Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at noon ET!
Chris Forsberg (12:01 PM)
Hey everybody! Thanks for dropping by for our weekly Celtics chat. Let's dive into your questions for a bit.
Jay(Oakland,Ca) [via mobile]
Chris,if KG got hurt do you think the C's would still have a chance at winning it all with Shaq and JO and Kristic?
Chris Forsberg (12:03 PM)
Probably not. While it's been the other members of the Big Four that have had the monster efforts this series, KG has quietly been super efficient. His second half last night was amazing. Even since the start of the year, Doc Rivers has said a healthy KG might be the most important piece of the puzzle for the Celtics. After all, we saw how the Celtics fared in 2008-09 without him.
And that's nothing against Jermaine O'Neal, who has been so far above and beyond what most of us expected, it's hard to put it in proper perspective.
What a great series, love how the Celts close it out strong. WHen the playoffs was starting off I know your confidence wasn't strong about them advancing far and I was there, too. But after that series is your confidence the same, more better, or you fully back?
Chris Forsberg (12:06 PM)
Like most, I figured this team was capable of shifting to another gear. I'm encouraged by what I've seen, at least in spurts, during this first-round sweep. I'll say I'm still somewhat leery, if for no other reason than the way Chicago and Miami absolutely throttled the Celtics at the end of the regular season.
Beating the Knicks is nice, but it's also a banged-up sixth seed. I'm eager to see how these switch-flipped Celtics fare against their fellow Eastern Conference brass.
Noorpaul (Covina, CA)
Do u believe the Celtics need Shaq fully healthy against Miami in the next round, or just almost healthy?
Chris Forsberg (12:08 PM)
I'm not sure you're going to get "fully healthy" Shaq at any point this season, so if you can get "healthy enough to be on the court and not be a liability" Shaq, that's all you can ask for at this point. I think a week off here bodes well for him, but I really gotta see him able to simply run before I'm confident he can be a factor. The Celtics can beat the Heat without him, but I think it'd help to, if nothing else, have an enforcer knocking guys around in the paint (::cough, LeBron, cough::)
Brian (Tewksbury, MA)
Assuming Miami closes out the Philly series in game 5, when would game 1 between the Celts and Heat be?
Chris Forsberg (12:10 PM)
If Heat-76ers end in six games or less, Game 1 would almost certainly be Sunday. Can't imagine any matchup being more marquee for the Sunday spotlight than C's-Heat.
Singh (Boston, MA)
What impressed you most about the Celtics in their first round series against the Knicks?
Chris Forsberg (12:13 PM)
Late-game execution. Celtics didn't do themselves a lot of favors, making things far more difficult on themselves in Games 1, 2, and 4. I loved how Boston found ways to win those first two games in Boston; then found a way to tighten up when New York rallied Sunday. Good teams find a way to win late, Boston did that three times this series.
The Celtics may have taken out my Knicks, and what a push by Anthony Carter...I am not convinced that the Celtics have what it takes to go to the Finals this year. What are some valid counterpoints to my argument?
Chris Forsberg (12:16 PM)
I think most folks would agree you. While Boston got its first best-of-seven sweep in 25 years, it still came against an ailing sixth seed. That shouldn't inspire too much confidence, considering the Knicks hung around for three games (and probably should have stole at least one). The flip side: When Boston is focused and engaged, it's hard to imagine anyone beating them. The offense in Game 3 was otherworldly; the defense at the start of Game 4 was championship caliber. The key moving forward is clearly consistency.
Hey Chris, it might be too simplistic, but perhaps NOT having home court will be an advantage, since the Celts seem to find focus when they're not on Causeway Street.
Chris Forsberg (12:18 PM)
Lou, where you listening to my conversations on the Amtrak back to Providence last night? I'm a huge subscriber to this theory. Not only do the Celtics play some of their best basketball in hostile environments, they almost have a safety net. Again, the team that opens with homecourt is supposed to win both games. If Boston steals one, that only adds to their confidence coming back to Boston.
