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 3 p.m. ET!
Chris Forsberg (3:00 PM)
Good afternoon everybody. Thanks for dropping by. Let's tackle your Celtics questions for a bit.
Rocko (Boston, MA)
Are the Cs better off without Ray Allen? They've been playing so well since Avery Bradley was inserted into the lineup, with KG moving to center.
Chris Forsberg (3:02 PM)
Well, sure, the Celtics are 10-1 without Allen this season and moving Avery Bradley into the starting lineup has made them a stronger defensive team at the start of games. That said, they do want Ray Allen healthy as he'd be a huge scoring boost for an already thin bench.
Chris are we going to see extra playing time for Steismsa this weekend with the back-to back-to back games on tap? He seems to be grabbing more rebounds and being even more of a presence! Your thoughts, thanks!
Chris Forsberg (3:03 PM)
I'm convinced if he can avoid foul trouble and put in 35 minutes, he has a legit chance to produce a points-rebound-block triple-double at some point in his career. It really is great to see him thriving considering the injuries he's battled this season. You can see the progress just since January and he's become a key big man on this team. Now if the whistles would just stop going against him.
Jim (Hudson NH)
I would guess the chances are slim that the Celtics can win the next three games. On the other hand, as you mentioned before, it would be hard to pick 3 worse teams to play in this back to back to back. If you were a betting man, what would the odds be for the C's to go 3-0 this weekend?
Chris Forsberg (3:06 PM)
Even if they choose to rest some starters during this stretch, I still think there's a very good chance to go 3-0. Toronto is a terrible offensive team and will be thin on bodies tonight; Charlotte is not a very good team. I think there's a good chance that Doc Rivers rests his veterans Saturday, but that doesn't mean the C's can't win that game as well. I still think 2-1 is the most likely scenario and I'm sure the C's would take it.
Pierre (New York)
Hey Chris I wanted to ask you this question for a while but I kept forgetting to submit question. This year was my 1st season getting the NBA league pass so I was able to watch every Celtics game. I know home town commentators are going to be biased towards their team but Tom Heinsohn goes overboard. If I know hes calling a game I'm rdy to watch the game in mute. Just want to know what you think about his commentating>
Chris Forsberg (3:09 PM)
Tommy? Biased? First I've heard of it....
Just kidding. I caught the TV replay of Wednesday's OT win over the Hawks and you can practically hear Heinsohn slamming down his headset in frustration at the officials at the end of the game. Hilarious. Clearly he's invested in the team from his history.
Mathew L (Taipei, Taiwan)
Avery Bradley's defense is just amazing, does he have a chance at getting a an all-defense team nomination?
Chris Forsberg (3:13 PM)
Absolutely. At first I didn't think he'd have enough floor time to garner true consideration, but he's actually appeared in a team-high 56 games and he's about to top 1,100 minutes (sixth most on the team behind the starters). I think he absolutely deserves consideration. He might be a mainstay there in future seasons, but it'd be nice if he could sneak on the list this season. John Hollinger put him on his first team, which speaks volumes about the perception about those that watch the league.
Josh (Dallas, tx) [via mobile]
Allen's ankle is acting up again. Should we be worried about this continued ailment with playoffs so close?
Chris Forsberg (3:14 PM)
Absolutely. I'm not saying it's total panic mode, but the fact that he needed a cortisone shot to get back on the floor and the ankle has since flared is definitely reason to be concerned. It all comes down to whether rest is enough to get that ankle to respond over the next week or so. The good news is that they keep saying there's nothing structurally wrong with it, so the Celtics just have to hope he can play through the pain if it doesn't get 100 percent right before the playoffs.
So many people tend to think that Chicago would give the Celtics more issue in the post season. I tend to differ. Miami is our biggest rival and they will want to eat us raw in the playoff after these recent wins against them. What do you think about that and also what is the X factor for a Celtics in the post season
Chris Forsberg (3:16 PM)
Put it this way: Neither team would be a picnic. I think Miami's lack of depth and the way Boston matches up with them still makes them a more desirable opponent for the Celtics. Chicago, when healthy, is just so loaded with talent, they can dominate the glass, and they play great defense. That's one matchup I'd want to avoid at all cost if I'm Boston.
