Great Friday everybody! I can't believe how great this sports weekend is shaping up. NHL playoffs, Pacquiao-Hatton, potential Tiger vs. Phil, and of course Celtics-Bulls Game 7
We'll start with Celtics-Bulls, end there, probably do most of the hour on that. There isn't much more that I care about right now...other than the Ron Artest-Yao Ming comedy fest after last night's game
If you didn't watch their press conference, check the second video embedded in this column
I had this debate with my friend after last nights thriller: Better series, 03 Sac v Lal or this years Bos v Chi? Or is there anything in recent memory that trumps em all?
You mean 02 Lakers-Kings, and for now that one remains tops to me because so much was at stake. The winner of that was going to win the championship, clearly (lakers went on to sweep the Nets). Twists and turns throughout that series. Old vs. new, Lakers trying to cement their place in history, Kings trying to break through. The Horry Shot (the best big shot in a career filled with them) the oft-forgotten Game 5 that went down to the final seconds, and overtime in a Game 7. That series had it all
Hi j.a. !! Great playoffs huh? Bulls vs celtics series is definately the best i've seen in years. Do you the think the celtics can make it to the conference finals if they survive?
I think this series will have taken too much out of them. Meanwhile, Orlando looked a lot more impressive in beating Philly without DH than they had throughout the series. Maybe they learned a little something
Adande!! Nobody seems to answer this question but: Out of all the playoff teams, which team would be the best fit for A.I. to join next season and why?
Why not take the backup guard spot on the Celtics? You know AI wouldn't turn down shots, unlike Marbury
keep hearing about the rondo foul in game 6. is it worth a suspension?
No it wasn't. And I'm glad he wasn't ejected. I don't want any other elements introduced to these games. Let the teams decide them on their own merits
Which reminds me, one of the things keeping this series from being the all-time greatest is the absence of KG and Luol Deng. It would be better if the teams were at full strength. As proud as Chicago would have a right to feel for winning, they wouldn't be able to truly claim they beat the defending champions...not without KG.
JA this BOS/CHI series has been amazing to watch, but especially after last night, I've started wanting to label it amazing in the same way as March Madness - emotional, exciting, fun, but maybe more for its imperfections than its quality. Do you agree that this puts it a step below all-time-great-series status? Do you agree that the winner is gonna get waxed by Orlando?
The difference between this and March Madness is the level of play. You're seeing so many big shots made. You don't get that to this degree in the NCAAs.
Another thing I love about the NBA playoffs: the chance at redemption. Big missed free throws by Pierce and Brad Miller, but they've also come back with some clutch shots. So far I can't think of anyone who could fairly get tagged with the goat/choker label if his team loses
J.A., I don't believe there has ever been a better pure shooter in NBA history than Ray Allen. In a league where fundamentals have been lost in favor of Sportscenter highlight dunks, his craft is one we should savor (and hope others follow). Where do you rank him?
There's a class with Ray, Reggie and Steve Kerr. Don't forget about Kerr now. I used to make sure I'd be in the arena early just to watch Kerr shoot pre-game practice. he was that good. Allen's better at getting his shot off under tough circumstances, though
Why hate on Noah in the 7 question article? I think he's got a bright future with his passion and energy considering he's steadily improved since getting in shape mid-season.
We've seen Noah's passion and energy take him a long way this series...but do you really think he's going to be a Hall of Famer? Not even close. How many other game-winning shots do you think he'll get? How many times do you think his team will even give him the ball to take a game-winning shot?
How aggressively should the Bulls pursue Ben Gordon in the off season? Relative to last years offer that they took off the table, should they make the same offer, increase the offer or play the economy card and offer less? Does he inhibit Derrick Rose?s development? With Deng back and swinging Salmons to the 2 spot, is he worth the big contract which could impact their ability to get Bosh in 2010?
Gordon's hitting clutch shots, he's playing hurt...BUT..you've also seen what a huge defensive liability he is. Celts scored their first 11-13 points on him last night. He didn't fight through screens. With Salmons and Deng and a more experienced Rose they might be able to let him go, strange as it sounds right now
surprising stats: Gordon wound up a +5 last night. Brad Miller was +26!
Does Ron Artest know what he is getting into? Kobe Bryant is one of the most dangerous scorers in the history of league. His comments about Roy being the best SG in the league is a little outrageous to me. Should Artest stop smiling and start preping?
Gotta love Ron's honesty. He doesn't bow down to anyone. And that series needed a little spice. Thanks to Ron, it's there. Keep talking, Ron-Ron
Speaking of spice, Dwyane Wade had plenty to say about the Hawks and his own teammates...
sorry can't get this link to work
Stacey King has been talking a lot about how much trash talking Kevin Garnett is doing from the bench. I love the passion, don't get me wrong...but should KG be taunting the Bulls bench at nearly every time out? Shouldn't he realize he is wearing a suit?