The danger of course is if this series goes seven games and, as we learned last year, homecourt at that point can be mighty important.
Will the Celtics run out of energy by the time they reach The Finals?
do you think a focus of the Celtics break before the inevitable match up with the Heat, is to get a lot of practice time with the reserves? With injuries to Delonte and the trade, they clearly have had to learn to play together on the job.
Chris Forsberg (12:20 PM)
Adamo: Not if they keep getting week vacations between each series. Now, that's unlikely to happen in any series moving forward, but the schedule certainly works in their favor. Unless the next two rounds are insanely grueling, I don't see Boston getting quite as exhausted as they were a year ago (that, of course, assuming they find a way to make another Finals run).
Chris Forsberg (12:22 PM)
Now, back to Pat's question ... More practice time is only a good thing for the reserves. Even guys like Jeff Green have said they're still finding their ways a bit. Leaving the locker room Sunday, Green and Doc Rivers crossed paths and discussed a late-game play in which Rivers wanted Green to read the situation a different way than he did. Those are the type of things that can get smoothed out with three practices before the next round begins.
Josh (Rajvosa, BA)
Hey Chris, what do you think about JO? IMO he should get more shots in the offense, and his defense is perfect ( seriously who needs Perk? ) ; also KG + JO = best NBA defensive pair ?
Chris Forsberg (12:24 PM)
If you simply focus on the stat line, you're not seeing half of what Jermaine O'Neal has provided this series. His defense might have stole a game in Boston, while he's been doing all the little things (taking charges, blocking and altering shots). He's playing within the flow of the offense and, for the most part, not forcing shots. Again, I can't understate how good he's been this series.
My Heart (My Chest)
Turns out I COULD take two more games. Who knew?
Chris Forsberg (12:25 PM)
Pierce, Allen, and Rondo sure made things easier on everyone's nerves with their crazy offensive exploits Friday. Still, that's three nail-biters in four games; we can still call them the Cardiac Celtics for a bit.
colonel appleseed (queens, ny)
rondo found the switch!
Chris Forsberg (12:27 PM)
Should we be surprised? If there was one guy we probably didn't need to worry about in that regard, it was Rondo. He was the best player on the floor in the first round and the Celtics need him to stay that way moving forward in order to accomplish their ultimate goal.
How vindicated do you feel after talking all season about Delonte's impact? I feel like despite his occasionally reckless pass, he's been huge on both ends (although the tech he got was laughable).
Chris Forsberg (12:29 PM)
See, I think he's still underperforming. He's pressing a bit too hard and overthinking things a bit (just like Baby & Green have done). But like Rondo, he's such a hardworker I have no doubt he'll get past this and make a big impact on a game next round. I think the injuries still have him a bit skittish, but a week off will help that. And, yes, that technical foul was rather ridiculous.
Redsarmy_Chuck (Nashua, NH)
Could the reason for Delonte West's struggles be the injured ankle?
Chris Forsberg (12:31 PM)
Absolutely. Let's remember, it's a bone chip in there and that's gotta be annoying, particularly after he got steamrolled in Washington by JaVale McGee at the end of the regular season. Again, Boston finishing up New York in four games is huge because the break could allow little nagging injuries like that to get healed up, instead of diving right into another series.
Do I play game 1, in your opinion?
Chris Forsberg (12:35 PM)
A week is such a long time to predict. One of these days, Shaq's going to wake up, the soreness is going to be minimal and he's going to be able to lumber up and down the court without too much pain. Then it'll be go-time again. Based solely on the fact that he's simply not able to run yet, I'm inclined to say no for Game 1, but I do think this series is a possibility (and you can't rule out Game 1 given the amount of time until the series starts).
are the celts holding shaq til conf finals & finals. it could be a big decoy
Chris Forsberg (12:36 PM)
No, and this needs to continually be stressed. There's absolutely no shenanigans here. He's not ready; When he is he'll be on the floor.
Drake (College Station, TX)
We saw Rondo step his game up often during the Knicks series, do you think this will be a regular thing from here on out?
