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John Gonzalez, CBS Sports HQ NBA Analyst

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2024 8:14 pm

John Gonzalez, CBS Sports HQ NBA Analyst

JR Sports Brief / JR

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January 31, 2024 8:14 pm

John Gonzalez joined JR to discuss the latest on the health of Joel Embiid and if the Lakers should trade LeBron James. 

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My man, thanks for having me. Without a shadow of a doubt. When you take a look at what's going on in the Eastern Conference right now, we have the New York Knicks on an eight-game winning streak. Unfortunately, we got the Pacers hitting a little bit of a skid. We have this recent injury to Embiid.

We know about what's going on with the Bucs. I mean, even the Celtics have their concerns. If you ever take a look at Kristaps Porzingis, what do you take of the East right now with all of the injuries, the adjustments, and the changes? Crazy time in the East, right? I mean, all of a sudden, I still think the Celtics are clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Their first six are really amazing. You saw what happened last night when they were playing the Pacers. They put up 81 points. The Pacers come back in the second half and give them a real game, but they didn't back down. So I still think the Celtics are the team to beat, for sure. They have been all season long.

Now, after that, after that, it's anybody's guess. I mean, you toss the rest of those teams in a bag pulling out, and if you told me, hey, you know, team X, Y, and Z is going to face the Celtics for the conference championship, I wouldn't be surprised. And I wouldn't also be surprised if one of those teams beat the Celtics before they even got to the conference championship. I think it's that wide open.

John Gonzalez is joining us here, the chair of sport re-show on CBS Sports Radio. Specifically, as it relates to the 76ers, they've taken a little bit of a dive with no Joel Embiid, losing four straight. They're heading to Utah without him. We know about his injury history.

What are your thoughts? Do they stand a chance even in the postseason? It just seems less and less likely the more that he gets dinged up.

Yeah, it's brutal, right? I mean, I'm from Philly. I covered that team for a very long time. I covered him since he was a rookie, and it's always this, right? Every year, you start to get your hopes up a little bit. Even last year when he was MVP, you get your hopes up a little bit. If you follow the Sixers, you're a Sixers fan, you go, hey, maybe this is the season they finally get out of the second round, and then his injury history pops up.

I mean, we saw what happened. He caught a lot of flack for not playing at Denver against Joker. He seems to always, something pops up when they go out there, and he hasn't really played in Denver on Joker's floor. But clearly, he wasn't right to play in that game. Clearly, it was good that they held him out in Portland, and he shouldn't have played last night.

When he started to play, there was a moment, I don't know if you saw, where he went to load up to jump, and he just crumpled to the ground. And still, they kept him out there for 30 minutes, and now we're looking at an MRI, who knows how long he's going to be out, and then all of a sudden, this once promising season for the Sixers after they get rid of James Harden, now it's back to more of the same. Is Embiid going to be healthy, and for how much of the playoffs, and can they finally get out of the second round, and once again, it feels like not looking good. Yeah, I don't want to say pretty bad, but it is bad for the 76ers. I don't have a crystal ball, but I wouldn't be surprised if Joel Embiid even misses the All-Star game, but hell, what do I know? John Gonzalez, a CBS Sports analyst, is joining us here on CBS Sports Radio. Speaking of the All-Star game, we know it's going to take place in Indianapolis.

Tyrese Halliburton still looks like he's favoring that hamstring, you know, just a little bit. What are your thoughts on the All-Star rosters, the release tomorrow? Is there anyone who you think is close or going to miss out? There's so many guards in the East as well.

What do you think is going to take place? So many guards in the East. Well, for sure, I mean, I think you're going to get Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson, and then after that, coin flip, right? I mean, I think Maxey has a case that's deserving. There's a lot of people that would look at it.

There's a lot of people that would look at it. The different players, like, so many guards in the East where you go, I mean, I don't know. Trae Young, last night, he ends up going out and they beat the Lakers, and he's had a good statistical case, but that team is really bad, right? So I think that's where it's going to be really, like, eye of the beholder.

