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May 27, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (12:08 PM)

Greetings everyone. Conference finals sure got interesting in a hurry, didn't they?

Scott (Santa Barbara, CA)

Everyone seems to forget about the Clippers in the LeBron chase because of their past. They've got the most talent by far to put around James. Griffin is already 100% healthy by the way. Sterling has been willing to spend since Dunleavy was brought in. Why do people discount them?

John Hollinger
  (12:08 PM)

Sterling. That's the reason. Nobody trusts him to continue surrounding LeBron with the right pieces. There's no way an all-time great player is going to leave his future in The Donald's hands.

Greg (SoPo, Maine)

AHG! Panicking Celtics fan. Talk me off the ledge.

John Hollinger
  (12:09 PM)

Still have two chances to win. Still have proven they can win in O-town if it comes down to a road Game 7. That said, they may lament how cocky they were in Game 4.

Harold (Seattle)

Can you please explain the rule about technical fouls and suspensions in the playoffs? Is Perkins going to be suspended for Game 6? Thanks!

John Hollinger
  (12:11 PM)

Once you're accumulated seven technical fouls in the playoffs, you get an automatic one-game suspension. It's a continuation of the regular-season rule (15 and you're suspended). The league can rescind technical fouls after the fact but the two from last night, as ticky-tacky as they were, may be difficult to rescind. It's hard to argue that Perkins didn't say something on the second one, so their best hope is that the first one (the elbow on Gortat) is ruled unintentional.

Jay (Blacksburg)

Do you think Glen Davis will be able to go for game 6? If not, what kind of impact will it have on Boston?

John Hollinger
  (12:12 PM)

I'd be surprised if he plays given how loopy he was after the hit. If Davis and Perk are both out then Boston basically has no choice but to play small, and we saw in Game 5 that Rashard Lewis becomes a huge weapon in those situations because he can post up and shoot right over the top of Pierce/Daniels.

Sideshow (Salt Lake City)

John, can you please enlighten your colleagues, that the problem for the Lakers hasn't been the zone, It's be their lack of defense.

John Hollinger
  (12:13 PM)

Duly noted. It's the topic of today's Per Diem in fact.

Al (Miami,FL)

Do you believe there will be meeting between James and Wade?

John Hollinger
  (12:14 PM)

More like "has been" I suspect, and I think with Bosh too. It only makes sense for the three of them to talk about possibilities, because if any two come together they'll be an instant contender.

Boox (Seattle)

Will Daniels be able to go for game 6?

John Hollinger
  (12:15 PM)

Only reason I'd doubt it is because it's Daniels and he very well may injure something else in the next 48 hours.

Mike (orlando)

If Vince Carter's cross-court techical foul in game 2 was not rescinded, why should kendrick perkins' be for doing very much the same thing in a much closer proximity to the play?

John Hollinger
  (12:16 PM)

Good point -- that was a ridiculous T they gave VC. For some reason, they've been much more willing to hand out techs in the Magic-Celts series than in other contests.

daniel (london)

Hi John, as an NBA fan would you want to see Bron/Bosh/Wade on the same team in NY?

John Hollinger
  (12:17 PM)

It's much more realistic that would happen in Miami. New York can only get two of the three unless it suckers Toronto into taking Eddy Curry in a sign-and-trade for Bosh.

Jim (Providence)

Is there a chance that Howard's elbows might be upgraded to Flagrants and therefore he could be facing suspension? Oops, my bad, he's a star so it won't happen.

John Hollinger
  (12:19 PM)

I'd be surprised if the leauge didn't at least review the elbow that hit Davis, but at the end of the day what's he supposed to do? Go up for every shot with his arms tucked into his chest? It wasn't a wild Kobe arm-flail; he just lost the ball and caught Davis (much like he caught Courtney Lee a year ago) on the way down.

Marc (Charlotte)

No wonder Boston's team is a bunch of crybabies. They get it from their fans.

