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April 30, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with J.A. Adande

J.A. Adande
  (3:00 PM)

Hi from Oklahoma City. Just got back from Lakers shootaround. Let's get to chattin!

Ryan (Smithton)

JA, great piece on Grant Hill yesterday. While reading, this thought crept into my head. Might be a dumb question, but is Grant Hill a Hall of Famer or at least have a chance?

J.A. Adande
  (3:01 PM)

Remember, it's the basketball hall of fame, not the NBA Hall of Fame, so I think based on what he did in college, plus the start of his NBA career, he should be. Bill Walton's in, and Grant had more good NBA seasons than Walton did.

Greg (Alaska)

Dallas out again! Ouch! J.A. what do you think about Cuban doing a sign and swap; Dirk to the Raps for home town boy Chris Bosh? Dallas needs a new beginning and something tells me Bosh would go for it.

J.A. Adande
  (3:02 PM)

As I keep saying, the belief is Bosh wants to be South, preferably Texas, so I'm sure he'd be down. However, what does Dallas really have to gain from this? Bosh couldn't get his team into the playoffs in the East. How does that translate into getting a team beyond the first round in the West?

Sam (Chicago)

Why would Wade want to stay in Miami with no legitimate pieces around him, when he could go to Chicago and join Rose, Noah and Deng?

J.A. Adande
  (3:03 PM)

The only reason would be if he doesn't want to wear a parka all winter. Or if he wants the 6th year on that contract.

gards (school)

Fear the Deer boys there is no way that the hawks beat Brandon Jennings and the Bucks

J.A. Adande
  (3:05 PM)

The only this point we're essentially asking the Bucks to sweep the Hawks. As well as they've played, is this a team that can win 4 straight vs. Atlanta? But I'm getting the sense Atlanta's spooked. They had Game 5. Then Joe Johnson fouled out and a Jamal Crawford's shots started coming up short. Looked like a tense team

jon (chicago)

Assuming the JAZZ and Lakers advance and AK gets healthy... do the JAZZ have a prayer against LA?

J.A. Adande
  (3:06 PM)

They would if they could play on neutral courts. But the Jazz can't win in LA and the Lakers are fine in Utah. Beat 'em there in Feb. without Kobe. Split in Utah last playoffs. Closed out the Jazz in Utah the playoffs before that.

Daniel Smith (Grand Rapids, MI)

Can the Celtics stop Lebron and the Cavs? How close will this series be?

J.A. Adande
  (3:08 PM)

I'm disagreeing with Barkley on this and think it will be a 6-game series before Cleveland moves on. Celtics might have found a little something. LIke the Spurs, this whole season was pointed toward this time of year. It's working for San Antonio and Boston could have the same benefit. That said, if LeBron's elbow lets him take over and he decides to do so, that's that.

Al (PDX)

While all the cap space teams battle for the elite free agents, do you think some teams with a little space will be able to get some solid players for a good price?

J.A. Adande
  (3:09 PM)

Good point. Some player's feelings will get hurt when he discovers teams didn't save all that cap space just for him, and he'll be forced to go somewhere for less than he expected. We saw it happen to David Lee last summer.

Ben (NJ)

There is no way Stern wants Cuban winning the trophy. Going back to 06 when Wade would get free throws before the game even started, the mavs have no shot

J.A. Adande
  (3:11 PM)

Right, because it makes so much business sense to shut out one of the country's biggest markets, especially when a little Mavericks momentum could mean more games in Jerry Jones' humongous palace.

Brian (Providence)

Is this the year the Suns finally beat the Spurs?

J.A. Adande
  (3:13 PM)

No. Especially if George Hill is going to play like this. Manu, Parker, Hill, some buckets from Richard Jefferson. The last couple of years the issue was the Spurs' lack of firepower compared to most teams. Now they look capable of matching baskets with the Suns (who amazingly averaged 112 per game against San Antonio this year)

Jake Klipp (Milwaukee, WI)

I'm going to game 6 tonight. If you're watching on TV, I'll be the one way off camera in the nose-bleeds, cheering wildly. Probably quite drunk. The Bucks have been good to Milwaukee...

J.A. Adande
  (3:15 PM)

It'll be good to see someone in those seats. When I caught games at Bradley Center this season there were whole sections of the upper deck that were empty. I hope people buy into this team now and come out next year when they should be strong all season

Grant (Dallas)

JA! Please tell me what my Mavs need to do? Why can't we EVER beat the Spurs?

J.A. Adande
  (3:16 PM)

They still need a low-post option. They fell behind last night because everything was coming from the perimeter, while Ginobili was able to get into the paint whenever he wanted.

Thomas (Egypt)

Now, after game 6 will Kobe take my advice, and turn into a point guard for the remainder of his career?

J.A. Adande
  (3:18 PM)

You advised him? Was this over coffee somewhere? Kobe shouldn't turn into a distributor yet. The Lakers still need his offense. He did a great job sharing the ball in Game 5, but at some point tonight he's going to have to score if the Lakers want to close out the series. Superstars have to come through on the road. That's what they're paid to do

Tom (Jersey City)

How is playoff money divided on teams?

