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May 23, 12:06 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

Buzzmaster
  (5:29 PM)

John Hollinger will be stopping by to chat just prior to the Lakers-Nuggets Game 3 on Saturday night. Check out his chat starting at 8 p.m. ET!

John Hollinger
  (8:01 PM)

What's up everyone? I'm in Pepsi Center and we've got 30 minutes before tip-off. Let's get to it...

Hedo Turkoglu

Could I have defended that play better?!

John Hollinger
  (8:02 PM)

I don't think so. First job was eliminating the alleyoop and he did it. The problem was that Rashard needs to be pressuring the ball so that pass to LeBron isn't available -- Mo Williams is the same height as Anthony Carter, Rashard is the same height as Odom. Different ball pressure, different results.

Jon from Encino

With teams looking to unload contracts this summer because of the economy, which tough veterans do you think the Lakers could pick up?

John Hollinger
  (8:03 PM)

Not sure if you noticed, but the Lakers aren't exactly Paul Allen circa 2000 these days either. They already unloaded Radmanovic and Mihm, and V-Rad could have helped them.

MW (NY)

Can we officially call Lebron a clutch killer like Kobe or do we need more evidence?

John Hollinger
  (8:04 PM)

Evidence is already overwhelming, his clutch stats this year were enormous. BTW, Melo has better clutch #s over the past couple years than either of them.

Alok Shah (Iowa City, Iowa)

Lebron versus Melo is looking more and more good given how good Melo is playing! Will Melo versus the Cavs really be a ratings disaster??

John Hollinger
  (8:04 PM)

Melo vs. LeBron won't be. Melo vs Hedo? That might not do so well. And I don't think we can dismiss that possibility.

Libby Allen, Texas

What are your predictions for tonights game? otherwise who do u think will win and why?

John Hollinger
  (8:05 PM)

I picked Nuggets in six before this started, and they've been unbeatable in this building over the past two months. So I'm guessing Denver wins ... but really, no outcome tonight would leave me terribly surprised.

Ahmed (Boston)

Seeing the way the Cavs and Magic are playing, would I be out of line to think "what if we had KG and Leon" scenarios? I mean, seriously, this was the Cavs team that was supposed to sweep us? Puh-lease Mr. Hollinger! Me suddenly likey our chances next year with a healthy Celtics!

John Hollinger
  (8:06 PM)

No, the difference is in the match-ups. Cleveland is a much better team than Orlando, but they don't match up well against them at all. Cavs match up much, much better against the Cs because they don't have a Lewis to screw up their D.

Peter (Denver, CO)

It seems like Denver gets a lead, take's out Chauncey for AC, then gives up the lead. Why does George keep putting him on the floor?

John Hollinger
  (8:07 PM)

Did you have another backup point guard on the roster that we haven't heard about? Chauncey's not a pup, he's gotta get eight minutes of down time to stay effective.

Luke CA [via mobile]

What's the over/under that Derek Fisher and Sasha take long two point jump shots early in the shot clock, off the dribble, with a hand in their face, and not a Laker teammate in sight to retrieve the ensuing rebound?? Its driving me crazy. I have no problem with either of them shooting wide open spot-up jumpers after a drive and kick but this is getting out of hand and slowly killing me.

John Hollinger
  (8:08 PM)

The funny thing about Sasha is he made those shots last year so nobody called him on it. But they were still terrible shots. Fish has always liked shooting pull-up Js, but he's forcing them in tighter spots for some reason. Maybe because he's not getting enough looks otherwise.

Chris (FL)

Did you believe any of Kobe's acting in "Kobe Doin' Work"? Watching him trying to tell Odom how to guard someone in the post was entertaining.

John Hollinger
  (8:09 PM)

He may become the first person in history to win a Best Actor Oscar for a documentary.

Dan (Boston)

KG would have nuetralized Lewis. He is one PF who could guard him w/o him getting in the paint consistently.

John Hollinger
  (8:09 PM)

Agreed, Boston beat them pretty easily the two games with KG. My point was that Orlando makes Cleveland look bad in a way that Boston can't.

John Hollinger
  (8:10 PM)

Quick aside: George Karl in his pre-game presser was about as relaxed and happy as you'll ever see a coach before a big game, like a guy who knew he was holding a royal flush and just couldn't wait to lay it down on the table. Thought it warranted mentioning.

Chris (Toledo,Ohio)

John, should the Cavs start Pavlovic at the 2 for his Defense and bring in West for extended minutes to rest Mo and Sasha?

John Hollinger
  (8:11 PM)

I actually like Sasha at the 3 and LeBron at the 4 -- I think that's Cleveland's best chance of defending this team. Either way, they've gotta clean up their pick-and-roll D or they're toast.

Sportsnation

What's the deal this year with the Conference Finals?! Every game has been so damn close. Our collective hearts can't take this!!