John Hollinger
  (12:19 PM)

Actually I think Boston's fans are more prone to pessimistic fatalism than whining about refs.

Adam (VT)

Why all the panic from Cs fans. In the Cav's series we were in the same spot going into game 6, up 3-2 with one close loss and one blowout. And I'm sure you will back me up on this John but isn't the idea of momentum been statistically debunked?

John Hollinger
  (12:21 PM)

The issue isn't one of momentum, it's personnel. If Perkins and Davis can't play, then Boston has a very limited frontcourt against the league's best center. Especially after Sheed fouls out in 17 minutes.

Trey (Dallas)

What is it that has kept Dallas from really becoming a "destination" for free agents? Is the reputation for playoff flame-outs just too much for a big-spender owner, large market, loyal fanbase, and future HOF teammates to overcome?

John Hollinger
  (12:21 PM)

You mean besides the lack of cap space? The only way Dallas can get an FA is by sign-and-trade, as they did with Marion a year ago, and that's been the case ever since their last prominent free-agent signing -- or had you erased Erick Dampier from your memory banks?

mike (orlando)

just a follow-up, the T's are understandable for the celtics because the argue, LITERALLY, every call. Every time they get hit they fall to the ground like they got hit by a truck and then magically are fine 10 seconds later. When did this turn into Euro league soccer???

John Hollinger
  (12:23 PM)

I agree that the Celtics have adopted a bit too much of Sheed's persona this year. As for as the Euro soccer thing, I assume you're talking about Pierce, but Vince Carter does a lot of the same stuff.

Nick (Denver)

The Lakers must have been practicing, studying, preparring for all zone tonight. Would you throw a new zone or man at them just to throw them off?

John Hollinger
  (12:25 PM)

I'd make them beat the zone first, but if they do I'd keep some other options in my back pocket. I think Phoenix could go back to man and running doubles at Kobe, or switch to man when Kobe checks out, or even use some traps at times. The nice thing is they don't have to be *that* effective at any of those things because their offense is so good.

Matt (St Pete FL)

Do Lakers get back to defense and inside pounding tonight (their two advantages besides Kobe) and take a 3-2 lead?

John Hollinger
  (12:27 PM)

Wouldn't shock me. At some point you'd have to think the scoring will go down, if just for a game, but I keep thinking that and it hasn't happened yet. Also, remember this: As long as Bynum isn't his usual self, LA doesn't really have a size advantage to talk about.

Rod (Texas)

Can the Suns win in LA? I don't see it. I see the Lakers coming out in Game 5 and just blowing the Suns off the court.

John Hollinger
  (12:28 PM)

Well, history is on your side -- Phoenix has been blown away in all four games at Staples this year. To me the key is the 3s -- Suns haven't shot well from distance yet this series, but if they have one of those 14-of-25 type games it may spring them to victory.

Randy (Portland)

Hey John. Who do you have winning the World Cup?

John Hollinger
  (12:29 PM)

I think this is the year one of the close-but-no-cigar countries breaks through -- either Spain, Holland or Portugal. Spain if I'm forced to pick one.

Rob (Florida)

Is Garnett hurt? We don't hear much about him in this series and he always seems to disappear in the 4th.

John Hollinger
  (12:30 PM)

Not any more than he's been hurt the past two years, he's just had a difficult matchup against Rashard Lewis (who has defended very well, even while struggling offensively) and the Celtics are using him as the fourth option because their three perimeter players have better match-ups.

JACK (Los Angeles)

What are your thoughts about Andrew Bynum? Did the Lakers make a mistake not making him get that knee taken care of in the Utah series and gave him enough time to recover? Bynum looks like he's hurting the Lakers more than helping them get to the promised land!

John Hollinger
  (12:31 PM)

It's easy to say in retrospect, but we don't know that he would have been back in a week or two, and we don't know how he would have performed right after he came back. Brandon Roy, for instance, had a similar surgery and was back in just over a week ... but he also played terribly.