Chris Forsberg (12:37 PM)
If Rondo watches game tape from the final regular-season visit to Miami and isn't livid at the way he played against Mike Bibby, then this team is in trouble. I do think Rondo maintains his first-round play into the next round.
Nate (Woburn, MA)
Chris, does Boston's success in their first round matchup, take even more importancy when you see how other top seeds are stuggling in the first round. If I told you 2 weeks ago, that the Spurs, Lakers and Magic were in a dog fight, and that the Pacers were giving the Bulls everything they could handle, you would have called me crazy no? That and now the Cs have a week to rest!
Chris Forsberg (12:39 PM)
This is the playoffs. Things get more difficult. Doc Rivers has told us multiple times over the past few days how difficult it is to win a single game in the playoffs. To win four in a row, regardless of the reasons, is impressive. Boston has put itself in optimal position.
And, yes, if you had told me this is how it would play out, I would have laughed you out of the chat room. Hey, it's the postseason.
Jeff (Watertown, MA)
The bench needs to step it up in more ways than one -- they are hardly ever animated during the game! Pavlovic and Murphy rarely stand to celebrate made baskets. Agree?
Chris Forsberg (12:42 PM)
I'll buy into that rah-rah stuff a little bit. But here's the counter argument: Nate Robinson was into every single moment of every game on the bench, but did that make up for his inconsistent play when he was on the court? No. You can be a good teammate and still be a bit subdued. I think the bench will loosen up a bit if it can play more consistent moving forward, using Game 4 as a springboard.
spike lee (new york)
i got my fishing poles and golf clubs out i am all ready
Chris Forsberg (12:44 PM)
Maybe put the orange derby & scarf combo back in the closet for a while, too.
Can you imagine Jermaine O'Neal in his prime with this squad ( before his knee got destroyed ) ? I think that would be one of the best line up of all time.
Chris Forsberg (12:47 PM)
It's so easy to forget how good Jermaine O'Neal was. When KG won his MVP in 2004, JO was third. Injuries clouded our memory of what he used to be, but boy is he playing some inspired ball this postseason. And I'll admit I never saw it coming.
John the Designer (Boston, MA)
Hey Chris, the C's had a surprising advantage in the boards against NY. Do you think that was more indicative of improved rebounding from Boston or Amare playing injured?
Chris Forsberg (12:49 PM)
Little bit of both. It's encouraging that the one game they lost the battle on the boards was the night they gave up 20 offensive rebounds (and that was based on bad positioning after helping on defense). That said, the Knicks played with a very undersized lineup, so Boston still has to be focused on improving on the glass moving forward.
Rajon Rondo (Boston)
I know Miami was watching what I just did to the Knicks. I'm wondering if the Heat will put Wade on me and have Bibby/Chalmers cover Ray. Either way I'm going to get 3 triple doubles in this series and win in 5.
Chris Forsberg (12:50 PM)
Mike D'Antoni just scoffed at that notion.
Chris Paul (LA)
Celtics fans, I will have a location where you can send your gift baskets shortly. Got a couple of things I gotta do first.
Chris Forsberg (12:51 PM)
Celtics fans appreciate your efforts. Just be careful if anyone starts a Rondo vs. CP3 debate.
Hi Chris, can you explain to me the love affair with Shaq and why people think he is so crucial to the celtics winning the title? I cant see how he can even contribute to this team
Chris Forsberg (12:54 PM)
I've maintained that the best thing to do at this point is expect nothing, and enjoy anything he ends up giving the Celtics. Now, the fascination is in part because Boston performed so well, at both ends of the court no less, while Shaq was healthy at the start of the year. It was that play that gave the front office the confidence to make the Perkins trade. But they couldn't have anticipated his injuries lingering this long.
Antoine Walker (Boise, Idaho)
Who should I root for? My original digs...or the team I wiggled my way towards a Championship?
