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April 2, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

mike wilbon
  (1:01 PM)

Hi Everybody...Happy Championship Monday! We'll hit as many questions as we can in about 35 minutes or so. I have to get ready a little early today for PTI...But let's hit the title game tonight...(I win the Tony Kornheiser Celebrity Bracket Challenge if Kentucky wins!) and the NBA and The Masters...

Rick (Missouri)

Why do ESPN and the "experts" continue to disregard Calipari's vacated seasons? I see they post his record on the screen crediting him with wins and final 4s that don't count. Gene W. writes an article about everything hanging over Calipari's head with no mention of the vacated records. I know you can't speak for ESPN as a whole, but it seems like the "World Wide Leader" and those working at ESPN ignore FACTS because Calipari is a good interview.

mike wilbon
  (1:07 PM)

You ask a totally fair question, but I'm glad you also acknowledge that I speak for me...There's no company memo to agree with the network. If the network wanted total agreement, would Kornheiser and I have a show? One that's based on disagreement? In my case, I both don't think of it and don't really care about the vacated games. You could argue that I "should" care, and that's legit. But I don't. I'm not defending Cal or saying that the NCAA was wrong. I'm saying, it doesn't make me think Cal isn't as good a I don't factor it in. And you might be right about taking it easy on a guy because we like him. Charles Barkley says, and I think accurately we ALL do that on some level. And Cal has been one of the best guests we've had on PTI...It's so down on the my priority list when it comes to considering, say, the game tonight or Kentucky-Louisville...Not saying I'm right, but if you want to know why I ignore it (and I largely, though not completely, do) then there it is...I also think, and this is another conversation entirely, the NCAA is a sham at this point so I have so little respect in some cases for their policing and policy-making...

Ryan (Halifax)

So is this loss to Boston just another ?no big deal? loss for the Heat. You?ve been adamant that theres nothing wrong with them.

mike wilbon
  (1:12 PM)

Great, great point. I did say on PTI, maybe Wednesday or Thursday, that I thought the Heat's spotty play after the All-Star break meant less than nothing. But I may be dead wrong. Magic and Jon Barry made that clear to me even BEFORE the Celtics spanked Miami yesterday and some active players did over the weekend. A few guys said to me, "Nothing? Really?" Okay, guilty. Miami looked like dreck yesterday in Boston. No energy, no excitement to play against an opponent, a former champ, they could see in the playoffs? That's sad. Something's wrong, and players around the league are wondering what it is and if it's basketball-related. When Eric Spoelstra said after the first quarter yesterday it was the easiest first quarter the Celtics had all season, it was an acknowledgement that something's up. Miami has OKC Wednesday in Miami, and the Bulls in Chicago in 2 weeks, perhaps with D.Rose back in the Bulls lineup. Let's see how this plays out. It ain't good with 15 games left to be goofing around like Miami has been lately.

Dave (LA)

True of false: Nobody in the West is beating OKC in the playoffs.

mike wilbon
  (1:15 PM)

True. Okay, the Spurs could. S.A. is 2-0 vs OKC this season and the Spurs are so good, so deep, so well coached, so experienced. Even a new guy, Boris Diaw, has played in the conference finals...The Spurs are loaded...The Lakers have a puncher's chance...but I think OKC is the best team in the league right now, period. Miami is in a funk and the Bulls simply have to get Rose and Hamilton into that lineup with a dozen games to play or they'll never build the kind of on-court togetherness you need to challenge for a championship...With the way Durant and Westbrook are playing, not to mention Harden and Perkins and Ibaka...I just don't see anybody out there beating OKC if healthy.


Why is everyone tripping on Chicago loosing against OKC. We didn't play with D.Rose.

mike wilbon
  (1:16 PM)

Nobody's trippin, as you say. But the Bulls are going to have to get Rose back in there or they'll have no chance in the playoffs. Also, remember, the Bulls had beaten Miami and Orlando and Atlanta without Rose, and other good teams without Deng...NOBODY had handled them like that...

James (Cali)

Whos the biggest threat to OKC in the playoffs?

mike wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

Spurs...Has to be the Spurs in the conference finals...

Jake (Denver)

Hey Wilbon, last chat I asked if you thought that a rejuvenated K.G. and the Celtics might be able to make some noise in the East. I know you can't get to them all, but any thoughts? Thanks!

mike wilbon
  (1:20 PM)

A rejuvinated KG playing center...He's playing great...17 and 10 since Doc moved him over the center. The Celtics have a great chance to finish 4th in the East, but they do have a veeeery difficult schedule coming up that could allow the Knicks and Philly to hang right there and make for a three-team race in the Atlantic for that 4th spot. The Celtics need to go 3-3 at worst in the six tough games they've got coming up, and 4-2 would really enable them to win the division...But the Celtics knew if it came down to late sprint they'd be okay, and looks like they are...Third best record in the league after the break...Rondo playing great, and Doc is working young guys like Avery Bradley in very, very nicely.