Josh (Lancaster, PA)

Can you please elaborate of on the "how cocky they were in Game 4" comment?

John Hollinger
  (12:32 PM)

Thought they were trying a lot of what Doc calls "hero shots," and as my man Sheridan pointed out to me right after the game, not using one of their three timeouts to call a better play at the end of regulation was the height of hubris.

aveboogie (Atlanta)

Vince vs Hedo...I know it was a heckuva lot of money for Hedo, but any second thoughts by Magic on this one?

John Hollinger
  (12:33 PM)

Well, Vince certainly had a better regular season than Hedo. It sure seems Hedo might have matched up better against Boston though.

Mo (Detroit MI)

Since we're in a more enlightened era when it comes to head injuries and in light of some of the absurd techs this series (none of which have been rescinded), do you think the odds are of Celtics playing without Davis and Perkins? And if they're missing both, are the Celtics still the favorites in Game 6?

John Hollinger
  (12:35 PM)

I'm not sure the NBA is that enlightened. For instance, Jermaine O'Neal played Game 7 against Atlanta last year even though he clearly wasn't all there. The league doesn't deal with head injuries a lot, so I don't think education has been as far-reaching as in the NFL.

Paul (London)

'Close-but-no-cigar- countries? Spain are the European Champions and recognized as one of the best sides in the world. Torres, Villa, Fabregas, Casillas, Xavi, Iniesta & Fabregas are all comfortably world class players. Reina too, but he's a goalie and won't play ahead of Iker... Also, would JJ Reddick be a nice player to have next to LeBron? He's a nice shooter who would benefit from LeBron drawing all the attention - plus he's improved on 'D' so isn't a liability like Williams.

John Hollinger
  (12:36 PM)

A) None of the three have won a World Cup. That's all I meant. B) Redick would be great next to LeBron, yes, and if LeBron goes back to Cleveland I wouldn't be surprised to see Cavs offer him their full midlevel.

John (MN)

Just to clarify, a player is suspended once he receives his 16th technical foul in the regular season.

John Hollinger
  (12:37 PM)

thanks.

JB (PDX)

"Height of hubris?" So, you're calling Doc out? It was his decision not to call a timeout.

John Hollinger
  (12:38 PM)

I thought it was a top-to-bottom mentality they carried in that game; perhaps I'm overreacting. Doc argued they had a match-up they wanted and a play called, but coaches (and players) can call TO at any time if they see the players aren't lined up right, and Boston's players weren't.

Matt (Evanston)

Did you see what Wade said about questioning the loyalty of the Bulls organization? For us Bulls fans, is that (i.e. Reinsdorf) a significant concern in bringing FAs here?

John Hollinger
  (12:39 PM)

I don't think it's a huge deal that way. I think Wade is just trying to let down the hometown folks gently ... as in, look, I have a good situation in Miami, nothing personal.

Brian (NJ)

How much impact will the every other day layout have on the aging Celts from here on out. Has to be an advantage for the deeper and younger Magic right?

John Hollinger
  (12:40 PM)

Not just every other day, but flying every other day too. It's advantage Magic, but not because of age -- it's because of injury. Perkins, Tony Allen, Davis, Daniels and Sheed all have injury concerns while the Magic are pretty much in pristine health.

Lou (Boston)

The players were lined up exactly as they were supposed to be, Pierce just mishandled the ball. They have been using that play all year. Did you even watch the game?

John Hollinger
  (12:41 PM)

Not in Doc's view. He said they were supposed to be flat and instead, his quote "half our team was next to Paul and Ray". Not mathematically possible, I realize, but you get the drift.

John (Philly)

Was it just me or were the refs on the Magic's side last night? The foul on Perkins was flat out ridiculous, then to top it off the ejection!!?? Something smells fishy.

John Hollinger
  (12:42 PM)

I don't think it was fishy -- really, they're conspiring to favor Orlando????!?!?? -- but there's no question the Cs got a tough whistle last night.

