Monday, January 31, 2011

Urban Meyer joins ESPN

From ESPN -

Urban Meyer Joins ESPN as Studio & Game Analyst

Will Debut on ESPNU National Signing Day Special Feb. 2


Former University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer, who won two BCS National Championships in six years, will join ESPN as a college football game and studio analyst. He will make his debut Wednesday, Feb. 2 as a studio analyst during ESPNU’s 10-hour ESPNU National Signing Day Special.

As part of the agreement, Meyer will work a weekly regular-season game (specific assignment to be determined) and select post-season bowl games. He will also provide studio analysis throughout the year on ESPN’s daily College Football Live program; NFL Draft, spring games; and bowl games, including during the network’s on-site BCS coverage.

In addition, Meyer will contribute to ESPN’s popular Saturday morning College GameDay Built by The Home Depot series (from his game site), make weekly appearances on ESPN Radio, and provide analysis on SportsCenter and additional ESPN outlets.

Meyer, who won more than 100 college football games in a 10-year span, recently served as a guest studio analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game. He appeared on SportsCenter, College GameDay, College Football Live, and during the pregame, halftime and postgame segments.

“Football has played an extremely important role in my life for the past 25 years and ESPN has given me an incredible opportunity to join its world-class team and share my passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm for the game with fans across the country,” said Meyer.

Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production, added, “Coach Meyer brings a fresh voice and a contemporary knowledge of the game. As he showed during BCS coverage, his ability to communicate the strategic aspects of the game and his incredible track record for success will serve college football fans everywhere.”

For his first assignment, Meyer will appear from ESPNU’s studios in Charlotte, N.C., for the network’s National Signing Day programming from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. It will include in-depth analysis, top prospects announcing their college decision live and live interviews with as many as 20 coaches. SportsCenter and ESPNEWS will provide live look-ins and updates on high-ranking commits throughout the day.

Meyer – with 25 years of coaching experience, 10 as a head coach -- resigned from Florida at the conclusion of the 2010 season. In his six years with Florida, he guided the Gators to a pair of BCS National Championships, two Southeastern Conference Championships, three Southeastern Conference Eastern Division crowns and a January bowl game each season, including three BCS Bowls. Meyer is the first coach to win two BCS National Championships, is one of only two coaches in SEC history to win outright national titles and one of five coaches to win a pair of National Championships in his first four years at a school.

He became the first coach in Football Bowl Subdivision history to post consecutive 13-win seasons (2008 and 2009) and is the only coach to record three 13-win seasons in a four-year span. Prior to joining Florida, Meyer spent two years with the University of Utah (2003-04), leading the Utes to a 12-0 record and the first BCS appearance by a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference in his second year.

He began his head coaching career at Bowling Green from 2001-02. In his first year, Bowling Green went from a 2-9 record to post their first winning season since 1994 with an 8-3 finish. A year later, he guided the program to a 9-3 record. Meyer's 17-6 record at Bowling Green included a 5-0 mark against BCS teams and two wins over ranked opponents.

Previous to becoming a head coach, Meyer was an assistant at Notre Dame (1996-2000), Colorado State (1990-95), Illinois State (1988-89) and Ohio State (1986-97). A 13th-round pick in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft in 1982, he played two years in the Atlanta Braves’ organization. He played as a defensive back at the University of Cincinnati before earning his degree in psychology in 1986. He went on to earn a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio State in 1988.

Pro Bowl on Fox Ratings

From Fox Sports -

PRO BOWL IS MOST-WATCHED IN 14 YEARS

DALLAS -- The 2011 PRO BOWL packed a Hawaiian punch last night earning a 7.7/12 with 13.4 million viewers on FOX, making it the most-watched since 1997 (13.5 mill.) and the highest-rated since 2000 (8.6/15).

Compared to last year’s game, the 2011 PRO BOWL is up +8% in rating (7.7/12 vs. 7.1/11) and up +9% in viewership (13.4 mill. vs. 12.3). Last night’s game improved over last year by +5% among Adults 18-34 (4.1 vs. 3.9), and by a substantial +34% among Adults 25-54 (6.3 vs. 4.7).

The PRO BOWL gave FOX an easy win for the night with a 4.7 among Adults 18-49. ABC was second (2.1/6). In fact, the PRO BOWL beat the combined performance of both second-place ABC and third-place CBS (1.9/5).

New Orleans topped all markets for the Pro Bowl with a 21.0/28, followed by Milwaukee with a 15.6/23 despite the fact that Packer players were held out of the game in preparation for the Super Bowl.

PGA Tour Ratings on CBS

Your weekend ratings from CBS and its golf coverage from Torey Pines...