Jay-R Mendoza (Philippines)
In your opinion, Can Rajon Rondo beat John Stockton's record on continous 10+ assists made in one nba season? I think Mr.Stockton made 10 assists in 29 straight nba games.
Chris Forsberg (3:18 PM)
In one season? No. But only because there's only eight games to go and Rondo's at 19. He's going to need to span into next year to try to catch Stockton's regular-season mark. At some point, you gotta think a team is going to try to just completely smother him, but nothing's worked so far and the competition has been the best in the league. As long as his teammates are making shots, this streak can absolutely continue.
With Pierce's jumpshot becoming more and more unreliable, who do you go to in crunch time? Do you still isolate Pierce and try getting him going to the rim, or pick and roll with Garnett and Pierce (like at Golden State) ?
Chris Forsberg (3:20 PM)
KG might have airballed the shot, but I liked how the C's went to him late in regulation against Atlanta. I still don't mind Pierce off the pick-and-roll, so long as he's willing to drive and not settle for the step-back (like against San Antonio). Listen, if a team wants to leave Allen, Bass, or Pietrus open from their sweetspots at the end of the game, I have no problem with them taking shots. It just comes down to getting quality looks and sometimes this team settles for less-than-ideal attempts.
Zain (Merced, CA)
Clippers need to go back to their Clipper ways! All this winning is ruining what could have been a steal of a draft pick! Unless C's pick someone like Dion Waiters, I don't see anyone of much impact that can help them once you get to the 20s in the draft...
Chris Forsberg (3:23 PM)
Yeah, just about everything that could have gone wrong with that trade did. Between Jeff Green's heart ailment, Nenad Krstic bolting back overseas during the lockout and now the Clippers being a potential top seed, it didn't play out exactly as the C's had hoped (to say the least). But two first-round picks is still a nice luxury and you just gotta hope that Danny Ainge can find another Avery Bradley or Rajon Rondo with one of the late-round picks.
Aaron G. (Spokane, WA)
On the off chance that Brandon Bass did get injured, who would take over his minutes? Stiemsma? Hollins? Johnson? There doesn't seem to be a real backup at the 4 spot.
Chris Forsberg (3:24 PM)
Let's not talk about this. Did you see the look on Doc Rivers' face when he thought Bass blew out his ACL the other night against Atlanta? He was probably thinking the same thing. I have no idea what they would do. Probably go small with Pierce or Pietrus in a 4-like role. Completely undesirable, but maybe all they could do (then move KG to 4 with Stiemsma at 5 against bigger teams).
For those of us who still watched through the struggles, this has to be one of the funnest & most entertaining celtics teams in a while. I have 2 questions: The last few weeks, the C's have been rebounding relatively well. Do you see a correlation between the improved rebounding and us winning? And how many of the back-to-back-to-back games do you see us pulling out?
Chris Forsberg (3:28 PM)
Funnest?! You definitely found nothing fun about this season a month ago. The past month has been a blast to watch as figured itself out and thrived against quality competition. It's nice to see how much confidence people have in this team now as the postseason nears.
As for the rebounding, it's still an issue. It's nice to see them have some nice nights, but I think it's still going to be a monster problem against teams like Chicago (or any big frontcourt). And, as I said earlier, let's go with 2-1 on the b2b2b; just hard not to stumble if they do elect to rest guys at some point.
Jordan (Concord, Ma)
Hey Chris,Assuming Ray Allen is healthy for the playoffs, do you think he helps this team more as a starter or an impact scorer off the bench? Avery Bradley has proven he is capable of starting on a nightly basis, but Ray Allen is a proven playoff performer.
Chris Forsberg (3:31 PM)
Bench role. Barring injury elsewhere, he can add more to the team with his offense off the pine than as a starter. Plus, we've seen Allen fade a bit at times in the latter rounds of the playoffs, so maybe a bench role would keep his minutes low and allow him to sustain a high level throughout.