Tom (Cambridge, MA)

Has the Celtics offense bogged down the last two games because they've intentionally gone back to runing a lot of Paul Piece iso, or is it because Rondo is in a funk? Or is the first reason the result of the second? Allen has been effectively removed from the offense without Rondo getting him good looks in transition.

John Hollinger
  (12:44 PM)

Disagree on the entire premise. Boston's Game 5 Offensive Efficiency was almost exactly what it did in the first two games. The difference is that their D went to pot. Orlando's Offensive Efficiency last night was 127.8; neither team has been above 108 in any other game.

Alex (Berkeley)

So you're still going with your Suns-Magic prediction? It looks better now but I seriously doubt the Suns beat the Lakers. Past two postseasons when the Lakers were tied 2-2 they blew out their opponent at home and closed it out on the road.

John Hollinger
  (12:48 PM)

Statistically, the odds are still dramatically in favor of L.A. and Boston. Teams in Boston's situation (up 3-2 heading home for Gm 6) win the series 73.8% of the time; I don't have the % on L.A. in front of me but I believe it's even higher than Boston's. So historically, you're still looking at about 1-in-16 odds of a Magic-Suns Finals.

John Hollinger
  (12:50 PM)

News flash: The league rescinded Perk's second technical foul and upgraded Pierce's foul on J.J. Redick to a flagrant.

John Hollinger
  (12:50 PM)

I like both decisions.

Chris (NB)

Is Phoenix a statistical or sentimental pick?

John Hollinger
  (12:51 PM)

Statistical. At end of year Magic were No. 1 in Power Ranks, Suns were No. 3, a whisker behind No. 2 San Antonio. And L.A. had played very poorly (by world champion standards) in second half of the season.

john (orlando)

When talking about Orlando's health you have to remember Rashard and his virus... Dude was taking an IV before the game last night.

John Hollinger
  (12:52 PM)

Yes, but I don't think the game pattern is having a big effect on that. Boston's are more a case of being ground down, especially with Perk and Allen.

jeff (LA)

Is the Perk rescind and the Pierce upgrade classic NBA officiating - I blew a call on one side so I make up a fake one on the other?

John Hollinger
  (12:53 PM)

No, that was a legit flagrant by Pierce and should have been called that way at the time.

Ted (New Jersey)

Do you still believe that Rondo traveled on that famous game 3 play? I saw Alonzo Mourning to the same thing on the NBA video rulebook and it says that it's perfectly legal to stand up after you dive to obtain possession of the ball.

John Hollinger
  (12:54 PM)

Still think it was a walk. I saw that video link too but Zo's feet didn't move while he was getting up. Rondo was on the ground with his feet in one spot and then upright with both feet in a completely different place.

Brian (NJ)

If it wasn't Perk's 7th tech of the playoffs there is no way they rescind it right?

John Hollinger
  (12:55 PM)

They might have anyway --- Cs definitely would have made a stink to the league, knowing that he can only get one more and that they have (at least) five games left to play if they want to win a title.

Daniel (Phoenix)

Suns fan here. If the Suns were to beat the Lakers, who do you think would be the better match up for them in the finals?

John Hollinger
  (12:55 PM)

BostonBostonBostonBostonBoston. Suns offense is almost the perfect antidote to Boston's floor-shrinking defense, plus Phoenix would have home-court advantage.

Mitch (Atlanta)

John, I feel the FA moves this summer could effectively close the window on teams (like my Spurs) who may have had one last title run in them if the league remained static. Agree?

John Hollinger
  (12:56 PM)

I wouldn't be so fatalistic. All the teams making moves are in the other conference, for starters, and it appears San Antonio won't be standing pat either.

Dean (Atlanta)

What's up with the Atlanta coaching situation...is Casey really the guy Sund wants? Does Mark Jackson have a realistic shot at the job?

John Hollinger
  (12:58 PM)

I suspect that Casey is Sund's guy but that they want to cover all their bases and figure they have plenty of time, since Casey isn't at the top of the list anywhere else right now.

