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April 17, 6:14 AM ET
Chat with J.A. Adande

J.A. Adande
  (3:02 PM)

Hi everybody. You know what's up: playoffs! How great an appetizer was Wednesday's night? Those felt like conference tournament games. Now we're ready for the NBA version of the Big Dance. The two-month dance. Here we go....

Dan W (Boston)

I'm a Lakers fan in Celtics territory (I was born in California). How do you think Kobe's level of play will change in the playoffs compared to the regular season, where at the end he started to only play just enough for the Lakers to win games. Do you Kobe will be more aggressive in the playoffs and attack the hoop more? Thanks.

J.A. Adande
  (3:04 PM)

Good question...Kobe paced himself more this season than ever before...which was wise. You don't win championships in November, but you can lose them then f you burn yourself out and/or get injured. I think you'll see him look for his shot more, but I don't think he'll attack the basket as much. Those days are done. He can't just jumpe over people anymore. What he does now is predetermine a spot on the floor, get there and be quick to rise for the jumper

Simon T, Boston MA

Great theme for the league with your piece today. I see Portland being the strongest challenge to LA, this season, but not tough enough yet. What does Portland need to do, in the next 2 years, to be considered a FAVORITE versus LA?

J.A. Adande
  (3:07 PM)

It's pretty simple: be patient. All it takes is time. It's like the difference between eggs and an omelet: time in the pan. The only thing this group lacks is experience. They need to play the Lakers this year so they can learn from them, the way the Kobe-Shaq Lakers learned from getting picked apart by Utah in the playoffs

Eric (Mexico)

Hello J.A., you said "About one in every four high school players (seven of 27, including Amare Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady and Jermaine O'Neal) selected in the first round from 1995 to 2005 became an All-Star. That's a much higher success rate than the three of 42 foreign first-round picks who developed into All-Stars (Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Yao Ming) during that same time period." Did you forget about Tony Parker?? What about Steve Nash? Mehmet Okur in 2007? Ilgauskas in 2005? Peja in 2004?? Kirilenko in 2004? The GREAT Tim Duncan?!!?!?! Come on man, do your homework!!!!

J.A. Adande
  (3:08 PM)

I did homework, but I guess I didn't make the criteria as explicit as I should have. I did not include foreign born players who played college basketball in the US, such as Nash, and Duncan

Chris (Hacienda Heights)

Remember when no one thought the Heat would win it all in 06. You think something similar is going to happen this year, with the Heat going beyond expectations? You only need one D-Wade to change everything.

J.A. Adande
  (3:10 PM)

I wouldn't say no one believed the Heat could win in 06. They were within two minutes of going to the Finals in 05 and that was after Wade and Shaq were hurt in the series. I don't think the Heat or anyone else will come out of the blue to win it this year

KB (Latvia)

Hey, J.A. Love your chats. I have 2 quest. 1st - how many games will Cavs need to get past Detroit if Big Ben isn't healthy? 2nd - am I only one who thinks that KG's injury isn't as serious as everyone think and he actually might give them huge momentum if returns?

J.A. Adande
  (3:13 PM)

I think that's a 5-game series. And part of me wonders if Doc Rivers didn't come out and declare Garnett out for the playoffs just to take the pressure off of KG. Now people won't be constantly asking about his return, so he won't rush back sooner than he can. Any minutes from KG would be a bonus now

coco(Greenville, SC)

Celtics won 62 games and mostlty with a decimated team, How far can heart and experience take us without the Big Ticket? EC Finals?...NBA Finals?

J.A. Adande
  (3:14 PM)

It's not just heart and experience...its Pierce and Ray Allen too. At best they could beat Orlando, but the Celtics weren't getting past Cleveland even with KG

Ryan (LA)

Hey, J.A. Do you think theres gonna be a lot of talk about the NBA fixing games to get a Kobe vs. Lebron matchup. And yes I think Cleveland vs. LA is a forgone conclusion

J.A. Adande
  (3:17 PM)

there will be, and people should do other things with their lives. Weather's turning nice, go outside for a walk. The best teams almost always win 7-game series, help isn't nececessary. And blatantly bad officiating usually favors the home team, and home court is earned during the regular season, so that's part of the game. If every postseason were fixed the Spurs wouldn't keep showing up in the Finals.

Joe (Baltimore)

Hey J.A., Who will be the biggest x factor in the playoffs this year? Thorpe acknowledged Oden might be in his chat on Wednesday. I am thinking Bynum's presence in the middle for the Lakers, and Howard's ability to control the paint for the Magic.

J.A. Adande
  (3:20 PM)

Potentially...Garnett. But since his return isn't likely, I'll say Tyson Chandler. If his sprained ankle can hold up it'll give the Hornets a chance..and if they can get past Denver they'd have a good shot at the W. Finals. They need a boost of energy.

Rick (Orlando)

Do you think the Magic can regain their earlier-season form, or do you believe that the late-season swoon is a sign of things to come in the playoffs?

