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May 13, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

mike wilbon
  (1:26 PM)

Hi Everybody...Happy Day After Mother's Day...hope you all enjoyed the weekend...we'll jump right into the NBA playoffs and hopefully some of you are as interested in Tiger's win at TPC as I am, which is to say "very." Here we go...

Josh (Chicago)

Even though the Warriors are going "small," aren't they having so much success against the spurs partly because of how tall and long the combination of Curry and Thompson are at the guards.

mike wilbon
  (1:30 PM)

The Warriors are having success because they've got arguably the best backcourt in the Western Conference, and I'm including all the teams in the playoffs this season. I don't know if I'm ready to join Mark Jackson and proclaim that Steph Curry and Clay Thompson are the best shooting backcourt ever BUT they're the best shooting backcourt in the game today, without question...and when you throw in Jarrett Jack, you've got a helluva three-man backcourt and they're going up against a pair of Hall of Famers in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, guys with three championships rings...To go to the next level the Warriors are going to need some kind of reliable frontcourt scoring, and in that regard they're a year ahead of schedule...But they're so fun to watch now...I didn't think the Warriors were going to win yesterday but they've evened the series, of course. I think the Spurs, with Games 5 and 7 at home, still rate an advantage...but the Warriors are figuring it out, and remember they're still so absurdly young...Thompson is a second-year guy, Harrison Barnes and the kid from Michigan State are rookies...Question is, do we believe in the Spurs "experience" from here on out are are their legs old and tired?

andy (iowa)

will the bulls win?

mike wilbon
  (1:31 PM)

Win what? Tonight, Game 4? Possibly. The series? No. Miami's the better team, which should be obvious by now...The thing to admire about the Bulls is how they keep battling even though they've lost two starters since the beginning of the playoffs, Deng and Hinrich who we believe will be out again tonight...

Ismail (Toronto)

Do you think Memphis without Rudy Gay is a better team?

mike wilbon
  (1:33 PM)

I didn't think that. I thought Memphis needed a reliable scorer in the playoffs, and by that I mean a guy they could simply toss the ball to with the shot clock running down against a terrific defense and that guy could simply get his own shot and hit it 40-plus percent of the time...I thought that guy was Rudy Gay but apparently I was dead wrong...Gay also needed touches, and he wasn't all that efficient, and those touches now go to Marc Gasol and Zack Randolph who are more efficient offensively...Look, Memphis has to get out of this round to prove that they're better without Gay because they'd gotten this far WITH him...but it looks as though the people who argued for Memphis without Gay are right...

Josh (Chicago)

Did you know that Jimmy Buckets is shooting 47% from beyond that arc since the Allstar break? I think I can make a good argument that Jimmy is the 4th best under 30 shooting guard to have for the future behind only Harden, Thompson and Beal. Not bad considering that was our weakest position a year ago

mike wilbon
  (1:41 PM)

I don't care much for those kinds of rankings...but what's clear is that Butler can be a terrific two-way player, a guy who can get you 15 points per game and defend either the 2 or the 3...And at 6-7 it would give the Bulls, going forward, a big guard to play alongside Derrick Rose at 6-3...Something to be very excited about. I remember when the kind was drafted, he said he understood he was being brought in to harass LeBron James and Dwayne Wade the best he could. Hell, who wouldn't like hearing that from a top draft choice? He's got a great attitude...It's Butler's development that would probably lead me, if I ran the Bulls, to give this roster another chance next year without doing much tweaking...

bryce (florida)

What are your thoughts on how Chicago is keeping this series relatively close, when they are missing their top 3. Is it laziness from heat, is it just tons of heart from chicago?

mike wilbon
  (1:45 PM)

Don't get too carried away without "how close" this is. The Bulls won the first game, in Miami, which was damn impressive given the players they're missing. But Miami was up 50 in Game 2 and won Game 3 by 10...I think the Bulls could win tonight...but it's unlikely...yes, the heart of the team is unquestioned, the grit, the determination, all those things. But the Bulls made some silly mistakes, in my opinion, in Game 3...mental mistakes, including Thibs not using Rip Hamilton when clearly his perimeter guys are NOT going to beat Miami if they're all playing 44 minutes per game. Ain't gonna happen, plain and simple. He's got to use Daequan Cook and Rip even if it's just to spot them to get rest for Nate and Belinelli and Butler...Big blunder there. They can't finish strong if they're playing 44 plus minutes...And Muhammad's shove of LeBron eliminated him from spelling Noah and Boozer...Just dumb stuff...You can't show heart but lose your head and the Bulls have done that for two games now...