Hey Chris, as of now, can you give odds for each of KG and Ray returning next year?
Chris Forsberg (3:33 PM)
I've said all along I give both a very good chance of coming back (KG more than Ray). I think it comes down to what else is available for Boston this offseason and how cheap they will come back. I think playing another year for Doc will be more of a lure for KG than Ray, who can blend immediately in any system.
Nice Hair Chris... With the emergence of Avery Bradley and how well he has played and developed, do you see Jajuan Johnson maybe getting increased time to develop over this back-back-back..... ( if bass goes down against Atlanta we may have needed him to step up big time)
Chris Forsberg (3:35 PM)
I can totally see the Celtics trotting out a Bradley-Moore-Pietrus-Johnson-Stiemsma lineup at some point during this b2b2b. Why not let the kids play and see if getting some extended time is enough to beat a struggling team. A good game over the final eight might be just enough to send a rookie into the offseason with some confidence (heck, just look at Bradley after his big game in the regular-season finale last year).
diego (upland,ca) [via mobile]
Chris, do you think that kg is talked about as a serious defensive player of the year? Because I believe he is playing defense close to 2007-08, when he won the award?
Chris Forsberg (3:37 PM)
He deserves to be in the conversation. Tyson Chandler might be more likely to get the nod, but Garnett has been fantastic after the slow start.
Ryan (Maine) [via mobile]
Being two games behind the Pacers for the 3 spot do you think its realistic to say the Celtics could grab it? And should they even worry about it?
Chris Forsberg (3:38 PM)
Pacers play six of their final eight at home. So unless they stumble, it's unlikely Boston can overtake them. I think Rivers would be more inclined to go with rest than push hard for the 3 spot, though if it means getting Miami instead of Chicago in Round 2, there's definitely reason to push.
CelticsInTheLBC (Long Beach, CA)
If I'm Doc Rivers, how do I minimize my key rotation players' time on the floor for rest (and reduce the risk of injury) without losing the momentum we've already got going for us for the duration of the season? Also, could tinkering with floor time have any ill effects on chemistry?
Chris Forsberg (3:40 PM)
You gotta be careful, for sure, but I don't think there's any big risk of giving them a random night off or two along the way. You don't want to sit them for a week or anything like that, but if you give KG and Pierce Saturday night off, then maybe the season finale, that's not enough to undo all the good the past month has brought.
The Celtics currently have 14 players under contract. Was there a reason why we didn't try to replace JO's roster spot? I'm sure any live body would have helped.
Chris Forsberg (3:41 PM)
What's the point if you're only playing 8 guys? Make someone buy a ticket if you want them to be a spectator. No, I'm sure they would have added a body if they thought someone could help them out, but it wasn't worth the cost.
Brian (Southie, Ma)
Hey Chris, its been mentioned that avery bradley should be considered for the first team all defense, but what about most improved? He barely played last year and now he starts on a title contender, and you could argue hes a key reason for the celts resurgence. Some people might say it should be Lin, but he only played half the year. Think Bradley will get any consideration?
Chris Forsberg (3:44 PM)
Yeah, hard to imagine it not going to Lin given all the hype, but it'd be nice to see Bradley get some votes. I think the hard part for voters would be that we don't really have a baseline on Bradley. He just flat out didn't play last year. But clearly his shot and his offense overall has improved so tremendously over the past two months.
Omar (Penn State)
Chris, Have the Cs found a way to win without the traditional big man? Do you think they can go all the way if they continue playing like this?
Chris Forsberg (3:47 PM)
Sure, they've found a way to win by moving a 4 to the 5 and finding great success in a league that's just not stocked with many pure 5s any more. No reason to believe they can't continue to thrive like this, particularly as well as Garnett is playing.
Tchad (bellmore) [via mobile]
Barring any injuries from now to the end of the seaon how far do you think the celtics can go into the playoff?
Chris Forsberg (3:47 PM)
I've said it all along -- if healthy, this team can give anybody in the East a fight. It all comes down to how healthy the other side is and if Boston is playing at the level it is right now. My gut still says it'd be tough to get past Miami or Chicago in Round 2, but you can't rule it out at this point.
