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April 5, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan
  (3:00 PM)

Good afternoon from New York, where the Knicks-Clippers game went up on TV against Yankees-Red Sox last night. What was the viewer ratio, 1,000-1 or something close to that? The poor folks with duel Yankees/Knicks loyalties missed out on Chris Duhon supplanting Toney Douglas in D'Antoni's starting five as New York, much to the chagrin of the entire state of Utah, defeated the Clips on the road for the first time in 12 years. With that local tidbit out of the way (along with the tangential mention of the Nets moving up to 28th! in Stein's latest Power Rankings), we'll keep the chat focused on stuff that's a bit more relevant: the playoff races, the Lakers' slump, the Cavs-Celtics yakfest yesterday afternoon. Questions, plz ...

Brian (Youngstown)

How doe you view the outcome of the Cavs/Celts game? Proof Celts can hang with Cavs or proof the Celts made a mistake angering Lebron?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:04 PM)

A little of both, but my doubts about the Celtics weren't assuaged by the way they blew that big lead and got locked down by the Cavs' D in the 4th. They melted down, too, on Friday vs. Houston. I think the Cavs could handle them in 5. Also, I liked LeBron's idea of going for the win on the fast-break 3 rather than attacking the net. Never mind that he missed. What's important is that he went for the kill like Kobe would have done.

Ricardo (Bahia, Brazil)

Hi, Mr. Sheridan. How are you?Do you think LeBron is doing a smart move skipping out USA team to make a movie? It seems ridiculous to me. Even the free agency situation doesn't sound to me a good excuse, because LeBron is not really fighting for a contract (teams will not choose him, he will choose a team). Thanks!

Chris Sheridan
  (3:08 PM)

Well, LeBron did hedge a little, and a lot can happen to impact his final decision between now and mid-July. I'd expect LBJ and Jerry Colangelo to speak on the phone soon instead of through the media, because that hasn't made things easier. But I think the bottom line for Colangelo is he doesn't need to push LeBron just yet, and if he wants to push LeBron by doing it through the Nike folks, Jerry's probably prefer to do it that way. What Colangelo has been saying for a year is that all eight core guys gave him verbal commitments, and he's not going to keep checking back to see whether that verbal commitment still stands.

John (Houston)

Hey Chris, how about some love for the Western Conference, or is this an East-only chat? After the Spurs' thumping the Lakers without Tony Parker, doesn't it seem like the West is wide open? How do you see that whole mess playing out?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:15 PM)

Excuse my geographical bias, John. The Spurs were really something to behold yesterday against the Lakers, and Manu Ginobili is earning himself millions with this stretch run of his before unrestricted free agency. I should say it's no surprise to see them peaking in March-April because tha's what they always do, but this is truly remarkable what they've accomplished in the past 10 days by beating Cleveland, Orlando, Boston and the Lakers without Parker. Like everyone, including you, John, I feel it's as wide open as can be in the West, but it's too hard to predict at this juncture with so many seeding particulars still to be determined.

Jim (Ohio)

If I'm the Celtics I would be concerned. Lebron looked like he was on vacation for almost 3 quarters then turned it on and almost single handedly overcame a 22 point deficit to win. Celtics played their best to get the win and lead; Cavs looked disinterested at best until the 4th.

Chris Sheridan
  (3:16 PM)

They're chirping in Ohio today, Celtics fans. Any of you got a comeback?

Brian (LA)

So do the Nets still throw 12-15 MM at K? And was today just lip service to deflect attention before the championship or do you believe him?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:22 PM)

I believe him. I think Prokhorov would get a meeting with Coach K if he was willing to lay out 20M, but Coach K has made Duke and Team USA his priorities, and he has it pretty good in both jobs. Duke isn't playing West Coast back-to-backs and getting into the hotel at 4 a.m., and Coack K doesn't need that lifestyle at his age when he is at the pinnacle of his profession in the college ranks. My question is this: Would Phil Jackson dump the senior male member of the Buss family if the Russian with that nifty new AK-47 offered to double his salary to 24M? Just something to think about, because the only true unregulated, unrestricted free agent market that exists in the NBA is in the coaching ranks, and if Prokhorov wants to make a smash debut, that's where he'll have his first opportunity to spray his money around.

John T ((Eagan, MN))

I went to the Wolves-Heat game this weekend and Darko looked like Minnesota's best player for the quarter or so he played until he took an elbow to the jaw. Could he actually be a decent player, or are the rest of the Wolves that bad?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:25 PM)

I'll say this about Darko: I have seen him used as a featured low-post scorer for the Serbian National Team, and the guy can be a beast when motivated and fed. Minnesota can afford to be a team that invests a year in him to try to see if Darko can withstand heavy minutes and produce, and I think David Kahn is taking a low-risk gamble in retying to sell Darko on coming back.

Mike (Akron)

As a Cavs fan I am no longer concerned with Boston because we were missing 2 of our 3 centers. One of which, Andy V, gives Boston the most trouble behind LBJ. I am only concerned with the Magic now. And I can't wait. As fpr the rest of the season, Chris, do you see Bron playing no more than 20 min/game. And only olay 3 of the last 5 games? After what happened to Bogut, Cavs biggest fear is health.....AND FT shooting. Agree?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:27 PM)

I'd say 26-30 mins per night, with maybe one DNP-CD. Free throws will always be a concern with him, and yesterday only magnified it. Also, Hawks should concern you an itty, itty bit if they end up as the 4 seed.

Mark (DC)

ach, how about a shout out to Andrew Bogut? Just eharing about the injury makes me squirm ... guess we'll have to wait til next year for the Bucks to make any noise in the playoffs (or will we?)

