Sports Illustrated NBA writer Ian Thomsen joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about the Celtics ‘ confidence, maligned Heat stars LeBron James  and Dwyane Wade , and his predictions for Game 6. To hear the interview go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page .
“I think the Celtics go into this game with a lot more faith, with a lot more confidence than Miami,” Thomsen said.” I think Boston says to themselves, ‘If we play our way, if we do what we want to do, we’re going to win.’ I don’t think Miami goes into this game feeling that way at all. Maybe they feel like they have to do something that isn’t like themselves in order to win. Because everything else they’ve been trying lately has not been working — the last two years it it’s not been working in big games against this team, when [Rajon] Rondo‘s been healthy.”
When Thomsen was asked to predict Game 6, he was confident in the Celtics finishing the series.
“I think it’s going to be a tight, tough game all the way through,” Thomsen said. “In the end, Boston is going to win like they have before. In the end, Rondo is going to make some plays and Miami won’t have anybody that can make those plays.”
Thomsen said the Heat have been unwilling to display their emotions, even after the Game 5 loss.
“They’re just trying to show nothing,” he said. “They look like golfers after they walk off the green and they’ve three-putted or something. That’s how they looked.”
James has been under scrutiny for his and Miami’s fourth-quarter failures dating back to last season, and Thomsen has a theory as to the dismal late-game efforts.
“When he came into the league he was eventually cast as Michael Jordan  and he always wanted to be Magic Johnson ,” Thomsen said. “By signing with Miami he wanted to be Magic Johnson and he was making that clear. People saw that as a weakness. So now he was accused of being irresponsible or not up to the task. … I think that’s just messing with his head.”
Wade also has had a tough time this series. Thomsen is surprised with Wade’s play.
“He’s feeling pressure to score because Boston’s defense isn’t giving him any position,” Thomsen said. “But he’s also feeling frustration maybe with the plays that are being called, with the coaches. He’s going one-on-one because he doesn’t trust the plays. When I watched the game the other night, that’s what I was thinking, was: He’s giving up, not on the team and not on trying to win, but on the system. That’s where the Celtics have to feel like, ‘Now we’ve got him.’ ”
“No coach has been under more pressure than [Spoelstra]. … I don’t think Pat Riley wants to fire Erik Spoelstra and I think if they lose this series it will be a hard thing for him to do,” Thomsen said. “Pat Riley has more influence over the team than any other team president or general manager in the league because Erik Spoelstra is his guy and Erik is running his program. It is a program, it’s a college program. It is not an NBA team. They’ve been running the same stuff through Pat Riley and his coaches whether it’s him coaching or [Stan] Van Gundy. … Unless Pat Riley himself is walking away I think it’s going to be a very hard thing for him to fire Erik. I’m not totally convinced that he’ll fire Erik unless the players absolutely demand it or if the players play so badly in a way that will get Erik fired.”