Aaron G. (Spokane, WA)
Chris, you mentioned that Doc might want to rest the starters for the New Jersey game. Why not the Charlotte game instead? It seems that the Bobcats present much less of a challenge.
Chris Forsberg (3:48 PM)
I think resting the starters on Saturday just takes the real stress out of the trip (barring a breezy win in Toronto tonight where the starers only play, say, 25 minutes; then absolutely go hard vs. Jersey and take Sunday off). But if Boston starters play 35 minutes tonight, why trot them back out there against Jersey? Give them rest and suddenly there's no back-to-back portion of this trip for the veteran legs.
Brian (Southie, Ma)
Hey Chris,Brandon Bass has been great this year. Hes put up great numbers and is only making $4mil. He'll probably opt out at the end of the year, do you think the celts will keep him? If so, how much does it take?
Chris Forsberg (3:51 PM)
I think he likes it here, I just think he's going to have a lot of teams willing to throw a lot of money at him and the Celtics clearly want to be responsible with their cap room and not overspend. If Boston can find a reasonable number to bring him back on, I guarantee they'd leap at it given how good he's been at both ends of the court this season.
Zain Memon (Merced, CA)
Do you feel some trepidation on the thought that the Celtics are peaking a little too early?
Chris Forsberg (3:52 PM)
Absolutely. But there's only two weeks left, so I don't think it's that big of an issue. The Celtics just have to figure out a way to sustain this level of play once the postseason arrives and I think the easier schedule will allow that to happen.
Chris, Do Cs have Bird Rights to Stiemsma or Pietrus? If not, can they split the MLE to keep both? Love your column by the way.
Chris Forsberg (3:55 PM)
Stiemsma will be a restricted free agent with a $1 million qualifying offer (the team will likely offer and the sides can talk longer deal if they desire). Pietrus is on a veteran minimum deal and will be unrestricted, but I think he really likes it here, too, especially with how the team rallied around him after the concussion, and I think both sides will try to find a number that works for both sides. Again, he might simply get better offers elsewhere.
Jeff Green (Free Agency)
What sort contract is Danny going to offer me? Do you think any teams are going to try to out-bid the Celtics?
Chris Forsberg (3:56 PM)
Hard to imagine it being another $9 million deal coming off the heart surgery. Like with all the others we've mentioned, the Celtics are probably going to be more financially responsible than others, but I think there's a comfortable number for both sides.
Brian (Southie, Ma)
Hey Chris,How is it that Doc has gotten no consideration for coach of the year? The celts lost their 6th man before the season even started, lost their starting and back up center, and had injuries to ray and pietrus. Meanwhile, he rejuvenated a hall of famers career by moving KG to center, turned Bradley, last years 12th man, into a starter whos a top defender and developed Stiemsma from a D-leaguer into a servicable backup center. The celts had alot going against them this season from injuries to scheduling, but they are the best defensive team and are legit title contenders. Whats not to like?!
Chris Forsberg (3:56 PM)
Won't hear any arguments from this side of the internet.
Hollinger earlier today suggested that Ray Allen is likely displeased with his bench demotion, but is nonetheless a professional. What's your assessment of Jesus' frame of mind?
Chris Forsberg (3:58 PM)
No doubt he doesn't like it. He's a creature of habit and the C's are taking him out of his comfort zone after 1,100 career starts. That said, I think he realizes it's best for the team and as long as he can still get his usual amount of shots, he'll be fine with it. After watching Kevin make the move to the 5, it'd be hard for him to not do what's best for the team overall.
rich mann [via mobile]
Do you think Bass has turned out to be an upgrade head to head in place of Big Baby this year?
Chris Forsberg (3:59 PM)
Is this a trick question?
The Wumpian Emperor (The Wumpian Empire)
Hi, can I please play a game of 3-on-3 with you? :) Me, you, and Greg Payne! I've always wanted to ;)
Chris Forsberg (4:00 PM)
If I had a nickel for each time someone told me they wanted to hang out with Greg Payne...
