Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 19, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg

Chris Forsberg
  (1:09 PM)

Having a few technical difficulties. Stay tuned.

Roachy (Dallas)

Are you seriously doing this chat on a plane?

Buzzmaster
  (1:10 PM)

Hang on folks. We've got some tech problems.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:13 PM)

Let's do this!

Chris Forsberg
  (1:14 PM)

Turns out it was simple user error. No surprise there.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:15 PM)

Greetings from aboard Virgina American Flight 360 with nonstop service from Los Angeles to Boston.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:16 PM)

I was going to gush about how awesome this flight is, but let's dive right in to the questions...

sanabeans (CT)

we're not gonna see nate tonight in portland?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:17 PM)

Doc indicated last night that it was unlikely Robinson could get to Portland in time for tonight's game. From his Twitter postings, it appears Robinson is still in Boston (he was looking for some lunch based on his last Tweet), where he's likely undergoing his physical. It would be a tough turnaround to hop a plane to Oregon, but stranger things have happened and he's got a three-hour time zone helping him out.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:18 PM)

This would surely trump Doug Mirabeli's police car ride to Fenway Park.

Winger (Boston)

Are the Celtics better off with Nate Robinson over Eddie House? I'm not convinced ... who would you rather on the court late in a close game? I'd take House ... what about you?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:19 PM)

Despite Doc Rivers' suggestion that the Celtics would not have made a trade if it didn't make them better, it's hard to see this as more than a marginal upgrade. And consider how important Eddie House has been to this team, especially in the playoffs the past two seasons, I'm not sure we'll reflect back on this trade down the road and necessarily view it as an upgrade. But it does provide the chemistry shakeup this team so desperately needed.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:20 PM)

You could just feel it in the locker room last night. Guys were sorta like, "Wow, Eddie's gone." They didn't even really get to say goodbye. Ray Allen talked about seeing him on the bus back from practice Wednesday, but he was gone overnight. It's a business. And a cold business at times. But I think the locker room is also energized to get some fresh blood. In a season dotted with struggles, Eddie House's biggest contribution might have been falling on the sword.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:21 PM)

As for who should be on the court for the final shot: Neither. That's what you need to remember about this trade. Nate Robinson is not coming here to be a superstar. He's coming here to be a role player.

Randy (Binghamton)

Why didn't the Celtics trade Ray Allen? Bill Simmons thinks they needed to trade him to have a shot at the title. Do you agree?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:23 PM)

I'll drink the Kool-Aid and say this Celtics team is a championship contender as currently constituted so long as it stays healthy and peaks at the right time. That's no easy task, but, as I've said all along before the All-Star break: As bad as this team has looked recently, they looked just as good at the start of the season. It'll be interesting to see which of the two extremes emerges down the stretch.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:24 PM)

Now, looking ahead to the future, I am slightly concerned about the window of opportunity after this season. I'll be interested to see how Ray Allen's contract situation plays out in the offseason, but it certainly seems Boston's best option is to bring him back on a team-friendly deal (say, 2 years, $9 million per season) and let him slowly ease into a bench role as he ages. But this team is very much hamstrung by its cap situation and overall age moving forward.

Stevie Williams (Down Under)

Do you believe Tiger?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:25 PM)

I actually didn't watch it, but I can tell you just about every TV monitor on this plane was watching it. I was too busy preparing a Celtics-Blazers preview for you, The People. Enjoy.

Bo (Tenleytown)

Give me something to look forward to with Nate Robinson. What do you see his role on the team being?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:27 PM)

Nate will be an instant favorite because he's going to bring that crazy energy off the bench and, unlike anyone Boston really has right now, he has the potential to score consistently. Doc acknowledged last night that he plans to let Robinson play the game as he currently does, going at the rim. I think he'll be the ball-handler with the second unit, but he'll have freedom to create for himself. You'll get some SportsCenter-worthy dunks and we'll lament his inconsistency. Ultimately, the way he scores will be different than Eddie House, but the end result could be similar.