John Hollinger
  (8:12 PM)

Unbelievable, isn't it? And after the dog-fest that was the first two rounds, we were long overdue. Let's hope these next couple games keep it up.

Derek Fisher (LA)

Why haven't I been benched yet?

John Hollinger
  (8:13 PM)

I'll give two reasons -- first, LA needs size in the backcourt against Billups. But second, Phil is showing an insane amount of loyalty to a guy he trusts (Karl, incidentally, has similar tendencies with Anthony Carter), and it's blinding him a bit to the glaringly deficient performance. Can't imagine how 30 minutes of Shannon Brown could be any worse than what Fisher's giving them right now, and he's just as big.

Derek (Denver, Co) [via mobile]

Can Denver keep this team together after the season is over, given how many players they have on minimum contracts? You have the Birdman, Dantay Jones, Anthony Carter, and Lineas Kleiza?

John Hollinger
  (8:15 PM)

Good problem to have. Remember, Silent Stan paid WAY over the tax a year ago because he thought the team was a contender. If he has a defending champ, going back over the tax is a lot easier to swallow ... even in this economy. File this one away too -- they're still sitting on a huge trade exception.

Andy (NYC)

How soon before we get you as a talking head on the t.v circuit?

John Hollinger
  (8:16 PM)

Don't hold your breath. But I hope at least a few of you caught my segment on ESPNews about two hours ago ... back before this place was filled with powder blue. Gotta say I'm impressed -- when I was here for the first round last year there were a lot more Laker fans infiltrating.

Jordan California

So who has the edge. Each of the final four has one win under the belt, but who is the favorite to win it all?

John Hollinger
  (8:18 PM)

I think you have to give slight advantages to Denver and Orlando right now -- playing to a draw on the other guy's court is a sign that you're actually the stronger team. Doesn't always work out that way, of course, but it's a good indicator. BTW, Denver will KILL Orlando in a Finals match-up. Any other pairing will be a great series, but match-ups are terrible for Magic in that one.

John NYC

Hey John, when will we get a game not tainted by the bad calls against the Magic? Thanks.

John Hollinger
  (8:19 PM)

Bad calls went both ways -- Officials messed up more block-charged calls in that one than any game I've seen all year. And hopefully they at least give Mo Williams an after-the-fact tech for beaning Howard -- That point is looming awfully large today.

Ajit San Jose CA

How come JR smith has struggled so far? last year he was so good against the lakers.

John Hollinger
  (8:20 PM)

Calf strain at the end of game 1 really affected him in Game 2. We'll have to see how much bounce he has in his step tonight ... if not could be another extended run for Kleiza.

Kobe Bryant (Denver)

Do I have another 30 point game in me tonight, or am I too tired?

John Hollinger
  (8:21 PM)

Talked about this before the game with Dr. Jack -- question isn't whether Kobe gets 30, but who else gets 20. If you presume it takes 105-110 points to win here, how do the Lakers get the supplemental points to do it?

Vahe Glendale

Can you explain why Orlando and Denver is a bad matchup for Orlando? Orlando has players to neutralize Denver as well.

John Hollinger
  (8:23 PM)

Bad size matchups against both Billups (vs. Alston) and Anthony (vs. Pietrus or Lee), bad team speed against speed demons, Nene has enough size to check Howard, and Denver can put Martin or Andersen on Lewis and fare better than either the Cavs or Celtics have. Just looks ugly to me.

Ben (Columbus, OH)

Should Cleveland get to the Finals, who's the better match for them, LA or DEN

John Hollinger
  (8:24 PM)

I think Cleveland would rather face the Nuggets. Denver has nobody who can guard LeBron, and if Melo has to check him it can get him in foul trouble.

John Hollinger
  (8:25 PM)

nat'l anthem...

Noah Canton OH [via mobile]

Better chatter, you or Thorpedo? Better family man? Better baller?

John Hollinger
  (8:28 PM)

Never played ball with him and we both love our wives very much, so no idea there ... on the chatting, he wins if it's on a blackberry, I win if it's on a laptop.

the can [via mobile]

Tell me the pepsi center is the most electric venue in basketball

John Hollinger
  (8:29 PM)

Can't go there yet, Boston still No. 1 to me. But I'm enjoying the atmosphere here in The Can, and in the city today for that matter.

Andy (NYC)

How often do you get to read the work and chats of your fellow writers and who do you like to read?

John Hollinger
  (8:30 PM)

I read just about everything actually. That's not lip service .. I did all our guys and value what they have to say.

MW (NY)

Is Denver's crowd better than LA's so far?

John Hollinger
  (8:31 PM)

Yes, but the bar ain't real high. Lakers have better fans on the road, they all get priced out by the Hollywood types at Staples.

John Hollinger
  (8:32 PM)

Alright fans, gotta tip off here. Let's hope this is at least half as good as the first two ... Adande and I will break it all down afterward, so tune back in late tonight or early tomorrow for that.