Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about 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 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Forsberg (12:59 PM)
Hey everybody, thanks as always for dropping by. Let's tackle your Celtics questions for a bit.
Deven (New York)
Hi Chris. Who will start for the rest of the season: Ray or Avery?
Chris Forsberg (1:00 PM)
Hard to imagine too much flip-flopping at this point. I think Rivers will give Bradley a run here and see what happens. That doesn't mean it's set in stone, but it totally made the most sense and it's nice to see Allen at least be willing to give the bench role a try, understanding that he's still going to get his 30+ minutes.
With the emergence of Bradley, will there be much of a role for Pietrus come playoff time?
Chris Forsberg (1:02 PM)
Absolutely. In fact, Doc Rivers has hinted numerous times that the original plan was to consider whether Pietrus would be in the starting lineup (which would have brought simliar defensive intensity and not posed the same height issues that the Rondo-Bradley lineup does). So long as Pietrus can get healthy, he'll absolutely be a key figure in the postseason and the C's will likely continue to lean on smaller lineups to get all the wings court time.
colton (Salt Lake City)
Hi Chris,What do you think the chances the Celtics bring back Jeff Green next year. What kind of contract do you expect him to get after his heart surgery?
Chris Forsberg (1:03 PM)
The fact that he's stayed involved with the Celtics doctors and done some of his rehab here in Boston I think is an encouraging sign that both sides are interested in making this work next season. Clearly, his price tag won't be at the same level, but maybe they can find a comfortable number that allows him to re-establish his value, while still being a good value to the team. The question is whether another team will throw big money at him even coming off a missed season.
Why are the Celtics no longer able to execute in the fourth quarter, they used to dominate in late game situations?
Chris Forsberg (1:05 PM)
It's definitely somewhat concerning. The Celtics hallmark used to be dominating those late-game situations, but they've really struggled this season, often settling for Pierce ISO situations (or looking for Allen on the flare) and I haven't seen quite as much creativity, at least in last-second plays. If Boston is going to be a true contender, it's gotta reestablish itself as the team that comes through with the game in the balance.
Nuke Man (Dallas )
With the Celtics need of rebounding, is there anyway we can utilize Ryan Hollins ( who has never been a good rebounder ) to aid us in the rebounding battle? also I understand we shouldnt expect much from a buy out guy but at this point we have no choice but to raise our expectations of everyone if we expect to raise another banner....just sayin.
Chris Forsberg (1:06 PM)
Hollins got 13 minutes last night and didn't grab a board (somewhere, Mark Blount doesn't see the big deal). I do like Hollins' energy and his solid pick-and-roll defense, they just gotta find a way to get him to be at least serviceable on the glass. It's a team-wide issue, but Hollins needs to maximize that size.
Lefteri Christodulelis (Austin, TX)
Specifically who was Doc Rivers referring to when he described a "cool" effort? I doubt that Garnett or Bradley would be capable of contributing a lackadaisical effort. Pierce seemed relatively efficient. Is Rivers upset with Rondo's "poor" performance?
Chris Forsberg (1:08 PM)
I think the team as a whole had issues. There was a lot of walking the ball up the floor and the movement without the ball was atrocious (both from guys trying to get open and those setting screens). Rivers seemed irked that the Celtics were able to build a big lead without trying very hard and should have pulled away. Instead, the Bulls came out swinging in the second half and the Celtics crumbled. Hard to blame anyone when the whole team just wasn't engaged as it should have been.
Zenyatta of Basketball (The Barn)
Will the L's to San Antonio and Chicago prove to be speed bumps... or more like driving the wrong way out of the rental car parking lot? And will Doc's feisty reaction help the C's circle the wagons? It only gets tougher and crazier from here.
Chris Forsberg (1:11 PM)
Not sure it gets much tougher than a back-to-back with SA and Chicago, but you're right that the schedule doesn't exactly let up with Indiana, Philly, Miami, and Atlanta up next (with the back-to-back-to-back looming right after). The C's have typically responded well to Rivers' criticism and they can erase any bad taste if they can get by a couple Eastern Conference rivals. And let's hope it's not driving the wrong way out of the rental car lot, usually they got those spikes that'll flatten your tires :)
two tough losses back to back. Really thought in the second half last night we switch back to the celtics from the beginning of the season. My question: is this a good thing that we fought tough and proved we could play with 3 of the 4 best teams in the league (record wise)? or should we be disappointed that we couldn't pull out 2 very win-able games? and really the loss to San Antonio i can deal with, but watching Noah put the guns in the holster after he scores the ugliest two handed 15 foot jump shot ever, really irks me...