FatGuy (Cranston)

Which team in the Eastern Conference improved itself most at the trade deadline?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:28 PM)

Cleveland was already a beast and they added Jamison, essentially for free (which is a whole 'nutha chat). It's funny that the C's and Cavs haven't seen each other since opening night. As much as the Celtics hate those "barometer" games, they could use a look at the Cavaliers to gauge where both teams are at.

Lorcan (Martin, TN)

Hey, Chris I'd like to ask if you think going foward that this win over the Lakers could help the Celts mentally and do you think Nate Robinson can do what Eddie couldn't which was drive to the hoop, get key baskets, and bring intense energy off the bench.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:30 PM)

I do think last night's win was big for the confidence of this team. They gave away yet another double-digit, second-half lead, but this time found a way to win. In a way, they got over the hump. That's the first time in a long time they've done that against a good team. Now, it's majorly concerning that they continue to give up leads, but all you can really focus on right now is the end result. A win is a win is a win. And if it's pretty, that's just a bonus. Go ahead and downgrade the win because Kobe wasn't there, the Celtics say they're just happy to get a win in LA.

Dan (Somerville, MA)

The Celtics opened up a couple of roster spots with that trade right? Any thoughts on who they might be able to add?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:32 PM)

I'm interested to see how exactly this all plays out. The natural assumption is that Marcus Landry, being sort of a spare part in the trade, has the potential to be waived (especially since the Celtics already have a logjam in the frontcourt with Scalabrine and Shelden Williams barely able to crack the rotation). But with what amounts to two open roster spots (Lester Hudson's locker was never filled), the team still has some flexibility to examine the scrap heap after teams whittle down their rosters following these trades.

Mike (Hampton NH)

Do you feel the celtics were more lucky than good last night? Allen was 10 of 11 at one point...

Chris Forsberg
  (1:33 PM)

No doubt that second half wasn't pretty. Losing Tony Allen hurt because the team was so thin at guard, and the Lakers really defined the style of play in the second half. But I'll keep going back to that final seven minutes when Boston limited LA to one basket. KG summed it up best, the team knew it was struggling, but they were hellbent on preventing LA from easy baskets. That's the way the old Celtics team thought. When one cylinder wasn't firing, they leaned on another.

grandjordanian (San Diego, CA)

Assuming the chemistry works (Nate accepts low minutes and the veterans accept his "word aappp" tweets), I love this trade because it gives us the ability to attack defenses for 48 minutes and get open jumpers on drive-and-kick offense. How do you see the second unit offensive scheme changing with a true penetrator running the show?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:35 PM)

The possibilities are enticing. I think this frees up both Marquis Daniels and Rasheed Wallace to bounce between the wing and the post, though I think we're all in agreement that we wouldn't mind them locking Rasheed in some sort of "key jail" so that he's forced to play down low at all times. I think we saw the benefit the second unit got when Rondo has played with them recently. Now, Robinson isn't that type of distributor, but his ability to create open looks when attacking the basket, could give the perimeter shooting the boost it's been sorely missing.

jeff (south boston)

how far do you see the celtics going in the playoffs now that they have acquired nate robinson?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:37 PM)

Again, I don't think Nate Robinson's addition necessarily alters how far this team goes in the postseason. He has the potential to be an important cog, but I don't think he necessarily makes you a Finals team, or prevents you from getting out of the first round. This team's success still comes down to health. It's that simple. If KG and Co. are healthy in mid-April, the sky is the limit. Impossible is nothing.

mike (westport,ct)

Newsday says a protected 2nd draft choice was involved in N8 trade...what's your take and if so,with or without choice,was this not too steep a price to pay if he signs with another team come summer?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:40 PM)

I think it's a fair price for a playoff-bound team to pay. This is how it goes in sports. You overpay for even marginal upgrades at this time of year. But let's be honest, House was probably in his final three months here, too (though there's always the chance he re-signs here in the offseason, maybe part of the reason he's been so professional while departing). But Giddens and Walker simply weren't going to ever get a chance in Doc's rotations. They were collateral damage to making this deal happen. And if the Celtics end up picking in the late 20's, then I'm not sure that pick means much.

steve (boston)

hey chris do you think after ray allens performance last night he is out of his slump or is it just the rest that gave him his legs. also now that marquis is back do you think his mins. will be back to 30ish so he can stay fresh?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:41 PM)

Ray struggled late, so we're not out of the woods yet. But I do think having these trade rumors behind him have to take a load off his mind (even if he's hesitant to say as much). I think we'll see Ray continue to come out of the slump and be a key contributor into the playoffs, but Rivers really has to be careful with those minutes. It's clear that, even in the mid-30s, Ray just doesn't have the gas in the tank in the fourth frame.

