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January 23, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

Ted (Lexington, KY)

Brady was picked off twice and had ZERO TD throws, yet the Patriots still won. Bet you didn't see that one coming.

mike wilbon
  (1:15 PM)

Afternoon Everyone! We'll jump right into the conference championship games, which disappointed me greatly since I was rooting for the two choking, uh, losing teams...and NBA/college hoops stuff...Usually, when Tom Brady is outplayed by his opposite number or when he "sucks"--his word, not mine--the Patriots are going to be in trouble. But, the Ravens gave away a playoff game, gave away a chance to be in the Super Bowl. What other way do you put it? The would-be TD pass at the end that was knocked out/dropped, the chip-shot FG attempt, the Ravens coaching staff's unwillingness to exploit favorable matchups, noticeably Boldin vs. Edelman. Even Joe Flacco, while overall he played a very good game, couldn't recognize basic situations that would have worked for him...like a RB standing in front of him for a walk-in TD that Flacco doesn't see...Baltimore HAD THAT GAME and let it go, gave it away. I feel bad for Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. The defense gave up only 2 TDs at NE. hard to ask for better than that from a defense; yet they lost.

Andrew (Philly)

If Eli wins his second championship in a couple weeks, does his legacy outshine his brother's?

mike wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

I think at that point, 2-1 Eli in Super Bowls, things even up at the very least. My own brother and I nearly ran my mother out of the living room last night arguing this. I say Eli can surpass Peyton, he says no. Now, to surpass Eli would have to win next week and another. I don't want to hear about Peyton's records. Like he wouldn't trade all that stuff for an extra Super Bowl victory or two?

Agent Fox Mulder (Quantico)

Admit it. The NFL wanted a Giants/Patriots rematch after the perfect season got botched. A muffed punt return. A missed chip shot. Conspiracy I say.

mike wilbon
  (1:20 PM)

Ha! No conspiracy. I don't see that. But I do see two insufferable weeks of hype and overstatement, much of it coming out of Bristol which sits between New York and Boston. There will be all kinds of questions posed about whether this is the greatest rematch ever, questions that will completely ignore decades of NFL history and achievement at the highest levels. I was so rooting for SF and Baltimore, in part, because I could do without more New York-Boston. They'll want us to debate which is the greatest rivalry, Sox-yankees or Giants-Pats...all this sort of thing which will annoy the hell out of me for two full weeks!!! So, Agent Fox Mulder I get it entirely.

Floyd (Cubeville)

We're a month in to the NBA season. What do you think is the most interesting story line going forward for the rest of the season, and has that changed from what you expected before the season started?

mike wilbon
  (1:28 PM)

Sadly, the most important story line (not the most interesting) is injuries. We're talking about the thing that's going to determine the championship. So many big stars (Wade, Nowitzki, Rose, Ginobili, CP3, the list goes on) are out and this is going to be the theme all season. Management of injuries is going to probably remain the biggest story going forward, sadly. I thought it would be significant, but not this bad. The Chicago Bulls (we'll get back to this in a bit) have the deepest team in the league but could be crippled for a month with all the people they'll have out). The lack of a full camp and full preseason is what's done this. A couple of players who were around in 1999 for that Labor work stoppage, said they anticipated just such a thing. I dit not. But coaches have to know by now, given who's in Sick Bay, that they have to coach differently, lower their practice expectations, reduce starters' minutes, and in general push less. The product stinks, as a result, right now...It feels like a "lost season" on many fronts..

Mo (Chicago)

Sounds like Taj and Luol might be out for some time. How do you see the Bulls accounting for their absence? Deng being out is crucial.

mike wilbon
  (1:40 PM)

Yeah, sounds like both could be out weeks, if not months...I was just trying to find out about both. Taj is still in a walking boot and cannot, apparantly, put ANY pressure on his ankle...And Deng, who is easily the team's second-best player, second most valuable player and indispensible without a doubt, fell hard on his wrist Saturday night...I was sitting right on the baseline and could see Deng's face and the pain reflected on it...The x-rays were negative but he took an MRI yesterday and it's taking an awful long time to reveal the results. Deng was in great pain Saturday night, and I can only hope we're talking a couple of weeks instead of a couple of months or worse. But the Bulls depth is being shot to hell. They've played more games than anybody in the league (or had through Saturday night). Rose, it seems, will play tonight at home against new Jersey, and seems Jokim Noah will play...but they can't keep this up for long. It's amazing they've got the best record in the league, what with all the injuries to key players.

meech (akron ohio)

what do uthink of the heats play this year are they contenders with thte current roster or should we be looking for trades for this team

mike wilbon
  (1:42 PM)

Contenders? you're not serious, right? They're the favorite, Meech, the favorite. No, they don't need to make any moves. They need to have D-Wade, LeBron and C. Bosh healthy going into the playoffs, which may not be possible, given the state of the league's health right now. But Miami is the favorite now and will likely enter the playoffs as the favorite.