Which one would you rather have? So there's going to be somebody somewhere who's going to be upset, because that happens every year where somebody gets laughed out and you go, oh, that's going to be a sub. I think more, though, there's so many players in the Western Conference compared to the Eastern Conference that you're going to go, wow, there's three, four guys who absolutely could have made it in any other year that are going to get laughed out. Well, John, you talk about the West, you talk about the Hawks. Here in Atlanta, LeBron James rolled into town, uncompetitive game, terrible game. LeBron James looked absolutely miserable. We saw the Post a couple hours after the game, I assume they either stayed in Atlanta or flew out almost two, three in the morning, just sweeting out an hourglass. Is there anything that you believe the Los Angeles Lakers can do to help salvage the season? Is there a move? What happens? It doesn't look good. I think they're corrupt.

I really do. I mean, I thought what LeBron said after the game was about right, where he goes, well, what's our record? And the media told him, oh, you're a game under 500. There's 24 and 25, right?

He goes, that's about right. That's what we are. On any given night, the Lakers could beat any other team in the NBA, and then they could lose to some bad teams, and we've seen that this week. I mean, they had that double overtime thriller where they win in Golden State. They look like they're getting right.

Maybe they've got some momentum at their back. Then they go to Houston and get blown out. They were down 30 at one point.

Then they go to ATL. That's not a good Hawks team. Now, granted, they didn't have Anthony Davis, but the Lakers are not good right now. And, you know, they're talking about adding De'Jaunte Murray if the Hawks would maybe go for it. And the Hawks want somebody back who's better than De'Angelo Russell in that deal. And I don't blame them for that, even though De'Angelo has been playing better lately. But even if they can get De'Jaunte Murray, I don't know that that moves the needle for them. Is this team all of a sudden with De'Jaunte Murray appreciably better?

They're still really thin at present. Their third best guy is Austin Reeves. And Austin Reeves had a good season last year, played well for Team USA. But I don't know that Austin Reeves can be the third best guy on a team that has championship aspirations.

So I think they're in trouble. CBS Sports NBA analyst John Gonzalez here with us on the air. What trade do you think is most likely to happen? What player in the league is likely to get moved? We saw Rozier get moved to Miami last week. What do you think might happen most likely as we move towards the deadline?

I'm going to go with Bruce Brown just because there's so many teams that could use a Bruce Brown. We saw what happened in the playoffs last year when he had that run to the championship at the Denver Nuggets, where he was bringing the ball up at times and switching one through four, sometimes even one through five defensively, and really giving them a huge spark in all those intangible ways that sometimes don't show up in the box score. Toronto has already made its intentions clear, right? They moved over to Giannoubi. That's worked out for the Knicks.

They moved past Galsiakam. I think that's going to continue to work out for the Pacers. Now all of a sudden, you know, what's the incentive for them to keep Bruce Brown around?

They have so many suitors. That'd be my guy that I'd think, like, I'd be shocked if he's still on the Raptors after the trade deadline. It's kind of crazy how fast time flies. The NBA trade deadline is next Thursday. I don't know how we got here in February already, but it is it is upon us to talk about the West. We know Bruce Brown won that championship with the Nuggets last year. We got what should be an interesting game and matchup tonight. Kevin Durant is back in Brooklyn as the Suns take on the Nets. We know the Bucks are taking on the Trail Blazers.

Damian Lillard returning, if you want to call it home tonight, to play against the Blazers. What are your thoughts on who emerges out of the West? The Clippers have looked pretty good. And the Suns, I can't believe it when I see Beal and Booker and Durant on the floor at the same time. But maybe they can do it. What do you think about the West? Well, I mean, when we were talking about how wide open the East is, I think the same is true of the West. I think if you're going to handicap it right, you still have the Denver Nuggets, the defending champions as the team to be. You know, it's what Claire said.

You got to beat the man to be the man. OK, but beyond that, it's been really bunched up, right? I mean, tonight you've got Denver at OKC. That's a really tasty matchup. You've got Dallas who's struggled a little bit lately without Kyrie Irving around. They're going to Minnesota. Minnesota just picked up a big win at OKC and no doubt they have their doubters. But hey, they've been at the top of the conference all season long. And then, as you mentioned, the Clippers are on the come. The big three for Phoenix. They've been together. You know, this has been one of those seasons where I still think Celtics and the Nuggets are the cream of the crop.