Luis (Western MA)

So after last night, how bad do we need Nate to score 20 points a game with that bench unit...

Chris Forsberg
  (1:43 PM)

I'm not necessarily sure you need that. I think you need someone who can come off the bench and give you instant offense, but they won't lean on him for anything ridiculous. The bench was awful last night, but for the previous three games, they were quite sharp. I think it will take them some time to develop some chemistry with Nate, but his presence could ultimately make the second unit even more productive. The Garden will miss the insane roar of one of Eddie House's second-half 3-pointers.

Aaron (Massachusetts)

I think Marquis could be so much more of an asset off the bench, is he being too unselfish or whats his deal?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:45 PM)

I think he's done well since returning from injury. That first game back he did show a fearlessness in taking shots and I'd love to see him keep that up. He's got the ability to score the ball and, now that the team isn't relying on him to play point guard, he should take advantage. The mismatches he's able to create (right, J.J. Redick?) should really give Boston an advantage at times.

Dale G. (Cerritos, Ca)

Was last night's game more important to the Celts or Lakers? Any chance of House being waived by NY?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:47 PM)

Please, we're smarter fans than this. Can we stop the notion of a player being waived every time we trade them away. That only works in Cleveland (zing!). Eddie House is going to be a very valuable member of the Knicks and he has the chance to play himself into a nice free-agent contract. Poor guy won't sniff the playoffs, but he's got a chance to put up a lot of shots in that D'Antoni offense.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:48 PM)

Last night's game was important to both sides. I'll never buy that Celtics-Lakers doesn't mean something to either team. Kobe or no Kobe, it's a big game. Rasheed Wallace said as much talking to the media after the game, then noted that the first matchup the Celtics didn't have Marquis Daniels. To which Rondo, getting dressed nearby, added, "Word."

Christin (Wenham Ma)

Most notable role that Nate Robinson will have on the celtics?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:49 PM)

Uptick in No. 4 jersey sales? No, I think he's actually a big help for a club that didn't have a legitimate backup point guard. And even if he's not a pure distributor, he's only going to help this team generate more offense, one way or another.

baja (ct)

'Sheed looked bad last night....anyway he can be less nonchalant on his passes and more defensive minded ?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:50 PM)

Yes, Rasheed struggled last night. His shot wasn't on. That's what you get from 35-year-old players. He has a standout performance and you think maybe he's turning the corner. Then he regresses last night. The technical foul after getting tangled up with Pau didn't help matters.

steve (boston)

hey chris, are you worried about the starters min. now that TA is hurt AGAIN?? also do you think ray will still be hot on this back to back or was this just his rested legs from the all star break helping him out?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:52 PM)

Just when the Celtics start talking about being healthy, down goes TA (and remember that Ray is still playing through back spasms that sidelined him before the break). I think the C's have a tall task tonight, playing ridiculously shorthanded on a back-to-back. They're not going to have the legs, so perimeter shooting will struggle, so I'd really like to see this team pound the ball inside and really lean on their defense again given Portland's struggles with scoring this season.

B Robb (CelticsHub.com)

Obviously this is a little early speculation, I think it's a strong possibility Nate Robinson works himself into the C's crunch time lineup, especially when Rajon Rondo isn't shooting the ball with confidence (i.e. last night in the 4th qtr). Nate can get to the bucket just as well and remains a threat shooting the ball from the outside. Thoughts?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:54 PM)

Interesting. I like the thought, especially since Pierce loves to take over the ball-handling duties late in the game. Teams aren't afraid to let Rondo stand over on the wing and wait for a pass. But if Robinson is out there, he's more of a 2 in that situation, and he's clearly capable of playing that role. We'll see. It's something I think the team should at least experiment with. Doc did suggest we might even see a Rondo-Robinson backcourt at times, which will be a nightmare for opposing ball-handlers. Like a pair of pesky mosquitoes.