Josh (Chicago)

Michael, I am so proud of this Bulls teams and have really appreciated the excited that have given me this year. That said, I am kind of relived that Rose is going to take his time and come back as strong as he can. I am being unrealistic to say I think the Bulls are in great shape for the future and don't need to do any major except be patient. Give me Rose, Butler, Deng, Noah and Boozer/Mirotic with Taj and Hinchrich as a 7 man rotation any day.

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

I think the Bulls have a four or five-year window if they can ever get/stay healthy...so I agree with you, for all the reasons you stated...They can't keep everybody for tax reasons...Probably can't keep Nate Robinson...unless they do quite a bit or rearranging...I like a backcourt of Rose/Butler/Belinelli, going forward, which leaves a fourth spot...They're unlikely to cut a first-round pick, Teague, so that means there's only room for Hinrich or Nate, both not both and maybe not either...tough decisions. BUT, this was meant to be a bridge roster with, I think, six or seven expiring contracts...But I'd keep the guts of this team, I think for at least one more season and not amnesty anybody, not get in a major trade situation unless somebody offers something crazy good...If you have Rose, Deng, Hinrich healthy I'd make the Bulls an even No. 2 in the East to start next season, right there with the Pacers...

Ismail (Toronto)

Do you believe the style of playoff basketball is moving more toward up tempo teams?

mike wilbon
  (1:52 PM)

Yes...there are a few old-fashioned inside-out teams out there...The Grizzlies, Pacers, and Bulls...But most teams are looking for "stretch-4s" who spread the floor and shoot instead of old fashioned power forwards like, say, David West of the Pacers...There are so few old-fashioned low-post big men to go around its easier for teams to build around shooters...Not everybody can be the Warriors, but even a team like the Spurs is now built primarily around offense and not defense...I think its due to the way kids play growing up now, where big men focus on shooting and ball handling away from the basket...and the three-point line, which rewards spreading the floor and having a point guard who can penetrate and kick...

Lee (Miami)

Norris Cole. I doubt the Heat steal game three without him. How about you?

mike wilbon
  (1:53 PM)

He was terrific...First time i really heard of the kid was the great Jerry West telling me Cole was going to be a player in the NBA and contribute by the time he reached Year 2. Is that on the money or what?

JM (Charlotte)

What did Harrison Barnes show you yesterday?

mike wilbon
  (1:55 PM)

Mostly, that he can take a bunch of shots! LOL...He can be a volume shooter. 26 shots? But he can also operate in the post...he's a versatile player...can face the basket but also put it on the floor and drive. Look, the Warriors are well positioned if they can just add some frontcourt scoring...I know there are a ton of people out there who don't like David Lee, but I do...Maybe this is a Rudy Gay situation...but no team built this much around jump shooting is going to win a championship. They may be exciting and may be a threat, but you have to have SOME low-post presence, even if he's not prolific...But back to Barnes, he's got quite a skill set on him...and seems to be in the perfect system for him, and playing with the right teammates.

Michael (Ohio)

How much more fun is golf with Tiger Woods winning!? He has once-again revamped his swing, and looks poised to take two majors this year. Call me crazy, but 7 wins in his last 21 starts sounds a lot like 2006 Tiger Woods. You agree?

mike wilbon
  (2:00 PM)

He does...I don't know that I'm in that group of people who had written him off, but I was certainly afraid, as a fan of golf and of Tiger, that he had passed the point of being able to find his old form...But he seems to be there, doesn't he? He almost to the point of being dominant again. I say "almost" because winning a major is critical to dominating the field...And yes, it's great to see because while golf, world wide, is deeper than every, in terms of the number of players who can win any given week, nobody has moved the needle the past 25 years in golf like Tiger Woods. Anybody who doesn't think the game is better off with Tiger playing at this level is a fool, or simply has his own agenda...

Tyler (Vancouver)

I thought you wanted to talk Tiger/TPC? I'm totally not a golf fan but was riveted by the 17th hole drama. That's compelling no matter how much you know about golf. How do you think the PGA can add more drama into the game? Does it need to?

mike wilbon
  (2:02 PM)

You don't "add drama" to sports. If you can wait for it, recognized it, and appreciate it when it arrives then you're looking for reality TV, which is where somebody attempts to manufacture it. The 17th hold at TPC certainly attempts to manufacture it to a degree, as much as golf can, and some golf purists hate the course because of it...I like it personally, though it doesn't always yield the level of drama it did yesterday...mostly because Sergio Garcia has reduced himself to becoming a Clown...But if you think big tournaments don't have enough drama you and I aren't watching the same competitions.