Dave (Phoenix)

BTW Lakers have won 8 straight game 5's....last team to beat them in a game 5??? SUNS in 2007

John Hollinger
  (1:00 PM)

Thanks, that's a good stat ... of course, location is a big factor. Seven of those eight Game 5s have been at home, just as tonight's is, but the one in Phoenix was a road game.

Steve (Torrance)

With what comes down to a best of 3 with 2 in LA do the Suns really stand a chance? You know they won't get the calls in LA the way they did in Phoenix. Just glad the Lakers haven't figured out to get Gasol 30 shots a game instead of Kobe. The Suns would lose by 30 a game.

John Hollinger
  (1:01 PM)

The interesting thing is that when you go from a best-of-seven to a best-of-three, the visiting team's odds aren't any better than at the start. Historically, Lakers still have the advantage.

Dave (Phoenix)

Orlando hoping NBA also recinds trade for Vince Carter

Pat (Iowa)

A lot of people are saying that these playoffs haven't been too exciting. What has been the most memorable moment of the playoffs so far?

John Hollinger
  (1:03 PM)

For me it was Goran Dragic's explosion in Game 3 of the San Antonio series, which was made even more priceless by watching the reactions of Gentry -- I was right near the Phoenix bench for that game -- as Dragic kept making shots.

Mohammad (Orlando)

How come nobody is talking about Nate Robinson's FOUL on Dwight that CAUSED his elbow to hit big baby?

John Hollinger
  (1:04 PM)

Forget the foul, why isn't anybody talking about Nate dribbling for 15 seconds before finally realizing that maybe they should do something about the fact that Davis wasn't going to be coming to the party on that side of the court. Rivals J.R. Smith's leap over a prone Carmelo Anthony for on-court cluelessness.

kasey (los angeles)

gasol's offensive efficiency is higher than that of kobe's, why isn't he getting more touches?

John Hollinger
  (1:05 PM)

Your guess is as good as mine. Gasol has been ridiculously good in the playoffs, but L.A.'s habit of forgetting about him for stretches has hurt. Even against the zone they should be looking to hit him at high post and let him facilitate or drive.

Dave (Phoenix)

I still don't understand the Robinson/House trade. Wouldn't House be a way more effective playoff guy for the Celtics than Nate ever could be?

John Hollinger
  (1:07 PM)

Interesting take: A very knowledgeable basketball person argued with me this week that it was a *good* trade for Boston for precisely that reason -- it forced them play Rondo 40+ minutes a game and use Tony Allen as the primary bench sub. In other words, it made their rotation better by accident.

Wally (Washington D.C.)

Arenas for Lewis ?? gives Orlando a lineup of Jameer,Gil,Vince, Let Bass take over at 4 and then Dwight? what you think??

John Hollinger
  (1:09 PM)

Wizards aren't taking on money, and they sure as heck aren't taking on Lewis money. Also, that's a horrible trade for Orlando. Rest of the league would be doing cartwheels if that went down.

aveboogie (Atlanta)

Forget Nate dribbling for 15 seconds...why isn't anyone talking about Doc Rivers yelling at Davis to get up with a look of utter disgust, not to be confused with concern, on his face!!! He was much closer to Davis than Nate was.

John Hollinger
  (1:10 PM)

Couple people in here mentioned that. I didn't notice it when I was watching, will have to look at the tape ...

Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)

You seem to discount the fact the Knicks might con the Raptors in the Curry - Bosh swap. Remember, this is the franchise who took on almost every bad contract they could from the Nets prompting Simmons to have his Atrocious GM Summit....

John Hollinger
  (1:10 PM)

But they had a different GM then. Given up their best player for $11M in damaged goods? Not even Isiah would pull the trigger on that one.

John Hollinger
  (1:11 PM)

Folks, that's all the time I have but thanks again for all the great questions. We'll do this again next Thursday -- right before Game 1 of the Finals.