King Eric (Gary, IN)

Boston's main concern has to be about playoff seeding. If they face the Hawks or the Bobcats in the first round, you do know they are cooked, right? This team is borderline awful. Good luck with Nate Robinson...

Chris Forsberg
  (1:55 PM)

No doubt the Celtics match up better with some teams (Magic) than they do with others (Atlanta). The good news is, barring a total meltdown, they won't see either of those teams until after the first round. I don't think there's too many teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference that scare Boston.

Christin (Wenham Ma)

"chemistry shakeup"; how is Robinson as far as character is concerned? Do you think this will be a POSITIVE "chemistry shakeup"?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:56 PM)

Certainly that's a risk you run when you consider he was disgruntled in New York. But if Starbury can come in here and behave for three months, I don't think Nate will be an issue. He simply needs to play his game, fall in line with the Celtics system, and he'll be fine.

Mike L (Cranston)

I know its still early, but how do you rank the top 4 teams in the East now?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:58 PM)

Someone asked that a few weeks back and I had it: Cleveland, Atlanta, Boston, Orlando. As much as I think the Celtics match up quite well with Orlando, it's hard to deny that the order right now is more likely Cleveland, Atlanta, Orlando, Boston. I'm always surprised when I see the Hawks struggle against other teams when they play so well against the Celtics.

t (boston)

So what can the C's do in the offseason? Pray for back of the draft luck? MLE? Re-Sign Ray? Not that exciting. I guess they could sign and trade Ray but for what?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:00 PM)

You nailed the options. You hope you find the next bargain-basement swingman (in the mold of Posey and Daniels), then decide whether it's worth trying to sneak another year or two out of this Big Three window. It's a daunting venture given their recent struggles, but let's see how the next three months play out before lamenting the future.

B Robb (CelticsHub.com)

How great was Perk last night? Coming up big on both ends in the 4th quarter, how good was his defense down the stretch on first Bynum, then Gasol?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:01 PM)

Perk needed that game. He had been struggling offensively and he really looked sharp last night at both ends of the court. Again, that's what you take most from a win like last night. Guys are starting to shake from those funks and that's an encouraging sign.

Mike (Sudbury)

The biggest problem on defense seems to be the difference with Kevin Garnett since the injuries. Will we see the old Garnett at some point this season?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:03 PM)

I think you saw a bit of it last night. KG was blocking shots and moving well in the lane. I can tell you he was very upbeat after the game. He was in a great mood talking to reporters and I think he really put together one of his better efforts. Now it's a matter of doing that consistently.

Dale G. (Cerritos, Ca)

Lakers vs Cavs in the Finals: Who does Boston root for?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:05 PM)

I suppose most C's fans would be OK seeing Leon Powe get a ring. But I think there's a certain degree of satisfaction that Boston fans take in seeing a guy like Rondo with a ring, while other young superstars don't have one.

Hayden (Logan, Utah)

where was Favre in all this tiger crap? I bet hes jealous. him and danica

Chris Forsberg
  (2:06 PM)

I chuckled. You do half expect Favre to announce his retirement on the same day Tiger holds a press conference.

Mike (Sudbury)

I know Shelden Williams is not anything great, but I felt that when he was getting playing time in the beginning of the season he was contributing decently as a bench player. Why doesn't he get any playing time anymore? I am all for team basketball ball and utilizing the players you have especially when you do have a number of older players.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:08 PM)

I went over this in the mailbag and I'm constantly amazed that people think Shelden Williams is the answer. He had a honeymoon period, now he's exactly the player he's been since he came into the league. I think anyone would benefit from an uptick in playing time, but he's not the answer. To be fair, he's been a great teammate, even if he never gets to take off his warm-up jacket.

ARC Mike (ARC)

What's your take on the L.A. burrito scene?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:10 PM)

Can I be honest, I didn't even get a quality burrito out here. My own fault. I was only in town for about 50 hours and there was plenty of team access. But I'll say my favorite part of LA was seeing how much they've built up the LA Live area next to the Staples Center. I'm downright giddy for next year's All-Star game. It's amazing to see that area get a jolt of life.

