Chat with ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about the NBA and the Boston Celtics.
Forsberg has been reporting on the Boston sports scene since 1999. With his video camera in tow, Forsberg covered everything from Massachusetts high school sports to Boston's pro sports teams. Follow him at his Celtics blog.
Send your questions now and join Forsberg Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Chris Forsberg (2:00 PM)
Welcome today's Celtics therapy session. I know you've all barely slept a wink since last night's disaster -- the latest setback against a quality opponent. Let's dive into your questions and hopefully talk you back from the ledge ... for now.
I'm on top of my office building about to jump (not literally), the Celtics don't look like they are contenders. They can't play the type of defense that wins championships anymore. Their players are fragile. This is a team almost entirely of veterans. The only way to make the future brighter is through the draft. Even if they are lucky and get a good player in the draft Doc won't play them. They won't be able to start rebuilding for another 3 years until the big 3 come off the books. So it looks to me like the C's will be getting progressively worse every year until the blow it up and build around Rondo. Then it should take a few years to groom young plaers to play with him. I don't expect us to contend again for another 5 years at the earliest. Can you talk me down?
Chris Forsberg (2:01 PM)
Nope... next question...
Chris Forsberg (2:02 PM)
I'm kidding (sort of). Listen, last night was awful. The team minds well have stayed in the locker room for the second half. It exposed, yet again, how poor this team plays against athletic opponents. And Boston's halfcourt offense looked ugly and lethargic.
Chris Forsberg (2:03 PM)
The most disappointing aspect to me, besides the continuation the trend of second-half disasters (even in victories), is that this team just does not play well at home this season. When was the last time you heard about a playoff team thriving when it can't close out games and can't win at home?
Chris Forsberg (2:04 PM)
Blame injuries all you want, but the Celtics had plenty of motivation last night and they still got run out of their own gym in the fourth quarter. A bit embarrassing.
Age and Injuries are the blame for the loses but i don't think it's that. How far do you think the Celtics will go in the playoffs.
Chris Forsberg (2:05 PM)
Amazing how one half of basketball can erase two solid weeks of good vibes. Again, that's the most frustrating part of this team. The only thing they're consistent at is inconsistency. One night it's the starters, one night it's the bench. One night it's offense, one night it's defense. Truly baffling why they can't put it together -- and put it together for 48 minutes.
Chris Forsberg (2:06 PM)
As for how far they can go, despite the amazingly disappointing record against good teams (2-8 vs. Orlando, Atlanta, and Cleveland; including an 0-5 mark at home), I still think this team can do some damage if it can get its act together. But we've been saying that since December and the act hasn't been coming together.
John (Hanover MA (temporarily transplanted to ohio for work))
Why cant Rondo play like he did in the first quarter last night all the time? When he was being aggressive the Cs looked great. He was getting to the rim, hitting his floaters, finding his shooters, and setting up his big men all at the same time. I know the Cavs starting playing better pick and roll D in the second half but if you go back and watch that first quarter Rondo was making those plays on his own most the time.
Chris Forsberg (2:08 PM)
Two reasons: 1) He was gassed. Doc said he decided in the middle of the first quarter that he was going to play him the rest of the game and it backfired because Rondo had nothing in the tank by the middle of the third quarter. And 2) The Celtics got stuck in a halfcourt offense when Cleveland couldn't miss in the second half. Boston became stagnant and couldn't generate anything, especially as Cleveland got the chance to get everyone back and clog the lane.
Chris Forsberg (2:09 PM)
Boston wasn't hitting from the perimeter and Cleveland ultimately challenged them to shoot, eliminating Rondo's ability to drive.
Anto (Los Angeles, CA)
Would it benefit the Celtics to sit Garnett until he is 100%? Even if it means they finish the season with a 5 or 6 seed? He looks like he's got bricks on as shoes.
Chris Forsberg (2:11 PM)
He's looked bad at times and last night was a bit of a step backwards, but he had a tremendous stretch there, culminating against the Lakers where he moved really well. I don't think time off is the answer. I'll buy what the Celtics are selling that he needs court time to get back to the level we all expect him at.
John (Stuck in ohio)
Is Carl Landry expected to do anything for the C's? If so where/when do we fit him in? Landry is good... and in the past (pre-new big three) Doc has not been very good with rotations, actually not good at all.
Chris Forsberg (2:13 PM)
I'd fault you for calling him Carl (it's Marcus), but if you google "Marcus Landry wiki," the first result is his brother's Wikipedia page. Much like Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens, Landry is going to struggle to get any sort of playing time, though if he can establish himself as a defensive presence in practice, maybe they give him a look in lopsided games (not that Boston has had many of those recently).
Please hypothesize the cause of the Celtics second-half collapses. I'm thinking voodoo magic, or possibly the entire teaming having bi-polar disorder.