J.A. Adande
  (3:19 PM)

The players vote on how to divvy it up. Not just among themselves; trainers, equipment managers, etc. get a cut as well.

Tony (Idaho)

So J.A, I believe the Thunder are taking LA to 7 games. Will La be worn down enough for a game 1 steal by Utah in the 2nd round?

J.A. Adande
  (3:21 PM)

If Utah's going to beat the Lakers it would almost have to happen that way. Or they both win tonight and start Game 1 Sunday afternoon. The Lakers really need extra days. Ron Artest just alluded to that at shootaround. That's why I'm starting to think LA will pull it off tonight; extra day off, as opposed to the first 2 games played here.

John (Orange, Ca. )

JA, Please answer me this question. Why is it when the Lakers lose everyone is "the lakers are old and they don't have it anymore!", but the spurs, which are the oldest team in the playoffs, win and everyone is singing their praises right now as the possible western conference champion?

J.A. Adande
  (3:22 PM)

Because the Spurs usually play smarter than the Lakers. With age is supposed to come wisdom. The Lakers don't always live up to that.

Joe (Kent, OH)

Will the Cavs try an utilize Jamison on the perimeter against KG? KG will not be able to stop a pick and roll with LBJ and Jamison.

J.A. Adande
  (3:24 PM)

This is the key matchup of the series. You'd better believe Cleveland will use Antawn to dry KG out of the paint. On the flip side, can Antawn handle KG down on the block?

Joe (San Antonio)

Is Dirk over rated? Seems like he can never lead his team to the crucial Ws?

J.A. Adande
  (3:25 PM)

He's a great player. But this series just reinforced my belief that you can't win a championship with him as your best player. He couldn't even make it happen when he had Nash.

Anie (Rochester, NY)

Adande- who's more likely to close out their series tonight- the Jazz or the Lakers?

J.A. Adande
  (3:25 PM)

Utah. Playing at home against a weary opponent that was weakened by the loss of Nene.

frank (west covina)

j.a. is there any reasonable explaination as to why kobe decides to just jack up shots one game and then masterfully control it the next? the lakers are nearly unbeatable when he facilitates as opposed to taking 30 shots.

J.A. Adande
  (3:27 PM)

You're asking me to figure out what goes on inside Kobe's head? I've been around him the bulk of his career and still can't. Neither can his coaches or teammates.

Graham (Macon, Georgia)

Will Atlanta be willing to offer Joe Johnson the max this summer, if they lose tonight against Milwaukee would he leave regardless? Thanks alot

J.A. Adande
  (3:28 PM)

A story in the AJC hinted that if the Hawks were willing to offer the max to Joe Johnson they probably would have in an extension so far. Hasn't happened. Don't see any reason for them to do so if he can't get them past the Bucks.

Greg (Alaska)

maybe the league should start a "Grant Hill award" for the player (team, coach) who typifies that overcoming spirit. Portland may be that team this year, George Karl or Nate McMillan may be the coach, but which player would you vote for as the 2010 "Grant Hill award" winner?

J.A. Adande
  (3:30 PM)

If you include playing within his newfound limitations as part of the criteria, I'd nominate Tim Duncan. He's not close to his MVP days form, but he hasn't bogged down the franchise by demanding everything run through him.

Sammy D (Phoenix)

Who do you think is the best PG in the league based on playoff showing?

J.A. Adande
  (3:31 PM)

This isn't even open for discussion right now.

Kevin (Milwaukee)

Cuban had a chance to swap Dirk for Kobe, he said it on the DP show. How is that working out, Mark?

J.A. Adande
  (3:32 PM)

He also had a chance to swap Dirk for Shaq when Shaq still had something left in the tank. That steadfast faith in Dirk is gonna end up being a huge setback to the franchise when we look back on it.

paul (san francisco)

now that tyreke evans won ROY, who would you rather have for the next ten years to help you win a championship - Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings or Stephen Curry?

J.A. Adande
  (3:34 PM)

I still believe Evans is the guy you'd want to build around among those 3. Jennings deserved ROY consideration for what he was asked to take on for a winning team, but I was paying very close attention to the Bucks down the stretch and there were games he'd sit in the fourth and Ridenour got the crunch time minutes.

Solomon (Rocville MD )

JA, so what are the Nuggets going to do tonight?

J.A. Adande
  (3:35 PM)

go quietly into that good night

Melo's People of Utah (Utah)

Proud to support this soon to be fishing Carmelo Anthony!

Matt (Orlando)

Does anyone realize how deep the Magic are? Also how come most of the "TV" analyst at ESPN don't compare rosters of Cleveland and Orlando? Really the Magic have 6 to 7 of the best players on the court if they were to meet. And if you take the two superstars out the Magic roster would annihilate the Cavs.