Chris Forsberg (12:55 PM)
I smell autograph opportunities in both cities.
hey how ya doing man. celtics doin work son
Chris Forsberg (12:55 PM)
Mike (Fairfield, CT)
Over/Under - Rondo dunks on Chris Bosh during this upcoming series 2.5 times.
Chris Forsberg (12:56 PM)
Not sure any of them could be as good as the one from the start of the season.
Much of the reasoning behind trading Perk was to provide a solid backup for Paul (especially once the Knicks added Melo) such that he wouldn't have to spend entire games guarding the likes of 'Bron, Melo and Kobe. So far Green has been pretty underwhelming on the defensive end of the ball, at times appearing timid - will he be able to turn this around in time to face the self appointed King?
Chris Forsberg (12:58 PM)
I thought Green actually had a solid defensive night in Game 3. Listen, no one was stopping Melo in Game 2 (not even Tony Allen). I think Green's getting closer and closer to being a consistent contributor. If he can play solid defense and rebound the ball, the points are simply a bonus (even if most people will focus on that number).
Bill (Durham NH)
I love Doc's emphasis on "simplicity" on the offensive end. Why isn't this same approach helping Green, Kristic and other (non-Baby) new reserves deliver more on the court?
Chris Forsberg (1:00 PM)
Great question. And I don't have an answer. Almost all the shots Boston is generating off screens is coming with the starters. I don't get why the second unit isn't running more set plays (or why they're not executing them well when they do). Again, that's something this week off could aid.
Hey Chris, is The Association Episode 5 being uploaded, and if so where can I find a link to it? Thanks.
Chris Forsberg (1:01 PM)
Yes, I had been told we had to wait seven days to post the final episode, but I'll double-check again to see if it's online now. People have been asking me constantly about when it'll be online (and I'm curious as well).
Is there statistical evidence that shows the Celtics matching up better against the Heat when Shaq is in the game? (I'm assuming there is, but wanted to ask an expert)
Chris Forsberg (1:02 PM)
I'd have to go back and check the stats, but in general, the Celtics performed extremely well with Shaq on the floor with the Big Four. I'd assume those numbers were strong in the first two meetings against Miami.
Bigger positive impact in Round 2 Jeff Green or Shaq?
Chris Forsberg (1:02 PM)
Is Rondo an All-Star in Minnesota?
Chris Forsberg (1:03 PM)
Yep. Imagine how much transition he'd get with Kevin Love grabbing boards and how much running that team does.
Why can Melo wear his headband with the NBA logo at the back of his head when Rondo can't wear his headband with NBA logo in front, but upside down???
Chris Forsberg (1:04 PM)
HeadbandGate returns! As long as the logo is right-side up, nothing the league can do.
How nice/unexpected was it to see a few good minutes from Krstic yesterday?
Chris Forsberg (1:05 PM)
First 75 seconds he had a rebound, a block, his first field goal (on a dunk) and got his hand in the cookie jar leading to a Paul Pierce steal. The C's need more of that from him.
The Player X bash on KG seemed a little cowardly in my opinion. What did you think about it?
Chris Forsberg (1:06 PM)
Absolutely. Don't know if we should be protecting folks who call out others. But I'm sure Kevin isn't exactly losing sleep over it.
Rondo became a new man once he got a haircut prior to game 1 of the Knicks series.
Chris Forsberg (1:07 PM)
Don't we all operate with more confidence after a haircut?
Omar (Dublin, Ireland)
NO or LA?
Chris Forsberg (1:07 PM)
I had a Celtics-Lakers rematch in the finals as my preseason prediction. Can't hedge now.
Chris Forsberg (1:08 PM)
Alright, that will do it for this week. Thanks to everyone for dropping by. We'll do it again next week -- likely from Miami with Game 1 behind us. Thanks to everyone for dropping by and everyone get their rest before the next series begins.
Chris Forsberg (1:08 PM)
OK, one more ...
Player X (????)
You'll never catch me... Bwahahahhahaahahahaaaa!
Chris Forsberg (1:09 PM)
Thanks again everyone.