Friday, December 17, 2010

NBA on TNT Notes for Thursday Night

From TNT Sports -

Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, December 16, 2010

TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues on December 23 at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive doubleheader featuring the San Antonio Spurs @ Orlando Magic followed by the Miami Heat @ Phoenix Suns.

(Please click the link below to view)

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Barkley on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo sustaining an ankle injury: “The MVP of the league so far is out. (Rajon Rondo) has been the MVP of the NBA so far.”

Barkley on the New York Knicks:  “The New York Knicks are much better, they are much improved and they are fun to watch. It’s good to have the Garden going crazy like that, but they are not one of the four or five best teams in the East so let’s just slow it down.”
Smith: “(Top) five, maybe, because five is Atlanta.”
Barkley: “The Knicks are not better than the Atlanta Hawks.”
Smith: “That’s debatable.”
Barkley: “Ok, it is, but they are not one of the top four teams.”

Barkley on Bulls center Joakim Noah and guard Derrick Rose: “The biggest story in the NBA today is (Joakim) Noah, my favorite player, being out eight to 10 weeks. Chicago is legitimate, they’ve got Derrick Rose. Mr. Deron Williams you’d better keep it going because this kid right here (Rose), he’s in the passenger seat. (He’s) the second best point guard, sorry Chris Paul.”

Barkley on why Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony should play in Orlando rather than New York: “If (Carmelo Anthony) wants to win he should go to the Orlando Magic. The Orlando Magic, they will be better (with him) because he’s an offensive player. To me, he’s the best scorer in the NBA. If he’s serious about winning, you put him with Dwight Howard and they would be rough to beat. If he goes to New York would they be better? Of course they’d be better, but they would not be contenders. They’d be very good offensively. With him and Amar’e (Stoudemire) on the floor they would never get a rebound. Carmelo, as great as he is at scoring, he is not a great rebounder and neither is Amar’e. They’d have two guys that would dominate the ball, they won’t be contenders. If he wants to be a legit champion and have a shot every year, if he goes to Orlando he and Dwight Howard together would be fantastic.”

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Game 1:  Atlanta Hawks (90) @ Boston Celtics (102)
Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Kevin McHale with Marty Snider reporting

McHale on Hawks forward Josh Smith giving up a lay-up underneath the Celtics basket: “Giving up layups out of bounds underneath the basket is a coach’s no-no.”
Kerr: “And a GM’s nightmare.”

McHale on Hawks forward Josh Smith’s match-up against Celtics forward Paul Pierce: “I’m watching a lot of the (Josh) Smith/(Paul) Pierce match-up and I like really it. Smith is down and in the stance and he’s taking the challenge of guarding one of the better finishers in the league.”

Kerr on Hawks guard Jeff Teague: “Jeff Teague is one of the keys of their future. (Mike) Bibby has spent the last couple of years of his career here, but the point guards are so good now you’ve got to have someone who can compete at that level.”

Kerr on Celtics forward Luke Harangody looking the part of a Boston Celtic:  “You go into the locker room and see all these great old photos (of former players), you look at (Harangody) hair and say he looks just like those guys with the crew cut. He’s got the Irish name, he went to Notre Dame, it’s like he was born to play here.”

Kerr on the referees evaluating a foul committed by Celtics center Glen Davis: “It’s a lot closer to a flagrant than it would have been back in the days when you (McHale) mauled Kurt Rambis.”
McHale: “That was an offensive foul, he ran right into my arm. I’ve been trying to tell you guys for 20 years, it was a violent run in with my arm.”

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Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on Hawks guard Jeff Teague: “(Hawks coach) Larry Drew has got to play this kid (Jeff Teague) more. He’s got great energy. I like Mike Bibby, but this is the point guard of the future and they have got to play this kid, plain and simple. I love the energy he’s playing with. A lot of guys complain about playing time, but when you get in you’ve got to play. He’s doing a fantastic job.”

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Kerr on the coaching style of Celtics coach Doc Rivers: “I love watching the Celtics play and Doc Rivers coach in particular because you can always count on him to get guys going after a tough half. If it had been Pierce with a slow half he would have run a couple of plays to get him going. Doc has a great feel for trying to get guys a little momentum.”