Richard A (England)

Is Kobe playing more for individual accolades this year rather than team ones? He is averaging just under 25 shots per game, despite having probably the 2nd best center in the NBA on his side (Andrew Bynum) and a very good power 4.

mike wilbon
  (1:45 PM)

No, and while this is a totally fair question the fact is Kobe believes this is the best way for the Lakers to win. I don't think I agree, but i know he believes it. I talked to him about a week or so ago. The Lakers, from a personnel standpoint, are offensively challenged, especially when it comes to wing scoring, and Kobe believes it's mandatory that he score a ton. He points out, quite reasonably, that Pau Gasol, even when he played in Memphis, was not a volume shooter, in fact was a sometimes bashful shooter. Same with Bynum. STILL, I think the Lakers are better off with Kobe around 20 shots. But he's not going to take fewer shots, told me so. And he makes a very compelling case that the average is skewed because in games where the Lakers are losing he HAS to take more shots...either way, the Lakers need another offensive threat and Kobe's gonna need a bunch of 40-point nights if the Lakers are going to be a threat.

Andrew (Philly)

Who do you like in the Super Bowl?

mike wilbon
  (1:47 PM)

I think the Giants...because of their defense...but don't make me go into a dissertation. Giants 24-21. I don't care about either team, so I don't want anybody writing in saying I'm "hatin" on one or the other other...I could give a damn about either. But I just think the Giants D will do an even better job on NE than Baltimore's D, which did a fine job, holding Brady without a TD pass...

ray (Indy)

The Pacers are having a pretty good early season, since its a compressed season do you think it will translate to a deep playoff run, if they go 500 in the next six games?

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

The next 6 games hold no special allure. The Pacers are good. I picked 'em to finish 5th, I think, in the East and they could win the division if Deng and Taj Gibson or others miss a ton of time. Even if the Bulls hold on through the injuries, I think Indiana is a top-4 team in the East. Heat, Bulls, Sixers, Pacers...

Mike (Chicago, IL)

I know you love defense and say that it wins championships, but we all saw how poor special teams play can lose games. It's about playing well in all three phases.

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

It is, especially when basic special teams plays are botched like the three in question.

Michael (NYC)

Can you think of when there were 2 better conference championship games on the same Sunday in the NFL? Both were heavyweight championship battles!

mike wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

They were terrific, even if both games were choked away by the loser...I'd have to go back; I'm sure there were some Conference championship Sundays with 2 great games...I don't recall the NFC game on the Sunday that Elway engineered "The Drive." Oh, didn't the Giants trounce the Redskins 17-0 that Sunday, think it was 1986...I gotta look that up...good challenge.

Arthur (Chicago)

Just found this article on a new film that is at Sundance this year called "The Other Dream Team". Have you had a chance to see it? I anticipate it being similar to "Once Brothers" with Divac and Petrovic.

mike wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

No...tell me more.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Collins is a good coach and all, but how surprised are you by the Sixers success?

mike wilbon
  (1:53 PM)

I said on PTI in our season preview the Sixers would win the Atlantic. So not very surprised. They're a team without superstars and a lot of people don't like that in basketball. But Philly has a lot of nice pieces and Doug's doing a great, not good, job with choreographing it all. And the Sixers will win the Atlantic Division, plain and simple.

RK (motown)

can sombody tell me why Cam Newton in the pro bowl over Matt Stafford? Stafford thew 5,000 yards and over 40 TD. I don't want to hear that Stafford have Megatron.. Newton also have Steve Smith and a running game.

mike wilbon
  (1:54 PM)

It's voting, right? Players and fans. I don't get it either. I agree with you...but, hey, it's the Pro Bowl. So what? It's the most unimportant thing in the sports world every year. Still, I'm with you.