Chris Forsberg (1:14 PM)
I'm still encouraged. The Celtics could easily be 3-0 to start this stretch. It's hard to be too excited about being 1-2, but they've reaffirmed against three of the league's top four teams that they can hang with the elite. If C's can find a way to win against the Pacers and 76ers, they'll be in good position to contend for the No. 3 or 4 seed and put themselves in better position for the postseason than we might have expected as early as a couple weeks ago.
Anthony Raymond (Boston, MA)
Chris it's time for your weekly Sasha Pavlovic Question. With the exception of last night Sasha continues to play strong. 5 rebounds and a fast break bucket from Rondo against the Heat, and then 5 big point against the spurs. Do you think Doc is starting to have a little more trust in Sasha? I think he can contribute down the stretch with pietrus out. He had Great Defense on lebron the other day too.
Chris Forsberg (1:16 PM)
I think the Celtics are getting about as much out of Pavlovic as you can ask for. He's been able to help fill the Pietrus void and has played well when Pierce has been in foul trouble. Again, he's not a liability when he's on the floor. The defense is solid and he provides the occasional offense (though the 3-pointer and steal/reverse jam the other night came out of nowhere). I think he's a nice luxury to have and you know he's going to be ready whenever he's called on.
Daniel Shafer (Los Angeles)
Chris - why, why, why can't we get more rebounds? Sure, half the battle is size but the other half is positioning and effort and we never seem to really try to crash the boards. Can't Doc get the guys to turn this around??
Chris Forsberg (1:18 PM)
Just not sure it's realistic to expect the team to reinvent themselves at this point. They've never been a particularly good rebounding team in recent seasons and now they are operating with smaller lineups to maximize their talent. There are times when their lack of fundamentals is frustrating, but only effort will help them mask their size deficiencies.
Josh (Dallas/Texas) [via mobile]
How do you expect the celtics to approach Indiana after Docs strong post game words against his team?
Chris Forsberg (1:20 PM)
Well, motivation shouldn't be a problem Saturday. Boston has a little something to prove to its coach. But the other thing is that Indy is the team with the No. 3 seed and Boston can start a charge at them with a victory. I'd be really surprised if we don't see an extremely engaged team at the start of Saturday's game.
Bodhi (San Diego)
I believe that Michael Pietrus is the X-Factor this year. He really brings some explosive scoring and incredible defense to the second line and really allow guys like Bradley and Dooling to get their shots. Do you think he'll be back in time? Think he will have lost a step?
Chris Forsberg (1:21 PM)
I think he'll have some rust, maybe a little hesitation. But there's no doubt in my mind that -- if he's healthy -- he's going to find a way to impact the game. I do think he's a key to this team's playoff chances and will be a big boost if they can continue to be competitive even before he gets back.
Daniel Shafer (Los Angeles)
Chris. Assuming we can only take one game, is it more important that we beat Indiana or Philly this weekend? If the answer's Philly, will you give Doc a holler and tell him not to play Pierce and Garnett too long on Saturday? 40 and 38 minutes against Chicago... Aren't we risking injury?
Chris Forsberg (1:23 PM)
Philly's probably more important because of the division implications, but Indy's the tougher team the way the 76ers are playing right now. The Celtics need a quality effort Saturday in order to get out of the funk of losing two games and that might be enough to carry them against Philly. Overall, yes, the Celtics need to be cautious of minutes. The offday today allowed Rivers to run guys a little harder Thursday night.
Johnny Utah (Ohio State)
So we've seen Avery Bradley start over Ray. What are your thoughts in regards to the starting lineup? Who should start? I think Doc really has some flexibility to put out different lines for different strategies.
Chris Forsberg (1:24 PM)
I like Bradley in the role. You get a chance to establish Pierce and KG early on, offensively, and then Allen can get more shots when he's running with a reserve lineup. Bradley's defensive impact at the start of games has been undeniable. It's really aided the Celtics in starting strong.
What do you make of coaches sounding off in the media in light of Doc last night and SVG? Good or bad for the team?
Chris Forsberg (1:26 PM)
Well, two completely different situations, but in general it's great when coaches speak their minds freely. It's certainly refreshing when either players or coaches speak freely and emotionally. I think it's good overall for both sides. Get it out there, don't let it linger. Not sure how it'll play out in Orlando, but I think it'll help Boston in the short term.