J.A. Adande
  (3:38 PM)

But what happens if only 1 superstar plays like a superstar? If Howard can get taken out of the game by the Bobcats, what's gonna happen when he goes against Shaq, who's done a good job of drawing fouls on him this year. Orlando's depth is a huge factor, but I think the additions of Shaq and Jamison will allow the Cavs to get past them

Bryan (Ohio)

Why are you picking the SPurs when the Suns won the season series and have HCA?

J.A. Adande
  (3:39 PM)

No HC didn't seem to bother the Spurs vs. Dallas. We just saw Portland win a game in Phoenix. Phoenix's homecourt advantage isn't as big as other teams in the league.


Lebron in Charlotte? New York Times wants it. Is it even technically possible?

J.A. Adande
  (3:41 PM)

Of course it's possible, if LeBron wanted to leave millions of dollars on the table elsewhere. It was an interesting premise by William Rhoden, that the league's best player should help the league's only African-American majority owner. But players don't think that way. How often do you black players stick their necks out on the line to support black coaches?

Demetri (Columbus)

Why does every fan base feel the officials are biased against their team? Something's not adding up.

J.A. Adande
  (3:43 PM)

Of course not. Also, Spurs advancing, Jazz and Bucks leading doesn't exactly fit the widespread belief that small markets have no chance in the NBA, now does it? San Antonio in, Dallas and possibly Atlanta out? Miami and Chicago gone as well? There are biases that creep into officiating, but market size isn't one of them.

mike (philly)

JA are you buying into Hollinger's "SA-PHX is the WCF"? I feel like OKC is the toughest matchup for LA and the LA will be able to get past UTAH and very favorably match up with both SA and PHX. Any thoughts?

J.A. Adande
  (3:45 PM)

I feel like Lakers-Thunder is the WCF. I could see Oklahoma City winning and gaining momentum. Give them experience and confidence to go with that young talent and no one would want to face them. I've given my take on LAL-Utah and I think they match up well with Phoenix (size advantage) and I can't see San Antonio sustaining a long playoff run through 3 rounds

Lamonte (Washington DC)

What was that simpathy piece you wrote about Mello yesterday? Aren't the Nuggest just under-acheivintg or is Jerry Sloan just outcoaching and Deron Williams outplaying anything the Nuggets have to offer - including Melo?

J.A. Adande
  (3:47 PM)

Deron Williams has been the best player in the series, but Melo hasn't been a chump out there. Sloan is winning the coaching battle and the Jazz are winning just about every other matchup as well. And as I noted, Carmelo finally won an elimination game. He's going forward, not backward.

Matt (State College)

First of all, my apologies for questioning your abandonment of the Hawks in the playoffs. With that out of the way, doesn't it seem like this series could hurt Joe Johnson's stock? I'm pretty sure I'd rather slightly overpay Salmons this summer and have some flexibility than overpay JJ and be handcuffed if I'm looking for that type of player.

J.A. Adande
  (3:50 PM)

Haha, I was thinking about this yesterday. Sure glad I hopped off that Hawks bandwagon early. Right now they exits would be blocked. Yes, a loss could cost Joe Johnson some money. Especially when he had some great quotes about how vital these playoffs were for his rep and his team before the series started

Plasencia(Santa Barbara) [via mobile]

There have been a lot of questions about kobe's current play which is reasonable. He is a bit banged up and sometimes looks a bit fatigued but there is no doubt in my mind that he will have the lakers ready to go when it matters in the playoffs. They've shown that thus far(game one and 5 they looked great as a team, especially defensively). I think that he is in somewhat in "cruise control" right now because he knows he really doesn't need to play at a "great" level for them to get passed the thunder with the supporting cast he has. Kobe still hasn't hit the next gear. Your thoughts?

J.A. Adande
  (3:52 PM)

I don't think Kobe thinks he can get past the Thunder in cruise control. It's about realizing he doesn't have the 5th gear he used to. (if we're going to stick with auto metaphors). I do think too much was made of his Game 4 first quarter. I was in Sac when he shut it down and watched that Game 7 shutdown vs. Phoenix. this was different. He was still active, trying to make things happen. Against Phoenix he didn't even venture past the three-point arc. There's a difference between looking to pass and refusing to shoot. (It will be interesting to see what LeBron does vs. Cleveland)

charly (oxford)

ja, i really enjoyed your piece on Hill! I gotta ask: was he getting a little misty eyed talking about "what could have been"? i think i was a little. great stuff.

J.A. Adande
  (3:54 PM)

He didn't get overly nostalgic at all. I think that's what makes him a success right now. He isn't moping around and wallowing in his past. Besides, every once in a while he shows glimpses of the old Grant Hill, like that block on Bayless last night. ( had a great shot of it in their Game 6 slideshow)

Phil (Chicago)

Everyone talks about the weather with DWade...but when you are a true Chicagoan, like he is, you are used to it. It isn't like he has to take a dog sled to the UC...