Mitchell (AB)

If Boston is serious about trading their big 3 for the future, what could they even get?

mike wilbon
  (1:56 PM)

Not much. You're going to take on Paul Pierce's $30 million after this year they way he's playing? For what. Ray Allen has the greatest value, especially at $10 milllion a year...KG might be of value to either of the L.A. franchises, but what are they going to send back in return. It was nice of Danny Ainge to put that "for sale" sign in the front yard but I don't expect any really motivated buyers!

Tom (NM)

Billy Cundiff or Kyle Williams. Who will be remembered the longest for their miscue(s)?

mike wilbon
  (1:56 PM)

FG kicker always, right?

akbar shabazz (london)

PTI is one of the greatest sports shows ive seen in my young life. I love your work. Keep going strong brother. However i hate the bears, cubs and Definately the Bulls! Give me some hope that Melo and STAT will get it together and reach the ECF at least!

mike wilbon
  (1:58 PM)

Is the TV signal of the channel carrying the Knicks to London not reaching you, Bro? The Knicks stink. They're defnese is non-existent. The offense is broken, which is a stunner considering it's coached by a true offenive innnovator, Mike D'Antoni. Eastern Conference Finals? Dude, you'd better hope the Knicks make the playoffs. Really, they's dreadful.

Lance (Tucson)

Do the Cavs have any chance of making the playoffs?

mike wilbon
  (1:59 PM)

Yeah...there are six spots you can count on in some order: Heat/Bulls/Sixers/Pacers/Magic/Hawks...That leaves three teams (Bucs/KnicksCavs/Celtics) playing for the final two slots in the Eastern Conference...

Barry (Cleveland)

With the success of the Pacers and T-Wolves and the disappointment of NJ and NY do you think free agents will abandon the idea of having to play in a big market to be competitive? Miami is a success but NY and NJ are failures, while Denver and Utah are thriving with what they got for their superstars.

mike wilbon
  (2:02 PM)

Damn smart question! Not only that, but I think if Miami doesn't win it all, it'll lead superstars to re-think the entire Big 3 approach. If the Nuggets or Buls somehow win people will emulate them and their no-name approach. there's a lesson involved here!

Robert (Chicago)

Please tell me the rest of this NBA season will not be marred by injuries like it has been so far. Whose idea was it to jam 66 games into such a short time period? Pure greed...

mike wilbon
  (2:03 PM)

This season is going to be marred like no other. I was reminded Saturday night that both sides wanted it rather than give upactual dollars!

Alex (Anaheim)

Should the Clippers be pleased with how the season has gone thus far, or are they capable of better?

mike wilbon
  (2:19 PM)

The Clippers lead their division and should be reasonably pleased, right? I mean, CP3 has missed I think 5 straight games but DeAndre Jordan, whom the Clips are paying big money, is playing well. Blake G. is doing his thing. Caron Butler is playing about the way you'd expect. They are 3-2 without CP3...I don't think they've taken over L.A. like a lot of people do, though they are more exciting to watch than the Lakers. They're not going to win anything this year, but they're in a nice place to start.

Taz (Utah)

How good can the Jazz be??? Do you see the Jazz moving Devin Harris and who do you think they can get?

mike wilbon
  (2:20 PM)

Question: How good with Utah be WITH Deron Williams right now? Seriously, he wouldn't be having more fun running the Jazz than sitting around Newark waiting for Dwight Howard to show up? jefferson and Milsap are a pretty good tag-team up front, aren't they? Favors is coming along slowly, but coming along. I don't know what you can get for moving Devin Harris, but things seem to have trickled south for him since his rookie season in Dallas when the Mavs reached the Finals.

Damien (Green Bay)

did howard prove he is the best bigman in the game against the lakers friday?

mike wilbon
  (2:20 PM)

Ah, Yes...

José (Puerto Rico)

Is there some way we can get Ricky Rubio to Miami? Please?

mike wilbon
  (2:21 PM)

Why, exactly, would the Timberwolves do that?

Damien (Green Bay)

do you see any coaches on the hot seat this season?

mike wilbon
  (2:22 PM)

How about coaches on the hot seat today, right now, this minute, Mike D'Antoni? you think losing three straight at home sits well in New York, and those losses are to the Suns, Bucks, and the Nuggets team that fleeced the Knicks by sending them Carmelo...

Jon (Mlps, MN )

Lets assume the Heat win the title this year. Is there a big ol * by Lebron's first title because it was a shortened season?

mike wilbon
  (2:23 PM)

Do you have one by Tim Duncan's name for winning a 50-game season in 1999?

