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."
Christian and Chris talk about overrated Pats players this season and in the past and then get into the QB issue on the team. They talk about all three guys, what they bring to the table and if they can keep their head above water without the best QB in the league for 4 weeks. Then...Karlos Williams was released by the Bills - should the Pats consider adding the overweight second year running back? Christian also brings up Dante Scarnecchia and gets Price's opinion on if this one man can truly improve a shaky offensive line.
Christian Arcand is in for Tanguay for NFL Sunday with Chris Price. The guys talk about the victory over the Bears, Jimmy G's progress and their expectations for the Pats defense this season. Arcand thinks that there are more holes on the D than some fans realize.
We check in with Bill Belichick after the first Preseason game for our weekly "Patriots Monday" discussion.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Joe and Tim are joined by US Olympic Medalist and captain of the US Women's Gymnastics team Aly Raisman, as she was at Fenway to throw out the first pitch before the game.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts after the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1
David Price pitched a gem and Andrew Benintendi makes one of the top highlight catches of the year as the Sox take the first game of four against the Rays, 6-2. Christian Arcand recaps the game and takes all of your Sox calls.
Joey Mac joins Ken Laird on his Saturday show to discuss the David Backes addition and Loui Eriksson departure in NHL free agency
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.
Kirk, Butch and Bradfo discuss a new NFL committee that has been formed with Goodell and Kraft, and whether Pats fans should have a problem with it.
Butch, Kirk, and Bradfo debate whether or not they believe the Red Sox will make the playoffs by seasons end
Tom Brady will play in tonight's Preseason game vs. the Panthers. Glenn, Lou, and Christian discuss the decision to play Brady.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian take a look at the Pats' O-Line, and the Tight End Position; focusing on A.J. Derby vs. Clay Harbor.
We discuss the role Mingo will play for the Patriots defense.
We discuss the ridiculous assignment of the selfishness label to Tom Brady this week (based on...?) and where it might be coming from.
In honor of tonight's game we look back at four moments where the Patriots and Panthers cross paths.
Kirk Minihane sits down with former producer Chris Curtis? Or is it current producer Chris Curtis? Either way, Kirk and Chris talk about what happened in their previous tenure together, where it went wrong, and why Curtis is now back with the show.
Kirk Minihane and Gary Tanguay sit down together on Enough About Me for the first time. These two divisive figures talk about Gary's career and his late evolution into a controversial broadcaster. Nobody is spared from Kirk and Gary's wrath on this episode and it will surely make some people at the two sports radio stations very uncomfortable.
The heart of draft season is upon us and as Jim and Pete gear up for their own big draft this weekend, this week’s podcast is filled with tips on Draft Strategy and how work your plan. Jim and Pete walk through the draft from the Elite players at the top, through the middle of the draft where you build your core, through the high upside targets at the back that can help steal you a league victory. Stars to sleepers and how to position yourself to get them are the topic of the day. Good luck with your drafts!
We are joined by David Amoyal or ESPNFC.com and GianlucaDiMarzio.com to talk about the transfer window closing and what may happen in the finals days of the summer.
The boys briefly get into the Colin Kaepernick situation in which he chose to sit for the National Anthem as a protest for how minorities have been treated by police. The guys applaud him for standing up for a cause, but don't necessarily agree with the cause. They also talk about why Belichick has struggled drafting at the WR position, what the WR's the Pats currently have bring to the table and how they can assist Jimmy G in the first four weeks.More from this show