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April 23, 7:17 AM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (3:03 PM)

Good afternoon from Atlanta, where I witness a rare display of 3-point shooting prowess from D-Wade. Let's get to all the playoff questions ...

Heat Fan

During Jermaine Oneals 19 pt game 2 you can notice alot more explosion in his moves; is that a sign of whats to come?

John Hollinger
  (3:05 PM)

I think it's more a sign that he can do those sorts of things once in a while, but no longer every night. Jermaine was an underrated key last night, I agree, especially since the Hawks kept doubling him and leaving 3-point shooters open.

Darvin (Forth Worth)

Is Deke's injury really going to affect the Rockets against Portland? We barely used him all season.

John Hollinger
  (3:07 PM)

Here's the thing -- he was probably at his most useful against the Blazers and Lakers, the two teams with the most length in the front line. And those are the two teams in Houston's bracket. Now they're giving up inches at both frontcourt spots any time Yao checks out. We might see them go small a bit more with Ron at the 4 when Yao is out.

Matt (Portland)

I am a little scared that we had to have both Roy and Aldridge go off in game 2 to win by four. I'm nervous about tomorrow night in Houston.

John Hollinger
  (3:08 PM)

That was my reaction to Game 2 as well -- Blazers badly need their role players to step up. Travis Outlaw in particular has had a rough series so far. Another thought: Will we see Bayless brought in to guard Brooks at some point?

Chris (Hacienda Heights, CA)

Does the Heat win last night change your mind about the series?? Most commentators wrote them off after Game 1.

John Hollinger
  (3:10 PM)

I picked Hawks in seven, so developments so far aren't really a big shock to me. Here's the thing: Miami isn't going to shoot like that every night. In fact, they won't shoot like that ANY night -- that was just crazy. So I still like Atlanta's odds to get one down there.

Kobe ( LA )

Can I lead my team to a road victory tonight?

John Hollinger
  (3:11 PM)

Can't see why not ... Utah has one eye on the golf course and still doesn't have Okur. The one thing that would worry me is that the Lakers really didn't defend well those first two games, so it's possible Utah rides the crowd to a 115-110 win.

Darnell (Nawlins)

If the answer isn't both, what needs to improve more for the Hornets in Games 3 and 4: offense or defense?

John Hollinger
  (3:13 PM)

Gotta be the defense -- Nawlins is comfortable playing games in the 80s, but they've also been consistently good on D. It's not just Billups either -- Peja got killed by Anthony last night and the bench pairings are a total mismatch.

Dan Dallas, Tx

Hey! Thanks for taking the time to do this. In your opinion, is Mutombo a Hall of Famer? Also is Mourning?

John Hollinger
  (3:14 PM)

It depends if they consider him an "international" or not. Almost any halfway decent player with a foreign passport gets in; the standard for American-born NBA players has been much, much higher. This is one of many idiotic idiosyncracies of the Hall of Fame, and why the NBA should stop endorsing the sham called Springfield and build its own.

Vin Del Negro

Will my son be an idiot again and leave no timeouts for the end of the game?

John Hollinger
  (3:16 PM)

Vinny isn't an idiot; what he is, however, is a coach with virtually no experience, and it's showing.

Jon (DC)

John, neither Zo or Deke is going to get in. They didn't coach in college for 20 years.

John Hollinger
  (3:16 PM)

Exactly.

John (CO)

Is there a team that doesn't wish they had signed Chris Andersen?

John Hollinger
  (3:18 PM)

Understand that signing Andersen came with a LOT of risks, and it was basically going to come down to Denver or New Orleans because those were the two places he had a support network to help him stay clean. So the other 28 teams get a mulligan on this one.

Mike (Beirut)

Hey John! With the Wizards having Arenas and the Thunder having Westbrook it seems like Sacto is the probable destination for Rubio. How would you like that fit? Cheers!!

John Hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

It's an interesting point, but one that depends entirely on how the lottery plays out. If Minnesota or Golden State moves into the top three, for instance, I think they'd be highly likely to draft Rubio.