That's part of this series. At this point could you imagine these games without KG cursing up a storm and mean-mugging on the bench?
so you have to have a "wind-up and follow-through" in order for it to be a flagrant now huh? i've never heard the NBA EVER use those words before. why can't they just come out and say that the refs made a mistake and that it was a flagrant foul? everybody already knows it was a flagrant anyway.
Actually, I have...but this wasn't the time to use them. Rondo COULDN'T follow through because his hand was stopped by Miller's face. Rondo knocked that big ol' hoss to the ground. Similar to Ariza on Fernandez, only Miller wasn't flying as high
I'm sure this will be a common question - but how can Robert Horry get suspended for the fowl on Nash a few years ago, and Rondo get away with not one, but TWO flagrants in two games and not get suspended? If the league decides they want the series to be "exciting" and not lose ratings, don't they set a pretty low standard for rule enforcement?
Rondo threw Hinrich away, not down, which I think makes a difference. If it's in the middle of the court it wouldn't have looked so bad. But they were near the sidelines so Hinrich hit the table...just not as dramatically as Nash did. I think the way things look has a huge impact on the way things are judged...
watching the Miller play at the end of game 5 again yesterday I was thinking, if that was LeBron his head probably doesn't even move, it's an and-one, and we don't have as much to talk about
a few years back i predicted wade would begin to break down due to his style of play, now he comes back from injury and has an amazing season only to have more injury problems in the playoffs. is my prediction coming true
Someone MUCH MORE versed on NBA stardom than you or me said the same thing to me a couple of years ago, that the wear and ear Wade places on himself would keep him from remaining at top potential. How can Miami build around him if they're not sure he'll always be close to top form come playoff time? Something for anyone who plans on offering big money to him in 2010 to think about
Can the Mavs slow down Denver? Also, is Dirk a top 5 talent in the league?
I don't see the Denver Express stopping until it gets to LA. And Dirk isn't one of the top 10 players I'd take, let alone top 5
Wade is TMac v2, by 30 he is done, back and knees will be gone
Now that's extreme. For one thing, DWade's already been well past the first round.
Come on J.A. you could make the case that all Horry did was try and take a charge. If the league is going to let players throw other players off of the court it could get ugly fast! Not to mention the danger it could cause to fans, camera guys, TV announcers, etc. HA HA could you imagine Jeff Van Gundy on the bottom of another pile, only this time at the scorers table?
Even Horry wouldn't try to make the case he was taking a charge (I've talked to him about it, he meant to hip check Nash, he just didn't count on him flying so far and staying down so long). The league was stuck b/c it had to suspend Amare and Diaw for leaving the bench, so they needed to take something out on Horry for instigating. Fortunately Hinrich didn't go crazy and throw a punch..then he would have had to be ejected and suspended, then Rondo would too.
Pacquiao-Hatton, who you got?
what should the pistons do in the off season I think boozer is a good pick up. They need a banger down low.
If I have one guy to spend my money on, it's not Boozer. He had one game in the playoffs where he affected the outcome. He's prone to getting hurt. If I'm trying to remake my team, it's not with him at big $
Close games are sometimes won on tip-ins too ... so Noah having a hand in another important final bucket is not so far-fetched.
If Noah can get a tip-in like that one Bernard King had against the Pistons in 84 (not a game-winner, but a huge play), I'll reconsider. Until that happens....
Does the Chicago vs Boston series have any long lasting relevance if Game 7 ends in a blow out?
I think a blowout or sloppy game would take a lot out of this series. That's why it's too early to call it one way or the other. Let's see how it winds up. That's why Lakers Kings 02, Lakers-Blazers 00, and the Knicks-Pacers in 94 and 95 are among the best I've seen/covered. Classic Game 7s, on top of everything else that unfolded
Is this the start of a long rebuilding process for my Spurs? I could see them slipping to maybe the 7/8 seed next year, out of the playoffs the year after, then starting the climb back to the top.
I don't think it will be long at all. Nobody's talking about them in 2010 summer, but right now they only have Duncan and Parker signed beyond that. I'd think an upper tier veteran who wants to win and get a nice check as well would go there to play with them
Does a better Bulls coach beat the Celtics in 5 and take the Bulls to the conference finals?
I should amend my earlier comment about their not being any chokers/goats. Vinny del Negro should have done anything to get the ball out of Pierce's hands when he started heating up down the stretch of game 5, especially after Ray Allen fouled out. And unlike Miller, Vinny didn't have the excuse of being woozy from getting wacked in the head.
If josh smith makes that dunk does anyone talk about it?