McHale on old footage of him working with Kevin Garnett when Garnett was a rookie with the Minnesota Timberwolves: “We did a lot of work together and he was a fun guy to work with. He loved the game of basketball. Here I am trying to get him to shoot a right handed jump hook over the left shoulder. That was 15 years ago and I still want him to do more than that. What a great guy to work with, fun, high intensity. When you get in the gym with Kevin (Garnett) he tries to beat you up. I’m like, I’m retired, quit trying to beat me up.”

McHale on his new nickname for the Boston Celtics:  “That’s the perfect example of the Boston Celtics, I said they should be called ‘the Boston Sausage Makers’ because they put you in the grinder. It doesn’t look pretty but it tastes great. These guys grind you up every single night.”
Kerr: “I could have done without that, I like sausage.”

TNT’s Marty Snider interviewed Celtics center Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis after the Celtics’ victory over the Hawks.

Davis on what he did to be effective in the game: “Being simple and doing what I was told. Doc told me to make the simple pass, if I got a shot, take the shot and if I got a straight line drive, take the straight line drive and that’s what I did tonight. Paul Pierce is a versatile type of guy, he does his best out there. He’s a creator, he’s a captain. He did the right thing tonight.”

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Game Break
Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on his hesitation about the San Antonio Spurs being a legit contender: “I’m not sure about the Spurs, they are going to have a terrific team, and other than Phil Jackson they have the best coach. They have three probable future Hall of Famers. The Lakers are clearly the best team in the West, Dallas is terrific, I am holding out hope on Utah once they get Mehmet Okur back, they are going to be there. San Antonio is very good. The key is are they good enough to beat the Lakers? I’m not sure about that yet.”

Smith on the legitimacy of the San Antonio Spurs being a playoff threat: “The Spurs are for real. Especially when the playoffs start, they’ve already proven that they are injury free. They have proven that when the playoffs start you only have to win four games over a week and a half. That is what makes them dangerous. Those players are saying, ‘not only can we win over a week and a half, but we are winning over the long haul of the season because we took the summer off from basketball and just worked out. We didn’t stop playing basketball, but we worked on our individual games, didn’t play any team sports didn’t go anywhere else, we worked on our game.’ The San Antonio Spurs will be there and the Los Angeles Lakers will have to contend with them.”

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Game 2:  San Antonio Spurs (113) @ Denver Nuggets (112)
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Craig Sager

Miller on being more strategic with his output as he aged and how Spurs forward Tim Duncan is taking the same approach: “I remember when I turned 33 or 34, I really didn’t care about scoring the basketball as much until the All-Star Game and after. That’s when I started to retrain my body and my mind to get ready for the playoffs. I think that’s the approach Tim Duncan is taking with the Spurs. Don’t worry about the early part of the season. Do the little things for us, rebound, block shots, do the little things and let the other guys carry us. Then when the playoffs come and there are no back to backs, then carry us big fella.”

Spurs forward Richard Jefferson on the difference in the team to start the season “I figured we would be one of the top teams because we had a great training camp. Last year we were frustrated with the way we ended. I felt like I was coming in in great shape, Tony didn’t play summer basketball, Manu didn’t play summer basketball. Everyone came in with this focus and it’s carried over.”

Miller on the summer being the crucial part of the year for a team to improve: “What I like that Richard Jefferson said is that Tony Parker didn’t play summer basketball, Manu Ginobili didn’t play summer basketball and he committed himself to improving his game, especially his midrange and long range shooting. The proof is in the pudding and it has shown. Everyone thinks you get better during the season, but you get better in the summer. That’s what the Spurs have done. They’ve retweaked everything and now they’ve got the best record in the league with their core players playing less minutes.”

Miller on the offense of the Denver Nuggets in the first half: “The Denver Nuggets are waltzing all down the lane. Tonight, they are looking like the Harlem Globetrotters waltzing down the lane.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony at halftime.

Anthony on the severity of a thumb injury he was treated for on the sideline: “I don’t know, I’m alright, I’ll be able to finish the game.”

Anthony on how the Nuggets will approach the second half: “Just want to keep the tempo up. They are the Spurs one of the best NBA teams right now. We don’t care of it’s a back to back, they still come out here and play hard and try to win the basketball game.”