War Child (Boulder, CO)
Man, this team would have been so exciting to watch with Green, JO and Wilcox. Talk about a deep team. Really is unfortunate. Do you think if those guys hadn't gone down Avery Bradley would be having the breakout season that he is currently?
Chris Forsberg (1:27 PM)
It's the great unknown. And what we forget is that if Green doesn't go down, the Celtics likely don't get Pietrus. If Wilcox or JO don't go down, Greg Stiemsma might not get the chance to emerge. All that said, it would certainly have been interesting to see how the Celtics would have fared had their guys been able to stay healthy.
Mark Jackson (Amherst, MA)
I hate Joakim Noah. I wish Garnett had given him the Kevin Love treatment. Why wasn't KG as competitive and aggressive against Noah last night?
Chris Forsberg (1:29 PM)
In a way Noah out-KG'd KG. Usually it's the reverse. But you could tell Garnett was frustrated at the way his shot has been off lately. The minutes might be catching up to him a bit. The schedule doesn't let up, but the Celtics might need to find a way to bring down his minutes a bit to get him back on track. It's a hard balance and just another reason why Rivers is frustrated, when guys are expending all this energy and still losing games.
Bronson fl [via mobile]
So I almost thought all was lost when Bass went down holding his leg, luckily he came right back. But besides no injuries did last nights game show any positives moving forward?
Chris Forsberg (1:31 PM)
When Bass hit the floor hard trying to put back his own blown dunk against San Antonio, a couple of us went, 'Oh no, not again.' Fortunately, he's bounced right back up the last two nights. This team really can't endure another injury, it would be back-breaking. As for positives, the Celtics sleepwalked for much of the night and still had a chance to knock off the team with the best record in the NBA. If they had put in a little effort, this team is packing a ton of confidence for the trip to Indy.
We all know that when this team is healthy and rested, they can compete and beat any team in the league. What do you think is the only factor that would stop this team from beating say a Miami or Chicago?
Chris Forsberg (1:34 PM)
Listen, Miami and Chicago are two very talented teams. It's not going to be one thing that takes Boston down if they encounter either team. As you said, the C's have to be healthy and rested, but they also need to value the ball, rebound better, and play their familiar brand of defense. Which is to say, a lot has to go right.
Will coming off the bench make it even harder for Ray Allen to get his rythm in games?
Chris Forsberg (1:36 PM)
No, I think at this point in his career Allen knows how to get himself going regardless of when he first steps on the floor. The only question is whether the second unit can do what the first unit does in terms of freeing him up and getting him quality looks.
Chris, I'd love to see a KG shot chart of recent games. Please explain how a 7 footer takes so many 20ft shots. Celts get killed on the boards as it is, especially with KG out on the perimeter
Chris Forsberg (1:37 PM)
Offensively, he's always been gravitating out toward the perimeter in recent seasons. Sure, there are times when you want him to go try to exploit an opposing big under the hoop, but being able to stretch the floor at the 5 position makes Boston a better team offensively when his shots fall. Those shots simply having been falling the last two games.
Have you noticed an increased pace of play and a decrease in turnovers for the C's? Do the numbers bare this out?
Chris Forsberg (1:40 PM)
C's have cut down their turnovers, which is creating more opportunities for offense. And, outside of Thursday night, their pace has been better. IT sounds so simple, but Boston is such a dangerous team when it values the ball. By limiting turnovers, it generates more shots, doesn't allow easy transition points, and gives itself a far better chance to win games.
Al (San Diego, CA)
Hey Chris can the Celtics pick up another big man the rebound, bang in the paint, and give us another 6 hard fouls to give? No easy lay ups in the playoffs.
Chris Forsberg (1:41 PM)
If there was someone out there, they'd have gotten them by now. There's no one out there that can help this team without being a liability in other areas.
Noah (O. K. Corral)
Hey, me and that Westbrook kid are the baddest cowboys in the NBA. You hear that, KG?!?!?!
I was ready to give Noah a Flagrant foul myself after he kept brandishing his finger guns. Somebody needed to put a body on him. Hard.
Chris Forsberg (1:42 PM)
::chuckling:: Seems like any opponent that busts out the "finger guns" really gets C's fans riled up.
Carmen (Hong Kong)
Hi Chris! Don't you think Doc should limit Big 3 minutes? KG got 38 minutes last night!!! I think the bench can contribute if they're given quality playing time.
