ESPN NBA analyst Bruce Bowen joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the playoffs and speculation about a possible megadeal between the Celtics  and Clippers.
On ESPN’s “First Take” Monday, Stephen A. Smith suggested that the Celtics and Clippers might talk about a deal that would send Kevin Garnett  and Paul Pierce  to Los Angeles for Blake Griffin , DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. Smith also indicated that Doc Rivers  might follow Garnett and Pierce to LA and become coach of the Clippers.
Bowen laughed at the prospects of such a deal, saying: “I find it hilarious sometimes.”
Added Bowen: “That’s difficult to see, the LA Clippers giving up Blake Griffin, No. 1. And No. 2, they want to build around that ball club, and that’s Chris Paul  and him and DeAndre Jordan, I believe. So, that one there, that’s a little hard to fathom.”
The Clippers rumor aside, there continue to be reports that Pierce and Garnett might have played their final game as Celtics. While both are under contract, they could retire or the team could package either or both in an attempt to acquire younger talent.
Bowen said he would prefer that the team keep its stars and add complementary players rather than blow it all up and start over.
“You’ve got to continue to put pieces along the side of your core. ‘¦ You just keep adding pieces to it,” Bowen said. “That allows you to keep that standard that you have. And in the process, you hope to find a diamond in the rough that will be able to replace one of the key components.
“Unfortunately, we saw the huge loss of Rajon Rondo  this year. And trust me, I believe that if he’s there, they beat the Knicks in that series. But it didn’t happen. You look at the bench. Boston went through a plethora of injuries this year. So, you really try to find guys that can fit into some of those roles as far as coming in, adding to what Paul was doing, adding to what KG was doing. When you have that, that’s where you’re able to make the best moves and the best decisions.”
Added Bowen: “When you start breaking up teams it’s an immediate rebuild. But I think there’s a way of rebuilding where you’re still competitive, where you’re still able to put a great product on the floor. And that’s what it boils down to right now, is bringing out a great product. What are we going to be able to do. Can we put out something that is nice out there, where our fans can be proud of. Even if we’re not winning like we used to, especially in Boston, they just want to see somebody playing hard and giving their best effort. If you can have something like that that is competitive, that’s the way you continue to — and from the business side, keep the fans in the seats and continue to keep the support of the white and green.”
The Bulls shocked the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night, scoring the game’s final 10 points for a 93-86 upset.
“What you saw is a lack of rhythm with a team,” Bowen said, referring to Miami’s eight-day layoff between games. “And that happens when you don’t — they were off for quite some time. And it’s not making an excuse for them. But this is where in practice, you really have to have that fine type of focus where, even though we don’t know who we’re playing we’ve got to pay attention to what we do. Because that’s what it was all about. It wasn’t necessarily what Chicago did in the first half or even the first three quarters. Other than giving up 30 points in that fourth quarter — that’s not like the Heat. We understand that was an anomaly, because they were trying to gain back everything that they had lost in that particular moment.
“So, for me, it was more of the fact that running the crispness of their offense — there were a lot of mistakes in that offense in the first half. I’m in Miami right now, so as I was watching the game I’m saying to myself, they’re out of sync right now, they’re lacking their rhythm. Usually you turn that into instant offense by getting after it on the defensive end. We didn’t see that swarming style of defense from the Miami Heat . What we saw was a lot of complaining to the officials, LeBron [James] in the first half he was pouting a lot. That’s not what you’re accustomed to seeing with the Miami Heat.”
The Bulls continue to succeed while playing shorthanded. The most notable absence is Derrick Rose , who has been medically cleared but has been hesitant to test his surgically repaired knee in game action. Bowen predicted that Rose would come back “just as good” as when he left, but it won’t be for a while.
“I’m saying the beginning of next year,” Bowen said. “I think he wants to be able to go through training camp, go through preseason.”
In the other Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Pacers take a 1-0 lead into Tuesday night’s Game 2 against the Knicks.
“When the Knicks start playing one-on-one basketball, isolation-type style, you don’t put any pressure on the defense that way,” Bowen said. “So, I look for New York to make an adjustment this game coming up, as far as ball movement. And then getting back to their defensive ways. ‘¦ When they start worrying about their offense first, it just leads to pathetic defense at times. So, they really need to get back on the defense side, get their energy going on that side, that’s what creates the offensive flow.”