Jack (Philly)

Care to issue a retraction on your preseason notion that Andre Miller was due for a decline?

John Hollinger
  (3:23 PM)

Well, he was due. He just didn't follow the trend line. Stocky point guards who don't shoot well aren't supposed to improve in their early 30s; Miller is proving the exception to the rule. All of which makes him a troubling free agent to value this offseason.

Doc Rivers

This series isn't about KG John

John Hollinger
  (3:25 PM)

That would be easier to believe if one of the best defensive teams of all time wasn't suddenly getting lit up like a Christmas tree now that KG's out. If Boston defends the way they did the first two games, they will lose.

Dashiell New York, NY

Thoughts on Nowitzki's comments suggesting that the Spurs have a dirty player (Bowen), and the Mavs don't?

John Hollinger
  (3:26 PM)

Not exactly an isolated opinion, though he forgot that the Mavs have at least two players on their roster (Terry and Stackhouse) with rap sheets comparable to Bowen's.

Zack (Akron, OH)

John, when is the announcement going to drop that King James is the MVP? Right before the start of the second round so he can get the award presented at home?

John Hollinger
  (3:27 PM)

I would imagine during Game 1 or Game 2 of the second round, yes; they seem to have moved up the timing after the Nowitzki debacle in 2007.

Donald (Los Angeles, CA)

Do you think Durant has a shot at being better than LeBron at some future date when they are both still in their primes?

John Hollinger
  (3:29 PM)

I highly doubt it, and I mean that as no slight to Durant; what you're basically asking is if Durant will be among the greatest players of all time in a few years. While he has immense promise, LBJ is a once-a-generation talent. Durant isn't quite in that category.

Brendan (Pittsfield, MA)

John, are you saying that Coach K doesn't belong in the basketball HOF?

John Hollinger
  (3:32 PM)

No, Coach K and Dean Smith and their like belong. It's the guys who hung around for 20 years and never won anything -- look around, they're not hard to find -- that drive me crazy. And they've started doing the same with women's coaches, to the point that they have about the same number of women's college coaches as NBA coaches. It seems odd that coaching at the game's highest level would get such short shrift; for Dick Motta not to be in the Hall, for instance, is totally ridiculous.

Joel (Portland)

Are we better off with or without Greg Oden? I'm doing just fine playing 40 minutes a game.

John Hollinger
  (3:34 PM)

Sure, if they change the rules and give you eight fouls. Przybilla wasn't playing 40 minutes even when Oden was injured, and Oden has been a factor in both games so far.

Nimesh (Orlando)

Glass half full or half empty? Magic are 1-1 in the series with no production from Hedo and Shard.

John Hollinger
  (3:35 PM)

Realistically, I don't think the Sixers have enough to beat Orlando regardless of how those two play. Some of these 3s are bound to start falling for Orlando, and as long as those two can heal on the off days the Magic should be fine.

Chris (Hacienda Heights, CA)

What playoff series has been the most disappointing so far?

John Hollinger
  (3:36 PM)

Gotta be Denver-New Orleans. I expected the two 1-8 series to be one-sided, and the other five have given us all we could ask for so far. I know I picked Denver in 5, but I expected a closer 5 than this.

mark (cleveland)

Can Denver beat the Lakers?

John Hollinger
  (3:37 PM)

Been getting that question a lot in here, as the Nuggets have looked fantastic so far. But let's see how well their game travels before we start getting too hyped up about the conference finals.

Donald (Los Angeles, CA)

I love any-and-all things Van Gundy, but don't you think SVG's reaction to Orlando's bench cheering in Game 1 was a little too draconic?

John Hollinger
  (3:38 PM)

Watch the replay -- Gortat ran about 10 feet onto the court, and Stan was just shoving him back while wondering aloud what the heck he was doing. Any coach would have done the same.

