|Ric Bucher on D&C: Celtics still can reach NBA finals||04.13.11 at 12:27 pm ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Ric Bucher joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics’ chances in the playoffs and whether they’re still a title contender. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The hosts opened the segment by asking Bucher which team’s expectations have shifted the most since early in the season.
“For me, it’s got to be the Chicago Bulls,” Bucher sad. “I keep waiting for them to falter, and maybe we’ll finally see it at some point in the playoffs, but they keep defying what we expect from a team that really only has one true superstar [Derrick Rose]. … Boston fans know this as much as anyone, when you have that ubuntu, that sort of collective feeling of confidence, it can do a lot more for you than your simple talent is capable of.”
A lot of people are picking the Celtics as the team most likely to get upset in the first round. Bucher said he isn’t on board with that, though.
“I would still say Orlando-Atlanta is going to be the most interesting series, in spite of the fact Atlanta has kind of fallen down recently,” Bucher said. “They have played Orlando well this year, in contrast to previous years. They’re 3-1 against them.”
Bucher explained why he doesn’t see the Knicks as that big a threat to the Celtics. “When you get to the playoffs and the game slows down and it becomes a half-court game, I just don’t see that in the Knicks’ arsenal. … I don’t see those easy baskets coming.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Bill Simmons on D&C: ‘I don’t know’ what Celtics are now||04.04.11 at 10:37 am ET|
ESPN’s Bill Simmons appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss the Celtics’ playoff prospects and reflect on the Kendrick Perkins trade. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Simmons said that if Shaquille O’Neal can’t return after straining his right calf Sunday, he can’t see the Celtics winning it all.
“They can’t win,” Simmons said. “I mean, part of this Perkins trade was that you had to keep your fingers crossed that you were either going to get Shaq and Jermaine [O'Neal] or one of them or pieces of both of them or whatever. And those guys aren’t involved. There are too many teams that have size that they’re probably going to have to come across at some point, especially because it just seems like the Lakers are going to be there now. They’re just not big enough to beat the Lakers.”
Simmons said he wasn’t entirely opposed to the Perkins trade at the time it was made, but that it’s now easy to see it wasn’t a good move.
“I thought it was a trade that made sense on paper, which is what I wrote,” Simmons said. “It was because they had this huge hole behind [Paul] Pierce and [Ray] Allen. … But it was one of those things where they just moved from one hole to another hole. Now they don’t have to worry about Pierce and Allen getting into foul trouble or putting a ton of miles on them or whatever, but now they have this other hole.
“I didn’t even fully realize after they made the trade how much it was going to affect our identity,” Simmons continued. “I worried about it, but it’s really affected their identity. I think the one thing we’ve learned over the last month is that these guys really bought into that whole, whether it was stupid or not, nobody had ever beaten them in a playoff series when they were healthy. And that was something they fed off.”
Simmons said the trade doesn’t help the Celtics long term, either. “The part that nobody mentions with the Perkins trade is that they’re talking about how they want to get younger — Jeff Green and moving forward and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “Where are they going to find a young center three years from now or two years from now? There’s not a ton of centers out there. So in a way, you’re in the same type of hole you would’ve been in trying to get younger anyway.”
|Chris Mannix on D&C: Celtics don’t know what they have for playoffs||03.28.11 at 9:51 am ET|
Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics and their recent struggles. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Mannix said he thinks there is something to the theory that the Celtics are disinterested in getting the one-seed and seem to think they’ll be able to just turn it on in the playoffs like they did last year.
“I think there’s a lot of truth to that,” Mannix said. “I think we saw at the end of last year that the Celtics had the same kind of laissez-faire attitude about the end of the regular season. The difference last year, though, was the core of that team was still in tact and they kind of knew what they could do if they turned the jets on and played well in the postseason. This year, they’re banking on something that no one, including themselves, is sure is even there. You’re talking about bringing back [Shaquille O’Neal] and Jermaine [O’Neal].
“Imagine before the season if we thought getting into late March, early April, ‘If only Shaq and Jermaine can come back, we’ll be OK for the postseason.’ To me, that’s a horrible attitude to have, if that’s what this team is thinking, that one of those guys can come back and be a difference-maker. Once Shaq comes back, he’ll only play for about two months, and who knows what kind of physical shape he’s in at this stage. And Jermaine has given you nothing all season long, so there’s no reason to believe he’s going to add anything to the equation.”
Mannix said not getting the top seed could be a death knell for the Celtics. “I honestly think that not getting the No. 1 seed for Boston this year could be disastrous and could be the reason that they don’t come out of the Eastern Conference for two reasons,” he said.
“Number one, the difference between playing the 8 seed and the 7 seed this year is like playing the 16 seed in the NCAA tournament vs. a 2 or 3 seed. Whoever winds up in that 8 spot, be it Indiana, Milwaukee, Charlotte, I think they’re going to be a relative pushover in the first round. Maybe they take a team to five games. Most likely they get swept in four.
“That 7 seed, whether it’s New York or Philadelphia, those aren’t going to be easy games,” Mannix continued. “They’re going to be kind of knock-down, drag-out games. They might push you to six, maybe even seven games. I think that’s something Boston really has to start to consider going into the postseason.”
The hosts added that not only have the Celtics fallen behind the Bulls, but they’re also on the verge of getting passed by the Heat and dropping to third. “Yeah, and that’s going to kill them, too,” Mannix said. “You get into those second-round series that are inevitably going to go six games, probably seven games. You lose that homecourt advantage and that hurts, even against a team like Miami, whom, by the way, Boston hasn’t beaten yet with this new group. Same thing with Chicago.”
Speaking of that new group, Mannix said the Kendrick Perkins trade has everything to do with this slump. “I 100 percent attribute it to the trade,” Mannix said. “I said as soon as this deal went down that it was the worst trade they could’ve possibly made. And I say that knowing exactly why it was made. … This was a one-sided trade, I thought. That’s taking nothing away from the obvious skill of Jeff Green. But Jeff Green, as much as you needed a backup swingman for this roster, you needed a powerful big up front more.
“You need a guy that brings the intensity every single night,” Mannix continued. “You just mentioned that lackadaisical attitude. I think some of that would’ve been eliminated with Perkins in the lineup because he never takes plays off. The guy is aggressive all the time. With him in the lineup bringing that intensity, I think a lot of it would’ve rubbed off on some of his teammates. So I think they lost a physical presence and I think they lost a mental intense presence.”
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