J (m) seems as though the Heat continue to lose only by beating themselves. It almost seems as though they're not interested in the regular season anymore. I mean when Dallas came to town they played great (revenge factor), Toronto (Bosh's old team), so it seems like when they WANT to they're unbeatable, but then they lose interest an look like they can't beat anyone. Your thoughts.....?

mike wilbon
  (1:22 PM)

Hopefully you saw the previous answer. But they goofed around with Toronto and were in a tied game until they woke up and played well in the 4th quarter. Thing is, and Magic said this on our show yesterday, this Miami team hasn't won squat, so why would they be bored? They're the ones who went out and told the world they were going to be a dominant team and win multiple titles, so why would they try and skate through the regular season?

Sean (New Jersey)

Do you think its how the college system is set up that John Calipari gets to recruit one and done freshmen every year?

mike wilbon
  (1:25 PM)

Of course. If the NBA, during the last round of labor negotiations, had said, "We're not allowing anybody into our league without two years of college" there wouldn't be a one-and-done. Why do you think the NFL doesn't take one-and-dones? Because a 3-year rule, which helps both products and the kids in question, was collectively bargained. By the way, did you notice that Duke has at least a fourth one-and-done that I can think of, in Austin Rivers? Yet, nobody assails Coach K. I'm not saying he should be assailed, because these are the rules. So Cal's players often leave after one year? The rules provide for that environment to exist.

Danny (College Park/Chicago)

I agree with the now common notion that the comments about Washington losing to Kentucky were basically absurd. but I wanted to pose a different question, if the Wizards and Bobcats were high seeds in the tourney would they have been the favorites to win it all? do you think they could?

mike wilbon
  (1:26 PM)

Either could win six games by double-figures, especially if they had any incentive...

Mike (Santa Clara, Ca)

So last week after KD outplayed Lebron you said relax its only one game. This week he was outplayed by Pierce and Rondo, is it still only one game? or are all you ESPN analyst overrating Lebron? if he's the best player in the NBA he should be the best player every time he steps out on the court! he wasn't even the 2nd bets player against the C's!

mike wilbon
  (1:33 PM)

Once again, we're in Heat obsession mode! Stop with the lazy "all you ESPN analysts" silliness. If you're actually watching and not just coming with your own agenda, you'll hear all kinds of different opinions on LeBron. Magic and Jon Barry, just to name two, have been looking critically at this stretch of LeBron being less than he ought to be..There's no unanimity of opinion on any player in the NBA today...not even KD, who I think can lead that team to a title now...I just heard Bruce Bowen on our air call OKC "one of the favorites" in the West. So, there's plenty of variety of opinion, including on LeBron. Let's see what happens Wednesday in Miami with LeBron v. KD Round 2. What annoys me is people who, in this NFL mentality the network has helped grow, shout and yell after one game when a rematch on the road is 10 days later. If you have no curiosity about Wednesday night, it's just silly. But the larger point that LeBron ain't playing well, is one I now acknowledge...He'd better get it turned around, that's for sure...Miami would NEVER be this ordinary...

Joel (Chapel Hill)

What are the Knicks prospects in the playoffs, with B.D. as the starter?

mike wilbon
  (1:34 PM)

It's not just Baron Davis, it's the whole team. They're fine against the bad teams, but have struggled against the good ones. The defense is better, yes, and Carmelo can carry a team for awhile. But will the Knicks, as they are currently, beat Miami or Chicago in the first round? No...Now, if Derrick Rose isn't healthy, we'll reassess. But either way the Knicks are one-round-and-out...

Tim (London)

Do the Spurs need to avoid LAL and Grizzlies to get to the Conference Finals?

mike wilbon
  (1:35 PM)

Not this year...The Grizzlies, who I had as a sleeper, aren't playing well enough to beat the Spurs who are MUCH better than they were last year...

Rahim (hackensack, nj)

With Rose missing 10 straight, I am starting to wonder. I am convinced Thibs is the best coach in the nba based on how the team plays without Rose. However, am I in the minority thinking they should sit him until there is like 5 games left in the season. Thus, he heals, he can still practice to stay sharp. If he goes down they can't win in playoffs, but they keep winning regular season games, so why not just sit em?????????

mike wilbon
  (1:36 PM)

No, Rose and Hamilton need a dozen or some games plus practices or the Bulls have no chance. None. You can't just come back in November form and expect to beat, say, Orlando...or even the Knicks if both those teams have most of their best players...Rose and Hamilton have to play soon...

Dan (CA)

Mike, Is there any better day in sports than Masters Sunday with a crowded leaderboard?

mike wilbon
  (1:39 PM)

Few if any. I love Masters Sunday...I might put it behind that NFL second-round Sunday, but it's way up there. I know we're going to get the "Tiger or the field" question coming up. I think Tiger will be in the mix but I don't know if I'd pick him to win. I just hope he and the other big boys (Phil) are on the board when play ends Saturday...The anticipation would be incredible, but obviously the pre-tournament excitement is so much about Tiger's return to a form approaching, well, Tiger's form. There's no PTI Wednesday, Thursday, Friday because of The Masters coverage and I play to be a lazy bum and watch as much as I possibly can...

