got than Mitch Kupchak?? I know he's a low-key reserved guy, but in his office, when no one is around, he must secretly cackle his heart out...

Bill Simmons
  (1:54 PM)

Derek Fisher fell into his lap and the Gasol trade was called in. I'm not going nuts about Mitch. Although he's drafted well over the last few years. Still, you cannot forget that he traded Caron Butler for Kwame Brown. You really can't.

Nick (Bangkok)

Besides Baron Davis, who are the greatest bearded players of all time? And Baron has to be the greatest bearded point guard ever, right?

Bill Simmons
  (1:56 PM)

Nice question! I'd go with Baron at point, Brian Winters at the 2, G-Mo at center, Nocioni at the 3 and at the 4... I don't know. Need to think about it.

Johnny Lawrence (Round Rock, TX)

Not only do I blame you for the Pats losing the perfect season,..but I also blame you for saying (circa 1984) that there was no way Larusso could take down Dutch..much less the rest of the Cobra Kai at the All Valley Karate finals.

Noam (NY, NY)

Can we get a promise that after your inevitable finals and post-finals columns, we get a 2 week moratorium on columns that are about Boston sports teams (including veiled Boston team columns)? Maybe a column about having kids making somebody revert to writing only about their favorite teams?

Bill Simmons
  (1:57 PM)

I am doing my best not to over-Boston it... but come on, the Pats were the most written about team of this decade, the Sox won the World Series and the Celts just made the Finals. What do you wanyt from me? I didn't write ONE Celtics column during the regular season... sure, it was because I didn't want to jinx them, but still.


Walt Frazier, best bearded PG ever. Earl Monroe used to rock the beard as well.

Bill Simmons
  (1:58 PM)

Crap, he's right. Walt bumps Baron.

Holden (Seattle, WA)

According to a Lakers team source, Bryant telephoned Allen days ago and told him, "I'm gonna bust your ass," in anticipation of their 7:30 p.m. exhibition at the San Diego Sports Arena. Seattle Times 10/25/04

Craig (Baltimore, MD)

Kareem had a beard from the the mid 1970's to early 80's.

Bill Simmons
  (1:59 PM)

Yeah, but it didn't rock like G-Mo's beard did.

Matt, Boston

Sports Guy, you don't really think writing a column saying "nobody's beating the Lakers" will let you off the hook for jinxing the Pats, do you? I know things are good in Boston these days, but even if the C's do win with help from your anti-jinx, you still had a hand in ruining the greatest football team of all time.

Bill Simmons
  (1:59 PM)

I am going to go sit in my garage with the car running.

Peter (Tarzana, CA)

Hey Bill, In the back of your mind, are you worried at all about the Celtics potentially losing their lead in all-time championships? If the Lakers win this series, they'll only be one back.

Bill Simmons
  (2:00 PM)

You're counting the four from Minneapolis? Really?

Spencer (SLC)

What about Big Mark Eaton at 5 on your all bearded team?

Bill Simmons
  (2:00 PM)

Backup center

Ben(New Jersey)

Sports Guy! I've been a fan for years but I've never written in before. I'm a senior in high school and my friends and I love to play a game called KG that. It's when you take something ordinary and go crazy over it. For example, we went out for Chinese last Friday and after one of my friends ordered his beef and broccoli i told him he should KG it when it comes. When the waiter brought out his beef, he got up on his chair and started pounding his chest screaming "THATS HOW YOU ORDER CHINESE" he then ran around high fiving random people while pounding his chest and screaming. We ended up getting kicked out, but I'd say it was worth it. Whats the funniest situation you could see where you could KG something?

Bill Simmons
  (2:02 PM)

Love it! Let's go out on that email. Stay tuned this week for: A gala NBA Finals Podcast (and possibly 2); tomorrow's mag column on the myths of the Celts-Lakers rivalry; a preview on Wed. or Thursday and thoughts after Game 1 on Friday. Thanks to everyone who sent in a question!