J.A. Adande
  (3:56 PM)

Yeah, but it doesn't take too long to get used to 77-degree January days in South Beach. Mike Wilbon's from Chicago. He hasn't lived there for 30 years. And when he decided on a second house it was in Phoenix. Just saying

Ian (Corvallis)

Can the Blazers get over the hump and be legit contenders without Oden playing like a No. 1. Or are we destined to be good but not quite great?

J.A. Adande
  (4:00 PM)

Starting to have my doubts on Portland, who I was really high on coming into the season and who remain one of my favorite squads. Roy and Aldridge are the two stars they're committed to, and they haven't shown they are great playoff performers. I'll give Roy a shot to come back stronger next year after the injuries, and maybe Aldridge can gain consistency, but it could be this team tops out at good. (Also, did you notice how Aldrdige had his best game of the series when Roy didn't play? Is it possible they won't be able to get max out of both guys at the same time?)

Justin (Miami, FL)

The only reason that happened to David Lee was because he was a restricted free agent. Honesty, you know nothing about basketball. You should stop stealing that check from ESPN every Friday and quit.

J.A. Adande
  (4:01 PM)

Only reason? Millsap and Gortat got nice raises, and they were restricted.

Austin (San Diego)

How is it that Jerry Sloan has never won coach of the year, and yet he has probably been the most consistently winning coach over the last two decades? He always seems to find talent where no one else is looking and get them to exceed everyone's expectations.

J.A. Adande
  (4:02 PM)

It's a crime. There should be a Congressional investigation

Will (San Antonio)

Will the Spurs, Suns serious be an instant classic or a dud?

J.A. Adande
  (4:04 PM)

whenever they get together it's memorable. And I'm not buying Alvin Gentry's line (or was it Nash's?) that these are 2 new teams. As long as Nash, Amare, Duncan, Ginobili and Parker are around it's still the same Suns and Spurs

Tyler (SLC, UT)

when you say that the best point guard isnt up for discussion you mean that its Deron Williams without question right? Im going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume thats what you meant

J.A. Adande
  (4:04 PM)

(posted just in case anyone hasn't been watching the playoffs)

Mary (Chicago)

Why are so many players against winter? What's the big deal? It's just a little bit of snow. It snows in NY, too. It snows in a lot of places. Even when it snows in Chicago, it's still one of the best cities to be in. The bars and clubs are still open. The city is still beautiful... why is winter in Chicago a drawback? I love it.

J.A. Adande
  (4:06 PM)

I lived in Chicago for 6 years. It is the best city in the U.S. from June to September. It is NOT one of the best cities from October through April. And that's the real problem. It's not that it gets so cold, it's that it gets so cold for so long...and that stretch just happens to coincide with basketball season.

Kelly (Pittsburgh)

Since you drew the distinction between the Basketball HOF and the NBA HOF, then Manu is a first ballot lock right?

J.A. Adande
  (4:09 PM)

I don't get into that first-ballot stuff. Either you're a Hall of Famer or you aren't. I think Manu is, especially factoring in his play with Argentina. And if the Spurs could win a championship this year it would remove any doubt

Don (DC)

If LA - OKC go 7, is it completely unfathomable to see the Thunder upseting the Lakes? Taking into account the fatigue factor you mentioned before...

J.A. Adande
  (4:12 PM)

Nothing's impossible, I just can't envision the Thunder winning a Game 7 on the road. That's a lot to ask of a group of playoff newcomers. That's why I thought Game 5 meant everything.

Karl (NYC)

New York City? Chicago is better than NY from June to September? Have you lived?

J.A. Adande
  (4:14 PM)

Yes, and I've lived in New York, too. And I've been there on those boring summer weekends when everyone clears out to the Hamptons and the heat makes all the garbage in the streets stink. No thanks. Give me Chicago.

nick (wisconsin)

I have a serious question, How come the Bulls are seriously considering firing Vinny Del Negro? Now I understand that apparent scuffle him and John Paxson, but lets look at what he's done...He's appeared to earn all the players respect (who really appear to wish he comes back) and after losing there top scorer in free agency this summer and trading away one of their key players last season (john salmons) he still got this team into the playoffs. Now I understand that this has been going on since November on when exactly they will fire VDN, but it just seems that the team might be making a bad choice. Not to mention who exactly is Chicago going to bring in this summer that they couldn't have gotten 2 years ago. Your thoughts J.A. ?

J.A. Adande
  (4:16 PM)

I agree with you. I don't know what more he could have done, with Rose hobbled early and Noah hurt during the battle for the playoffs. And it's not like he forced them to hire him in the first place. The only thing is, having a more established coach might help land a better free agent this summer.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

Speaking of what might have been, how about Antonio McDyess? He played excellent defense on Dirk (as much as that's possible) while also remaining active on the boards and knocking down 18 footers. If only his knees hadn't given out on him.

J.A. Adande
  (4:17 PM)

Good point.