If you absolutely had to pick two. But we've seen as much parity in the NBA this season as we've really seen for a decade now. Going back from before the Warriors really started their championship run, their dynasty run. So it's an exciting time for the NBA. Anybody can win it out west. Yeah, we don't have that that clear cut team just expected to just flat win the championship. It's a certainly make things interesting as we move towards the stretch run.

Speaking of the stretch run, as we move towards the stretch run of this conversation, John, I want to talk to you. One thing that we've also seen in the NBA this season, it's not just parity. It's a lot of scoring, whether it's Luca Doncic or you think about MB.

It's it's pretty wild. And Joe Dumas actually put out a statement, actually, in an interview. He pretty much said that, hey, we're cool with the scoring. This is the way the game is now. People are launching threes.

And so it doesn't appear that there's going to be any, you know, adjustments into the future as of now. What are your thoughts on on all the score? Yeah, we're just talking about this on CBS today.

I like it personally. I mean, look, I'm a child of the 90s. Watch the NBA back then.

There's hand checking and hard fouls and guys, you know, fake fighting. This is more fun. Right. And also, not for nothing.

It's content. What are we doing? We're talking about it right now. We're going, man, you see the Celtics put up 81 and a half last night or, you know, every team that plays the Lakers can get 130 on any night whenever they want. It's fun.

I've enjoyed it. You had prior to last week, you had three games in NBA history, three days in NBA history where you had two guys go for 60 or more on the same night. We had two of those days last week when you had MB go for 70 and Caco for 62 and then Booker go for 62.

And Luca go for 73. I enjoy it. Now, you also have to remember, once you get to the playoffs, that's got to tighten up, too, right? Because those games get those games get scrappy.

They carry on added weight. Regular season, a little bit different than the playoffs. So I think a lot of people starting their head in the hall and overall is too many points. That's going to change once you get to the postseason.

Oh, yeah. It seems they're going to hunker down. The players will actually look interested out there. What are your thoughts?

This is a final question for you. What are you thinking about the All-Star game? They've changed up the format. We back to east versus west. We got a straightaway fourth quarter. That's time. Do you think we're going to see a more competitive game or are we going to be disappointed, not just with that Sunday, but maybe the whole weekend again?

I've kind of given up on like expecting some big fireworks out of All-Star weekend. It's an exhibition. You know, you're going to have these contests. You've got Steph going against Sabrina Yanescu in that three-point contest. I think that could be fun.

Who knows what you're going to get out of the dunk contest. It used to be like the preeminent flagpole tent pole event. The game itself, though, that's never been good. That's been bad forever.

So, you know, they had that U.M. ending where nobody could ever figure it out. I think it just kind of makes sense to go back to east versus west. We're going to time it. Nobody's going to play defense. Everybody's going to grumble about it. We're back to the regular season afterwards.

Yeah, it sounds like a good deal. Oh, I lied. Final question for you. Any hope for the Eagles to turn things around? I heard you say you're, you know, Philly guy. What's the deal there? You know, I'm taking a sabbatical from the Eagles.

I'm in my office right now talking to you. There's Eagle stuff all over. I might pack it up for the summer.

Just put it in a box somewhere and forget about it. I think everybody needs a mental health break from that team. We'll revisit it in the summer. Oh, my goodness. You've quit on the Eagles. Oh, my God. I need a time out. It's the last time of that. OK. Well, good on you, John.

You don't got to think about the Eagles. You're strictly NBA. Where can people follow you, John, and all of your coverage for the NBA with CBS? I'm on CBS Sports HQ. We've got a new podcast coming out that people can be on the lookout for that will also be on our CBS Sports NBA website coming up here with Bill Reiter and Ashley Nicole Boston. And you can follow me on Twitter at John Gonzalez.

Hey, John, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. And let's see what happens the rest of this year, man. And I'll bug you about the Eagles later on this year, OK?

Please do. Thanks for having me. A peanut butter M&M's production in a world where Super Bowl winners get the world's admiration and a fancy ring. But the runners up get nothing. One retired cop return. That's one retired quarterback. Read the script.

Oh, sorry. One retired quarterback returns to claim what's his. That's claim a ring with diamonds made from M&M's peanut butter.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-12 10:54:44 / 2024-02-12 11:02:05 / 7

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