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June 4, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

Brent (Bakersfield, CA)

Which team would you rather be coming home right now? San Antonio or Miami?

mike wilbon
  (1:11 PM)

Hi Everybody! Damn entertaining conference finals we now have and the Stanley Cup finals shifting to Los Angeles tonight, so we'll jump right in...Great question about which home team I'd rather be. It's amazing what home court means in the conference finals so far, while home ice means nothing, certainly not to the Los Angeles Kings whose road warrior post-season is pretty unbelievable...The Spurs need the energy a home crowd often provides, but they also had better figure out how to free up Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Let's see if the OKC defense and reserve play both travel well. That is such a dead-even series. Both teams have been decisively better at home. I'm not sure that's the answer for Miami, which got outplayed for the most part in Game 2 at home, but stole a victory...I think the answer is the Spurs, but both clearly need a huge dose of home...

jeff (jax)

Hello and good afternoon. With that said, in what world is Hero-ball a good play? Why do coaches continue to have 1 guy dribble 20 seconds off the clock to take a contested jumper. Especially when said player shoots 30% from 3. Also, when trailing dont u have to take that shot with about 5-6 seconds to give yourself a chance at the rebound? What say you.

mike wilbon
  (1:13 PM)

I say what you say, that this constant one-on-five, hold-the-ball-for-20-seconds approach the Heat takes at the end of a great many games stink. RUN A PLAY! We see how OKC has improved now that they've stopped doing that and try to run more plays at the end of close games. Russell Westbrook did it last post-season; he's NOT doing it now. The Heat seem to know only this approach at the end of games and it's maddening that a team with those two players can do only that...or 90 percent that...

Dan (New Jersey)

As a big time Miami HEAT fan (not an individual players fan). I know what Wade has done for Miami. Do you think that Miami would consider in trading Wade after the season for 2 or 3 players? By the way you picked Boston than changed your pick to Miami? WHy?

mike wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

NO...I said if Boston was healthy, meaning Allen and Pierce were 90 percent and the ball-hawking Avery Bradley was in the lineup, I'd have picked Boston straight-up...even if Bosh was healthy, too...Both teams at full-strength, I'd take the Celtics. BUT, as is I picked Miami in 7 (check the tape)...If you're talking about why I said I was going to pick Miami last night to win Game 4 but changed my mind before the game, it's because Miami does exactly what it did last night, and all too many times at that. How can you trust them in those situations? If it's a close game and the other team is resourceful like Boston is, I just think the Celtics at home will get it done...Now that the series has shifted back to Miami...I think I'll take the Heat to win Game 5, but let's see...I think it works against Miami to try and work Bosh back into the lineup tomorrow night. Gonna be difficult to do...

Brian (New Orleans)

The Heat looked inept during that last shot in regulation. It seems they still have not figured out how to close out games in those situations. Agree?

mike wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

Oh, there's no disagreeing with that. The wonder is that the team hasn't figured this out in two years. That's terrible.

Sean (DC)

Does Erik Spoelstra have any offensive game plan, or does he just let Wade and Lebron do their thing and hope for the best?

mike wilbon
  (1:19 PM)

Aren't we all wondering that? It's one thing for us to wonder, but watching the game with Magic Johnson and see him shaking his head at the ineptitude brings it home. I never seem to hear an answer that makes sense. "Clear out" seems to be all that they do. It can't be designed that way, and Wade and LeBron are too talented, too intelligent to just stand around and thing that's the way to win a championship. Until Miami gets this worked out, I can't see them beating OKC or the Spurs...They might beat Boston, but not the Western Conference winner. No way I can see that.