Ted B. (houston)

Lest you all forget, Dirk hit what _should_ have been a career-defining classic unbelievably sick shot to put the Mavs up by one in the waning seconds of overtime in Game 5 of the finals. But that gets forgotten because Wade flails around with 2 seconds left and gets bailed out by B. Salvatore. Ok, but nevermind, let's go back to thinking Dirk is soft/not-clutch/whatever...

J.A. Adande
  (4:19 PM)

At the free-throw line in Game 3?

jimmy (Philly)

JA, you really know nothing about basketball. Dirk isn't good enough to win a championship? Look at history, no player is good enough by themselves and who has Dirk had surrounding him? Dirk may consistently have been a top 7 player at worst over the last 6 years in the NBA. You don't think it's the cast that might be holding them back?

J.A. Adande
  (4:22 PM)

Did Steve Nash hold him back, right before Nash went on to win two MVPs in Phoenix? Did Michael Finley hold him back when he was making the All-Star team?Dirk called this year's team the deepest he's had in Dallas. And he couldn't get past the first round.

Jonathan (NYC)

Chicago v. NYC in the summer? NYC has Central Park. Game-set-match.

J.A. Adande
  (4:26 PM)

I'll take Lake Michigan and Grant Park. Especially with that millenium concert venue they have there now. I haven't been to either of the new baseball stadiums in NY, but I can say I'd rather be at Wrigley Field.

Jim (America)

NYC is overrated. There, I said it but someone had to.

J.A. Adande
  (4:27 PM)

That said, anyone else's opinion of NYC matters far less than what LeBron thinks of NYC.


So do you have LBJ as a undisputed, no doubt, no idiot sports writer voted against him MVP? or did some schlub vote against him to be cute?

J.A. Adande
  (4:28 PM)

Someone voted for Darren Collison as rookie of the year, so my faith in my sportswriting brethren isn't at its strongest right now.

Matt (PA)

You have to admire what Skiles has done with the Bucks. With all the injures, especially Boges at the end of the season, it would have been easy for them to fold. I think they are a terrific story.

J.A. Adande
  (4:30 PM)

Yes, yes and yes.

Jackson (IA)

J.A...don't you think a lot of what Dirk has gone through has more to do with no low-post (offensive) help? How many teams have won a title lately without a guy that draws a double on the low block? Not saying that player has to be better than Dirk...but you need SOMEBODY down low that can put up points.

J.A. Adande
  (4:32 PM)

If only they had someone tall...someone as tall as...Dirk Nowitzki. Look, I'm not here to bash Dirk. He's a great player, skilled shooter who has grabbed more than his share of rebounds. But when you don't get it done you need to be held accountable like Donovan McNabb was in Philly or Roger Clemens was in Boston...even moreso in the NBA, where a top player has the most impact.

Chris (Los Angeles)

Coming from somewhere not too shabby myself and not having a prex-existing bias toward Chicago or NY; after visiting both over the past couple of years: Chicago > NY.

Kantad (NYC)

I don't know - I visited Chi-town one summer and "Taste of Chicago" festival was hands-down the best food festival I've ever been to. Gotta go with the food.

J.A. Adande
  (4:34 PM)

Traitor. Haha

Chris (Memphis)

If Dirk is overrated, then so is Melo. And Pau shouldn't be lauded like he is. He couldn't even win a playoff game without Kobe.

J.A. Adande
  (4:37 PM)

Watching the Nuggets struggle without George Karl makes me say something in Dirk's defense: He did have Don Nelson as his coach for all those years. And we know Nellie's never coached a team to the Finals.

Eugene ((Duluth))

Is it cynical of me to think the Lebron Elbow Story is just that? A "story"? It seems like convenient ballast for the lack of press (Lebron might be in pre-scandal Tiger Woods territory) and the fact that every other team has a major playing hurting (or out).

J.A. Adande
  (4:41 PM)

So you think he's just wearing that elbow sleeve to look like Allen Iverson in 2001? There's a lot of unnecessary drama that goes on in the NBA, but I don't think players would manufacture injuries in the middle of the playoffs just to toy with the media.

Brian Eckoff (Dallas)

The hating on Dirk is rediculous - more should be made of the poor un-excusable coaching and mis-managment of a team by Rick Carlisle - there is a reason he is coaching his 3rd team and has never won anything. The mere fact that he draws a paycheck is comical

J.A. Adande
  (4:44 PM)

But doesn't that reflect on Dirk if one of the main storylines out of Dallas is that Carlisle didn't play Roddy Beaubois more? Do you think we'd ever look at a Michael Jordan team and wonder what would have happened if Phil had played Jud Buechler more minutes?

Pedro (Corpus Christi, TX)

Why do you count out the Suns against the Spurs? Tim Duncan isn't the beast like he once was, they don't have that filthy defender in Bruce Bowen anymore and nobody else duplicates his defense on that team, and they are different and so are the Suns. The Suns defense is better than it was when the played the Spurs in years past.

J.A. Adande
  (4:47 PM)

I'm not counting out the Suns. We can only pick one team and I'm going with San Antonio. Even with the broken schnozz, Manu is healthier than he's been since the 2007 playoffs (when the Spurs won it all) and I like the depth with Hill, McDyess, Blair and Parker.