RATINGS RISE FOR CBS SPORTS’ COVERAGE OF PGA TOUR’S “FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN” FINAL ROUND WITH 54% INCREASE

CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the PGA TOUR’s FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN on Sunday, January 30 (3:30-6:30 PM, ET), which saw Bubba Watson beat Phil Mickelson by one stroke and Jhonattan Vegas and Dustin Johnson by three strokes, scored an average overnight household rating/share of 3.7/7, up +54% from last year’s 2.4/5 in the metered markets.

Sunday’s final-round rating peaked at a 4.8/9 (6:00-6:30 PM, ET). In addition, Sunday’s 3.7/7 was the highest overnight rating for the final round of the FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN since 2008 (4.6/9).

CBS Sports' third-round coverage of the FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN on Saturday, January 29 (3:15-6:00 PM, ET) earned an average overnight household rating/share of 2.5/6, up +47% from last year's third round 1.7/4 in the metered markets. Saturday’s 2.5/6 was the highest-rated third round for this event since 2008 (3.2/7).

Super Bowl Week for ESPN

From ESPN -

Weeklong Coverage from North Texas Monday at 5 a.m. CT
Multiple Programs Originating Live from Sundance Square in Fort Worth

ESPN’s multimedia coverage of Super Bowl XLV kicks off Monday, Jan. 31, at 5 a.m. CT and continues throughout the week with more than 90 hours of domestic television and 55 hours of radio programming originating live from Sundance Square (195 West 3rd Street) in Fort Worth, Texas.  Mike and Mike in the Morning, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt Show, NFL Live, SportsCenter, SportsNation and Sunday NFL Countdown are among the ESPN shows based in North Texas throughout the week. Additionally, First Take, Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, Outside the Lines, and Rome is Burning will have daily interviews, guests, panelists and segments from Super Bowl all week.

Chris Berman, covering his 29th Super Bowl, will anchor Monday’s 11 p.m. edition of SportsCenter from Sundance Square.  Cris Carter, Tom Jackson, Ron Jaworski, Mark Schlereth, Darren Woodson and Trey Wingo will be among the ESPN personalities who will appear on various programs throughout the day from ESPN’s main set as they get fans ready for Sunday’s game between the Packers and Steelers.

ESPN television and radio shows will be open for public viewing all week and fans are encouraged to attend. Monday’s schedule (all times CT):

5 a.m.         Mike and Mike in the Morning (ESPN Radio/ESPN2)
                  Hosts: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic
Guests: Sports Illustrated sr. writer Peter King (5:45 a.m., by phone), ESPN sr. NFL writer John Clayton (6:15 a.m., phone), Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons (6:30 a.m., phone), former Packers Super Bowl champion LeRoy Butler (7 a.m., phone), three-time Cowboys Super Bowl champion and ESPN analyst Darren Woodson (7:30 a.m.), and legendary NFL player and broadcaster Pat Summerall (8:30 a.m.)

9 a.m.         First Take / 1st and 10 (ESPN2) **
On-site: Former three-time Pro Bowler Simeon Rice (10:30 a.m.)

9 a.m.         The Herd (ESPN Radio/ESPNU)
                  Host: Colin Cowherd
Guest: Super Bowl champion quarterback and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer (11:15 a.m., phone) and Super Bowl champion quarterback and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner (12:15 p.m., phone)

1 p.m.        Scott Van Pelt Show (ESPN Radio/ESPN2)  
                  Hosts: Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo
Guests: Super Bowl champion linebacker and ESPN analyst Antonio Pierce (12:30 p.m., phone), Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs (1:15 p.m., phone), former three-time Pro Bowler Simeon Rice (2:30 p.m.) and Hall of Fame Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett (3:30 p.m.)
                 
2 p.m.        SportsCenter Special / NFL Live (ESPN)
                  Hosts: Mike Tirico and Trey Wingo. Analysts: Jackson, Jaworski and Woodson.

3 p.m.        SportsNation (ESPN2)
                  Hosts: Michelle Beadle and Cowherd
Guests: Brothers Remi Ayodele, New Orleans Saints defensive tackle, and Akin Ayodele, Buffalo Bills linebacker, and Dorsett.  
                 
3 p.m.        Pardon the Interruption (ESPN) … to air at 4:30 p.m. **
                  On-site: Michael Wilbon

3:30 p.m.    Rome is Burning (ESPN)
                  Host: Jim Rome
                  Guests: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley


5 p.m.        SportsCenter (ESPN)
Host: Greenberg. Analysts: Golic and Schlereth

7 p.m.        SportsCenter (ESPN Deportes)
                  Host: Ciro Procuna. Analysts: Raul Allegre and Alvaro Martin
                 
8 p.m.        SportsCenter (ESPN) … to air at 10 p.m.
                  Host: Chris Berman. Analysts: Carter and Schlereth
                 
Note: Commentator and guest schedules subject to change
** Select interviews/segments originating from North Texas

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Celtics rout the Lakers, 109-96

It wasn't quite the NBA Finals, but the Celtics did a slight measure of revenge Sunday, routing the defending champion Lakers in LA, 109-96.