Kevin (OKC)

Who has a greater presence when they walk into a room, Magic or Tony?

mike wilbon
  (1:19 PM)

Ha! LOL

Andrew (North Carolina)

With the Heat already struggling to find a rhythm and a good lineup against Boston how much would reintroducing Chris Bosh in game 5 help/hurt them match up?

mike wilbon
  (1:24 PM)

If Coach Spo can work Bosh back into the action by playing him with the second unit, I think it'll help Miami greatly. They need his size and ability to hit that 15-foot jumper that spreads the floor. But if Spo tries just running him out there with the first-team...I think it could backfire. Think of how many times we see teams struggle for a game when a great player comes back from injury...If it takes more than a quarter to get it right, that could mean doom. And Miami has no margin for error. They HAVE to win Game 5, Nothing in their 2-year-history says they're going to go on the road and beat a championship team like the Celtics in Game 6. Nothing.

Andrew (West Chester, PA)

How does Lebron foul out with four offensive fouls but Kevin Garnett is permitted to push and shove everytime he sets a screen, goes for a rebound, or goes near a defensive player. I am not saying that those pushes and shoves on Garnett should necessarily be called, but doesn't that speak to a poor exercise of discretion on the referee's part?

mike wilbon
  (1:25 PM)

Ah, yeah. I think this and many other criticisms of the post-season officiating are pretty on-the-money and I usually defend the officials and think too much is made of their calls...BUT, yesterday's end-of-game was bizzare, to say the least. I can't disagree with a word you said.

Brian (New Orleans)

I'm sure you'll appreciate Tiger's victory, but he's still not "back" until he wins a major in your eyes, correct?

mike wilbon
  (1:28 PM)

I think that's fair to say. Tiger didn't become Tiger Freakin' Woods by winning regular tournaments. He became Ruth/Ali/Jordan by winning majors, by winning all the time, by winning in such a way it took our breath away. To be that again, and I hope he can, it's going to take winning a major...at least one.

Jason (NY)

Do you think the fact that Lebron and Pierce both fouled out was some sort of reaction by the referees to all the criticism they've receieved?

mike wilbon
  (1:33 PM)

No. I don't think anything sinister is involved. Look, you guys don't know the referees personally, and I'm sure have no desire to. But I DO know them, many of them. A few are my friends. One (Mark Davis) went to my high school. These are very, very sincere people, and in the cases of the guys I know, of great integrity. ANd they're very, very good at officiating the toughest game there is to officiate, the one with the most subjectivity. They love the game, they want to do their best and stay out of the way. There's no "Let me show these people" in the men I know. Not a bit. Now, sometimes they have bad games, just like players. There have, in my opinion, been too many games like that in these playoffs...but there's been some pretty ragged play in the playoffs, too, and nobody would think the players do that purposely, right? They just blew some calls, is all. A lot of these are borderline, difficult calls, though. I wouldn't have called LeBron for that 6th foul, but I think Jeff Van Gundy, in his call of the game, said something probably "had" to be called there. It's a matter of interpretation and Jeff is very, very good at this, so many I'm wrong about that play. Whatever the case, it's difficult and these guys are trying their damndest, even if it doesn't always look like it.! LOL

Josh (Chicago )

Bulls fans finally got something to be happy about last week, the Bobcats will still be awful when we get their draft pick in 2016!

mike wilbon
  (1:35 PM)

You know, that's probably true. I wish that pick was in 2014 when Jabari Parker is likely to come out of college after one season. But he and his family are so different than that of most phenom kids, who knows with Jabari...He could stay a couple of years or three,,,Okay, I'm dreaming.

Steve (NYC)

Wait, Joey Crawford doesn't have any "let me show these people?" He's entirely "let me show these people."

mike wilbon
  (1:35 PM)

NO, Joey is, "I don't give a damn about these people" which I must admit, I love about Joey Crawford.

Chuck Willwerth (Boston)

Is there anything that could be done about the rules of basketball to make officiating easier?

mike wilbon
  (1:38 PM)

Great question!. Yes, I can think of one: get rid of the offensive foul the way it's called in college basketball. Get rid of it. You can try and block a shot, but you can't slide under a player and just stand there. That was never in the game 20 years ago. It's about the only negative thing Duke has introduced to the game. And by the way, I'm FINE with the way it's called in college hoops. But in the pros, where athleticism and daring are the to be rewarded, not punished, it has to go. All those calls should be eliminated. The defender, if he does that, should be called for a foul, period, if the offensive player is making a normal basketball move (no elbows, no plowing, no shoulder dipping though)...