Jack Brickman (Ohio)

Everyone makes Mark Cuban out to be the best owner in sports, and I get that he's done a solid job of making basketball interesting in Dallas, but to me it just seems like he throws money at every problem with little regard to chemistry. I'm not saying he's not a good owner, I just think people overrate him because he's willing to spend a ton of money. All that money didn't do much for him this year.

J.A. Adande
  (4:49 PM)

I'd rather have an owner that spends money unwisely than an owner that doesn't spend money. People forget how awful the Mavericks used to be. He's made them matter in a place where football dominates.

Chris (Phoenix)

I completely understand picking the Spurs in the series, but I think your shortchanging the Suns by completely blowing them off the way you are. Suns match up well with them, especially if Lopez plays Tim 1 on 1, Suns have more firepower on O, a better bench and they are playing better than they have, well since they came into the league in th 60's. Not saying you should change your prediction but at least open up to the possability that suns can win this series and if they do it will not be a big upset as you are making it out to be.

J.A. Adande
  (4:53 PM)

Relax, folks. I'm very open to the possibility of the Suns winning the series. In fact I would welcome it; Phoenix is a much shorter flight from L.A. (if the Lakers are in the WCF), and if you've been following me you know I love the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream they serve at halftime. If Jason Richardson keeps playing the way he has that changes the equation (and maybe I should have factored that in). The Suns are playing better defense than they have. Alvin Gentry's done a great job coaching them this year...but I like Popovich in that matchup

matt (vegas)

Do you think that there should be an investigation anytime a team shoots a different number of freethrows in the playoffs than they did in the regular season? Because that's what it sounds like you and Hollinger want.

J.A. Adande
  (4:55 PM)

There's a big difference between demanding an investigation and making an observation. The numbers were there; all Hollinger did was take note and offer a theory why.

Corey Lonchar (MI)

J.A, I think the Lakers will win game 6. Remember last season game 6 against Denver? They woke up outta the slump and blew out the Nuggets in Game 6.

J.A. Adande
  (4:57 PM)

I was thinking the same thing. They seemed to figure things out in Game 5 vs. Denver and then wound up winning 6 of their last 7 games. I asked Phil today if he saw the same thing happening now...he didn't really answer the question but said if they keep executing they'll be in good shape. He also said he has a good feeling about the team right now. Not sure he would have said the same thing a week ago.

Chris (Phoenix)

You saying you like SA depth with Hill, McDyess, Blair and Parker... Thats not depth, thats 3/5 their starting lineup! Their depth is Bonner, Jefferson and Bogens. If you like that better than Frye, Dudley, Dragic and Barbosa you are crazy!

J.A. Adande
  (4:59 PM)

Depth meaning beyond their main guys. The same thing applies to Orlando. It's not like you just talk about Dwight Howard and Vince Carter. There's Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis before you even get to the bench guys.

Sean (Pittsburgh)

I'm with the guy who is questioning the LeBron elbow/free throw thing...If anyone else the media would be pounding that player, the game was close. But he gets a free pass as usual, just like he is called the "King" when he hasn't won a championship. LeBron is a prima-donna who is always playing to the crowd. I'm sick of it and can't wait till Cleveland loses....whether to my Lakers or a team in the east.

J.A. Adande
  (5:04 PM)

I'm surprised at all the LeBron backlash. I'd say I get more negative LeBron posts than positive. He's been the best player in the league the past two seasons. In his career he's only lost one series that he shouldn't have (Orlando last year). He's also won a series that he shouldn't have (Detroit in '07). If he doesn't win it all this year, then leaves for a worse situation because he puts location over winning, then you can start jumping on him. But for now we should enjoy the show.

J.A. Adande
  (5:05 PM)

And before the Magic fans jump in, I'm not saying Orlando didn't deserve to win that series. It's just that the Cavs were supposed to win that series (by popular perception) so LeBron takes a hit.

Matt (State College)

As a Hawks fan, I'll take Cuban any day he wants to buy another team. Seriously, any day.

Jim (Akrowdy)

JA, almost a two hour chat, this has to be some sort of record for you.

J.A. Adande
  (5:06 PM)

What can I say? Not a lot to do down here and tipoff isn't until 8:30 local time.

Andrew (Utah)

what is Jordan Brand trying to do with the whole melo fans of Utah?

J.A. Adande
  (5:08 PM)

Beats me. What's up with Nike's ads these days? First the voice of Earl Woods from the grave, then these Melo/Utah ads. Nike has consistently had the best marketing for more than 25 years. Can anyone explain this new twist to me?

elan (seattle)

do you think bynum gets traded if the lakers don't win the title? instead of trading him for a big man like bosh, do you think it could be a good idea to trade for a point guard plus a physical backup center?

J.A. Adande
  (5:09 PM)

If the Lakers don't win it I think Bynum could be in play...but if you had a good point guard and a physical backup center why would you trade them for Bynum?