Chris Sheridan
  (3:32 PM)

That was a gruesome injury, Mark, and I feel especially bad for Bogut because he's about the nicest guy you;d ever meet, and this pretty much kills the Bucks' chances of making some noise. This also pretty much kills whatever chance Australia had of being a legit sleeper in Turkey this summer, though I'm not so sure Bogut would have played anyway. He, like Pau Gasol, is concerned about the effect year-round basketball is going to have on the longevity of his NBA career. When I was in Milwaukee two weekends ago, Marc Gasol told me he fully expects Pau to skip the Worlds, adding "But that's good, because it means more minutes for me."

Ben (Chicago)

Chris do you think the Bulls can catch the Raptors for 8th seed the East?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:35 PM)

No, I don;t Ben, even with that horrible loss the Raptors had at home against GS yesterday. (Raps made huge, huge comeback in last 5 mins, then Bosh missed a bunny at the buzzer for the win). since Toronto has the tiebreaker (won season series 2-1) and closes season against Pistons and Knicks, Bulls would pretty much have to run the table to get in, and they've still got Cleveland and Boston and Charlotte on their schedule.

Chuck (San Francisco)

I rank Bogut's injury right up there in terms of stomach turners. That's guys lucky to still have two arms.

Chris Sheridan
  (3:36 PM)

Nothing will ever top Dravecky. Being a SFer, you might remember.

Manuel (Costa Rica)

Well Manu Ginobili's certainly raised his stock lately. Do you think he stays with the Spurs? What kind fo deal could await him this summer?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:38 PM)

I know he would like to stay with the Spurs, but he signed at a discount last time he did a contract, and this is going to be his last big money deal. I could see Miami making a run at him and Boozer if they'd each take deals starting around $11-12 mill, and the Heat could add a third guy in that salary range if they lose Wade. Not sure the Spurs would go that high given Manu's injury history.

samson (windsor)

Best-case scenario first round opponent for the Lakers? Any team they definitely don't want to see?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:41 PM)

any team they'll see will have the potential to take them 7, and I'd imagine they would rather avoid the Spurs and wouldn't be all that unhappy with Portland -- even given their long-time woes trying to win up there.

James (Detroit)

If non playoff teams finish tied with the same record at the end of the year, what is the process for determing who gets the most lottery balls?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:43 PM)

They break those ties by drawing from a hat (actually a cut-in-half basketball), and they do it live on NBA-TV from the Board of Governors meeting in New York. It is truly riveting television. :)

William (Peoria, IL)

Toronto doesn't have the tiebreaker, yet, do they? The Bulls and Raps play each other on Sunday in what could be the pivotal game in that race. Plus, the Cavs and Celts could be resting their stars with playoff positioning locked up...maybe even the Cats, too. I say this is far from a finished race. The Raps have Cleveland, Boston, and Atlanta on the table this week. The Bulls have a Bogut-less Milwaukee, Cleveland, and NJ heading into the showdown on Sunday. This is far from over...

Chris Sheridan
  (3:47 PM)

Raptors and Bulls play only three times this season, and Toronto is 2-0. So like I said, they probably need to win out.

Nimesh (Orlando)

Are the Magic peaking at the right time? Injuries have forced them to change lineups and having so many new faces takes time, right? If Dwight can get past the foul trouble, the Magic look pretty good on both sides of the ball.

Chris Sheridan
  (3:50 PM)

Look, they are a legit contender. But Dwight Howard still has his Kryptonite (free throws), and it was startling to see him react so defensively when the Surs employed a new twist on the Hack-a-Shaq defense and intentionally fouled him throughout the fourth despite the fact that San Antonio was AHEAD by a comfortable margin. I want to know if Mike Budenholder came up with that one on his own or if Pop sent word from the locker room to do it.

Jose (California)

Chris should we laker fans be worried about their recent struggles?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:54 PM)

Worry? I thought Lakers fans were only capable of panic. And the answer is yes. Basically, Jose, you're looking at three straight tough rounds probably before the finals, if they get there, and the road will be bumpy if they don't have Bynum back at close to full strength.

BOSTON FAN (CT)

Hey Cleveland, we are glad to hear you are not scared of the Celtics. That way when we steal the first two games in Cleveland during the playoffs, we can come home to Boston and finish you off in the Garden!!!

Chris Sheridan
  (3:54 PM)

Found one, Clevelanders.

D (sportstown)

How does Lebron play 45 minutes of ball against the Celts and not commit even one foul..not ONE! And he is still a crybaby about not getting calls. I mean, really?!

Chris Sheridan
  (3:57 PM)

I thought he deserved a tech for going into the Celtics' huddle late in the 4th to keep up his trash talk with Tony Allen. I hear ya on the lack of foul calls against him sometimes, but remember this is a league in which Wilt Chamberlain never once fouled out of a game. Star treatment is an established entity.

Jordan (Houston)

is Scola staying or going?

Chris Sheridan
  (4:00 PM)

I believe they will pay or even overpay to keep him as long as Yao does not opt out. As good as he has been this year, he is a much bigger asset as a complimentary low-post/high post option next to Yao.

Nick (LA)

Any thoughts on what the Jazz should do with the lottery pick the Knicks gifted to us this year from the Isaiah era?

Chris Sheridan
  (4:01 PM)

Grab a two-guard, and send a basket of fruit to the gym at FIU.

Chris Sheridan
  (4:02 PM)

That's a wrap, folks. We'll chat again next Monday at 3 p.m. EST before the final three nights of the regular season play out. I will be in Cleveland on Sunday for Magic-Cavs, so look for my coverage of that one in next Monday's Daily Dime.