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

Michael (Denver)

MWP's punishment needs to be severe, correct? Harden could've been gravely injured. I don't buy that he was just celebrating, I've never seen anyone celebrate a hoop by viciously swinging his elbows in the air....

mike wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

Hi Everybody...Awaiting word now on Ron Artest's punishment, and yes, it should be severe. It has to be. Artest's is the NFL's Raffi Torres, in that we're talking about a serial offender in each case. I was stunned when Torres got 25 games. Stunned. Buy you know what? It's okay. He hasn't earned ANY benefit of the doubt and neither has Artest. yes, I was very quickly persuaded by two guys who played in the NBA for a total of like 27 years--Earvin Johnson and J.B.--that the elbow was intentional...that to land where it did with that kind of force, it HAD to be intentional...that it wasn't a "get-off-me" elbow...It looks as if Artest just lost his mind for a second, and it wouldn't be the first time. But 3-5 playoff games seem, to me, to be the penalty he's looking at.

John (Toronto)

Favorite NHL playoff series so far?

mike wilbon
  (1:19 PM)

well, I'm watching Blackhawks-Coyotes more closely because I'm a Blackhawks fan, and EVERY SINGLE GAME GOING TO OT certainly would qualify it...BUT, I think Penguins-Flyers was compelling because of the style of play, the crazy goal scoring, the Pens coming back from down 0-3 to force a 6th game, the players involved, and yes, the nastiness. Hard to go against that series, though Capitals and Bruins is now becoming dramatic. Will be a basket case tonight watching Game 6 of Chi-PHX...

CarmeloFTW (new york)

how far do you think the knicks can go in the playoffs if they make it to the 6th seed?

mike wilbon
  (1:20 PM)

Well, the Pacers, who have matchup advantages over some teams, to me would really struggle with the Knicks. I think NYK could really win that series, then would gete Miami in the second round because the NBA does not re-seed. I think the Knicks have a better chance of beating the Bulls than the Heat.

mettaworld"peace"? (new york)

how many games do you think ron artest should be suspended? i believe he should be suspended 5 games + the days harden has to miss because of this incident.

mike wilbon
  (1:21 PM)

Agreed. Now, Harden was cleared to play yesterday but the OKC medical staff is reevaluating today, as it should. If Harden has to miss time, Artest should, too. No question.

JD (LINCOLN NEBRASKA)

Are Metta world peaces counselors muttering to themselves back to the drawing board??

mike wilbon
  (1:28 PM)

Great question. Probably. But let's take a step back and look at this. I know Metta--he told me to call him Ron, so I do--and I'm certain he's serious about receiving treatment. He has talked freely and voluntarily about getting help for a myriad of reasons. And I've always admired that about Ron. And I know he has taken it seriously in the past, though I don't know how it's gone recently. Anyway, I think he makes a sincere effort BUT I also think he has to be punished when he does something, intentional or not, that can seriously injure another person. The punishment has to be meaningful; it cannot be a slap on the wrist. And Ron is going to have to be, looking forward, as serious about his counseling as he was in the effort to rehabilitate himself...I hope he does it because I believe he truly wants to.

Kyle (New York )

How do you feel that this is going to effect the THUNDER here in the closing weeks of the regular season? Does this effect there plans for the playoffs?

mike wilbon
  (1:29 PM)

All depends on Harden's health. If he's fine and can play to his usual level of effectiveness, why would it affect anything?

Vinnie (ATL)

I enjoyed your discussion of MWP in studio yesterday. Do you feel Magic is personally hurt by Peace's actions? He seems to care how the Laker brand is being portrayed.

mike wilbon
  (1:33 PM)

Oh yes, you perceive correctly. In that clip that's running on SportsCenter you could feel how deeply Earvin takes representing the Lakers. As he very eloquently states, he might work for ABC/ESPN and be one of the Dodgers owners but he "represents" the Lakers...For the rest of his life he's a Laker. Hell, he's Mr. Laker as far as most of us are concerned. With all due respect to Kobe Bryant and his 5 championships, no question Magic is the franchise's signature player. And it's not just Artest's behavior yesterday that has bothered him, it's Andrew Bynum's thuggish play on J.J. Berea during the playoffs last year and Bynum's childishness lately that has upset Earvin. And isn't it good to have someone with something invested emotionally hold these guys who wear the uniform now to a high standard? Good for Magic. Look, I'm watching these games with him in the moment and I KNOW how it upsets him...And Magic is no pollyanna...He just feels genuinely this is something the Lakers should never engage in.