Cato (Ontario,California)

Can't we just give the trophy to the Lakers now, it seems the rest of the playoffs aern't neccesary

John Hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

You're a pretty soft judge if you're ready to award them the title based on that. L.A. certainly showed it's talent, but there were some pretty lengthy defensive lapses and some pretty shaky point guard play -- that's why Phil was so unenthused after each.

Evan ( cleveland )

If Kobe somehow wins the next 2 titles, does that put him in the top 10 greatest players of all time?

John Hollinger
  (3:42 PM)

It would put him in the discussion yes, though it also depends on how it comes about -- I'm answering presuming he was the leading man and MVP of the Finals both times.

Phil (Phoenix)

Did you see Robin Lopez got a 2nd place ROY vote. That guy had to have meant to vote for Brook, right?

John Hollinger
  (3:43 PM)

I sure hope so, because anyone who thinks Robin was the second-best rookie should have their ballot taken away.

Matt: (Cleveland)

I tried asking this a week ago and I'm gonna try it again, do the Cavs lose more than 3 games on the way to the NBA Finals?

John Hollinger
  (3:44 PM)

I still say not ... maybe one to Atlanta and one or two to Orlando.

John (LA)

I bet you think LeBron is in the top 10 already. Why all the hate for Kobe? Is it a job requirement to hype LeBron up at ESPN?

John Hollinger
  (3:47 PM)

Probably the funniest part of looking at my email was all the comments from Lakers fans insisting that there's some kind of pro-LeBron conspiracy at ESPN, the network that televised what, about 81 of the 82 Lakers' games this season? Seriously, there were a ton of these. Settle down, people. Cleveland won more games this year and has home-court; that some people are picking them to win isn't coming out of left field.

Ernesto (Orlando)

Who does Courtney Lee reminds you of? People here are saying a young Brandon Roy. Is that a fair assesment?

John Hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

Actually, that's a ridiculous assessment. But Lee has been impressive these first two games -- I think a better comparison might be Doug Christie.

Nathan (DC)

Would NO be a title contender with J.R. Smith, Birdman and Bass? I know the first two have baggage but they basically gave them away Phoenix style.

John Hollinger
  (3:49 PM)

We covered Birdman earlier -- Hornets tried to bring him back but he chose Denver. Bass and Smith are more stinging indictments, however -- they let both walk, and now their bench is killing them.

Crawford (Denver)

Is it fair to say that Denver's bargain-basement re-signing of JR Smith is the most underrated deal of the past off-season?

John Hollinger
  (3:50 PM)

Not in these parts it wasn't -- I was very positive on that one from the get-go.

Carlos(LA,CA)

John, Will you be coming to parade for your 2009 NBA Champions Los Angeles Lakers?

John Hollinger
  (3:51 PM)

Lots of passion for the Lakers in L.A. -- gotta respect that. No team has a stronger fan presence on the road as well. Just need to mix in a little sanity and everything's cool.

Josh (Austin TX)

Most "likeable" guy in the NBA right now?

John Hollinger
  (3:52 PM)

Gotta be Battier. Great guy to talk to, fun player to appreciate.

JC-MN

Any Comment on Kevin Love's 6th Place ROY Finish? What a Joke!!!

John Hollinger
  (3:53 PM)

Here's the problem -- he didn't play as much as the other guys, and he had some legitimate issues on D. I would have put him ahead of Eric Gordon and O.J. Mayo, but I don't think it's a travesty that he finished behind them.

Kobe (LA)

Lakers in 5, we'll lose tonight an dwin Games 4 and 5

John Hollinger
  (3:54 PM)

That was my pick coming in, so I could easily see that. No matter how horrid the Jazz look, SLC is a very tough building to play in.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

If Denver and SA meet up in the next round, who do you think comes out on top? I know Denver is a different team with Billups and the Spurs aren't the same without Ginobili, but it's just hard for me to fathom the Spurs losing to Denver? Not sure Denver would beat Dallas either. Am I wrong?

John Hollinger
  (3:55 PM)

I like Denver in each series, but I think the Mavs would give them more trouble than the Spurs would, just because Dallas is in a lot better shape right now.