Paul Pierce and the C's outduel Kobe Bryant and his 41 points

Check out the highlights from ESPN/ABC.


Pierce tallied a game-high 32 points while Kevin Garnett hit a double-double, 18 points and 13 boards, despite opening a gash in his head early on, a gash that needed stitches after the game.

The amazing thing about Bryant's 41 points was that he didn't have an assist. In fact, Lamar Odom led the Lakers in assists with 2 (10 total for the team) while the Celtics combined for 34.

AccuWeather.com - Weather News | Groundhog Day Blizzard Prognostication

AccuWeather.com - Weather News | Groundhog Day Blizzard Prognostication

"Mark Zuckerberg" meets Mark Zuckerberg on SNL

In case you missed it last night on Saturday Night Live on NBC...

AccuWeather.com - Weather News | Groundhog Day Blizzard brings Travel Chaos!

AccuWeather.com - Weather News | Groundhog Day Blizzard brings Travel Chaos!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New York Mets will host 2013 MLB All-Star Game - MLB - SI.com

New York Mets will host 2013 MLB All-Star Game - MLB - SI.com

WWE Royal Rumble PPV Predictions

It's one of my favorite PPV's of the year from the WWE and this year, the main event has a record 40 participants in it.  It's the Royal Rumble, in my backyard of Boston.  And yes, I'll be at Monday Night RAW in Providence for the aftermath.

So, like we do every month, let's give our intrepid TCN predictions a chance.


WWE Divas Title Match: Natalya vs. Michelle McCool and Layla
With Awesome Kong's arrival soon to be, I'm thinking Natalya gets the nod over Laycool one more time.  Then, it's a battle with maybe Kong or Beth Phoenix getting involved.
Winner: Natallya


World Title Match: Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler
I give Ziggler a lot of credit, he's made this mini-feud interesting and has upped his game considerably both in the ring and on the mic!  As much as I'd love to see Ziggler get rewarded, it's still a tad early for him to get over big heading into Wrestlemania time.
Winner: Edge


WWE Title Match: The Miz vs. Randy Orton
Simply put, I'm digging The Miz as the Champ! I just wonder if they'd pull the old, lose the title, sneak into the Rumble and ride a title match into Wrestlemania bit.  I'm guessing no, since The Miz is riding the wave now.
Winner: The Miz


The 40 Man Royal Rumble:
Here's 34 of the 40:
Alberto Del Rio
Big Show
Chris Masters
CM Punk
Daniel Bryan
Darren Young
David Hart Smith
David Otunga
Drew McIntyre
Ezekiel Jackson
Heath Slater
Husky Harris
Jack Swagger
John Cena
John Morrison
JTG
Justin Gabriel
Kane
Kofi Kingston
Mark Henry
Mason Ryan
Michael McGillicutty
Primo
R Truth
Rey Mysterio
Santino Marella
Sheamus
Ted DiBiase
Tyson Kidd
Vladimir Kozlov
Wade Barrett
William Regal
Yoshi Tatsu
Zack Ryder

Thanks to our friends at 411Wrestling.com, we know a pair of surprise entrants as well.  If you don't want to know, don't go below this picture of Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Black Swan.  Why? Why not!


Can you diggit, sucka! Booker T and Kevin Nash will reportedly be in Boston for the Rumble.  I'd also expect a Triple H return as well.

Now, as to how the Rumble will go.  I think Triple H helps get King Sheamus out. Booker and Nash will help get rid of some of Nexus and Corre.  I think we get a final four of John Cena, CM Punk, Big Show and Alberto Del Rio.

Punk gets the nod over Cena, with some outside help of course in some distraction from Nexus.  Show returns the favor by ridding us of Punk for the night.  Show's never won the Rumble and  yes, it will stay that way as the "New Mr. Wrestlemania" is one step closer to his self-proclamation.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Friday, January 28, 2011

AccuWeather.com - Weather News | Groundhog Day Storm May Affect More than 100 Million People

AccuWeather.com - Weather News | Groundhog Day Storm May Affect More than 100 Million People

Friday Three-for-All: The WOW Edition

All I cay is wow!  And it's good enough to add a couple of extra ones to boot! Her name is Gemma Merna.






Thanks to our friends at 411mania.com for the heads up.

