ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 9

Sunday NFL Countdown logo 
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis previewed today’s NFL games with insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Some comments from today’s show:
 
On the impact of the snowy weather in Foxborough and how Denver and New England prepare for today’s game …
Johnson: “It’s so funny, every time New England gets ready to play somebody like a Manning, it’s like dial up something. It will be a snow, rain. It’s not their fault. It just happens to work that way. … We’re forgetting that he (Peyton Manning) has been in Denver now for a couple of years. In our minds, they’re still thinking of Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts, coming out of a dome, coming to Foxborough. Let’s not forget, it does rain in Denver. There is snow. There’s bad weather. He’s played in bad weather.”
Jackson: “We know that Tom Brady plays great in this weather. That’s the thing that New England will bring to the table. He has a ball that has great velocity on it, that cuts through the wind. That cuts through the snow. I’ve seen him in this and I’ve seen him play great. He is not greatly affected by this weather. … For the Broncos, I think it comes down to: how well are you going to run the ball against the New England Patriots in this kind of weather if you have to.”
Carter: “The worst thing for Peyton Manning is not a pass-rush. It is the wind. Why? Because when he throws the ball, he throws the ball with a wobble to it. He has great velocity but the wind hits the front of the ball and the back of his ball. That’s why he’s least effective in the wind. … Trust me, when Peyton Manning’s looking at the weather, he’s looking at the wind no matter where he plays and no matter when he plays.”
Ditka: “The biggest factor will be the wind, but I think it will play a really big difference in the kicking game. … Things you take for granted, the short field goals, they’re no longer taken for granted. The hold. The snap. It could be a big problem in that area.”
On how the Broncos’ improved defense could play a big role today, especially with the weather …
Lewis: “Jack Del Rio has taken this defense to a totally different level. So, if you are asking who the pressure’s on, I truly believe today the pressure will be on Tom Brady.”
On whether rivalry games like Brady vs. Manning mean more …
Lewis: “These are the games that inspire me. These are the games that drove me. These are the games that you really earn what respect is. … When you talk about the rivalry that I had with Eddie George, that was pain. So mentally, you had to get up. … I had to deal with a giant, someone who was 6-4 and so light on his feet. It was that type of battle. That was old-school football. That’s when you appreciate it. The guy was great.”
Jackson: “Rivalries are usually driven by you trying to gain some success over someone that’s better than you. In my case, it was against the Oakland Raiders. … I made up stuff up in my mind so that I would hate them when we hit the field. So it made it very easy to play football. Is there a difference between the way I played them and everybody else? Yes. … I put everything I had emotionally into that.”
Carter: “In a rivalry, it brings out the good and bad in you. You can only have a rivalry when you have respect.”
On Robert Griffin III starting for the Redskins today – and in reaction to a report that the quarterback has alienated himself from teammates …
Jackson: “If in fact they are having a problem with RGIII … you have to come out, be available, and you have to play the kind of ball that you played your rookie year when they went to the playoffs.”
Ditka: “This guy’s a good guy. He’s a good football player. All of a sudden, I don’t know why everybody’s picking on him. He’s my quarterback. If he’s healthy, he plays.”
Lewis: “I would love to see Michael Jordan without a jump shot … RGIII’s ability – his magic – was his athletic ability, extending plays, making people miss. Now, that’s what he’s thinking about. … When you go through injuries like that, and that ‘it’ factor is what makes you special, what makes you different … that hasn’t happened in the last few years. You talk about the frustration with this guy, it’s way bigger than now just bringing him back because the ‘it’ factor is definitely missing.”
Johnson: “The case of RGIII is bad luck. … If you are doing your job and the team sees that – you’re winning games and completing passes – the hate will go away. You’re going to have doubters and haters in locker rooms. There’s going to be guys that are going to be jealous of you whether you win or you lose because you are the franchise. … If he comes around and starts to do that [win games], then all the other things will slowly go away.”
Carter: “I believe there’s a lot going on there and that blatant level of disrespect I don’t believe will go away. … Anytime the players want Colt McCoy as your starter instead of RGIII, that’s a serious problem. There’s only one reason RGIII wouldn’t be out there – because guys don’t like him.”
Berman: “When they won two years ago, the turnover from two years ago … a lot of these guys have never seen that winning with him. … A third, a half, whatever the roster, it’s different.”
On Dallas Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden benefiting from playing behind Tony Romo …
Ron Jaworski (reporting from the Cardinals-Cowboys game): “Brandon Weeden is the most prepared backup quarterback in the National Football League. Weeden has benefitted from the Tony Romo offseason surgery. Brandon Weeden worked all the first-unit reps in the offseason, every Wednesday. … So he’s ready to step in and play.”
Jackson: “There’s a difference between playing on Wednesday and Thursday, when you’re wearing the red jersey, when you know you’re not going to get hit, as opposed to the pressure that comes with getting on the field on Sunday afternoon against a Todd Bowles as a defensive coordinator who blitzes more than anybody in the league.”
Ditka: “As an organization, if you have a back quarterback that you don’t think you can win with, shame on you.”
And, on the importance of Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray while Romo is out …
Lewis: “With Romo’s injury, now you get to see the real value of DeMarco Murray.”
Johnson: “They’ve got to rely on DeMarco Murray here. If they do that, they have an opportunity. If not, Brandon Weeden will be sitting back there like a duck.”
On how the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry has changed in recent years …
Lewis: “This rivalry used to be (an) old-school rivalry where it was about smash-mouth football and smash-mouth defense. Now it’s about all the fancy passing schemes and throwing a bunch of touchdowns.”
On Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown …
Ditka: “If Ben plays like he did last week – if they play offense like they did last week — they will be in the Super Bowl.”
Jackson: “If you can’t cover Brown, then you are not going to beat them. He’s almost uncoverable right now. I’d say he’s the best receiver in the National Football League.”
On the Seattle Seahawks offense and the approach they should be taking …
Jackson: “I don’t want to see Russell Wilson run for 100 yards. I want to see Marshawn Lynch run for 100 yards, which means at the end of the game, he’ll finish you off because he’s worn you down.”
 