Yes, because it's still showing up your opponent. This isn't the dunk contest. It's the NBA playoffs. It wasn't about whether or not he made it. It's the fact that Josh Smith would even try to do it then
JA Rondo through an eblow; that is what the Chicago fans are talking about. Check it out: http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/photo/2009-04/46640765.jpg
Wow, that's pretty telling. When watching it last night, at first I thought rondo threw a punch, then it looked like he was just shoving Hinrich away the second time I saw it. But when you see the elbow raised like that, it's hard to differentiate that from what Dwight Howard did
Your thoughts on the HOU/LA series? Will this be a repeat of the regular season?
It won't be a sweep like the reg season was, but Houston can't come up with enough points to top the Lakers' scoring output.
What do you think about crawford reffing spurs games and the other ref ( i forget his name - the one that got fined with rivers) refereeing boston games...might be speculative buy why doesn't the nba see such assignments as all risk/no reward?
Can't understand it all. If flagrants and suspensions are weighed by appearance, shouldn't ref assignments be as well. It's like when Bavetta worked another FInals game right after his name popped up in the Donaghy stuff last year. As one NBAer put it to me, that was just David Stern giving a big "EFF You" to everyone.
Remember - Rondo is stepping backwards in that picture and Heinrich is stepping towards him. The momentum is counter to a forward elbow - they are both tangled up and pushing off each other and his arm is flailing, but the elbow isn't going towards Kirk.
That's a stretch. You don't see arms "flail" at that angle
Why when cp3 don't make it out the first round its because he need a better team but when melo don't make it out the first round its all on him?
For one, CP already proved he could get out of the first round, and he did serious damage last year. This year he and his team were clearly banged up. But I didn't like the way CP was passing up shots in the last game. If I'm the Hornets I want to go down with Chris Paul shooting, not Marks or HIlton Armstrong
If Glen Davis is statistically this series averaging more than KG did this season and Rajon Rondo has doubled his averages without Paul Pierce & Ray Allen slacking off, and even Kendrick Perkins increasing his averages, what more can the Celtics do to beat Chicago? They have exhausted all of their possibilities unless they plan on scoring 120+ PPG, right?
You don't think KG would have made a difference defensively? Not even one less Rose bucket at the rim?
Dirk not in the top 10?? He barely cracks it, but hes in there. 1.Lebron 2.Wade 3.Kobe 4.Howard 5.Paul 6.Williams 7.KG 8.Duncan 9.Durant 10.Dirk
I'd take Brandon Roy, for one
Kendrick Perkins is garbage. Comparing him to Robert Parish (as Bill Simmons did) is an atrocious use of sports journalism capital.
(for no other reason than I like the phrase "sports journalism capital")
Does Houston bring Ron Ron back next year? What do they do with TMac? I love the Rox, but Lakers in 5 or 6?
ron's earned it, hasn't he? Behaved well, did what he was supposed to: get them out of the first round. As for TMac, they've got to hope someone puts a premium on that big, expiring contract and will part with some of the intangibles-guys that Morey likes
Fascinating thing about the Rockets: I wondered if they'd follow T-Mac or if Artest would take over. Turns out it was Battier...or at least, he was the one talking in the pre-game huddle TNT showed last night.
As an unbiased observer (unbiased in the sense that I despise both the Celtics and the Bulls), it seems to me that the Bulls chances of winning improved AFTER Gordon fouled out of that game as it freed them up to run their offense. Gordon seems to take a lot of bad shots late in these games (Games 5 & 6 in particular). Thoughts?
If you can make them, you have license to take them (see Bryant, Kobe). But I think it helped them out defensively, not having to cover for a weak link that Boston would have attacked.
Why are we not talking about all the rest the LBJ and the Cavs are getting! I wouldnt be suprised if they swept their way to the NBA finals.
I think too much time off is a bad thing if you're playing well. It could cost them a half or even a game while they get back up to speed. Won't cost them a series,though
Perk is only what, 24? I gotta say his development has been better that I would've though a couple of years ago. Certainly not Parish, but he's our lone defensive big man left and his rebounding and size are invaluable.
That's a much fairer assessment. You just didn't use the phrase "sports journalism capital." Honestly, Perkins has given Boston more than you'd expect, don't you think?
What's going on in the East. At this rate, by the time we play LBJ in the finals, he'll be on the Knicks.
Why are you not talking about the Magic dispatching the Sixers without Howard and with Dalembert taking cheap shots at Turk
Honestly, hardly any questions about it. I doubt 5% of basketball fans watched that game, with it on NBA TV and going against Bulls-Celtics. The thing I liked best about that result is it takes the officials/league out of the discussion. If Philly had won (with or without Howard) they could have griped that they might have wrapped up the series if Howard had been ejected early in Game 5. And Orlando can't complain about Howard's suspension (and whether or not what he did was as bad or worse than what Rondo did). they just went out and played ball
and that's what I'd like to see in Game 7 Saturday. With Rondo. Who knows, maybe even with KG.
Gotta run. Thanks for all of the questions. Hopefully we'll have some more great games to talk about next week.