J.A. Adande
  (3:21 PM)

the Magic will be more like the early version than the late one....well, minus Jameer's ability to get to the basket. .I just don't think that even the early version is enough to get past Cleveland.

sam (denver) [via mobile]

aside from the newly found leadership in denver,with the arrival of chauncy billups,what guarantee is there that the nuggets wont self destruct due to coach/player rivalry or buckle under the pressure

J.A. Adande
  (3:23 PM)

No guarantee at all. George Karl was at the helm for two of the biggest first-round sinkings ever while in Seattle, and I'm still not sure everyone's on the same page now in Denver. Lot of pressure on him and Melo...but they might be able to take advantage of a tired and banged-up Hornets squad

Chad (Chicago)

J.A.... I know you agree with me... Don't you spell an upset brewing in the Chicago/Boston series??!! The Bulls have essentially 2 really good second units... The Celtics (without KG) have an aging 1st unit, and a weak 2nd unit... UPSET CITY!

J.A. Adande
  (3:27 PM)

I'm going with Chalk Town in this one. Bulls have a rookie point guard, and John Salmons has never scored a playoff point. And Vinny Del Negro's coaching in the playoffs for the first time. We talk about Portland's lack of playoff experience, how about Chicago's at such key positions?

Adam (Irvine, CA)

Hey J.A., if the Cavs and the Lakers meet in the finals who do you have winning the series?

J.A. Adande
  (3:29 PM)

I think this will be the matchup and I think the Lakers will win. Been going back and forth on this, but thought about how the Lakers beat them both times in the regular season. That was an accurate indicator for Celtics-Lakers last year and it will be again this year

Tony Parker (San Antonio)

Why do we need 3 superstars to beat other teams with less to offer? Are people overlooking Drew Gooden's impact on the offensive end? How does Dallas stop me?

J.A. Adande
  (3:31 PM)

So you can get out of the first round. Would that make you or anyone else in San Antonio happy? This team is built to win championships, Duncan won't be around forever and the current roster sans Ginobili isn't enough to take out the best in the West, which would make this a wasted year

Charlie (Amsterdam)

J.A., your fans in The Netherlands are celebrating Adande Night and you haven't answered a single question. Does Beasley break out in the playoffs, and does he end up being the best of his draft class long term?

J.A. Adande
  (3:34 PM)

I don't even know how to say "hello" in Dutch, but if i could I woudl. Beasley could do well against the Hawks...shot 57% against them this season and went for 23 and 13 last time they played. But I still don't think he'll end up being the class of the class. Remember a few weeks back in this chat when I said he wasn't serious enough? Spoelstra said the same thing last week.

Horace (Milton, MA)

Do you ever remember a conference playoffs where there was such a gap between the 1 seed and everyone else? I want to say that this must have happened with MJ's Bulls at least once, but at least they usually had NYC and/or Indiana to challenge them...

J.A. Adande
  (3:36 PM)

Hmmm, maybe Philly in 83? Remember, even when the Lakers went 15-1 in the playoffs in 2001 they weren't the top seed...San Antonio had homecourt against them in the WC finals

Adam (Rip City)

Are you going to any of the playoff games? If so, what matchups are you going to check out? Also, which matchup has the best cities (ones you want to visit at least)? Cheers to the Playoffs!

J.A. Adande
  (3:39 PM)

I'll do the Lakers-Jazz series and maybe hop on another one if that ends early. For competition and storyline I'd like to do Houston-Portland. For cities, I'd like to do Nuggets-Hornets or Hawks-Heat. Not crazy about Denver or Atlanta, but I love New Orleans and Miami

Vincent: (Los Angeles)

JA, love your insights. Much is made of the "experience" factor among players. Don't you think experience should be more of an issue when it comes to coaches!? Matchups, strategies, and psychology are just as much coaches' issues as they are players right? With that in mind, the edge has to go to Adelman over Nate.

J.A. Adande
  (3:42 PM)

It does. the coach factor is something I didn't think much about until today. Let's not forget about Spoelstra and DiLeo, who are new to this as well. Portland's best player and chief strategizer are doing this for the first time in these roles. I believe inexperience costs you at least one game the first time you go to a new level. But I think the Blazers will learn on the fly enough to overcome Houston.

Saagar (San Jose, CA)

Jay A I hear people say that this is the Lakers LAST chance at a title with Kobe. How is that true? The kids are just getting better and Kobe shows no signs of slowing down. Do you personally think this is the Lakers last shot?

J.A. Adande
  (3:45 PM)

Not last, but it could be their best. Kobe's at his peak, but I don't see him getting better. LeBron will get better. Brandon roy and Portland will get better.

Harry Manback ( Portland, OR)

Nate is doing this for the first time? What about 2002, when he almost beat the Spurs with an outgunned Sonics squad? Which do you think will win out in Portland versus Houston--no experience, or the repeated experience of choking in the playoffs?

J.A. Adande
  (3:47 PM)

I stand corrected. I don't think Houston's collective past will do in the Rockets. That's a burden on McGrady more than anybody else, and he's not around for this. Artest has been out of the first round before. But I think Portland's talent + the confidence they've picked up these last few weeks will overcome the inexperience factor.