Jay (San Jose,CA)

Hey Mike, I have a question for u that I really hope u have an answer for... How come EVERY one just praises Tim Duncan, calls him the absolute BEST PF of ALL time and everytime he gets mentioned they just speak as if he has no equal from his time ala Kobe's latest admission that he had no rival (Tmac & Vince didn't last) I say all that to bring up KEVIN GARNETT???? C'mon Mike, KG has had just as good of a career! I know he doesn't have the rings TD has but cmon I think KG has shown that if HE had been on some contending teams earlier on in his career...Needless to say I admire KG, he's been professional, a great teammate and a tireless worker, He TOO should be acknowledged!!! Great Career for BOTH!

mike wilbon
  (1:38 PM)

Don't say "Come on Mike" like you know that I call Tim Duncan the greatest power forward ever because I don't. Don't just hear something in the wind and attribute it to whomever you want. I DON'T think Duncan is...though he's way, way up my list. I don't really count Duncan as a power forward; I count him as a center. Anyway, Kevin McHale is my choice for greatest power forward of all-time, because if you ask me if I have a game to play tonight and my life is on the line, I'm taking McHale, period. I don't want to hear "but he played next to..." Duncan played next to Robinson for 2 of those titles, right? Karl Malone played with Stockton and I KNOW the guys on the Dream Team believe with all their hearts Stockton was the better player of the two...People, because they don't know jack about the history of basketball before 10 minutes ago, don't even know how great Elvin Hayes was...And Garnett, great as he is, got out of the first round of the playoffs ONE TIME before he hooked up with Ray and Paul and Rajon...Look, they've all played with great players...I'm going McHale, Duncan (if I have to consider him a power forward), Hayes, Malone, Garnett...I'm sure we're forgetting somebody, too. Dennis Rodman. Is Rodman a power forward?

Forrest (Virginia)

San Antonio's depth is finally getting noticed, and the bench seems to be the deciding factor for every team in the playoffs this season. Agree?

mike wilbon
  (1:40 PM)

Yes, I do. And if OKC is going to play that poorly late in games in the playoffs, they're not going to beat San Antonio. Okay, maybe it was just one poor flashback game where Westbrook just takes it one-against-five like he did last year so many times in the playoffs. I don't want to overreact because Westbrook has a great season. Great. BUT...if that's how OKC is going to play in the 4th quarters and OTs, they're not getting to the Finals because one-on-everybody ain't gonna beat San Antonio. Just not gonna happen. And the Spurs have even greater depth than OKC, certainly more than the Lakers, though Mike Brown stumbled upon something yesterday when he put Jordan Hill out there to man up against other ath-a-letes...

Ry (OH)

KG's career has been much closer to C-Webb (a great player in his own right) than Tim Duncan. Duncan is just a step above both of those guys.

mike wilbon
  (1:42 PM)

Yep...Great analogy. C. Webber, for about five years, was just fabulous...That season when Sacramento got hosed in that series against the Lakers...C. Web should have a championship ring. Sacramento was the best team that season and C. Web was the best player on the best team. Best passing power forward ever. he averaged about the same assists that season (5.3 or 5.4) than Westbrook averages now.

slam city (Paradise)

'Gut' feeling of who's going to win the championship?

mike wilbon
  (1:45 PM)

I always have a gut feeling about now, on the eve of the playoffs...And this year I have nothing. How can anybody have one? They're all a little flawed, nobody is historically great, but they're all good enough to win a championship...I keep coming back to this: What are the Spurs flaws? They're not great defensively anymore, maybe that's it. Are the Bulls good enough offensively? Can OKC display championship judgement late in tight games with disciplined teams? Is Miami's lack of depth going to kill the Heat? I just don't have a feel for it. We knew going into the NCAAs that Kentucky was the most talented team. Didn't mean they'd win, but we knew they had the goods. But the NBA playoffs? I just can't call it with any conviction.

michael (leadville)

Does putting on a New York Knicks jersey automatically make one a future hall-of-famer in the eyes of Knicks fans?