Charlie (Chicago, IL)

With how tough the pin placement on 17 was yesterday, do you think Sergio plays it safe on that whole if he and Tiger hadn't gotten into a war of words prior?

mike wilbon
  (2:03 PM)

Good question...Is Sergio that big an egomaniac, to not understand that he can put the ball in the middle of the green and putt aggressively (for birdie) or really leave himself a chance on 18? Really?

Nick (Peoria)

How do the Warriors pull off the upset and beat the Spurs in the series? What percentage chance would you give the warriors of doing such a thing?

mike wilbon
  (2:05 PM)

At this point? 40 percent maybe? 45 percent? I still think the Spurs have the edge because they have Games 5 and 7 at home...But the Warriors should be up 3-1 in this series, so maybe they'll waltz in there and take Game 5 and finish at home...It's so much better a series than I expected.

Brad (Nashville)

Mike, If the Heat do make it back to the Finals, which team out West do you think would give them the toughest challenge? Why?

mike wilbon
  (2:06 PM)

Memphis...Z-Bo and Gasol have a huge advantage around the basket and Mike Conley is the best point guard in the series, and getting better every day. I think that's the best matchup...though part of me wants to see Spurs-Heat, just for all those HOF players on the court at once.

Jackson (Indiana)

Wilbon, I've always been a big fan. If the pacers can get past the Knicks, do you see them having a good chance to beat the heat?

mike wilbon
  (2:11 PM)

Not really...The Pacers, like Memphis, would have what seems to be an advantage inside with 7-2 Roy Hibbert and bangers David West and Tyler H...and Paul George may be the best two-way forward in the East after LeBron (Carmelo isn't the defender George is)...A lot depends on Dwyane Wade...We've seen injuries impact these playoffs (I could say, ruin these playoffs) so if Wade isn't right, who kknows...Thing is, Miami is better than last year because of Ray Allen, Birdman, the improvement of Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers and LeBron has expanded his game, which seems insane to say but is true...I think the Pacers get past the Knicks in 6...but I don't see any of the teams in the East challenging Miami for real...I did the Bulls (with Deng and Hinrich and the Knicks with a focused J.R. Smith being stronger challengers) a week or so ago, but Miami looks too formidable...

mike wilbon
  (2:11 PM)

Not really...The Pacers, like Memphis, would have what seems to be an advantage inside with 7-2 Roy Hibbert and bangers David West and Tyler H...and Paul George may be the best two-way forward in the East after LeBron (Carmelo isn't the defender George is)...A lot depends on Dwyane Wade...We've seen injuries impact these playoffs (I could say, ruin these playoffs) so if Wade isn't right, who kknows...Thing is, Miami is better than last year because of Ray Allen, Birdman, the improvement of Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers and LeBron has expanded his game, which seems insane to say but is true...I think the Pacers get past the Knicks in 6...but I don't see any of the teams in the East challenging Miami for real...I did the Bulls (with Deng and Hinrich and the Knicks with a focused J.R. Smith being stronger challengers) a week or so ago, but Miami looks too formidable...

mike wilbon
  (2:11 PM)

Not really...The Pacers, like Memphis, would have what seems to be an advantage inside with 7-2 Roy Hibbert and bangers David West and Tyler H...and Paul George may be the best two-way forward in the East after LeBron (Carmelo isn't the defender George is)...A lot depends on Dwyane Wade...We've seen injuries impact these playoffs (I could say, ruin these playoffs) so if Wade isn't right, who kknows...Thing is, Miami is better than last year because of Ray Allen, Birdman, the improvement of Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers and LeBron has expanded his game, which seems insane to say but is true...I think the Pacers get past the Knicks in 6...but I don't see any of the teams in the East challenging Miami for real...

Flavio (Brazil)

If you have to pick one, who would you select, M.Gasol ou J.Noah? I really like gasol and his complete game but impossible to not pick noah and his monster heart

mike wilbon
  (2:12 PM)

Great question...It's a standoff. Noah better fits what the Bulls do and Gasol better fits playing with Z-Bo and the way Lionel Hollins coaches...I'd take either, but the personnel makes each better off where he is.

Paul (NJ)

Hawks vs. Wings, Hawks handled them pretty well in the regular season but should we worry now that we are in the playoffs?

mike wilbon
  (2:14 PM)

I am ALWAYS scared of the Red Wings, which is why I was rooting for the Ducks yesterday in Game 7, even though it looks good on paper to have all those lower seeds advancing in the west...I'm just wary of the Blackhawks having swept the season series with Detroit 4-0...Scares me...The Blackhawks are better defensively, but this is a blood rivalry and the Red Wings have had the better of it, overall, for so long...Maybe this is like when the Bulls, who had been tormented by the Pistons, swept Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals on the way to all those championships...