Chris Forsberg (2:15 PM)
At this point, can we rule any of that out? Can we call it the Curse of Leon Powe? Did Michael Sweetney hex them for not carrying him this season? There's simply no viable explanation (except that maybe this team is truly getting old and injuries have thrown them in a constant state of flux this year).
Chris, I need to know... what will the Celtics do with the TWO open roster spots that they have built up? For a team that is so injured and tired looking, their bench is pretty shallow.
Chris Forsberg (2:17 PM)
I'll admit I'm slightly surprised that, even on a team with a hermetically-sealed nine- to 10-man rotation that we haven't seen a body or two added over the past week (particularly when Robinson was ill and couldn't immediately join the team). Wouldn't it benefit the team to throw out a 10-day contract just to give guys some rest? But then you have to figure that it might just be wasted money since it's unlikely those players would even get in the game.
Chris Forsberg (2:18 PM)
That said, I think the C's will have to examine the scrap heap over the next couple weeks to see if there's any way to add some depth for the stretch run. If nothing more, on an injury riddled team, they could use some emergency bodies that at least have time to learn the system.
John (Stuck in ohio)
Defensively where would you rank Perkins against other centers in the league? Top 3? Top 5? Or am I out of my mind? Does he make one of the all defensive teams this year?
Chris Forsberg (2:19 PM)
Dwight Howard ranked him among the top 5 defensive players in the league, so who am I to argue. I've long thought Perk is right near the top and is vastly underrated in that regard. I don't think he makes an All-Defensive team quite yet (his reputation as a bit of a complainer might work against him there).
Drake (Coppell, TX)
What are your opinions on Robinson so far? I've heard some say that Doc isn't using his athleticism to the fullest and others say he wasn't really much of an upgrade from House. What are your thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (2:22 PM)
It's going to take time. Let's remember that Robinson has had one two games and one full practice. It's going to take a lot longer for him to learn the system and develop chemistry. I think they like the potential, but it may take some time to see results. As I've stressed all along, this isn't the move that puts you over the top, or even makes you decidedly better. It provided a nice locker room shakeup and it adds a dimension of speed and athleticism to the second unit.
Richard (New Jersey)
What's your view on Marquis Daniels? I know he's been injured, flu bug of late, etc. but I see a very passive player compared to years past. Why isn't he fitting in as expected?
Chris Forsberg (2:25 PM)
Couldn't disagree more. Look at the play of the bench since he's been back (compared to the struggles of that unit when he's been out and/or starting in place of Pierce lately). I think it wouldn't hurt for him to be a little bit more aggressive with his shooting, but he's been phenomenal overall at both ends of the court. Rivers talked a lot this week about him being a top 5 cutter in the league. Watch him move to the basket when playing with Rondo, it's a thing of beauty. Don't judge him based on last night. As you'll read later on ESPN Boston, Marquis really shouldn't have even played. He was in a bad place battling a head cold.
It's sad to watch. Reminds me of watching Larry Holmes in his final days
Chris Forsberg (2:25 PM)
One of the main knocks on House was he awful defense. I know robinson is a lot more athletic and therefore can be a better defender, but is he? I recall seeing Mo Willams draining wide open 3s last night.
Chris Forsberg (2:28 PM)
To be fair, Williams could have been triple-teamed in that fourth quarter and he probably still makes those shots. He was on fire. But as much as the Celtics like that Rondo-Robinson backcourt tandem, I do think it could be exploited by teams with taller guards. In defense of Robinson's defense, he's coming to a new help-based system, so it's going to take a couple games to gauge how he fits in.
Why does this come as a surprise. The Big 3 for 2008 was designed for a championship run and it was successful. All three were already past their primes, and looking for a way to win before it was too late. The C's made that decision for banner 17, and it's not like they were really contenders at any other point in the past decade...
Chris Forsberg (2:30 PM)
I think fans are frustrated because we see glimpses of 2007-08 every now and again, then it fades away just as quickly. Whether it's injuries, age, desire -- or a combination of all three -- this team simply can't put it together. I think fans hold out hope that it will eventually click, but you can't help but look at the calendar and think that 56 games is a pretty good sample size.
David (Delaware )
i heard boston is going to go after robinson from the kincks is that true if so do you think that would benefit the team
Chris Forsberg (2:31 PM)
Did we just jump into a time machine and go back two weeks with questions?
Drake (Coppell, TX)
Should the Celtics try and get Ilgauskas?
Chris Forsberg (2:33 PM)
No, I thought about that earlier this week, but 1) I don't think it's worth the money the team would have to overspend to get him and 2) Not sure he really fits the mold of what this team needs. At the end of the day, it appears he's going to end up back in Cleveland. There's a comfort level and, if he's looking to win a title, the Cavs are his best chance (as we saw last night). It will be interesting to see if a team like the Mavs or Hawks makes a bid over the next 30 days before he can re-sign with the Cavaliers.