Frontrange (Denver)

Come on Dirk has been to as many finals as the best player on his team as Barkley, Kidd (Kidd get half credit for wining a lousy east b-to-b) and Ewing and won as many championships as Karl Malone.

J.A. Adande
  (5:11 PM)

And there's a reason the players you mentioned aren't on the same tier as Jordan, Magic, Bird, Olajuwon.

SpursFan (Alabama)

What's Stern's greatest fear this playoffs? My bet would be a Spurs-Celtics Final. First team to 80 points wins.

J.A. Adande
  (5:13 PM)

We were pretty close to a Spurs-Jazz-Thunder-Blazers Western Conference semifinals. (Still might have 3 of the 4) From a TV ratings standpoint that would be a nightmare. Worse than having the Celtics vs. Spurs in the Finals, because I think the Celtics would bring some viewers to the sets just on brand name alone.

Steve (Jersey)

The Nike ads seem to be working... free advertising right now.

J.A. Adande
  (5:14 PM)

But are you any more likely to go out and buy a pair of their shoes?

Herm (LA)

re: orlando, the best individual players in a game don't always add up to a win. basketball is about matchups, and as long as you have the greatest advantage (i.e. lbj) u have a chance. plus there are only so many stats to go around. it doesn't matter if you don't have a few players that fill the stat sheet if you have pieces that get u there (or in other words, there are only so many stats to distribute, so having a lot of great players leads to them cannabalizing each other's stats)

J.A. Adande
  (5:16 PM)

Let me digress and say as long as we're talking about the minimization of stats, how about Jared Dudley. He had a classic Jared Dudley play last night where he hustled in on a missed Suns shot and didn't get the rebound, but caused the ball to go out of bounds off a Blazer. He doesn't get credit for that but he just helped his team maintain possession. His games are filled with plays like that. Fun to watch.

Aaron (Orlando)

The Magic just beat the best defense and arguably the best coach they will have to face in the playoffs. Thats got to give Dwight fans hope that he can provide some more excitement in the next few rounds right?

J.A. Adande
  (5:21 PM)

The only thing I would take from the Magic's first-round sweep was that they swept. Something to be said for taking care of business. But the Bobcats just didn't look playoff-ready, and I don't think Larry Brown was at his best amid so much talk about where he's going next.And sometimes Howard shows you a lot even when he doesn't play well. I saw him play in high school against Fairfax at UCLA. He was in foul trouble and Fairfax shifted their whole defense to him. But he still scored like 20 points, mainly from offensive rebounds. So he can impact the game even when things aren't going his way

Trevor (NYC)

Since the Nets play in the burbs of New York like the Pistons play in the burbs of Detroit which suburban area do you like more if you had to pick. Both teams should be playing in their respective inner cities but that is just me.

J.A. Adande
  (5:22 PM)

Easy. Nets. You're within sight of the Empire State building and only a short drive from NYC. The Pistons play wayyyy out there. And even if the Pistons played closer to'd be closer to Detroit.

SpursFan (Alabama)

I was hoping for all upsets in the WCF. It was/is exciting basketball. The ECF until MIL started winning against ATL was a yawn fest. Cavs should have swept. ORL swept without "Foul on Me," BOS-MIA had potential but Wade had one great game to tell teams to remember him, and then didn't care about his team, and ATL should have swept MIL or 5 games max. The question is who has a better shot at winning it all. A West team that runs the gauntlet where anyone can win it. Or an East team where perhaps the only tough series will be ORL-CLE (possibly BOS-ORL).

J.A. Adande
  (5:26 PM)

There's a difference between what basketball fans want and what's appealing to the casual viewer. The Thunder are the most exciting team out there. Bucks have been a lot of fun, too. But if they met in the Finals the TV ratings would plunge. More to your point, as long as LeBron looks capable of playing at the level he has, I don't think any of the other stuff matters.

Richie Sullivan (Dallas, TX)

Here's my actual question. The Mavs matched up really well with the Spurs last season. They matched up well this season. What happened?

J.A. Adande
  (5:30 PM)

It's really important to look at how teams do near the end of the season. (Especially in the first round). If these teams had played while Dallas had that 13-game winning streak the Mavericks probably would have won. But Dallas stumbled after that, losing back-to-back home games, while the Spurs kept winning big games in April (most notably a dismantling of the Lakers in L.A.) So hot/cold can overcome matchups.

Chad (UT)

As a Jazz fan, I'm less likely to buy a pair of Nikes. As a marketing student, I can see what they are doing. The idea is that people already want Nike shoes. They are just trying to remind people about Nike and keep it in their mind.

J.A. Adande
  (5:31 PM)

But that ad doesn't keep Nike/Jordan in most people's minds. There's only a little note in the corner that says "Paid for by Brand Jordan" So unless they're going for subliminal advertising I think they're wasting their money.