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Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on the Spurs being unable to win a championship without having Tim Duncan in his prime: “Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward ever, but he’s on the downside of his career. Manu Ginobili is the best player on that team, Tony Parker is the second best player on that team. Those guys, as good as they are, that won’t carry them in the playoffs. Tim Duncan is the reason they won all those championships. That’s no disrespect, but they are not the best team in Texas, the Dallas Mavericks are.”

Barkley on the Atlanta Hawks: “The Atlanta Hawks have an interesting team. They’d be really good in the 6’6” and under league.”

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Miller on what the Nuggets will be looking for in exchange for forward Carmelo Anthony: “New Jersey has five first round draft picks over the next two years and you’re wondering, ‘what do they want for Carmelo?’ Teams are going to want young affordable talent, they are going to want draft picks and they are going to want relief from that salary cap space. That’s something that New Jersey offers you more so than New York or any other team. They’ve got young pieces, Billy King has done a fabulous job restructuring that offense and you have an up and coming young coach in Avery Johnson as well.”

Miller on Heat forward LeBron James’ move to Miami precipitating other superstars reevaluating their situations: “It really started with ‘The Decision’, not to blame LeBron James, but players are starting to take matters into their own hands. Once (James) made the decision to leave Cleveland and go to South Beach there was a trickle down effect. Chris Paul this summer was also exploring possibilities. It’s tough, I just love superstars in small markets. It helps the brand as a whole, otherwise we only have five teams, everyone plays in New York, Chicago, L.A. and call it a day.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Spurs guard Manu Ginobili and forward Tim Duncan.

Ginobili on the charge he took against Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony: “I think the charge was more important (than the game-winning shot). I had to be there, I knew it meant I was going to try to draw a foul. I just guessed and it worked out well. I think it was pretty clear it was a charge, so when I saw (the referee) do the sign of the charge I just knew it was over.”

Duncan on the Spurs’ new approach to their offense: “It’s an opportunity for all our offense. We’re moving the ball around, we’re running a lot of pick and rolls, lot of motion, guys can get shots at different times. I’m going to get shots when I can, it’s just how it is.  I just got some shots tonight. The shots went down for me. It felt good tonight. We started kind of slow, but I got some shots to go early and kind of continue throughout.”

Duncan on Spurs guard Manu Ginobili’s game-winning shot: “(Ginobili) is unbelievable, he just makes things happen. That last shot he made, I was actually just standing there looking at him. I should have been on the front of the rim trying to get a rebound. It was amazing he took that shot. He’s been great all season long and he’s got the confidence to do it no matter what time it is.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Smith on how the Spurs are an insulting team to play against: “(The Spurs) are insulting and they basically say, ‘most teams are dumb.’  Because they say, ‘we are going to take good shots every possession and we don’t think you’re disciplined enough to do that to beat us.  We don’t think that you’re smart enough to make good plays for 48 minutes.’”
Johnson: “They insult their opponents?”
Smith: “They bank on the fact that they don’t have as much talent as everyone.  But you will take dumb shots and quick shots and play out of character.  To me, that’s insulting if I’m another NBA player.”

Barkley on the Spurs ability to draft good players: “I think the San Antonio Spurs do a better job than anybody of drafting players.  They find those hidden gems.”

Barkley on Carmelo Anthony’s scoring ability: “The best flat-out scorer in the NBA is Carmelo Anthony.”

Barkley on Tim Duncan being the best power forward ever: “I hate saying this but (Duncan) is the best power forward ever.  I feel bad for Karl Malone because now he’s down to No. 3 after me.”
Johnson: “Humility is overrated.”

Barkley on the affect of Joakim Noah’s injury on the Chicago Bulls: “(Noah’s injury is) going to be a big blow (to the Bulls).  Noah is my favorite player and that Bulls team is terrific.  Derrick Rose is ballin’ right now, (Carlos) Boozer is playing well but (Noah) is the guy who holds it all together.  They’ve just got to keep their head above water but they are going to tough on anybody in the playoffs.”

Barkley on the New Jersey Nets making the playoffs: “One of my favorites to make the playoffs, the Nets have really disappointed me.  I thought they would make the playoffs but you know what?  I’m going to go out on a limb…the Nets are going to make the playoffs.”

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