Vin (Johnston, R.I.)
Any chance the C's finally fire Doc Rivers after this season? He's just awful. Always has been. Look at last nights game. Did anyone else think Playing Rondo all game was going to work? I mean, they finally get a back up point guard and he plays his starter all game. Robinson is supposed to be a guy to come off the bench, you give him the ball and let him do his thing and Doc plays him at the two, off the ball. And that's just one thing from one game. He's terrible.
Chris Forsberg (2:36 PM)
Doc admitted that Rondo was one -- but probably not the only -- mistake he made. I think we can all agree that Doc's biggest weakness is bench management. It's easy to be armchair coaches and lament his rotations, but I think the natural inclination in these big games is to lean on your stars. That's not justifying what happened with Rondo -- as you noted, they JUST got a backup PG and Rondo goes the distance. Inexcusable. But again, that probably doesn't happen if you have Pierce healthy. I don't think Doc takes the fall if the Celtics ultimately bow early this year.
Drake (Coppell, TX)
Can we just have a quick giggle break for the fact that Thabeet is now in the D-League? hehehe
Chris Forsberg (2:38 PM)
Schadenfreude! Ever since Boston has faded as SportsTown USA, it's our new calling card. Right, Peyton Manning?
Chris Forsberg (2:39 PM)
Yep, it works from your mobile device.
Sean (Long Beach)
Perhaps this Celtics team is saving it for the Postseason, do you think we can see a revived team in the playoffs that resembles the championship 07-08 squad.
Chris Forsberg (2:39 PM)
I'm not going to say it's not possible, but can we agree that it's probably not going to happen. Dare I say that's grasping at the straws that Caron Butler can no longer chew on the bench. (bada-ching!)
Ed Rooney (Nova)
What can be done to keep 'Sheed in the paint and away from the 3 point line? The chills I get in my back when I see him hoist a three reminds me of the same chills i got when I saw antoine walker throwing up 3s with one of the worst fg % in the league. Oh and of course the patented shimmy and shake if one miraculously goes in.
Chris Forsberg (2:41 PM)
All I can think of is one of the electric fences that delivers a little zap when you stray outside a certain area. Just give him a 12-foot radius around the hoop and see what happens.
I'm right about Doc needing to play Shelden. You tell me when you're ready to come around.
Chris Forsberg (2:43 PM)
Absolutely not. And, sadly, Shelden has become the anti-Gino, the venerable white flag when opponents put the game out of reach late. The Celtics' troubles run much deeper than simply defensive rebounding (remember, you can't rebound when the team makes 65% of its shots in the second half).
Boston should have traded away ray allen at the deadline to start re-building process sooner. Who knows if the C's will even be able to rebuild in time for the younger pieces: Rondo, Perkins...to actually stick around.
Chris Forsberg (2:45 PM)
The Celtics still have the option of a sign-and-trade in the offseason. They didn't find comparable value in the trade market, but maybe when teams start whiffing in the free-agent bonanza, then Ainge will get calls that leads to a move to getting younger. At very worst, I don't think having Ray Allen for two more years at reasonable money is a bad thing. Unlike his teammates, at least he's avoided injury (save for one game and a balky back).
Can you statistically back up your Shelden bashing? No?
Chris Forsberg (2:47 PM)
Even his points per 36 minutes are the worst of his career, which speaks volumes to me. On a good team, he should at least see an uptick in those numbers, particularly given the opportunity he was afforded at the start of the season. Shelden's been a phenomenal teammate, but the only reason I see people clamoring for him is that Wallace has been so bad at times.
Denton (Charleston SC)
Why doesn't Perk avg 10 rebounds/game? It's not like anyone else on the team dominates the boards. I love Perk and everything he does, but I always feel like he could do more. Why have we never seen Perk dominate a game?
Chris Forsberg (2:51 PM)
It's a fair question. I think, at 28.4 minutes per game, he's still a bit on the low side for big men, so that probably steals a board or two per game from him. But I will say his rebounding can be frustrating at times. I focused in on him against Varejao at times last night and it was amazing to watch how many times Varejao did just enough to outwork him, or get in better position, for a rebound. It's one part that Perk still needs to work on. He's also down on offensive rebounds this year (2.7 last year, 2.0 this year), which is disappointing.
Points per 36 minutes? What? WEEEAAAAAAKkk
Chris Forsberg (2:52 PM)
Not just points, all his stats per 36 minutes. Present an argument as to why he should be playing.
How do the Celtics get blown out by the Cavs ?
