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."
Matt joined the program to discuss his first ever cornhole contest and to break down the Patriots offseason. He told the guys that he was upset that the Pats were unable to bring Wes Welker back to the team.
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
Jackie MacMullan joins Mut and Merloni to discuss the latest rumors surrounding Celtics head coach Doc Rivers and whether he'll be back next season with the team.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Salty spoke with Joe Castiglione & Dave O'Brien after he helped his team to a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox tonight. The Red Sox return to Fenway after going 6-3 on the road trip.
We check in with Red Sox Manager John Farrell live from Chicago and get his take on a good week for the Sox, a tough series since then in Chicago, and other team related notes.
Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss what he expects to see from the Rangers tonight, why the Bruins match up well against them, and potentially closing out the series tonight
McGuire joins Mut and Merloni to discuss the Bruins game 3 win, the Rangers awful power play, and the Shawn Thornton Derek Dorsett altercation.
Shawn joined the program to discuss his big night at MSG. He told the guys that it is not Marchand's job to fight and that he needs to be on the ice and out of the penalty box.
Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss what he expects to see from the Rangers tonight, why the Bruins match up well against them, and potentially closing out the series tonight.
One of the many Mut and Merloni callers, Meg in the Cape, chats with Mike and Lou about the Bruins and a whole bunch of other stuff in the span of about 2 min. Afterwards, Mut and Merloni hear some voice activated text messages from people listening in to Meg.
Tom Brady appeared with D and C this morning and talked about the team's OTA's, the comings and goings, and most importantly what went down when Wes Welker left town, and how does he feel about it?
Four guys, four topics we haven't mentioned today. Mark Sanchez, the Pacers blow it and more.
We talk about the mystique and respect around John Tortorella, and whether or not it's warranted. Plus we discuss with you who the 2013 Bruins MVP has to be. Tuuka? Bergeron? Claude?
The Bruins look to take a 3-0 series lead, Jon Lester gets his first loss, Dwight Howard has options in free agency.
Today on the Daily Planet the Bruins have a 2-0 lead over the New york Rangers, the Red Sox are back on the winning sde of things, and the noteable birthdays of the day.
The Bruins have almost finished raking the Leafs, the Red Sox struggle from the mound, Miami Heat fans show their level of class.
Kirk's still a jerk, but we want a SWEEP!
The Jerks are joined by another, Jerk Minihane.
They're like a ray of morning sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day.
Linda explains how the shootout transpired in Watertown during the early morning hours. She saw the first suspect mortally wounded and police beginning the manhunt for the second suspect.More from this show
Terry Francona joins the Dennis and Callahan Show to discuss his first-place Indians team as well as his time in Boston. The former Boston manager also touches on his recent book co-authored by Dan Shaughnessy and Shaughnessy's recent dust-up with David Ortiz.More from this show