Ben (Bostona , MA)
@ Pierre, not cool man, you, as a celtics fan, should love Tommy, he is the man!
Chris (New York)
Just wanted to say that I love Heinsohn. He is genuinely still a huge fan of the team and a comedy genius at the same time. He makes the game fun. But I also like the professionalism of the nationally televised games, I don't think I'd want to hear Heinsohn announce the playoffs or anything like that
Chris Forsberg (4:01 PM)
Tommy Points for everybody.
If i were the Celtics I would be hoping for a first round match-up with Atlanta rather than Orlando. Don't want to see Dwight Howard in the first round...Your thoughts on our most winnable first round matchup?
Chris Forsberg (4:02 PM)
Neither Atlanta or Orlando would particularly worry me. C's have always fared well against Orlando by playing Dwight 1-on-1 and forcing the Magic to make 3's. I think Boston is fine with either scenario.
Michael Chu (Boston, MA)
Hi, Chris. I'm a huge fan. By the way, nice haircut.If the Celtics go deep in the playoffs, can Jermaine O' Neal still come back and play 5-10 minutes per night? Thanks, Chris. Keep up the good work.
Chris Forsberg (4:03 PM)
Man, everyone's got a comment about the hair... As for Jermaine, no. He's done. His locker has long since been cleared out.
Just want to give you props for saying a few weeks ago to not give up on this team. Now, make a good prediction for the playoffs!
Chris Forsberg (4:04 PM)
To be fair, I didn't see this coming. I just thought the team would save its best ball for the playoffs. It's been fun to watch them turn this thing around.
joel (north platte nebraska)
He chris, why have the c's not locked the steamer up to a 2 or 3 year deal before his stock gets any hotter, same with bradley, seems like we could lock up some young talent for a couple of years at a discounted price compared to what it would cost for similar players on the open market
Chris Forsberg (4:05 PM)
Both are under control next season at friendly numbers, but I would expect them to consider longer-term deals with both guys as early as next season if they fit their long-range plan.
In your honest and humble opinion, do you think the Celtics will win it all this year?
Chris Forsberg (4:06 PM)
No, but I'm far more confident now that they can at least make a run to such a level based on their recent play. A lot has to go right to win it all, but they have potential. I'm not sure they were consistent enough earlier in the season to have said that.
until what time does this chat go tilll?////
Chris Forsberg (4:07 PM)
I'm sucking wind. This won't be a Boston marathon. Winding down now.
Chris, does it make more sense for the Celtics to rest their players or to try and get that number 3 seed?
Chris Forsberg (4:09 PM)
Such a tough choice. I think it all comes down to scoreboard watching. If the Pacers start to falter, you gotta consider making a push even at the risk of pushing guys hard to the finish line.
hey chris, if avery bradley was playing for another team, would he be good enough to stop rajon rondo getting double-digit assists?
Chris Forsberg (4:10 PM)
Phenomenal hypothetical. We can't even know for sure because the C's haven't had a chance to practice much this season.
joel (north platte nebraska)
If they allowed unlimited fouls do you think we would see the Steamer average a points, rebounds, block and foul quadruple double for the season?
Chris Forsberg (4:11 PM)
Hey Chris, This off season the most crucial I can remember in 25 years of watching the Celtics. Is KG the linchpin to what unfolds? Can he come back as the starting center for the whole season with Steimsma spelling him for 18-20 min/game? Really like the future with current starting 5, Ray in a reserve role, 2 first rounders, and JJJ developing as quickly as AB.
Chris Forsberg (4:12 PM)
No pressure, Danny! No, this is certainly an important offseason, but remember that the Celtics could sign a lot of one-year deals and get themselves through one more season with a similar core while hoping the free-agent pool got a little deeper next summer.
celtics are contenders.
Chris Forsberg (4:13 PM)
Let's end it there. A month ago there's no way that would have been a comment in the chat. Enjoy the Celtics playing a baseball-like schedule this weekend. By next Friday we should have a better idea about how the playoff picture will look.