NBA Fans pick Rockets/Lakers

From NBA TV -

Fans Select Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers for NBA TV’s Fan Night on Tuesday, Feb. 1

NBA TV to Air 24 Hours with Kevin Love on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. ET


NBA TV’s Tuesday Fan Night game will feature the Houston Rockets at the Los Angeles Lakers winning with 49-percent of the fan vote on NBA.com. The game will air on Tues., Feb. 1 at 10:30 p.m. (ET) with host Ernie Johnson and analysts Kevin McHale and Chris Webber on-hand for studio coverage beginning at 10:00 p.m. (ET). The night will tip off with host Rick Kamla and analyst Steve Smith on NBA GameTime at 8 p.m. (ET) to check in on games throughout the league.


Fan Night voting will continue on nba.com/nbatv/fannight from Tues., Feb. 1 (8 a.m. ET) – Thurs., Feb. 3 (Midnight ET) as fans select the match-up for Tues., Feb. 8 between:

· Philadelphia 76ers @ Atlanta Hawks


· L.A. Clippers @ Orlando Magic


· San Antonio Spurs @ Detroit Pistons


· Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder


· Toronto Raptors @ Milwaukee Bucks


NBA TV will present a day in the life of Minnesota Timberwolves rising star Kevin Love when the network presents 24 Hours with Kevin Love. The episode premieres on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 6:30 p.m. (ET), prior to Fan Night.


Fans can stay connected to the latest NBA action every Tuesday with The Jump, a live, interactive show designed for the ultimate NBA fan. Fans can submit questions and comments via NBA.com, Facebook or Twitter. Host Kyle Montgomery, analyst Dennis Scott, Brent Barry and ‘chat-master’ Sekou Smith will respond and give their comments and analysis on everything happening around the league. The show will stream live on Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. (ET) on NBA.com and air at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (ET) on NBA TV.

The Beat returns this week to prep fans for game action with news and storylines across the league with host Marc Fein, regular contributors David Aldridge, SLAM’s Lang Whitaker as well as reporters from across the country. The Beat airs Feb. 1 at 6:00 p.m. (ET).



NBA TV GAMES OF THE WEEK:


JANUARY 31– FEBRUARY 5
NBA TV SCHEDULE (all times ET): Jan. 31 – Feb. 5


MONDAY, JAN. 31
7:00 – 9:30 p.m
NBA Regular Season: Denver Nuggets @ New Jersey Nets
Local Announcers


TUESDAY, FEB.1 Fan Night
10:30 p.m.– 1:00 a.m.
NBA Regular Season: Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers
Ernie Johnson, Chris Webber, Kevin McHale


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 2
8:00 – 10:30 p.m.
NBA Regular Season: New Orleans Hornets @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Local Announcers


10:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
NBA Regular Season: Chicago Bulls @ L.A. Clippers
Local Announcers


SATURDAY, FEB. 5
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
NBA Regular Season: Atlanta Hawks @ Washington Wizards
Local Announcers

Sean McDonough named to ESPN Monday Night Baseball

From ESPN -


ESPN to Debut New Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball Commentator Teams

ESPN continues to revamp its signature Major League Baseball franchises with the introduction of new Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball commentator teams in 2011.  Sean McDonough will return to MLB in a season-long role as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Baseball, joined by analysts Aaron Boone and Rick Sutcliffe.  Play-by-play commentator Dave O’Brien and analyst Nomar Garciaparra will form the new Wednesday Night Baseball team. In addition to their game responsibilities, Boone, Sutcliffe and Garciaparra will contribute to Baseball Tonight throughout the season.

McDonough has contributed to ESPN’s Spring Training and Opening Day telecasts, along with the College World Series, since 2000.  He called MLB games for the network, primarily Wednesday Night Baseball, from 1990-95.  McDonough will continue to provide commentary for ESPN college basketball and football telecasts, the College World Series and select golf events.

Last season, ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball commentator team included Dan Shulman and analysts Boone and Chris Singleton.  Shulman will be calling Sunday Night Baseball telecasts this season with analysts Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine.  Singleton will be paired with play-by-play commentator Jon Sciambi on ESPN Radio’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts. O’Brien and Sutcliffe mainly called Wednesday Night Baseball games in 2010, with Garciaparra joining them for select telecasts.

Sean McDonough
In addition to his ESPN responsibilities, McDonough has previously been the main play-by-play commentator for CBS’ MLB coverage (1992-93), calling regular-season games, the All-Star Game, NLCS and World Series.  With CBS, at age 30, McDonough became the youngest announcer to broadcast all nine innings of the World Series (since surpassed by Joe Buck at age 27).  McDonough was the television voice of the Boston Red Sox for 17 seasons (1988-2004).

Rick Sutcliffe
In addition to Monday Night Baseball, Sutcliffe will contribute to Baseball Tonight this season.  Sutcliffe, a former Cy Young Award winner, joined ESPN in 1998 and has most recently been paired with O’Brien on Wednesday Night Baseball (2008-10) and Monday Night Baseball (2002-07). Sutcliffe served as an ESPN Radio analyst from 1999-2001.  He has also provided analysis for MLB’s international coverage of the All-Star Game and World Series for several years.