Paul (Portland, OR)

FYI- on Bill Simmons' Grantland website, Sebastian Pruiti breaks down Miami's final play and says Spoelstra DID design a play for Chalmers, but Wade didn't execute it right. Interesting reading for those who are interested...

mike wilbon
  (1:38 PM)

Thank you for that! THere's so much interesting reading at Grantland...thanks

Keiron (Boston)

In the past, Doc has stated he envisioned starting Pietrus and moving Allen to the bench. When Bradley went down with the shoulder, why did he start Allen in his place? I understand Pietrus is injured with his knee but he's still a better defender than Allen. What are your thoughts?

mike wilbon
  (1:39 PM)

Coaches sometimes see things in practice that we don't see and make decisions off that. I am a big Pietrus fan, but maybe he doesn't work well as a starter anymore...I trust Doc saw something that led him to change his mind. It's not whimsy. That's not who he is.

Derrick (New Jersey)

If you had one guy to pick tonight from the spurs to have a good game who would it be?

mike wilbon
  (1:39 PM)

Tony Parker. He makes the whole thing go.

Doug (NYC)

Mike do you think many of the refereeing complaints you see are a result of the inconsistency fans see from the calls? What Joey Crawford thinks is a foul isn't what another ref thinks is a foul. So why doesn't the NBA assign the same crew to work an entire series? It might cut down on the conspiracy theories if a foul in the first quarter of game 1 is still a foul the fourth quarter of game 7.

mike wilbon
  (1:41 PM)

Great question...I'm not certain of the reasoning, though I'm hunching that it has something to do with not wanting too much familiarity over a series. I need to ask somebody that, but I bet that's what it is.

Anthony (Chicago)

What did you think about Lebron James' sixth foul in overtime? Did that change the outcome of the game?

mike wilbon
  (1:41 PM)

Sure, potentially. But so did Pierce fouling out. Both are their team's No. 1 scorers. Though Pierce has fouled out three times in four games. What the hell is that about? The Cs can't afford Pierce sitting on the bench at the end of playoff games.

Joe (NYC)

I'm not a Celtics fan in the least, but I did love Rondo calling out the Heat for whining too much, your thoughts?

mike wilbon
  (1:43 PM)

Wow, what a shot! Look, the Celtics think, "We're championships, they're not, who the hell are they?" The Celtics actively dislike the Heat. The two teams in the Eastern Conference who really, really dislike Miami are the Celtics and Bulls, and both wanted to play Miami desperately. We now see why Miami wanted a piece of 'em...The Celtics are completely confident they're going to win this series, and nobody is more confident than Rondo.

Mike (Glasgow, Scotland)

Do you think Lebron's postgame comments of "I don't foul out" were him sending subliminal messages to the refs not to call the game fairly like they did in games 3 and 4?? Because it's obvious who the better team is when the games are called remotely even.

mike wilbon
  (1:44 PM)

Who's the better team? Obvious to whom? Boston has outplayed the Heat three straight games, and didn't get Rondo on the line when he was hit in the face by D. Wade during OT of the game Boston lost in the last three. So, you got Boston being the better team? Doesn't sound like it. But yes, I think LeBron, to speak to your first point, was speaking to the refs, hoping they're listening somehow.

Charles (Mississippi)

Am I the only person outside of OKC that's crazy enough to think the Thunder ends this series in Game 6? Meaning I have the Thunder beating the Spurs in San Antonio tonight! I just think they have the speed and athleticism plus they have figured out the Spurs. Tell me I'm not crazy!

mike wilbon
  (1:46 PM)

It's not crazy at all, not to me. the Spurs have to figure out a way to free up Parker and Ginobili or OKC will win tonight and then back at home close it out. BUT, you think the Spurs don't know that better than we do? You think Pop is just sitting around have a glass of red from his vineyard? Okay, maybe he is the the video is working triple OT...I can't wait for tonight. I don't know WHAT the hell is going to happen and neither does anybody else, which is why this series is so gripping.