The three-hour Countdown show also included the following features:
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Week 11 Flex Scheduling: Eagles-Packers Goes to 4:25 PM ET on FOX; Vikings-Bears to 1:00 PM ET on CBS

nfl-logoWEEK 11 FLEX SCHEDULING:

EAGLES-PACKERS GOES TO 4:25 PM ET ON FOX;

VIKINGS-BEARS TO 1:00 PM ET ON CBS

PATRIOTS-COLTS REMAINS NBC SUNDAY NIGHT GAME

The Week 11 Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers game on Sunday, November 16 will be played at 4:25 PM ET on FOX and the Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears game at 1:00 PM ET on CBS, the NFL announced today.

The originally scheduled New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts game remains in place on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

 Following is the final Week 11 NFL schedule:

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13 (WEEK 11)

(Byes: Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville, N.Y. Jets)

BUFFALO AT MIAMI 8:25 PM (ET) NFLN

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16

ATLANTA AT CAROLINA 1:00 PM (ET) FOX
*MINNESOTA AT CHICAGO 12:00 PM (CT) CBS
HOUSTON AT CLEVELAND 1:00 PM (ET) CBS
SEATTLE AT KANSAS CITY 12:00 PM (CT) FOX
CINCINNATI AT NEW ORLEANS 12:00 PM (CT) CBS
TAMPA BAY AT WASHINGTON 1:00 PM (ET) FOX
DENVER AT ST. LOUIS 12:00 PM (CT) CBS
SAN FRANCISCO AT N.Y. GIANTS 1:00 PM (ET) FOX
OAKLAND AT SAN DIEGO 1:05 PM (PT) CBS
*PHILADELPHIA AT GREEN BAY 3:25 PM (CT) FOX
DETROIT AT ARIZONA 2:25 PM (MT) FOX
NEW ENGLAND AT INDIANAPOLIS 8:30 PM (ET) NBC

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17

PITTSBURGH AT TENNESSEE 7:30 PM (CT) ESPN

The NFL uses “flexible scheduling” to ensure quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots and to give teams a chance to play their way onto primetime and into the late-afternoon 4:25 PM ET time slot on CBS or FOX.

For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.

Also, for the first time, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.

The NFL will continue to use flexible scheduling on Sundays in Weeks 11-17.  For each flexible scheduling week with the exception of Week 17, the NFL announces the start times of games on Sundays no later than 12 days prior to that weekend.  To ensure a Sunday night game and doubleheader games with playoff implications in Week 17, flexible scheduling decisions for that Sunday can be made on six days notice.

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Ben Roethlisberger And Pittsburgh Steelers Host Joe Flacco And Rival Baltimore Ravens On NBC’s Sunday Night Football

FNIA-nfl-nbcCoverage Begins with Football Night In America at 7 p.m. ET on NBC

NBC Sports Live Extra to Live Stream Ravens-Steelers

NFL Turning Point Airs Tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Pro Football Talk Weekdays at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

NBCSN Sunday Sports Report Has Comprehensive Post-Game Coverage Sunday Nights at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Stamford, Conn. – Oct. 29, 2014 – Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) look to build on last weekend’s record-setting offensive performance, when they host Joe Flacco and the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens (5-3) this Sunday, Nov. 2, on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Sunday night’s pre-game coverage begins with Football Night In America at 7 p.m. ET.

