Jeff Van Gundy, who provides analysis for NBA games on ESPN and ABC, joined the Dale & Holley show Tuesday to talk about the Celtics’ victory over the Lakers on Sunday, the recent controversy surrounding Kevin Garnett and other NBA topics.
Van Gundy was asked for his take on the Celtics, who now stand at 36-11 after Sunday's win.
"The Celtics to me, are the best executing team at both ends of the floor right now," said Van Gundy. "The best balance between really good offense and playing really stout defense. The only thing to me that ever gets in their way? Back-to back games, where they may have less energy, playing a lesser opponent, sometimes they might take some possessions off, and rebounding. From a basketball standpoint, that and turnovers are the only things that get in their way, because they execute great, shoot it well and defend like heck."
As for the Lakers, Van Gundy points to a number of problems for their recent struggles.
"I didn't think they looked disinterested against the Celtics, I just thought they were throughly outplayed, particularly in the fourth quarter," said Van Gundy. "I think the play of [Ron] Artest has been really subpar, I think [Pau] Gasol has had a noticeable drop off since [Andrew] Bynum came back. And the point guards have not shot the ball part well, both are at about 38 percent from the field."
It was Van Gundy in August who claimed that the Heat would have "a great chance" to break the 1996 Chicago Bulls record of 72 wins in a season. Van Gundy acknowledged on Tuesday that he will be well off with that prediction, but isn't ready to give up on the long-term prospects for the Heat.
"I don't think I was wrong about their chances of winning a championship," said Van Gundy. "If healthy, I think they are a nightmare matchup for any team, and I think they have shown they can he a dominant defensive team as well … I still think they are a championship caliber team."
Kevin Garnett was ejected for a low blow on Channing Frye in last Friday's loss at Phoenix. Van Gundy was asked if he felt Garnett, who was suspended for a game in the 2010 playoffs for an elbow to the face of Miami's Quentin Richardson, is thought of in the league as a dirty player.
"I know this: I love the way he passes, defends, and comes ready to play on a nightly basis," said Van Gundy, who added that he never considered Garnett a dirty player when he coached against him. "I don't know what's in Kevin Garnett's heart when he did that and I'm not trying to judge him. I will say this: Anyone who tried to do that intentionally, I would have a lot less respect for them as a player."
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