Scott (Chicago)

Jarrett Jack hoisted a shot with the game on the line at the buzzer yesterday? Playa please! Jarrett Jack...no wonder the game went into OT. How come teams can't draw up plays for the end of the game. Isolation 1-4 is boring.

mike wilbon
  (2:15 PM)

Yes, yes and Amen...Don't blame it on drawing up plays? You think Mark Jackson stopped drawing up plays or Jack just settled for that jumper? By the way, Jack runs the hell out of plays 90 percent of the time, but he DID, as you say, settle for a bad shot there at the end of regulation...He got it right in OT though...

Jerry Eastwood (Chicago)

Hi Wilbon - your chats are one of the highlights of my week (yes, my life isn't too exciting)! Anyway, do you think the way the bulls fans have acted toward Derrick Rose this season will have any long-term harm on his future here? It just seems like WAY too many fans have turned on him and it's a shame.

mike wilbon
  (2:20 PM)

I think it is fans everywhere who act like idiots...There's a difference between criticism of Rose, which is fair, and ridicule...Social media gives everybody a voice, which is good, but everybody isn't knowledgable about the issues they're screaming about. So many people scream like idiots because they can, because they have the means, and couldn't tell you what happened to Gilbert Arenas after his reconstructive knee surgery, or Penny Hardaway after his, or Tim Hardaway after his or Tracy McGrady after his...They just want to rant or question somebody's manhood or some such lunacy...What I find loathsome is criticism without ridicule...And it's not particular to any one place or region...It's pretty much everywhere...And if D. Rose comes back to regain his form and lead the Bulls deep into the playoffs in the next year or two so many of the morons who yelled their heads off will act like they never said a word. Trust me.

Alex (OKC)

Wilbon, even if KMart and Ibaka start performing better in the next few games, do you think the Thunder could knock off Memphis in 6 or 7, or do you think that Memphis just has too much for OKC to handle this year?

mike wilbon
  (2:22 PM)

At this point it LOOKS like the injury to Russell Westbrook is going to doom OKC, even though Kevin Durant is playing his butt off...If you have to go without your best players in the playoffs (OKC, Bulls) it's a death sentence, pretty much...The Warriors have done admirably without their only All-Star in 17 years (David Lee)...And this is what bears close watching with the Heat (Wade) is they play a healthy Spurs or Grizzlies team in the Finals...I hope Wade's knee doesn't become a huge issue...

Geoff (DC)

How about a non playoff team? What are your thoughts on the Wizards and how do they take the next step? Thanks

mike wilbon
  (2:24 PM)

I think I like where the Wizards are going, though that completely dreadful draft pick two years ago (the kid from the Czech Republic who can't even get on the court) is a killer of sorts. I think the Wizards would have put up a much bigger fight against Miami than Milwaukee did...I want to see John Wall and Bradley Beal together for a full season...They need those guys PLUS Nene and Okafor to be out on the floor together 70 games or so...They could be 6th or 7th in the Eastern Conference next year, I think...

Casey (New York)

Just quick clerical error, Rudy Gay has never made it to the 2nd round. Memphis did it without him 2 years ago, then got knocked out in Game 7 of round 1 last year with him. Does that change your mind on life being better without Rudy? I agree Rudy is a great player, just not a good fit with their personnel.

mike wilbon
  (2:25 PM)

That's right, he was hurt that post-season...thanks for correcting me...and yeah, didn't I just admit that?

Caleb (Boise)

Everyone is raving about Jarrett Jack, but it seemed to me that when Curry was running the high pick and roll is when GS was doing the best. Do you think his ankle was bothering him so much that all he could do was stand and spot up? It didn't seem like he was hampered that badly, especially on the pull up three.

mike wilbon
  (2:26 PM)

He warmed up, but he was absolutely hurting yesterday...I hope he's better tomorrow night...I think Curry has to be at his best for the Warriors to win a Game 5 in San Antonio...

David (Flagstaff)

Here's a gold one: Tiger Woods will eclipse Sam Snead's record of PGA wins and Jack Nicolaus' record of major wins, and will go down as the best golfer ever (if he's not already). And the PGA Senior will be fun to watch as some point as well. Agree?

mike wilbon
  (2:28 PM)

Maybe...I think Tiger still needs to win a major this summer to get that going again...Just one...He's 37. You're asking him to win five majors by, what, 42 years old? That's one a year. Nobody else has that. Hell, you'd be asking him, starting today, to have a better career from here on than Phil has had already! I'm not saying its impossible; I think it is! But it's gonna be difficult. It's not automatic...