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

Ha. Yes. Most delusional fan base in professional sports in America...And I'm not insulting their intelligence. You sit with Knicks fans and watch other games...New York basketball fans know their stuff...just can't be trusted evaluating the Knicks. People think I hate the Knicks. No, I like laughing at fans who one minute want to run Carmelo Anthony out of town to turn over the team to Jeremy Lin, then want to punch you if you don't say Carmelo is the MVP...The Knicks, by the way, are an easy team to root for if you're just talking about the guys. Carmelo, Amare, Jared jeffries, the kid from Stanford (who needs to play a helluva lot more), Tyson Chandler. I've known all these guys since they were either in college or rookies...Damn good guys, all of them. And they are capable some nights of being a pretty darn good team...But their fans? They set the standard for delusional...

Luke (Ann Arbor, MIchigan)

Do you think that Bobby Valentine will lead the Boston Red Sox to the playoffs?

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

Do you think Bobby Valentine will even be managing the Red Sox by the time we get to October?

AlldayKNicks (new jersey)

tyson chandler deserves to be defensive player of the year in my eyes. opp ppg w/ chandler = 98 and without = 110+. who do you think deserves that award?

mike wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

Look, I vote on this award...And I haven't turned in my ballot yet, in part because of the Chandler v Ibaka decision, and the Pop vs Thibs decision...Can't decide those two...I think I'm taking Carmelo over Durant very, very, very, very narrowly. I think. anybody who argues AGAINST either is a dope. I can make a real strong case for Chris Paul, too. But I haven't decision yet between Ibaka and Chandler...We're splitting hairs on that one, aren't we?

Aaron (Texas)

Comparing Kevin Garnett to Tim Duncan is like comparing Allen Iverson to Michael Jordan.

mike wilbon
  (1:52 PM)

Okay, people always have to get carried away. I've got Duncan higher by a few spots than KG, but don't get clownish.

b (md)

Was that elbow the most violent blow you've seen in an NBA game since Kermit Washington reorganized Rudy T's face?

mike wilbon
  (1:53 PM)

That's a great question, and I think it likely is. And if David Stern sees it that way, are we talking rest-of-the-season for Artest? Or 8-10 games, which might be rest of the season? Luckily, it didn't so as much damage, mostly because Harden was turned in a way the elbow didn't catch his cheek or eye...Can you imagine?

Tracie (Louisville, Kentucky)

Does it seem like the Lakers are becoming nothing but a bunch of thugs who want to brutally win the game by any means? IN the last year 3 Laker players have been tossed out of a game due to brutality. Maybe the commissioner needs to start making the punishments a little stiffer?

mike wilbon
  (1:54 PM)

This is the point Magic Johnson was raising, and the issue that so greatly concerns him. Some of this starts at the top, and Jerry Buss turning things over to his son, Jimmy, who hasn't even been paying attention to basketball and Lakers matters until relatively recently might be in play here...

Peeyush (NY)

I get the feeling JB does not like the Spurs - even though they will seal the West tonight with a win over Blazers, yet you guys will keep on singing praises of Heat, Lakers, OKC and the Bulls... Zero respect to a 4-time Champion - kinda sucks, doesn't it?

mike wilbon
  (1:56 PM)

Not listening and just ranting despite the facts kinda sucks, too, doesn't it? Does it look like JB speaks for all of us are do you actually LISTEN to the difference of opinions. And if you hear someone disagree week after week after week are you smart enough not to conclude "you guys" instead of just JB. If I sound angry, I am. I wonder how many people don't know the difference between one man's opinion and different opinions. I, for one, have been talking about how great the Spurs are for week after week. Do you need unanimity for that to count?