Aaron Boone
Boone joined ESPN in 2010 following a 12-year Major League Baseball career. He will return for his second full season in the Monday Night Baseball booth, while also contributing to Baseball Tonight throughout the season.  Boone worked for ESPN Radio as a guest analyst during the 2009 National League Division Series.

Dave O’Brien
O’Brien joined ESPN in 2002 and has served as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Baseball (2002-07) and Wednesday Night Baseball (since 2008). O’Brien called ESPN-produced Division Series games airing on ABC Family in 2002.  He had the call for both of Barry Bonds’ historic home runs – Nos. 755 and 756 – in 2007 on ESPN.  He has also provided commentary for MLB’s international coverage of the World Series.

Nomar Garciaparra
In addition to being a Wednesday Night Baseball analyst, Garciaparra will continue to contribute to Baseball Tonight. Garciaparra, a six-time MLB All-Star, joined ESPN in 2010.  He primarily contributed to Baseball Tonight and select Wednesday Night Baseball telecasts last season.  

TNT Notes from Heat/Knicks & Celtics/Blazers

From TNT Sports -

Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, January 27, 2011

TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues on February 3 beginning at 7 p.m. (ET) with a special one-hour edition of NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com. Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber will have the exclusive announcement of the 2011 NBA All-Star reserves.

Following the pre-game show, TNT’s doubleheader will feature the Miami Heat @ Orlando Magic followed by the San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers.

***CLIP OF THE NIGHT***


Reggie Miller and Spike Lee Renew Acquaintances from Turner Sports on Vimeo.

TNT’s Reggie Miller and Spike Lee Renew Acquaintances at Madison Square Garden

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith live from Madison Square Garden in New York

Matt Winer, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber from Studio J in Atlanta


Game 1:  Miami Heat (88) @ New York Knicks (93)
Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller with Craig Sager reporting

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Heat forward LeBron James and guard Dwyane Wade prior to the game.

James on being selected as an NBA All-Star starter: “It’s very humbling. All-Star Weekend is an opportunity for fans to see the best players on a team get together and go against some of the best players in the West. It’s great for myself and Dwyane Wade to represent the Heat.”

Wade on his hope that his teammate Chris Bosh will join him and James for the All-Star Game: “We’re all really excited because it’s an honor to be picked as one of the best players in this great game that we play in the NBA. To go with your teammate is something that everyone dreams of. We hope we’ll be able to go with our other teammate as well and go as a threesome. It would be awesome.”

Miller on Knicks guard Danilo Gallinari complementing forward Amar’e Stoudemire: “I think (Danilo Gallinari) a great complement to Amar’e (Stoudemire), not only because of his size but being able to stretch the floor because of his outside shooting. He’s an improving defender, he’s getting better at rebounding the basketball. I think he complements Amar’e so well.”

Miller on the league preventing Heat guard Dwyane Wade from wearing shaded glasses that hide his eyes: “Are you kidding me? Seriously? A competitive edge because a competitor can’t see his eyes? If he wore a blindfold they still wouldn’t be able to guard Dwyane Wade.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed CNN’s Piers Morgan during the game.  

Morgan on the first quarter of the game: “It’s more exciting than the last game. The last game it was like Hurricane LeBron, he just destroyed the Knicks on his own, virtually. So tonight they are controlling him much better, it’s much tighter, the Knicks are playing better. I have a very good feeling.”

Morgan on his experience hosting Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN: “It’s a completely different experience for me. I was in the British newspaper game a long time, the cable competition is about as ferocious as anything I’ve ever seen in my life. Good fun, very competitive. Howard Stern, my second guest, is actually two seats in front of me so maybe we’ll do round two.”

Morgan on the NBA player he’d most like to interview: “I’ve got to be honest, when I watch LeBron James play the way that he does, to me, he’s the most charismatic figure in basketball in the world. I think he’s a fascinating athlete and human being. I’d love to sit down with him pretty soon.”

Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire on the Knicks’ slow start to the season: “We started off a little bit slow, we had so many new players and we didn’t quite have a strategy down offensively and defensively of what we wanted to accomplish. We lost a few games in a row so the great thing we did was we were able to sit down and look ourselves in the mirror and figure out what type of team we want to become. We want to make this a special year.”

Kerr on the improvement of the Knicks due to three new additions: “You can feel that there’s a sense of real improvement. This is not fake, this is a team that is pretty good. They’re not great, but they are pretty good. They have a confidence that they’ve not had in years. The key for (coach) Mike D’Antoni is the three additions in (Amar’e) Stoudemire, Landry Fields and Raymond Felton. Those guys have just turned this team into a very viable threat for everybody every night.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Heat guard Dwyane Wade at halftime.