Chris Forsberg (1:44 PM)
It's a delicate balance. Rivers wanted to win that game, the Celtics needed KG on the floor for big minutes despite the fact that he was clearly fatigued. With the offday today, I don't think it was awful to ramp up his minutes. But Rivers clearly can't do it on a nightly basis moving forward. And it might be time to ponder the full day off during the back-to-back-to-back next week.
As an NH transplant living in Chicago, last night was bad. Should we be worried not only about the lack of offensive execution, but also about the C's complete inability to stop mediocre offensive players from lighting it up in the 4th? CJ Watson? Really?
Chris Forsberg (1:45 PM)
To be fair, John Lucas III hit about a 30-foot 3-pointer at one point. The Bulls hit a lot of those "I can't believe they are hitting those shots" shots. That said, Boston has to make sure opponents aren't hitting them. I still don't think last night's loss was as bad as some make it out to be, it was more frustrating because it was a winnable game.
Zenyatta of Basketball ((Munching apples))
Any chance Rondo runs the table with his double digit assists the rest of the way? Wouldn't that be amazing? I'd find that amazing.
Chris Forsberg (1:46 PM)
Seems impossible to me. You gotta think that, along the way here, the Celtics will get a lopsided game and he'll play only 25 minutes one night. The fact that it's gone on this long is incredible.
Chris u look like a tool, why would I trust ur opinion on anything?
Chris Forsberg (1:47 PM)
What if I told you I got a haircut yesterday? That do anything for you?
How is Jeff Green coming along after the surgery? Did Wilcox have surgery already?
Chris Forsberg (1:48 PM)
Green looks great; he's been on the sideline at a couple of C's games now. Last update I seem to recall he was able to start jogging again and seems to be ramping up his activity level. Wilcox underwent surgery on March 29 and all indications are it went well, but clearly he's got a long rehab ahead.
Jeff (Randolph, MA)
Is Rondo not doing enough to help his team? I feel like he may be too caught up in getting assists that he's not being aggressive enough.
Chris Forsberg (1:49 PM)
See, you start thinking that, and then he goes out like against the Heat and dominates the first quarter. Rondo always tries to find the balance between scoring and facilitating. It's hard to complain when he's distributing the ball as well as he has, but clearly the Celtics like it when he tries to exploit a matchup against an inferior PG.
Robin Stewart (Pelham, MA)
Keyon Dooling is my favorite Celtic currently. His interviews are hilarious and he's actually hitting some of his shots. What is his role going forward?
Chris Forsberg (1:51 PM)
Emergency depth. With Allen back, it's going to be tougher for him to find minutes. But he's gotta be like Pavlovic and be ready when he's called upon. With C's utilize smaller lineups, there's still room for him to make an impact.
Jason (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Yo Forsberg whats up with the lack of mailbags this year?
Chris Forsberg (1:52 PM)
Dude, have you seen this schedule? No, I've been trying to sneak them in whenever possible, but the lack of consecutive offdays has made it tough to make it consistent. Here's hoping we can do some postseason 'bags given the spacing and next year I'm sure we'll get back into a weekly rhythm when there's not 66 games in 66 days.
Chris C (New Hampshire)
Do you think with the current playoff seeding that the Celtics would be better off playing from a lower seed such as the 7 seed and play Miami with a fresher set of legs. Especially since they seem to have no answer to Rondo. They would also play a lower seed in the second round rather than play Indiana and then play Chicago. I would take a Miami, Orlando, series first in a heartbeat.
Chris Forsberg (1:54 PM)
Here's my updated thoughts on this: If the Celtics can get to the No. 3 seed, they should absolutely push for it. I like the bracket if they can get that high. NO. 4 is somewhat more daunting because you'd encounter the Bulls instead of the Heat in Round 2 if higher seeds win out, but the C's showed they can still hang with Chicago last night (despite going 1-3 for the season). I do think there's something to be said for giving a top dog your best punch in the opening round, but ultimately it comes dow to this team getting the most rest and being healthiest when the playoffs start.
Billy (New Jersey)
What role do you see Bradely having next year?
Chris Forsberg (1:55 PM)
Don't see why he couldn't be the starting 2 guard if he's already wrestled the role from Allen now. I'd still be concerned about the height issue of a Rondo-Bradley backcourt, but it hasn't really hurt them yet.
Austin Rivers (Home)
Draft me or Not???
Chris Forsberg (1:55 PM)
Absolutely. Unfortunately, you'll probably be gone before the teens because of the hype/potential, so it likely won't be an issue draft night.
Chris Forsberg (1:56 PM)
Alright, let's wrap it up there. Thanks to everyone for hanging out. Let's do it again next week.