D. Brown (DC)

Which playoff series not involving the Bulls are you most looking forward to seeing?

mike wilbon
  (1:58 PM)

Well, Knicks vs Miami or Knicks vs Indy...Knicks vs. whoemver will be entertaining and fascinating...because they're not really a No. 8 seed...How about OKC-Dallas?

kingmaine204 (west palm beach)

kobe are anthony as your closer?

mike wilbon
  (2:04 PM)

WEll, yeah, right. Who else? Durant has hit some huge shots, though not yesterday. Goodness, Wade was great at it...until he and LeBron got together. Rose has three game winners this year, which ties himm with Camelo, I think, for THIS year but Carmelo has done it over a longer period, and of course kobe...yeah, Kobe and melo...

Rob (San Antonio)

Do you get tired of people calling you 'you guys?' Also, Talbot playing his heart out for Philly leads me to believe that is some of what Pittsburgh was missing this playoff. No one playing gritty or blocking shots. What do you think?

mike wilbon
  (2:05 PM)

I was surprised at the lack of grit. Seemed like they wanted to play some stylish, free-skating game that Flyers weren't going to allow. I was struck by that the second or third period of Game 1...And the NEVER did anything about it, which I guess means they couldn't do anything about it.

Zach (Tempe,AZ)

So now that Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated, will ESPN acknowledge how great of a player Claude Giroux is for Philly?

mike wilbon
  (2:06 PM)

Stop with dumb questions like "will ESPN acknowledge?" ESPN doesn't acknowledge anything. Are asking if Barry Melrose will acknowledge? He's the hockey expert and I'm sure has forgotten more hockey this morning than you and I will ever know.

kingmaine204 (west palm beach)

u still view the heat as the best team in the nba?

mike wilbon
  (2:06 PM)

I think I'm on record as saying I don't who the hell the best team in the NBA is. For awhile it was Miami, then Chicago, then OKC, then San Antonio...Now who? Who you got?

John (Detroit,MI)

I disagree with Ry (OH) and I'm from Detroit and that 02 Kings team was my FAVORITE team of ALL time...(I cried when Horry hit that shot,no really I cried) but to say KG is closer to C Webb as far as career comparisons go,I think that's a slap to the face of KG... KG has been productive much longer! and we need to stop forgetting, KG was a MVP as well...

mike wilbon
  (2:09 PM)

Good smart counter. KG has been at it longer and more consistently. I think CWeb's 2002 season was better, perhaps, than any offensive season KG ever had...But CWeb was NEVER the defensive force KG was/is...Be careful though, take a look at Web's numbers. I made JB do this the other day and even he, a former teammate of Web's, said, "Damn, I'd forgotten how dominant Web was." If not for the knee injuries, Web might have gone another three four years...And don't forget, Web also started, what, 2 years before KG. Good bar room debate though...

mike wilbon
  (2:10 PM)

Okay, I gotta run and prepare for PTI...I really could sit here and do this all day because other than the odd question that makes me nuts I really like getting into these things because the overwhelming number of people participating are so on top of whatever it is they're following...But TKs screaming at me to get into the meeting so I gotta run...thanks for chatting everybody...See you next Monday, when the NBA playoffs will have started! have a great week. MW

Clay (Kansas)

I know it is isn't likely, but shouldn't Tyrone Corbin get some love for coach of the year? I know that the Bulls and Spurs have been great teams, but hasn't Utah been a bigger surprise?

mike wilbon
  (2:11 PM)

Yes...but I don't believe it should just be about surprises. Ty's been great, but Pop and Thibs to me set the standard this season. Doc Rivers right behind them.

Freddy J (Chicago)

Bulls have been struggling of late with a lucky win against the pistons, bad loss to wizards, and they looked terrible defensively against Miami. Do you think there is cause for great concern with the way they have played down the stretch?

mike wilbon
  (2:12 PM)

If you want the long and details answer to that, read the column I wrote for ESPNChicago.com Friday...

Adam (Boise,ID)

I know you guys at PTI love the Vancouver Canucks, and Roberto Luongo. Do you see this as his last year in a Canucks uniform?

mike wilbon
  (2:12 PM)

with that contract? No way!

Michael (Mi.)

Do you think odom will be in a lakers jersey next year?

mike wilbon
  (2:12 PM)

No. Maybe the Clippers, though.