Wade on how effective his glasses are in helping his eyesight: “I feel pretty good. With the light here and with the shade and the color of them (my glasses) I’ve able to see pretty good. It’s not perfect, my periphery vision is not as good as I want it to be, but I’m out here playing and just trying to help my team win.”

****    ****    ****    ****
Halftime
Winer, McHale and Webber

Barkley on Knicks guard Landry Fields being the best rookie in his first year in the NBA: “Blake Griffin is going to win the Rookie of the Year because he’s the best rookie. I don’t think he’s a rookie, but I know you have to go by the rules. I think you have an advantage sitting out a year and getting bigger, stronger and learning the rules of the game. When you are sitting on the bench as a player you are getting better. The best rookie of the NBA this year for a first year player is Landry Fields. I do (like him over John Wall).”
Smith: “The best natural rookie in the NBA this year has been Landry Fields.”

****    ****    ****    ****
Kerr on Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire embracing his role as the leader of the Knicks: “I think what’s been most impressive about Amar’s is the way he’s embraced New York and embraced being the star here. He’s really fearless, he’s got a very young group of teammates who look up to him. He’s become the undisputed leader of this club.”

Miller on the Knicks being distracted by Heat guard Dwyane Wade and forward LeBron James: “Whenever the ball is in the hands of (Dwyane) Wade or LeBron (James) you just feel like the Knicks are mesmerized.”

Kerr on Knicks forward Shawne Williams effectively defending against Heat forward LeBron James: “I’m amazed at the defensive effort that he’s giving on LeBron James. He’s been able to use that strength and that quickness to stay in front of James. What a story. Basically, an afterthought in trading camp, Mike D’Antoni told us, ‘we didn’t think he could make the team.’ He’s leading the NBA in three-point shooting and defensively guarding the greatest player on earth and doing a pretty good job!”

Miller on Heat forward LeBron James being coached to play more like Shaquille O’Neal: “(Heat) assistant coach David Fizdale (told LeBron James), ‘we’re going to work on our post moves. I don’t want you to think about being Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan and worrying about footwork and making quick moves. I want you to be more like Shaq (O’Neal), be patient but be powerful down there.’ That’s why we’re seeing maybe a little bit of the stagnant holding the basketball, trying to back his guy down, very much the way Shaq was.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire after the Knicks defeated the Heat.

Stoudemire on getting the win over the Miami Heat: “It was great. We came out and played great tonight. We knew how important this game was. We have a tough two games ahead of us, we’re here against Miami and then in Atlanta tomorrow. So we got this one.”

Stoudemire on why the win was important for the Knicks: “To build our confidence. We understand we are a young team and we know how good we could be, so we have to keep working and work though the kinks and continue to improve.”


****    ****    ****    ****
Game 2:  Boston Celtics (88) @ Portland Trail Blazers (78)
Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Mike Fratello with David Aldridge reporting

Fratello on Trail Blazers guard Andre Miller: “(Andre) Miller is one of the best post-up point guards you have in the NBA today. He is smart, he has strength he has great ball fakes to get the guy up in the air. They will try to put fouls on (Rajon) Rondo by posting Miller.”

Fratello on the physical play of the Portland Trail Blazers to start the game: “Portland came out of the locker room ready and understanding that you have to be physical and answer the challenge against the Celtics if you don’t want to fall behind early in the game.”

Fratello on Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge needing to step up as the leader of the Trail Blazers in place of the injured Brandon Roy: “A lot of concerns about Brandon Roy. He was the leader of this team, he was the spiritual leader, he was the All-Star. Really, (LaMarcus) Aldridge was willing to stay a step behind Brandon Roy, he let Brandon lead. Brandon Roy is now a question mark. Will he be back this season, will he be back at all? What’s his future hold? What kind of player will he be when he does come back? Will he ever be able to obtain that All-Star level? This is Aldridge’s time to step up and take over for Brandon Roy.”

****    ****    ****    ****
Halftime
Winer, McHale and Webber

Webber on the extra defensive effort made by the Boston Celtics: “I love the defense for (the Celtics) because they make multiple efforts. I did a game with Reggie Miller, the Kings/Nuggets, and we noticed that a lot of teams weren’t making the extra effort. The way the Celtics play, not only do they make the extra effort, they make it from the first play of the game. They are going to play defense in the fourth quarter the same way they started and that’s not really the way most teams play defense.”
McHale: “Bad teams make one or two efforts, good teams make three efforts and great teams make four, five and six efforts like the Celtics do every possession.”