Dave (Phoenix)

Back to Jared Dudley for a sec. That guy is amazing. He is so limited athletically that the team bet him he wouldn't have 2 dunks all year. He showed them up by getting 3. All in the flow, no grandstanding. And they all loved it. How can you count out a team with Duds on it?

J.A. Adande
  (5:33 PM)

He's helpful, but it's not like he makes the Suns invincible.

Tone (Seattle)

I miss Noah and the Bulls. He reminded me of the the fun of the playoffs in the 80s and early 90s. The Cleveland sucks stuff was priceless.

J.A. Adande
  (5:34 PM)

Did Noah win over any neutral fans? Or do you hate him more than ever? Right now I think he's the No. 1 hate him/want him guy in the league, because no matter how much he might get on your nerves you'd definitely want that guy on your squad. What team wouldn't be helped with him on it?

Kevin (Denver)

J.A. - I think you should stick with your original prediction of the Nuggets winning the series. Only adjust it to 7. Don't lose faith brother.

J.A. Adande
  (5:36 PM)

Even being in Denver for their win Wednesday hasn't made my faith any stronger. I originally had Utah, then switched based on Denver's homecourt advantage. Should have stayed.

Phil (CA)

JA Adande, can you please address the reffing fiasco that is this playoffs? The fouls seem awfully one sided at home games, and doesn't that seem to account for the point differential more than anything? The Crawford situations (Joey AND Danny) have been giving me nightmares and I'm not even a fan of the respective teams!

J.A. Adande
  (5:40 PM)

We've seen vastly different games calls based on venues. Phil Jackson said it's natural to be influenced by large crowds, as he tried to address the refs while avoiding David Stern's wrath. And I don't have a problem with a subtle sway to the home team -- because homecourt should matter and homecourt is something that every team has a chance to earn over the course of the regular season -- as long as it's consistent. But there are certain officials whose style doesn't suit certain teams. And there are grudges that build up over the years. I think teams should be allowed one official that they can veto off their series (like a lawyer voiding a juror during jury selection) until the Finals.

andy (lax wi )

has anyone ever thought just maybe one team actually just fouls more than the other.... bieng a bucks fan, they foul a lot. They even get lots of freethrows some games. Later in the games teams foul get over it

Alex (Huntington Beach, CA)

I was neutral, leaning towards not liking Noah, but that whole Cleveland sucks thing was hilarious especially the "Look, all I'm saying is I've never heard anybody say I'm going on vacation to Cleveland." Fantastic. Reminded me of Derek Harper saying, "You go live in Utah." Ha!

Ian (Corvallis)

Noah is a baller but he gets dominated by anyone bigger than him. Even Oden tore him apart earlier this season.

peje (Denver)

Aren't you counting out the Nuggets a bit too early? What defines this team is its erratic play...erratic bad and good. Melo and 2 other hot hands could get them over the hump.

J.A. Adande
  (5:43 PM)

Yeah, but it seems like they have to overcome each other as much as the opponent. That's too much to deal with in the playoffs

Aaron (Orlando)

Vetos sound like a good idea, but wouldn't they just create more and more grudges in future years?

J.A. Adande
  (5:44 PM)

The officials wouldn't necessarily have to know who vetoed them. They could just not get assigned to a series and go elsewhere.

Ed (San Francisco)

Who do you got winning tomorrow. Mayweather or Mosley?

J.A. Adande
  (5:47 PM)

Mayweather. Do you realize it's been 10 years since the peak of Shane's career, when he beat Oscar De La Hoya? (And do you realize I missed going to that fight because I couldn't get a non-stop flight from Indianapolis back to L.A. during the Finals, and my connecting flight at Washington Dulles got delayed for an hour by thunderstorm? Not that I'm bitter)

Trey (Fort Worth)

Is fining coaches and players large amounts for making comments about officials getting to carried away? I honestly can't imagine refs crying in their wife's lap because somebody said something about a call they make at a game.

J.A. Adande
  (5:48 PM)

For David Stern it's not about protecting the refs' feelings it's about not wanting to add to the negative perception of the league's officiating. If the coaches and players are insinuating things, it's easier for the fans to do so.

Tyler (Minneapolis)

I always disliked Noah, but realized he is a guy I'd want on my team. To be honest, I really like what he said. It adds some fun, and passion to the game, and it was just plain funny.

J.A. Adande
  (5:49 PM)

The playoffs are less fun without him. Especially if Phil Jackson isn't going to make fun of Oklahoma City.

Tone (Seattle)

I think people are getting carried away with the Jamal Crawford love. He seems to be the same player he always was. A gunner. It is just that this team needs his scoring and has players who can make up for his defensive weaknesses. Agree?

J.A. Adande
  (5:51 PM)

Crawford gave the Hawks a huge lift this season. I just didn't like that performance down the stretch in Game 5. Aberration or his true nature coming through? Guess we'll find out in Game 6

J.A. Adande
  (5:52 PM)

And it's time for me to start getting ready for tonight (some time on the elliptical machine would help). Thanks for all the questions on this extended chat today. See you next week.