Junior (Lubbock)

Will you ever win an emmy?

mike wilbon
  (2:29 PM)

We already won an Emmy, Dude. What the hell you think that is sitting on our set every day in plain view? It's an Emmy.

Flavio (Brazil)

Who is the most disapointg player in the playoffs? Ibaka or Jr. Smith?

mike wilbon
  (2:30 PM)

Probably Ibaka...Great question. I didn't realize how dependent he is on Westbrook until this series. He's done virtually nothing. Smith...we should have known you can't DEPEND on J.R. Smith. You just can't...

Jared (Dakota City)

should Heat fans be worried about D-Wades performance lately?

mike wilbon
  (2:30 PM)

They should be worried about D-Wade's knee(s)...He's hurting...

Jeffrey (PA)

Did Tiger win yesterday, or just not falter as much as the rest of the field? (Sergio, Maggert, etc.) Would the Tiger of 10 years ago had a double bogey in his final round? I would think the Tiger of old wins yesterday by 5 more strokes.

mike wilbon
  (2:32 PM)

The old Tiger was involved in close shaves, in playoffs...what are you talking about? Don't romanticize it so much you become revisionist. Tiger didn't win every tournament by 5 strokes. In fact, only once in his career has he won four tournaments this early in the season, and that was 2000...so don't get carried away...

Michael (Brussels)

Do you think Carmelo will ever get it done ala Dirk?I am not a hater but he seems to be a poor version of Durant (not as efficient, less rebounding, less passing)

mike wilbon
  (2:33 PM)

Carmelo isn't as good a player as Durant...He's just not. Carmelo is a great player...but he doesn't shoot it as well as Durant, doesn't pass it as well...You're right...The Knicks have to have a second banana that's better and more dependable/accountable than JR Smith...Dirk won when his supporting cast was mature and diverse (Tyson Chandler, JJ Barrea among others) and fit what he needed...

John (Boston)

Ibaka seemed really down after that missed put-back in the Houston series. Ever since, he's not been playing up to par. How can Scott Brooks and Kevin Durant get his confidence back up?

mike wilbon
  (2:34 PM)

Great point! I don't know his personality all that well, but they'd better figure out how to buck him up pretty quickly.

Flavio (Brazil)

If the warriors beat the spurs do you think D. Lee can be a factor in the next round or even in the finals? The guy is already playing...

mike wilbon
  (2:35 PM)

No, he's not going to be a "factor." Are you watching him? The kid is lucky to be walking! It's extraordinary what he's doing...But he has said he can't be a factor and Mark Jackson knows that...He's helping as much as he can...

Jeremy (Minneapolis)

Be honest, how much do you hate working with Bill Simmons?

mike wilbon
  (2:36 PM)

I like working with Simmons, very much...just like I like working with Jalen and Magic...It takes time to form a working relationship on-air but we have and have a terrific time on-camera and off, with silly arguments and disagreements which is what guys (all guys) do when they're sitting around watching sports with other fanatics, and we're all that...

Charles (San Jose)

Michael, why couldn't the officials review the bad out-of-bounds call at the end of regulation yesterday?

mike wilbon
  (2:38 PM)

Great question...Simmons says it's because other stuff happened AFTER the ball hit Bogut's leg while he was standing out of bounds...If the action ends with the ball going out of bounds, its reviewable...I didn't look this up (because we presumed Bill was right on the money)...But once other things happen and are ruled upon, no dice...If it's something else I want to hear about it!

Max (Atlanta)

Why do people always think you can get in the Heat's head? They've lost one series together in 3 years now.

mike wilbon
  (2:39 PM)

GREAT POINT! Well, you have to try...But you're right, it hasn't worked much...LeBron's a pretty cool customer. So is Spo...They don't have any hot heads...The Bulls did it for about a quarter or so, but it totally backfired, in my opinion...I don't think anybody this season is going to accomplish that...

mike wilbon
  (2:42 PM)

Okay, I gotta run and prepare for PTI peeps...Thanks for chatting, and look forward to next Monday, by which time we'll be starting the conference finals. TNT will be doing the Eastern Conference finals, and ABC/ESPN will be doing the west...So, looks like Memphis-San Antonio or Memphis-Oakland for us, though OKC sure could stop our barbecue indulgence by evening that series in Game 4...See you guys next week! MW