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Chat Friday

Tim Graham and I will return for our highly acclaimed video chat at 1 p.m. tomorrow from The News. Tim and I will ramble on a range of subjects. Maybe we can debate the relative merits of the NBA playoffs vs. hockey. The NBA conference finals haven't disappointed, that's for sure. San Antonio has been a joy to watch and that Heat-Celtics overtime game last night was one for the ages.

They say an NBA series doesn't truly begin until a road team wins a game, but it's hard to imagine the Celtics bouncing back from this one. They simply had to win a game when Rajon Rondo scored a career-high 44 points and played all 53 minutes, while the Heat shot poorly from the floor. Miami is going to get the calls. Deal with it. LeBron James is almost impossible to stop and that's why he gets to the line so often. Have the calls been a little slanted toward Miami so far? Yes, but it'll start to even out in Boston. I see the Celts winning one of the next two and losing in five. I also see the Spurs splitting the next two in Okie City, then closing it out at home.

NBA's Final Four

Well, we have a couple of compelling matchups in the two NBA conference finals. Tonight in the West, the Spurs take on the Thunder. Tomorrow, LeBron James and the Heat host the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern finals. It's two teams with aging stars (Boston, San Antonio) looking to get in the way of the Heat-Thunder final that most objective fans are hoping to see.

It's a possible changing of the guard. The Spurs have won four NBA titles with Tim Duncan as their star. People figured he had faded away, but they're favored to win the series against the rising Thunder, who are led by young superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

The Celtics looked old and spent early in the year, but evidently Doc Rivers' team was saving itself for what could be one last run for the Big 4 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Allen and Pierce are nursing injuries. The Celtics' offense has been weak. But they took out the Sixers in seven when Rondo took over the game in the final three minutes.

Miami is a strong favorite with James and Dwyane Wade on top of their games. But Chris Bosh is doubtful and remember, Rondo was playing with a dislocated elbow when the Heat took out Boston in the playoffs last season. It should be closer than people expect.

Who do you like in the two conference finals?

Live Chat at 1

I'll be chatting live from the News today at 1 p.m., technology permitting. Print only today. Graham is on assignment.

Welcome to the chat. Let's get rolling.

Thanks for chatting. We'll talk again next week.

Kobe or Duncan?

The San Antonio Spurs have swept through the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs and are halfway to their fifth championship. If the Spurs win it all, it would give Tim Duncan a fifth title, tying him with the Lakers' Kobe Bryant. So who will go down as the greater NBA player, Duncan or Bryant?

I would go with Duncan, regardless of what happens in the rest of the playoffs. The Spurs have won .702 percent of their games during his 15-year career, the best 15-year run of any team in NBA history. Duncan had some rough playoffs against the Lakers early in his career, but that was largely because of Shaquille O'Neal, not Bryant. Kobe has been a great player, but he was fortunate to have Shaq alongside him early in his career. It's close, but I'd go with Duncan. He's been a great defensive player, a terrific scorer and rebounder and an exceptional passer for a big man. Above all, he's been a winner, one of the best ever to play and still a little underrated in my opinion.

 

Review Sully on Sports live chat

Anderson, U.S. volleyballers into semis

West Seneca's Matt Anderson turned in another strong performance Wednesday night as the U.S. men's volleyball team swept Mexico and moved through to the semifinals of the NORECECA Olympic Qualifier in Long Beach, Calif.

Anderson, the former Penn State star, had 12 points on 10 attacks and two aces as the Americans won their third straight match to win the A pool of the tournament. They will meet one of today's quarterfinal winners in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday. Mexico plays Puerto Rico in one quarterfinal, and Cuba meets Trinidad & Tobago in the other. The final is at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The winner of the qualifier gets an automatic berth in the Olympics this summer in London. The U.S. won the gold medal in China four years ago, but does not get an automatic berth. If they do not quality in Long Beach (site of the U.S. Olympic training facility), they will be invited to one of three FIVB World Olympic Qualification Tournaments, to be held in Japan, Italy and Germany.

Canada won the B pool after upsetting Cuba on Wednesday, earning the other automatic berth to Friday's semifinal.

 

Sully on Sports live video chat with guest Tim Graham at 1 p.m.

News Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan and Tim Graham are answering your questions directly into the camera. Submit your entries in the chat console below.

Draft King

Back when we worked together at Newsday, Peter King told me he was actually a bigger baseball guy than football. I believe he had a Cleveland Indians cap on at the time. So only Peter would think to go back and review the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. He pointed out that Brandon Weeden, the quarterback who was taken 22nd overall by the Browns last Thursday, was the 71st pick of the baseball draft that year. 

He listed some of the guys taken after Weeden that year: Curtis Granderson at 80 overall; Josh Johnson at 113; Matt Capps (193); Adam Lind (242); Howie Kendrick (294); Brandon McCarthy (510); Jacoby Ellsbury (674).