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Fratello on both the Celtics and Trail Blazers refusing to use injuries as excuses: “They have gotten the message across to the staff, the leadership, the players, whoever it might be, that you move on in this league. You can’t sit around and complain, the season goes on. Injuries happen to everyone, it’s how you handle the injuries that is important. That all starts with the mental approach.”

Fratello on the leadership of Celtics forward Kevin Garnett enabling coach Doc Rivers to coach the team effectively: “(The Celtics) could be a very difficult team to coach. However, when you have a guy like Kevin Garnett, he enables a coach like Doc (Rivers) to do the things he believes in and get them done. Kevin Garnett, that’s the main guy. That guy leads this team, leads them in practice every day, leads them in meetings, leads them on the court. As (Trail Blazers coach) Nate McMillan said, he’s the best defensive quarterback in the league, telling them where to go and what to do. If someone doesn’t want to do it, Kevin Garnett reminds them, ‘No, this is how we do it here, we’re good this way. We do it our own way.’”

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Celtics guard Ray Allen after the Celtics defeated the Trail Blazers.

Allen on teams trying to challenge the Celtics’ physical style of play: “Teams that try to combat our physicality on the floor, as a team we just can’t back down. You get two early fouls and you tend to get a little softer. That’s what we’ve seen from a lot of teams. Definitely on the road you’ve got to keep that aggressive nature out there and I thought we did that.”


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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Winer, McHale and Webber

Celtics on the Celtics grinding style of play: “I call them the Boston ‘Sausage Grinders’ because they get you in the sausage maker and grind you up. By the end of the game, you feel like they beat you to death.  They grind you down every single night.”

Webber on the Celtics’ intensity: “I played against some great, championship teams and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a team, during my playing years, with the intensity of the Boston Celtics.”

TNT’s Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith joined the show from Madison Square Garden

Barkley on the Heat needing a go-to player at the end of games: “(The Heat) have to figure out who their go-to guy is.  I think it should be LeBron (James) because he’s the best player in the NBA.  But I don’t think it’s as easy as (everyone) thinks it is.  It is Dwyane Wade’s city and it is his team.  I think Coach (Erik) Spoelstra is stuck sometimes.”

Smith on Knicks guard Danilo Gallinari: “(Gallinari is) able to mix his game up.  When he first came into the league, all we heard about him was that he was a three-point shooter.  He’s more than a three-point shooter.  He puts the basketball on the floor.  He does a lot, like what Hedo Turkoglu does in Orlando, but he’s a little bit more athletic and a better finisher.  If he can do that on a more consistent basis, he’ll be a better player.”

Webber on Dallas Mavericks reserve guard Jason Terry: “(Terry is) the heart and soul of his team.  He plays tough and he’s a big part of why they are still really good.”

Webber on the impact Tyson Chandler has had on the Mavericks: “(Chandler) knows that he’s not an All-Star but he is just as important to Dallas as a lot of All-Stars are to their team.  His team is one of the best in the NBA so you have to give him a lot of credit for changing the defensive mentality, along with the coach (Rick Carlisle) and Dirk (Nowitzki), in Dallas.”

McHale on why Minnesota Timberwolves center Kevin Love should make the All-Star team: “(Love) should be on the All-Star team. He’s putting up numbers that we haven’t seen since Moses Malone did it.  (The Timberwolves) are in games and are keeping them close because of what he’s doing.  They aren’t losing because of Kevin Love.”

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Barkley, Smith and EJ on NBA All-Stars

From TNT Sports -

Notes from TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com - January 27, 2011

The 2011 NBA All-Star Starters were announced exclusively on TNT
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith live from Madison Square Garden in New York
Matt Winer, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber from Studio J in Atlanta

NBA All-Star Eastern Conference Starters

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
LeBron James, Miami Heat
Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

Barkley on Bulls guard Derrick Rose: “The best point guard in the NBA and the MVP favorite right now.”

Barkley on whether the fans selected the right five NBA All-Star Eastern Conference starters: “They got it 100% right. Derrick Rose has been the MVP for the first half of the season, and Amar’e Stoudemire is in the conversation. The fans got it right. You know I hate the fans voting, but they got it right.”

Smith on the Eastern Conference starters: “I would agree. The five guys you have here have played the best consistently. Not only played the best, but they have dominated in so many different areas. He says Derrick Rose is the leading candidate (for MVP), but I would say you can make a mark for any of those five guys that they are the leading vote getters in the conference for MVP.”

Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire on being selected an Eastern Conference All-Star starter: “It’s a great accomplishment and I think the most important fact is that the fans really appreciate it more so than anyone because they see the success that we’re having, they see the team’s success. The most important factor of being announced an All-Star starter is that it wouldn’t be possible if you’re team is not successful. If you’re team is not successful then it wouldn’t happen, so it’s also a team award.”

