By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, Ken Berger talks Lakers-Celtics, the power in the East, and what to blame LeBron for this week. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.
1. There's a common refrain in your column from Lakers-Celtics Thursday and others, which is that it was a fun rivalry game (even if neither team shot over 40%), but there's a definite sense that neither team is in a position to contend. I argued yesterday neither team is dead. What's the big key for Boston, outside of just being healthy? Is there one? Or do they just have to hope the same formula works two years later?
KB: It's mostly the same formula for Boston, and it's a pretty damn good formula as long as Pierce, Allen, Rondo and Garnett remain upright. The key for the Celtics is getting more size (to contend with Dwight Howard and to protect the rim from Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade). Jermaine O'Neal isn't going to cut it. The Lakers need a point guard who can get into the paint in the worst way.
2. Is it accurate to say that it's shaping up where one team out of the Lakers, Mavericks, and Nets is going to be completely screwed after this summer? Dwight can't go to all places at once.
KB: Well, some are in more danger than others. The Nets and Magic (take your pick in terms of what order) are most vulnerable. If the Lakers don't get him, at least they still have Kobe, Bynum and Gasol. If the Mavs get neither Dwight nor D-Will, they'll still have Dirk and the flexibility to upgrade in a vibrant free-agent class. But if the Nets don't get Howard, chances are they lose Williams. A fascinating game of musical stars.
3. What's the one team in the top of the East which isn't an Eastern Conference Finals contender? Who's the fraud?
KB: No frauds, really. I see seven locks (Chicago, Miami, Philly, Boston, Orlando, Atlanta and Indiana). In the battle for eighth, it's Milwaukee (missing Andrew Bogut) and the multiple-personality Knicks. The Cavs shouldn't be dismissed, as GM Chris Grant has been patient with the assets he received for LeBron and could make a move if the fit is right. In a short season, strange things can and usually do happen.
4. After seeing Philly up close this week, what are your thoughts on the job Doug Collins has done there?
KB: Tremendously impressed with Collins and the Sixers. Love how they defend and play unselfish team basketball. If they get a consistent post scorer, they could possibly be a conference finalist. Depends on whether they want to be patient or try to make a big move while the opportunity is there. Sometimes, those moves are the ones that blow up on you, though.
5. LeBron James went on a little rant this week about people blaming everything, including being out of milk, on him. What's your favorite thing to blame on LeBron? /eyeroll
KB: I blame LeBron for Linsanity. Somebody has to.