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."
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview Sunday's Patriots-Lions game and discuss what the Pats offense needs to do against Detroit's front seven, as well as what the Pats defense can do against Calvin Johnson.
Detroit Lions TE Joseph Fauria is the nephew of the our own Christian Fauria. He joined the show today to talk about being a Pats fan as a kid, being a better athlete than his uncle, and before all was said and done, things got personal.
We check in with SI's Peter King for the latest on the Adrian Peterson case, as well as analysis on the Patriots latest win and the rest of the NFL.
How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...
Sam and Ben talk with Greg Dickerson about how fun this year's Celtics team is to watch as well Jeff Green trade ideas.
Kyle Draper joins Danny Picard to talk about the Celtics chances this season in the Eastern Conference, last Wednesday's home opener blowout against the Nets, and Rajon Rondo's future in Boston
The Hot Stove guys are talking about Pablo Sandoval and Jon Lester's contract offers from the Red Sox. They then por one out for the Giancarlo Stanton rumors being put to bed.
The Hot Stove boys are back again, talking about Jon Lester, Pablo Sandoval, Giancarlo Stanton's b
WEEI.com's Rob Bradford checks in with the show to give us some updates on what's happening in Phoenix. The Sox are rumored to be interested in Pablo Sandoval, Cole Hammels would have to approve a trade to Boston, and Gordon Edes says that Jon Lester re-signing with club is still a possibility.
Dale and Michael get Jack Edwards' 'state of the B' report and talk about the win over the Blues at the Garden on Tuesday.
Andy Brickley joined the show and touched on last night's convincing win over a good team, Matt Bartkowski needing a wake up call, and the NHL review process.
Pierre joins the guys to talk about the Bruins struggles, the NHL franchise in Las Vegas, and the return of the glow puck!
Bradford joined the show with the latest on the Red Sox off-season moves.
The guys discuss the Golf Digest parody piece on Tiger.
Christine Brennan of USA Today discussed Tiger's response to Golf Digest.
Christian in Foxboro returns, this time he's trolling Detroit sports radio station WDFN's Shep in the Morning Show. Christian rips Lions fans and asks why his nephew, Joseph, isn't getting the ball more.
The Patriots have resigned Legarrette Blount. The guys debate whether or not it was good signing.
Ryan Howard gets sued by everyone in his family and Columbus Blue Jacket Jack Johnson gets royally screwed by his parents.
Michael and Dale discuss the return of LGB, and how the move really wasn't that surprising to begin with.
We discuss the Jack Johnson story... the NHL player who bankrupted by his own PARENTS.
We welcome back LeGarrette Blount by looking at the best returns to Boston in recent memory.
Brandon covers the NFL, particularly the Detroit Lions for Bleacher Report. He gives us his thoughts on this Sunday's game and how the Lions stack up against the Patriots.
Mikey, Villani, Lenny and Kerry Byrne are talking Patriots-Lions and how the team this year stacks up to Patriots teams of the past.
Some more Musical Mikey Magic to get ready for Sunday's Patriots-Lions game.
Andy Merritt of the New England Hockey Journal joined WEEI.com’s Scott McLaughlin to talk about the play of Vermont and Providence, as well as other happenings around Hockey East. Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy also joined the show to talk about his team’s good start, his freshman class and how he uses possession stats.
Joining the show today Mut the all-purpose back of WEEI. We talk about players we have hated over the years as well as Rajon Rondo and what is ailing the Celtics.
Ben and Russ talk about the Revs, MLS Playoffs, and much much more.
Dale and Michael do an in-depth interview with one of the people that saved NFL football in New England. Bill Parcells, co-author of Parcells: A Football Life.More from this show
Peter Gammons joined the show to discuss the latest MLB hot stove news.More from this show
We check in with the head coach as the Patriots moved to 8-2 with a win in Indy. Bill has high praise for RB Jonas Gray, Gronk, the defense, the fast start for the offense in both halves, and Bill even says hello to our new addition Jerry Thornton.More from this show
We talk with Tedy Bruschi on a Patriots Monday after the Pats moved to 8-2 with a decisive win over the Colts in Indy. Tedy compares Jonas Gray with another Patriot back of the past, and breaks down how physical the Patriots were.More from this show