Patrick (Chicago)

If Calipari jumps to the NBA, what are the best landing spots. NJ is obvious, especially if it keeps Deron. Washington? Sacramento?

mike wilbon
  (1:41 PM)

Suppose Washington ends up winning the lottery and has Anthony Davis and John Wall? If I was running the Wizards (isn't Ted Leonsis glad I'm not!) I'd throw a lot of incentive at Cal to come and coach his two former players...But can you imagine Sacramento with Cousins and Davis? They'd climb the ladder if they could find a playmaking veteran guard (can you say Steve Nash?)

Alex (Richmond, Va)

The San Antonio Spurs to me, are the best team in the NBA right now. Yes the Thunder have defeated the rose-less Bulls and the Miami Heat, but the Spurs have beaten the Thunder 2 out of 3 times with no Manu Ginobli. What are your thoughts?

mike wilbon
  (1:41 PM)

That the Spurs are a serious threat to OKC...Those are my thoughts.

ibrahim (turkey)

Can Celtics beat Miami in a 7game series?

mike wilbon
  (1:42 PM)

Yes. The Celtics are strong where Miami is vulnerable, point guard and center...Rondo and KG...

Rob (San Antonio)

Do you think Payton and Loomis have a legitimate shot at getting reduced suspensions?

mike wilbon
  (1:44 PM)

No...Problem is, if you reduce Payton's suspension to 14 games, does that mean he'd be available for the playoffs? Big issue. Could the Commish restore a couple of regular season games? I guess he could, but why? HE'S the one who handed down the decision a minute-and-a-half ago...

Dan (Chicago)

How does Chris Broussard get so many sources?? Does he just hang out with everyone involved with the NBA?

mike wilbon
  (1:45 PM)

That's what reporters do, Bro. They talk to everybody who will talk to them. No different than somebody who covers cops and courts in New York City (or Mayberry for that matter) or education or the technology beat or the Olympics or a football team...You hang around as many people and get as many phone numbers as you can and talk to them all the time about what's going on in the industry. Broussard is damn good at it...

Mike (IL)

Don't you wish we lived in a 'Madden' world where we could turn injuries off and not miss out on seasons by the world's best (ie: Rubio, Rose, Manning, etc.)? And yes, I realize this is a useless question, ha. I just hate seeing players get hurt even if they are on rivals. I'd rather beat a team at it's best.

mike wilbon
  (1:47 PM)

Yeah, injuries have ruined this season for me. I spend a ton of time in Los Angeles now and I'd love to see Chauncey Billups playing for the Clippers. Suppose the Celtics had Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox right now? Rubio's loss is enormous. I think the T-Wolves would have made the playoffs easily with him, not to mention he's so great to watch...Minnesota may make it anyway, but Rubio's development takes a step back now...I hate that about this season as well...

Luke (Maine)

Wilbon, this whole Bobby Valentine managing Boston thing just reminds me of Ozzie Guillen managing the White Sox. Both guys just seem to play right into the media's hand. How important do you think it is for a MLB manager to placate the media without causing problems?

mike wilbon
  (1:50 PM)

Ozzie doesn't placate the media. You're not paying attention if that's what you think. That's who Ozzie Guillen is dude; he doesn't placate anybody. Now Valentine just seems to be stirring it up, like he's going to push everybody's buttons until he creates an advantage for his guys or himself, but it seems silly and contrived to me. Ozzie's actions and rants are genuine, whether or not you like them. Valentine's stuff seems, to me, scripted and just a bunch of nonsense. Going after Derrick Jeter, for what? Like Jeter's career in baseball isn't a hell of a lot more impressive than Valentine's.

Eric (Chicago)

Reggie Miller and Don Nelson going into the Hall. Your thoughts on that Wilbon? As someone who loved watching Jordan dismantle the Pacers year in and year out, Reggie was a great competitor, great shooter and he does well on TV too!

mike wilbon
  (1:52 PM)

Reggie Miller belongs in the Hall of Fame, period. No question. He's one of the three or four best shooter of all-time and did it in the clutch, on the road in the playoffs, year after year...His contributions are unarguable...And yes, he's great on TV. It's a no-brainer and I'm thrilled for Reggie Miller...

Gabriel Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)

Who's MVP if season ended today?

mike wilbon
  (1:54 PM)

I vote, and I'm glad I don't have to decide today. I'm not voting until the season ends. Today, it's a dead heat between LeBron and Durant, with LeBron sliding because of this recent funk he and Miami are in. Durant is rising fast...Had a similar situation a few years ago (at least for me) with Kobe and Chris Paul. I vote for Kobe as he had the Lakers surging at the end of the reg season and the Hornets went on a bit of a slide. It was close though...

mike wilbon
  (1:55 PM)

Okay, gotta run gang...Must prepare for PTI...What a great sports week coming up, starting with tonight's title game, tomorrow night's women's title game (what a game between Notre Dame and UCONN), Wednesday's OKC-Heat game, The Masters...Enjoy it. See you Monday...