Jeff (Ohio)

Was it an accurate indicator when the Cavs beat the Spurs twice during the regular season then got swept during the Finals? Playoffs a completely different beast, you can forget about what happened during the regular season.

J.A. Adande
  (3:49 PM)

The Spurs under Popovich never emphasized the regular season very much. Cleveland had its eye on homecourt, LeBron was trying to make a statement every night..their regular season mattered more. And I doubt the 07 Spurs really thought they'd be seeing Cleveland in the Finals.

Matt (Oklahoma City)

Say the Thunder don't get the 1st overall pick in the lottery do you trade Jeff Green and our first 1st round pick for Griffin since he is a true PF? Because the local media here think that this could be a strong possibility.

J.A. Adande
  (3:51 PM)

I wouldn't make that trade. You can go out and find a guy who gets you rebounds if you want that from your PF. You can't find a guy who does so many thigns as well as Green, and is so willing to play the No. 2 role behind Durant.

Joel (DC)

preps to pros never to be seen again? this strikes me as a rule that will be overturned once it is challenged in the courts, as it is a violation of an adults right to work

J.A. Adande
  (3:54 PM)

Ultimately the Maurice Clarett case in the NFL determined that a collective bargaining agreement takes precedence over an individual's right to work. The NBA and its union are allowed to determine the minimum requirements. I'd like to see HS grads get the chance to play in the NBA right away, but if the union doesn't want to make it a priority it isn't going to happen.

phletchuer, WAY northern CA

Odom, Ariza, Powell, & Shannon Brown - How many of these guys stay on the Lakers if they win it all? And if they don't?

J.A. Adande
  (3:56 PM)

I think Odom's going to have to take a big pay cut if he wants to stay in LA. And I think Ariza will get an offer elsewhere that will be hard for him to resist, especially if the Lakers win it all this year. Ariza's a good candidate for the Tyronn Lue Award for best contract earned from a playoff run. Any other nominees you want to throw out there?

Vincent: (Los Angeles)

JA, what do you think of Joe Dumars? Why isn't the media and the public lighting a fire under him for dealing billups and then shelving Iverson under suspect pretenses? Also, what's the feeling in Piston-land? They were willing to dump beer on Artest, I can only imagine how heated they must be at Dumars dealing the intangible personality of Billups. Patience doesn't seem to be a virtue of Detroit.

J.A. Adande
  (4:01 PM)

Should Donnie Walsh be villified for trading his best scorers to clear cap room? If he's not taking heat, neither should Dumars. As important as Billups was the Pistons, they weren't going to beat the Cavs or the Celts (with KG, as everyone presumed before the season) even if they had Billups. You need to see what Dumars does with the cap space before you judge the deal. I think they'll sign too good-but-not-great players, which actually fits the Pistons' MO more than going after a superstar

Jeff (NYC)

Do you think winning a title solidifes LeBron's desire to remain in Cleveland for the rest of his career? Or would he look at it as a "mission accomplished" situation, "i've done all i can do for my hometown, now it's time to go to the big stage" (NY/LA/CHI)??

J.A. Adande
  (4:03 PM)

I think winning one would make it easier to leave. If he gave Cleveland its first major championship since the 60s, wouldn't that be enough? But if LeBron wants to pass Jordan and Magic, he'll have to go to the team best suited to get him multiple rings. If that's the case I think he'd be better off in Cleveland than in Ny. And he'll make more NBA contract money in Cleveland.

Larry: Atlanta

I think the Tyrone Lue award should be named after a more deserving candidate, The Jerome James award.

Daniel (San Antonio)

Speaking for the entire Spurs fan base, we would love to see the Spurs get a shot at the Lakers, even as underdog. Shock the world, baby.

J.A. Adande
  (4:05 PM)

Careful what you wish for. While you're at it, you might as well ask Joe Crawford to referee Game 7

Chuck (San Francisco)

Billups was traded what, four games in the season? From a team that went to the Conference Finals last year (remember, they were UP in that series, too, winning in Boston)? The team still made the playoffs, even without Billups (or McDyess for a month). Given their tendency to beat the Cavs (they had even already beaten them this year before the trade)and the Magic, there is no reason to believe the Pistons couldn't have made the finals this year without the horrible trade of Billups. Dumars pulled the plug way, way too early.

J.A. Adande
  (4:07 PM)

It's better to pull it too early than too late, then get stuck with cap-eating contracts for players past their prime. You have to think long-term, especially when LeBron and Dwight Howard are in your conference.

phletchuer, WAY northern CA

The Jerome James Award (for winning one playoff series and then losing in the second round) goes to Paul Milsap. If the Jazz beat the Lakers, he's the reason.

J.A. Adande
  (4:08 PM)

Millsap will make money, but he's really earned it based on the regular season. We're talking about guys who just turn it on for a series or two, then get paid

Tony (San Antonio)

Do you like that the first round goes best out of seven or do you dislike that like I do?

J.A. Adande
  (4:09 PM)

It's too long. Best of 5 was enough for the first round. They were more compelling, too.

J.A. Adande
  (4:09 PM)

gotta run. enjoy the playoffs!