Don (Los Angeles)

Is Kyle Williams NFL career over?

mike wilbon
  (2:24 PM)

Really? You want to go that ridiculously far? Like people haven't made mistakes in title games and stayed around to have notable careers? Like Ernest Byner, famously fumbling while playing for Cleveland against Denver, and getting through the gaffe to have a very, very nice career. Stop it.

Edward (KC)

The Pistons went to six straight conference finals and back-to-back NBA finals, and yet you didn't see superstars clamoring to play in Auburn Hills. I'm not sure the "small market allure" holds water.

mike wilbon
  (2:25 PM)

Basically, we're talking about people clamoring to play in New York and Los Angeles...I think the whole conversation is quite overrated.

Baron Davis (New York)

What kind of impact can I make to help my teammates?

mike wilbon
  (2:26 PM)

Wow. good question. I do think a good veteran guard, and Baron is certainly that, can and will help the Knicks. But is he going to help that defense? Is he going to make Amare and Carmelo get out of each other's way? Will he keep the ball from sticking the moment it reaches Carmelo? (Maybe yes, come to think of it)...There's more wrong with the Knicks, in my opinion, than Davis can fix.

Rick (Kansas)

Pacman and Money Mayweather are having phone conversations. do we finally get the fight this year?

mike wilbon
  (2:28 PM)

I still have my doubts. If I'm PacMan, why am I taking 40 percent or something like that when I'm a bigger world-wide draw than Mayweather? Answer is: I wouldn't. I still haven't seen any real evidence that Mayweather wants to fight this fight. I hope it happens. I love boxing. I'll be ringside. But I have my doubts.

Damien (Green Bay)

what did you end up doing with your Christmas in Green Bay plan?

mike wilbon
  (2:28 PM)

Ditching it, of course, and going to Los Angeles to be in the studio for 5 NBA games on opening day!

yano (Chicago)

Is Westbrook worth the extension? It blows my mind he made 2nd team all NBA last year. Yes, he's an incredible athlete, but he got exposed in the playoffs last year as a PG. OKC needs to make him a 2 a get a true PG.

mike wilbon
  (2:31 PM)

You feel, basically, the way I feel. Westbrook is a tremndous talent but it doesn't mean he's the right point guard for that situation. I understand signing him. OKC can always trade him because somebody will die to have him. My question is this: can OKC win if Westbrook continues to think he's the best player on the team? No. Ric Bucher and Westbrook are the only two people in America who seem to think Westbrook, as fabulous as he is, is better than Kevin Durant. People who make excuses for Westbrook like to ask, "Why don't you get on D-Rose for shooting as much?" and the answer is easy: BECAUSE HE DOESN'T PLAY WITH KEVIN DURANT, stupid! Let's see what Westbrook is interested in doing, proving critics wrong or winning a title.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

Any thoughts to share on the passing of Joe Paterno?

mike wilbon
  (2:41 PM)

Yes, glad you asked...This is such a difficult subject because of the way Paterno's career and life ended. Overwhelmingly, Joe Paterno's life was one well lived. He was not only a great football coach, maybe the greatest, he was dedicated to athletes being scholars, he was way ahead of the curve in regard to issues dealing with race when other coaches had their heads in the sand, he funded scholarships having nothing to do with sports, he literally built at least one university library. Those things, no matter what his greatest critics say, cannot be ignored. And no matter what his apologists say, neither can the molesting of those children at Penn State while he was the most important person on the campus, probably in the state.

mike wilbon
  (2:41 PM)

(more on Joe Paterno)...I had conversations with Joe Paterno in my life as a college footbal reporter for The Washington Post. I admired his accomplishments, that he stood for something, that he was literate and didn't tolerate anything approaching "dumb jock" syndrom to hang around his program...And for that he should be praised...But for harboring Jerry Sandusky, it appears, Joe has to be criticized, and harshly...it's hard to reconcile. I with he had retired 15 years ago when he should have, at 70 years old. Don't tell me a man is as in control of something as unwieldly as a major college football program at 85 as he is at 65. he should have retired or been forced to, and if he had been perhaps the ending would have been so much better...for so many folks...

mike wilbon
  (2:42 PM)

Okay, probably the best way to finish today's chat anyway, given the gravity of Paterno's passing. Thanks for chatting everybody...and we'll do it again next Monday! Take care...have a great week! MW