Chris Forsberg (2:53 PM)
Allow a team to shoot 65 percent in the second half, go stagnant in your halfcourt offense partially because your point guard played 48 minutes, and these things happen.
Roberto (NYC, NY)
Are you also kinda scared to watch Celtic games now?
Chris Forsberg (2:54 PM)
Even when the Celtics win, it's been ugly. I've often joked that we haven't seen Gino in months (heck, I'm not sure we've seen him in 2010), but it's truly amazing how rarely they've won with ease. We just sorta took for granted how all those fourth-quarter blowouts helped rest guys during the 2007-08 season. Everything's been a struggle this season.
will having PP/MD at full strength be the final test as to whether C's are thru for chasing#18?
Chris Forsberg (2:56 PM)
See, they had them at "near full strength" for a bit around the All-Star break and still lost to New Orleans, then struggled with Sacramento. I do think there's something to be said if this team could get completely healthy, but just not sure that will ever happen. Even when healthy, they still gotta peak together at the same time.
Is it fair to assume that if Pierce played healthy last night we would've had a much better chance at defeating the Cav's and match up to any team in the league?
Chris Forsberg (2:57 PM)
Of course. But, in my mind, Pierce's absence was not the difference in a win or a loss last night. I'm not sure one player could have stopped that game from spiraling out of control.
"The Celtics still have the option of a sign-and-trade in the offseason." Why would a team like the Hawks want Ray Allen for significant money? In order to get a Joe Johnson in a sign and trade you have to give up Pierce or Rondo. But if the Celtics had landed Ellis (or Kevin Martin) than they could have flipped them to ATL for Johnson this summer.
Chris Forsberg (2:59 PM)
I suggested all along that no team was going to give up a quality young player just to clear cap space for the potential to make a run at one of the prized free agents (way too risky). I'm simply saying that it's not like the Celtics have no other option but to re-sign Allen (or let him walk) in the offseason. There's other ways to maneuver.
or we could have just drafted Joe Johnson... oh wait..
Fallon (Hyde Park)
Why does lebron ever shoot the ball? What bad ever happens when he takes it to the hoop? Good thing he hasn't learned this yet.
Chris Forsberg (3:00 PM)
The Celtics got whistled for a shooting foul as he was boarding the team bus.
He's the best offensive rebounder on the team, his stats are skewed as a result of games like last night where he gets two minutes. Baby has done nothing this year except fall over too often.
Chris Forsberg (3:01 PM)
I love your enthusiasm for Shelden, but I'm on the Glen Davis bandwagon. He's been great the past couple weeks since he's really found his role as an energy guy. I think his shot is improving and -- while he's way too prone to getting blocked around the basket -- if he could solidify that aspect of his game, he could get back near the player we saw in last year's playoffs.
Rob (Worcester, MA)
It's clear that the Celtics won't be winning another championship this season, but what are the chances of big moves being made this off-season to turn this around?
Chris Forsberg (3:03 PM)
Short of Pierce activating his early termination option, I'm not sure there's any way to really blow this up. I think the Celtics are stuck at the mercy of Father Time and Mother Nature (as KG eloquently put it last week in LA). President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is going to have to get creative to start the process of getting younger, but, to me, that starts with locking up Perkins and at least giving your team a chance to build around Rondo and Perk in the years to come.
how many questions does myles of melrose get?
Chris Forsberg (3:04 PM)
I apologize. I got sucked into that Shelden Williams debate. But I like when people are passionate about their arguments.
Why do you think the celtics were afraid to take on Lebron when he was driving to the basket?
Chris Forsberg (3:05 PM)
I don't think they were afraid, I just think it's tough when a guy with his size and athleticism attacks the basket. Ray Allen said Wednesday that sometimes you're trying to foul him and he just sorta bowls you over. He's that good.
Chris Forsberg (3:06 PM)
That's going to do it for this week. Send your questions to the Celtics Mailbag and I'll tackle more in Wednesday's delivery.
Chris Forsberg (3:06 PM)
And, as usual, we'll be back for more next week. Thanks to everyone for sending in their questions. Truly sorry if I didn't get to yours. It's nice when we get flooded with questions. Keep 'em coming.
Chris Forsberg (3:06 PM)
One thing to keep in mind to close out this therapy session where I didn't exactly give you all much reason to be optimistic:
Chris Forsberg (3:08 PM)
The Celtics play their next seven home games against teams that would not currently qualify for the postseason. For all their struggles here, they've got a chance to really establish some good vibes at the Garden and sharpen up that record. It won't wash away the fact that they haven't beaten the Magic, Hawks, or Cavs here, but it's a start.
Chris Forsberg (3:08 PM)
Enjoy Saturday's game and let's see if we get an appearance from Gino.
Chris Forsberg (3:08 PM)
Thanks again everyone.