ESPN columnist Bill Simmons joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Celtics' impressive performance in their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Cavaliers. Said Simmons: "The last two games, I feel like they've finally looked like the team that they looked like before that Christmas Day 2008 game against the Lakers, when [their record] was 27-2. Then they lose that game, they go on a little skid, [Kevin] Garnett gets hurt, the team's never really been the same. You look at this whole series, they've played better in four of the five games. And they've dominated two of them."
Simmons said Rajon Rondo's ability to dominate and LeBron James' failure to do the same is the obvious key. "It always come down to who has the best guy in a series, I always think. ... The bottom line is Rondo's played better than LeBron in this series. [Rondo's] stats weren't good in the first half of Game 5 -- I didn't feel like he was having a bad game, but in the second half I thought he dominated that game. He controlled the flow. He controls every aspect of that game. They can't match up with him. They're changing their defense to try to get him. He's in Mo Williams' head. Mo Williams is a basket case. Now LeBron's probably going to have to defend him."
Simmons also pointed to an unheralded bench player who has made a big difference for Boston. "The shocker of all shockers is Tony Allen," Simmons said. "Because this is a guy we've watched for six years. It actually started in the Miami series. He had a really good Game 1. I thought he helped them win Game 2. He and Rasheed [Wallace] were the things that kind of swing that game. Everyone was talking about Rondo in Game 4, and rightfully so, but Tony Allen -- that was the best game of his career. He's actually making layups, he's finishing, he's not doing stupid things."
On the other side of the court, Anderson Varejao's disappearing act is leading to rumors that the forward is hiding an injury. "I think he's injured. It's just really weird how he's been playing," Simmons said. "He only played 17 minutes in Game 5. And this is a guy who kills the Celtics, He's just such a bad matchup. And also when Cleveland plays well, he's playing 35-40 minutes a game. I think he's the second-most important guy. For what he's doing in this series and the minutes he's getting, I think that's one of the reasons the Celtics have a 3-2 lead."
Simmons questioned the performance of Cavs coach Mike Brown, saying, "When coaches are grasping for straws, you can see it." Then he heaped praise on Doc Rivers, a coach Simmons frequently has crititicized. "I think this has been his best series ever," Simmons said. "I just think he's had a command of the series. The timeouts -- he's called great timeouts, which he never used to do. You can feel Cleveland coming on, and he's been stopping the runs, which is nice."
The winner of the Celtics-Cavaliers series gets the red-hot Magic, but Simmons said that would be an appealing matchup for the C's. "The way they match up with Orlando, if they can somehow get by this Cleveland team for one more game, they match up fantastic with Orlando," Simmons said. "They have guys to throw at Dwight Howard. Rondo can beat Jameer Nelson. Vince Carter, who's been dribbling through the lane with impunity, they'll just knock his butt down. He's not going to be able to do that stuff against the Celtics. I think they match up so much better against Orlando than they do against Cleveland."
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Kevin O'Connor of CelticsBlog joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for a breakdown of what went wrong in the Celtics series against the Hawks. they then played Celtics free agent tinder and looked ahead to the big moves in store for the offseason.
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!
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts after the Red Sox beat the White Sox behind a solid outing from Clay buchholz
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox catcher, whose two-run homer off of Dellin Betances gave the Sox the lead for good over the Yankees.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello, after he pitched 7 shutout innings against the Yankees Saturday night.
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.
Kirk still can't fathom why Paul or Ken would want to produce the morning show. Some shade is thrown at another potential candidate.
Ted Cruz lost Indiana and gave up his bid for the GOP nomination. Donald Trump didn't exactly bring the heat in his victory speech.
Curt Schilling joined the show to defend himself about his selfish call to OMF yesterday.
Dr. Thomas Gill calls in to give his input on Pablo Sandoval's season ending surgery, and tells the guys how long he thinks the third baseman will be out.
The Celtics are approaching a very important off season, and Danny Ainge needs to figure out a plan to get a star in Boston...most importantly Kevin Durant. Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about who the team needs to go after.
Tom Werner was in studio today and Christian could not hold himself back when Tom Werner mentioned the comedian "Whitney Cummings."
John Farrell calls us from Chicago to talk Pablo, E-Rod, Joe Kelly, Travis Shaw and much more.
Four at Four bled into some genuine discussion about who this town's greatest villains truly are.
Inspired by A-Rod's appearance at Fenway, we discuss four of our biggest Villains/nemesis' on the Boston sports scene.
Mikey and Lenny talk Clay Buchholz' struggles, and visit the Ghosts of Baseball past (Well, some of them are still alive...)
Mikey and Lenny talk Sox and Sandoval
It’s all about the music – the crew touches on Prince, and the greatest bands of all time
Kirk Minihane sits down with co-worker and often times nemesis, Lou Merloni, to talk about their past altercations and their own philosophies about radio. Kirk and Lou discuss some of the issues they have with working at the station and their disagreements with management.
The New Age Insiders had the chance to take fan questions that were left over from their LIVE show on Tuesday, and had the pleasure to talk to wrestler on the rise, JT Dunn! Follow us on Twitter at @NewAgeInsiders
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We check in for the national perspective on Tom Brady's reinstated suspension from MMQB/SI's Peter KingMore from this show
Dino, Gerry and Kirk look at the reports surrounding Prince and his drug use.More from this show
Glenn, Lou and Christian (and ESPN) react to the news that Tom Brady will be suspended the first 4 games of the 2016 season.More from this show
The guys react to the performance of the ESPN broadcast team.More from this show