Gino (Boston)

Is Nate a poor man's Jamal Crawford?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:14 PM)

No, no. He's not going to be a 6th man here and won't be nearly as much of a sharpshooter or as consistent as Crawford is. Nate's more of a middle class man's Eddie House.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:14 PM)

Alright, final 15 minutes or so. Let's try to get through as many questions as possible.

Aaron (Western Mass)

Is UMASS star Marcus Camby in the line up tonight, do the c's match up well with portland with camby playing?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:16 PM)

I do believe Camby will play tonight (Roy sounds like a go as well). I think the Blazers needed to make a move due to injuries and that's why Camby's there. The Blazers played the C's tough here a short time ago, so tonight won't be easy for Boston.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:16 PM)

I do believe Camby will play tonight (Roy sounds like a go as well). I think the Blazers needed to make a move due to injuries and that's why Camby's there. The Blazers played the C's tough here a short time ago, so tonight won't be easy for Boston.

Tommy (Bridgewater)

I miss E House already :(

Chris Forsberg
  (2:16 PM)

People hate change. Give it a chance. This team needed something.

Jim (Celtics Nation)

Not worried about the Cav's trade after seeing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1VRqmqGfZY. I sent Nate a note on his Twitter account saying that the first time he dunks in the Garden, he'll bring down the House (no pun intended).

Chris Forsberg
  (2:18 PM)

No doubt. Again, it's all about energy with Nate. And he'll bring it on the court and out of the crowd.

Chuck (NYC)

I am getting tired of all this "trade ray allen" nonsense. Seriously, i know the guy is old, doesnt have the legs, and cant carry a team like he used to in seattle...but there is no one i'd rather have coming off picks and shooting open jumpers. period. guy is still wet.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:19 PM)

::Nods::

Horace (Cambridge)

Both Phil Jackson and Doc think the Cavs being able to sign Big Z after he gets traded (after he gets bought out) unfair. What are your thoughts?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:21 PM)

Funny to hear Doc joke about it, then reference how the Celtics did it with Gary Payton a few years back. You know, it's one of those loopholes. If it's legal, then do it. Take every advantage you can. It's up to the league to take action (which they really should consider).

Aaron (Western Mass)

Have you seen any of McHale's analysis on TNT and what do you think about it? I can tell he's definitly pulling for the celtics.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:22 PM)

I actually haven't seen much, but I'll say this: They ran this commercial series at the All-Star game about McHale asking the tough questions, then spliced together him asking LeBron who the best figure skater on the team is (and LeBron, clearly answering a serious question, talks about Shaq's ability to glide). Hilarious stuff. Second only to the NBA All-Stars auditioning for the fourth member of Boyz II Men.

sanabeans (CT)

i really wanted to see shelden get some playing time last night, sheed was horrible!!

Chris Forsberg
  (2:24 PM)

I can at least see that reasoning. Still don't know if I agree with it. But, sure, if it's a lopsided game and Rasheed doesn't have it that night, go ahead and send in Shelden. Against the Lakers? Let 'Sheed ride it out.

Stephen ((Boston))

I have a hard time understanding why the Celtics have only played the Cavs once this season and that was on opening night. Wouldn't the league (and the cities involved) benefit from having the Celtics and Cavs play just as many games to date as say the Celts/Magic or Celts/Hawks?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:25 PM)

A couple Sunday showdowns on ABC coming up to get us all amped for the playoffs. Kinda like how the Celtics and Yankees seem to open and close the season together.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:27 PM)

Alright, time to kick back for the rest of the flight. Thanks to everyone for hanging out. Great questions as usual. Thanks to Chris from Watertown, who helped set a chat question record by submitting the same question 147 times. Sorry we didn't get to it.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:27 PM)

Let's do this again next week from a lower altitude. We'll have plenty of Celtics-Cavaliers to chat about.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:28 PM)

Any lingering questions, send them to the mailbag. Enjoy the game tonight, everyone.