Damon (Santa Cruz)

Regarding the "clear out" philosophy, is it due to a lack of assertiveness on the coach's part or is it the players demanding that they do it their way?

mike wilbon
  (1:46 PM)

Probably the latter, if we believe that Coach Spo drew up a play that wasn't executed, as we can find out by going over to Grantland to look at the piece they have on this.

Jeff (Ohio)

Going to switch it up a little bit. I know it's a long way off, but being a Chicago guy, is Jay Cutler or Brandon Marshall a first round pick in fantasy football? That duo has been dynamic. I need to make my money back. lol

mike wilbon
  (1:48 PM)

I don't play fantasy football, only fantasy basketball...but Marshall's arrival has given me hope that the Bears will be really, really good this fall...That has to be what pulls me out of my Derrick Rose funk. The Bears look loaded, especially if they can somehow get Matt Forte back in that lineup. It would be the most potent offense the team has had in years and years.

Sean (Cincinnati)

What do you think about the Bulls possbily going after Steve Nash next month? Do you think it's a possibility or will he bail for Miami?

mike wilbon
  (1:50 PM)

People keep mentioning Nash and Miami. Why? When you watch the Heat right now, do you think LeBron and Wade think they need a primary ballhandler to set them up? You think their primary strength is playing withOUT the ball? Really? The Bulls could use him, yes, because D-Rose isn't going to play until February or March, if then. But Nash can't defend a lick anymore, not a lick, and I can't imagine Coach Thibs loving that...Nash should go someplace where he's the QB, like Utah, a team with young hungry ath-a-letes he can direct...

Anthony (NYC)

I don't consider Rondo particularly whiny, but isn't the idea of a Celtic calling someone else whiny at least a little ironic? Paul Pierce's tilted head crybaby face is legendary.

mike wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

Oh, no question. The appeal of Rondo (I love Rondo, I'll admit) is that he looked right in the camera and called Miami a bunch of punks. You GOTTA love that. Rondo doesn't care. He's tougher than everybody. Everybody.

Wilt (Heaven)

I'm the only one who doesn't foul out LeBron.

mike wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

Ha! Thanks for that!!!!

md (md)

Lebron was lucky he didnt foul out earlier... dude nearly took Pietrus' head off with a wild elbow in the 4th. Missed by like an inch...

mike wilbon
  (1:52 PM)

You make a good point!

Michael (Ohio)

Change of pace - golf question! I know you have said in the past that watching Tiger now makes you sad considering his past successes. He is the only reason I watch golf, and I have felt the same way over the past couple years. Yesterday though? Looks like Tiger may be back, what say you?

mike wilbon
  (1:54 PM)

Spoke to this earlier. Tiger looks the best he's looked in three-plus years. It's encouraging, because while I watch golf no matter who's playing, I revel in it when Tiger's playing well. People may lie and say they don't feel this way, but again...they're lying. You can HATE Tiger and it's still a better watch when he's roaring. And I love him. But "back" means he's where he was and that means dominating at least for stretches. Let's see what happens in two weeks at the U.S. Open. I'd settle for being within two strokes Sunday morning...HOw exciting would that be?

mike wilbon
  (1:55 PM)

And by the way, what happened to Rory McIlroy? He's won one tournament this year, I think. The Honda maybe? He's missed the cut in three straight events? Where are all the clowns who had HIM replacing Tiger and the next great thing in golf. People are so stupid. One tournament--granted it was a Major--and people run around making declarations. Please.

mike wilbon
  (1:56 PM)

Okay, I gotta run everybody. Must get ready for PTI where we'll talk a lot of Tiger and even more about the NBA playoffs. WE didn't even get to the Kings, who can go up 3-0 tonight. Problem for L.A. is...the game is at home where they've dropped their only two games this post-season. Have a great TV watching night, everybody. See you next Monday, the day before the start of the NBA Finals. Thanks for chatting. MW