Matt (The Lake of Silver)

Are Laker fans be the league leaders in PER - Paranoid Ego Ravings? Why are they so insecure? They have a great team, the best coach in the game, and arguably one of the greatest players of all time. I just don't get it.

John Hollinger
  (3:56 PM)

It's really weird isn't it? Usually it's the small market teams' fans that act like that.

Rick (LA)

Answer the question John. Is Lebron already in your 10 ten all time? Even though Kobe has not made it in your mind.

John Hollinger
  (3:56 PM)

Good heavens no. Plenty of work left to be done.

dellroy (St.Maarten)

how will tony parker respond to the erick dampier comment on the court

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

Given Dampier's lack of history as a physical presence, I imagine he'll ignore it and proceed through the Dallas defense as usual. Let's hope he has fewer than 19 points before the Mavs bring in Barea tonight.

Alex (Ames)

If Anthony starts really showing up, the West may become a little more interesting, no?

John Hollinger
  (3:58 PM)

I've felt all year that the one thing separating Denver from being a real threat to L.A. was that Carmelo was having such a rough shooting year. Last night was just one game, at home, against a lousy defender, but it was still a nice omen going forward.

Elliott (Fremont)

Ok, Houston question #3: Is the criticism of Adelman's inability to get Yao touches against fronting legit? Or is the blame on Yao? Or is it the rest of the team giving up on Yao too easily? Are there trust issues in Houston regarding their big man?

John Hollinger
  (4:00 PM)

It has to do with two things -- 1) Yao's lack of mobility to get the ball on the backside, and 2) the fact that it takes a ball reversal or two and there's a decent chance that Artest breaks the play and goes on his own before that happens.

Neil (SA)

You still picking the Mavs to win this series?

John Hollinger
  (4:00 PM)

If I said Mavs in six, no reason to alter it now, right? That said, the inability to keep Parker out of the paint is a huge, huge concern, and they've gotta get more out of Dirk.

Nico (Detroit)

Detroit question please!! Why is 'Sheed playing like he doesn't care if he gets a new contract or not? Shouldn't he be trying to show other teams his value?

John Hollinger
  (4:01 PM)

Two reasons -- first, he's already made a ton of money, so his financial motivation might not be real huge. Second, and more importantly, check out that wrap on his calf -- he's not anywhere near full strength.

Lamar (LA)

Do you think I will be back with LA next year, given how Ariza is raising his price tag for next year with every 3 he makes?

John Hollinger
  (4:02 PM)

The one thiing about LA is that they aren't subject to the normal rules -- as in, they make so much money from those Hollywood tickets that they don't mind paying luxury tax for good players; it's more important to have a winning team and keep making their games the Big Event in town.

Jack (New Orleans)

The Hornets dealt JR Smith to get Tyson Chandler, so good move there. I know the Hornets have played terrible, but the officiating was terrible last night. Billups got called for anything he wanted and Dahntay Jones was all over Chris Paul. Won't it even out a little once they travel to NO?

John Hollinger
  (4:04 PM)

Didn't think the refs were much of a factor, to be honest -- Hornets just got outplayed. They might get a couple more calls in NO, but the big problem is that the Nuggets have been vastly superior. As for Smith for Chandler, the Bulls didn't even want Smith, they turned around and traded him for Howard Eisley and a No. 2 -- the Hornets included him just to get rid of him.

Charles (San Jose)

Why is it inconceivable that one of the voters that contributed to Adam Morrison winning Rookie of the Month and making second team All-Rookie thinks Robin Lopez is good too?

John Hollinger
  (4:05 PM)

Different set of voters, I believe, but thanks for bringing that up again. Morrison winning Rookie of the Month in November 2007 is, hands down, the worst award vote of all time. Nothing else even comes close.

John Hollinger
  (4:05 PM)

Folks, that's all the time I have, but enjoy the games tonight and we'll do this again at the same time next week. Thanks again for all the great questions.