ESPN NBA analyst Ric Bucher joined Dennis & Callahan Monday morning to talk about the Celtics-Hawks first-round playoff series. The Celtics rolled to a 101-79 victory Sunday night to take a 3-1 series lead.
"Paul Pierce has a great game, Rajon Rondo has a great game -- getting those two to have great games in the same game happens, but it doesn't happen consistently. And what they showed last night is when they can get both of those guys rolling at the same time, this team still has championship qualities about it, has the capability of doing that," Bucher said.
"Now, I don't know how many more performances like last night they have. When Rondo's stepping up and knocking down 3's as if he's Ray Allen, you know things are rolling in your favor. But the fact that they had those two guys going at the same time instantly made me think, 'You know what? Maybe that one-game suspension wasn't the worst thing to happen this team.' "
The Celtics need one more win to close out Atlanta, although Bucher said he wouldn't be shocked if the Hawks turned things around in Tuesday night's Game 5.
"They are just crazy enough to have that ability," he said. "I really feel as if they're going to need an emotional push. And we've seen this, and Celtics fans know this, too: Atlanta plays different at home than they do on the road. They get geeked up if the game is rolling in their favor.
"To me, it's going to be decided in the first quarter. What I don't like about the Hawks is that they're very much a front-running team. And I feel that if the Celtics can carry over what they did, or just hold serve through the first quarter, the first half, that the Hawks are eventually going to succumb in this next game.
"But that's going to be the key, because if they get out and they're rolling and Josh Smith running and dunking, that's not the kind of game the Celtics want top play in. That's the kind of game that gets the Hawks playing above their heads."
If the Celtics can finish off the Hawks, Bucher sees big things developing in Boston.
"I think the important thing for the Celtics is dispatch with that series … as quickly as possible and make sure you're right for the next step," he said. "Because with the way the Celtics have come on at the end of the season and the way they're playing right now, if they weren't already, they have to start thinking about the idea of, 'You know what? People closed the door on us. We might be able to sneak out of here with one more ring.' "
Added Bucher: "The way they're playing right now, I like them against anybody in the Eastern Conference."
If it comes down to a Celtics-Heat matchup in the Eastern Conference finals, Bucher said not to overlook the C's because they execute better, the Heat have yet to figure out Rondo, and the Celtics now have some youth and athleticism in the form of Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass.
Then there's the matter of LeBron James and his late-game disappearing acts. In Miami's two-point loss to the Knicks Sunday, Dwyane Wade dribbled out the final seconds before launching a wild 3-pointer while James again failed to take control.
"I'm just baffled," Bucher said. "Last night, [James] had it going in the final minutes. And they have the last possession for the game. And look, some of this is lip-reading, some of this is interpretation, but it looked to me that he was saying, 'No, no, Dwyane, you take the ball on the last possession.' And I'm thinking if there was ever a time for that guy to feel confident about taking the last shot, it would have to be that.
"I can't recall a great player, MVP-type talent, who is OK with not having the ball in his hands at the end of a game. It's just extraordinary to me."
Giardi and Price discuss the mega deal that CB Josh Norman signed with Washington and if he is worth it. They also relate it to the Pats and Malcolm Butler. Does the Norman deal mean that Butler is about to cash in and will the Pats go along for the ride? This leads to a discussion on other players the Patriots need to extend very soon.
Danny Vitale, the SuperBack - a fullback/TE hybrid type - joins GIardi and Price on NFL Sunday to discuss the process of entering the NFL Draft, the combine and interviewing with various NFL teams including your New England Patriots.
With the NFL draft only a few days away, Mike and Chris preview how things are shaping for the Pats and the rest of the league. It will be a strange this year since they don't have a first round pick - how will Belichick and company approach this dilemma? Also, would the Pats contemplate the idea of trading Jimmy G?
It wouldn't be a Celtics v Hawks Game 6 preview/Game 5 breakdown without ESPN's Celtics Whisperer Chris Forsberg joining Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for some WEEI Studio magic. They discuss the Hawks' transition dominance on their mega runs and the bizarre night for Isaiah Thomas. Of course they also answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions!
The boys recap Marcus Smart and Paul Millsap's incredible battle in the Celtics' Game 4 win over the Atlanta Hawks with ESPN's Chris Forsberg. Jared Weiss and Sam Packard discussed Jared Sullinger's struggles and the reemergence of Machine Bun Kelly. They discuss inside media stuff like when to applaud for honorees and Chris' devotion to southern unsweetened tea. Of course they answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions too.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia after he had a two home run game, one of which was a grand slam that propelled the Red Sox to a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves
We sit down with the Skipper of the Sox, manager John Farrell joins Dale, Holley and Thornton for his weekly visit.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Lucy calls in to talk about her podcast and the "More Than Mean" tweets. The guys are now big fans.
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Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss what the Patriots will be looking for on the second day of the draft.
After forfeiting their 1st round pick, the Pats get to join the party and draft some new young talent. The guys look at who the team might select over the weekend.
Kirk took more shots at Glenn, Lou and Christian, so the midday show guys respond.
Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about how much money Laremy Tunsil lost when his Twitter, Instagram, and iPhone photos were hacked. The gang also addresses some ESPN on ESPN crime as Dan LeBetard took a few shots at Todd McShay.
We continue to talk NFL Draft, Brady's new lawyer, the Celtics playoff bouncing, Roger Goodell's award tour and more... its all on the table on a freestyle friday.
We discuss the hiring of a top notch litigator by Brady and the NFLPA, and how it might have been sparked by Roger Goodell's neverending award tour where he continues to spew lies and half-truths to the public.
We discuss the Celts exit from the playoffs, the steps they took this season to be better, and what steps need to be taken to keep getting better in the future.
It’s all about the music – the crew touches on Prince, and the greatest bands of all time
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, and MJ takes over the text line
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, plus they’re joined by Cassie, the Textress
SB Nation's Kevin O'Connor joins Butch Stearns and John Tomase to talk all things Celtics' offseason, including the upcoming draft
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Sausage tells the guys that he's moving onto greener (read: more lucrative) pastures. His potential replacement, Paul, is interviewed for the job.More from this show
As predicted, ESPN canned Curt Schilling regarding the North Carolina transgender laws. Glenn and Lou react.More from this show
Tomase calls in to defend his take on Curt Schilling being dismissed from ESPN.More from this show