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Simmons on D&C: Officiating is the headline of finals

06.10.10 at 10:39 am ET
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ESPN columnist Bill Simmons joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning and talked about the quick turnaround from Game 2 in Los Angeles to Game 3 in Boston, the inconsistencies of the officials, and the sloppiness of both teams in the series.

Following are some highlights. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Game 3:

I was worried about Game 3 because it was 48 hours after Game 2, cross country trip, and it just seemed like, ‘€œUh oh, this is going to be bad.’€ If you look at what happened in the game, Kobe [Bryant] had a bad game, [Paul] Pierce and [Ray] Allen both had bad games, the only old guy who had a good game was [Kevin Garnett] and KG didn’€™t play a lot in Game 2 because he was in foul trouble. My biggest fear about this whole series is that they just wasted an epic KG game and I’€™m not sure how many he has.

On the inconsistency of the officials:

I think for the most part in the finals, the right team is going to win each game. That’€™s what bothered me about Game 3 was basically both teams didn’€™t play well and it came down to officiating. If we’€™ve learned anything from the Celtics team this year, for whatever reason, the officiating determines how they’€™re going to do. ‘€¦ It just seems like so many things are predicated on how the officials decide beforehand, ‘€œThis is what we’€™re going to do tonight.’€

That’€™s my biggest problem with NBA officiating. Why can’€™t they just call it the same way every game? ‘€¦ Should we go to a system where there’€™s just three refs for the entire finals, the same three every game. There just has to be a better solution.

On the release of official names the day of games:

It makes you wonder, ‘€œWhy don’€™t they release the names of all the refs before the finals?’€ What’€™s wrong with that? How about a refs schedule. Why is it the day of? So if the Lakers are up 2-1 in Boston, now we have these three guys for Game 4. I just wish that they were more open than they are.

On chances Kobe beats Boston by himself:

He’€™s played nine finals games now against the Celtics and it hasn’€™t happened yet. I thought this was the Celtics’ biggest advantage going into the series. People were almost too high on what Kobe was doing. If you look at the Utah series and you look at the Phoenix series, he didn’€™t have to guard anybody, he didn’€™t have to play defense. ‘€¦ In this series, he has to play defense. ‘€¦ I think it’€™s affected him. I also think the Celtics do a nice job of staying in front of him collectively and making sure he settles for those 20-footers and I think he gets frustrated.

On who is the MVP right now:

We could spend a half-hour on the phone and we couldn’€™t figure it out. ‘€¦ I would say it’€™s [Pau] Gasol, but it’€™s a relatively stupid question because it’€™s only after three games. The point is that nobody on this Lakers team has played particularly fantastic.

On Paul Pierce:

In ‘€™08, Paul Pierce was the best guy on the floor. In 2010, he looks like a guy that is just old. I was watching him before the game and he looked like he was locked in. He was in that mode where he was clenching his fists and looking around at the crowd and looking like he was eating it up. I thought he was going to have a huge game and he came out and just started missing shots. Then Luke Walton came in and you think, ‘€œOh, he’€™s going to torch Luke Walton.’€ No, didn’€™t torch him. So if he’€™s going to play like Rasual Butler, the Celtics have no chance.

On the headline of the series if it were over now:

I think the officiating is the headline. I’€™m not saying that’€™s why [the Celtics] lost, there’€™s just been no flow to these games. Celtics-Lakers, two veteran teams, home court doesn’€™t matter, both teams can win on the other team’€™s court, and this should be an awesome series. After three games all I’€™m thinking about is that there’€™s been no flow and the officials have basically dictated what’€™s happened. I really hope that doesn’€™t keep happening. ‘€¦ I just thought the series would be more entertaining.

On Doc Rivers leaving after this season:

The interesting thing is, whether he is or not, I would fascinated by the fact that they just let [Tom] Thibodeau go. They never gave him a, ‘€œHey, can you stick around and you’€™re going to get this job if Doc leaves.’€ They didn’€™t really give him those signs.

On chances of Kevin McHale coaching Boston:

It makes a lot of sense because I thought he was great as the Minnesota coach. I actually talked to Kevin Love after Game 2 and I asked, ‘€œYou like playing with McHale, right?’€ He was like, ‘€œI love that guy. That was the best guy, I just loved playing for him. All of us did. He was great, we learned so much from him.’€ They were playing well before [Al] Jefferson blew out his knee. ‘€¦ It makes sense. He’€™s Danny [Ainge’€™s] best friend, he has a relationship with KG, and he’€™s obviously one of the better Celtics of all time. That would be pretty cool.

Read More: Bill Simmons, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
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