Smith on the revival that the New York Knicks have had on the fans who attend the games: “You go from umpteen years of not making the playoffs and this building (Madison Square Garden) being a full house that felt deserted. It would sell out, people would be excited until about the second quarter. Then it’s a fashion show, it’s a music concert, whatever else is going on in here. Right now, the concentration is on the basketball court. These 94 feet now have the attention of the 20,000 that come every night.”

NBA All-Star Western Conference Starters

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
Yao Ming, Houston Rockets
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

Barkley on Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony not deserving to be an All-Star starter: “The best offensive player in the NBA is Carmelo Anthony. I’ve got to tell you something, Carmelo Anthony is a better player than some of those guys (in the West), but I don’t think he deserves to start in the All-Star Game. Kevin Love or Blake Griffin deserve to start. If both of those guys don’t make the All-Star team, that’s a travesty. Carmelo Anthony is a better player, but I think on the court performance this year…Kevin Love deserves it.”

Projected Western Conference Reserves

Matt Winer:
Manu Ginobili
Deron Williams
Russell Westbrook
Blake Griffin
Dirk Nowitzki
Pau Gasol
Tim Duncan
Lamar Odom

Kevin McHale:
Manu Ginobili
Deron Williams
Russell Westbrook
Blake Griffin
Dirk Nowitzki
Pau Gasol
Tim Duncan
Kevin Love

Chris Webber:
Manu Ginobili
Deron Williams
Russell Westbrook
Blake Griffin
Dirk Nowitzki
Pau Gasol
Kevin Love
Tony Parker

Ernie Johnson:
Manu Ginobili
Deron Williams
Blake Griffin
Dirk Nowitzki
Tim Duncan
Russell Westbrook
Pau Gasol
Kevin Love

Kenny Smith:
Manu Ginobili
Deron Williams
Blake Griffin
Dirk Nowitzki
Tim Duncan
Russell Westbrook
Pau Gasol
Tony Parker

Charles Barkley:
Manu Ginobili
Deron Williams
Blake Griffin
Dirk Nowitzki
LeMarcus Aldridge
Monte Ellis
Tony Parker
Kevin Love


Projected Eastern Conference Reserves

Matt Winer:
Rajon Rondo
Paul Pierce
Al Horford
Kevin Garnett
Ray Allen
Joe Johnson
“Joakim Boozer”

Kevin McHale:
Rajon Rondo
Paul Pierce
Al Horford
Kevin Garnett
Ray Allen
Joe Johnson
Chris Bosh

Chris Webber:
Rajon Rondo
Paul Pierce
Al Horford
Raymond Felton
Chris Bosh

Ernie Johnson:
Ray Allen
Rajon Rondo
Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett
Al Horford
Chris Bosh
Raymond Felton

Kenny Smith:
Ray Allen
Rajon Rondo
Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett
Al Horford
Chris Bosh
Joe Johnson

Charles Barkley:
Ray Allen
Rajon Rondo
Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett
Al Horford
Raymond Felton
Joe Johnson

Webber on only selecting five Eastern Conference reserves: “I usually love a good argument with my guys Chuck, Kenny and EJ, but I don’t even want to argue. This is mine, you can take it.”

Barkley on the NBA All-Star starters being a popularity contest: “It is a popularity contest and that sucks. Last year it was Aaron Brooks who had a fabulous season. It was his one time to make the All-Star team, he’s not going to have many seasons like that. This isn’t a lifetime achievement award. The award should go to guys who are having the best first half of the season.”

Smith on players who impact games beyond their statistics: “A guy like Tim Duncan, the reason that some of these guys are able to play well on this team is because he’s there. I’ve been here 15 years. Whenever the stat sheet comes by I very rarely look at it because it doesn’t always say what’s going on in the game.”

Smith on the argument between adding Knicks guard Raymond Felton or Hawks guard Joe Johnson to the Eastern Conference reserves: “I think Raymond Felton probably has a better case than Joe Johnson, but Joe Johnson has been what he’s been. Raymond Felton probably has a better case to say, ‘I’m doing something I’ve never done before.’ But Joe Johnson is a tough cover. If you try to guard Joe Johnson you’re going to have a nightmare if you don’t get up on him and do the right thing.”

Barkley on agreeing with Webber on the East not having very many worthy All-Star reserves: “I 100% agree with you, C-Webb. I just put a couple of Celtics on (my list) because they had a better record.”

Barkley on why Bulls center-forward Kurt Thomas deserves an honorable mention: “Kurt Thomas of the Chicago Bulls (should get) an honorable mention. I don’t know Kurt Thomas well. At the Thomas house, Mrs. Thomas has a lot Ben-Gay around there. Kurt Thomas had no idea he was going to be playing that many minutes this season at his age.”