The Steelers enter Sunday night’s game following a 51-34 win over the Colts last weekend, in which Roethlisberger passed for a career-high 522 yards, the fourth-most in league history, with six touchdowns and no interceptions. With the performance, Roethlisberger became the first player in NFL history with two 500-yard passing games (503 yards vs. Green Bay, 12/20/09), and now boasts a 100-50 (.667) record as a starter in the regular season. With his 100th career regular-season win, Roethlisberger joins Tom Brady (116), and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana (108) and Terry Bradshaw (102) as the only QBs to win at least 100 games in their first 150 career starts (since 1966).

The Ravens look to rebound from a 24-20 loss to the division-leading Bengals in Cincinnati. Earlier this season in Week 2, Flacco threw for two touchdown passes, and the Ravens rushed for 150 yards in a 26-6 win over the Steelers, holding Roethlisberger without a touchdown pass. Baltimore and Pittsburgh sit deadlocked in a tight AFC North race, where all four teams hold winning records.

This Sunday marks the sixth consecutive year that NBC will televise a Ravens-Steelers game, matching Eagles-Cowboys (2009-Dec. 14, 2014) and Eagles-Giants (2007-12) for the longest such streak in NFL history on the broadcast primetime package (ABC 1970-2005; NBC 2006-present).

Calling Ravens-Steelers is seven-time Emmy Award-winner Al Michaels (play-by-play), in his 29th season as the voice of the NFL’s premier primetime package; 15-time Emmy Award-winner Cris Collinsworth, who has won the Emmy for Outstanding Event Analyst in each of his five seasons in the Sunday Night Football booth; and two-time Emmy Award-winning sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.

NBC’s coverage of Sunday Night Football is led by Emmy Award-winning producer Fred Gaudelli and Emmy Award-winning director Drew EsocoffSunday Night Football has won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Series for a record six consecutive years.

Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports, is hosted by 26-time Emmy Award-winner Bob Costas, who will report from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Sunday. Costas will be joined on site by Collinsworth, Tafoya, and two-time Super Bowl winner Hines Ward.

Dan Patrick co-hosts Football Night from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 and will be joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN and NBCSports.com, and Peter King of Sports Illustrated. Kathryn Tappen will report from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on the Broncos-Patriots game.

VIDEO: TONY DUNGY PREVIEWS RAVENS-STEELERS

Dungy on Roethlisberger and Steelers: “He’s gotten confidence in Le’Veon Bell. They’re running the ball – the protection is so much better and shored up – and Ben Roethlisberger has played outstanding the last two weeks.”

Dungy on Ravens-Steelers and AFC North implications: “I really like Baltimore. Right now, they’re the most complete team (in the division). This game will do a lot in determining where these teams go. Pittsburgh cannot afford to go 0-2 against Baltimore. They need to break even if they are going to have a chance to win this division.”

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

For the seventh consecutive season, Sunday Night Football will be streamed live online. NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product, will stream all SNF games to desktops and tablets. The full HD-quality video stream will come directly from NBC’s broadcast of SNF. For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available at the App Store for iPad and iPod touch, and on select tablet devices within Google Play.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL DIGITAL COVERAGE

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ALL-ACCESS SNF All-Access includes exclusive photos and videos of the Sunday Night Football production team, look-ins on SNF production meetings, Michele Tafoya’s “Ten With Tafoya” interviews with NFL players, and conversations with SNF and FNIA talent.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SOCIAL MEDIA:

NBC Sports Group’s comprehensive social media coverage includes the Sunday Night Football Facebook page, providing exclusive behind-the-scenes SNF content & digital content from NBCSports.comSNF All AccessProFootballTalk.com, and Rotoworld.com, @SNFonNBC, using tweets, photos, Vines and videos & real-time tweets from Michele Tafoya, and a look at SNF through the filters of Instagram.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL BUS

NBC Sports Group’s Sunday Night Football bus returns this season to travel the country visiting the host cities of all 17 Sunday Night Football games and postseason games, including Super Bowl XLIX. The bus arrives in each city two to three days prior to the game and stops at local landmarks and events, where fans have the opportunity to interact with America’s most-watched primetime television show via exclusive memorabilia, and an interactive 55-inch touch screen housing social media elements, photos and video. Fans can digitally follow the Sunday Night Football bus at NBCSports.com/FollowSNF.

“THE SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL”

For the third consecutive season NBC Sports presents “The Sunday Night Football,” a custom-made football from Wilson, which will travel with the SNF crew all season. Fans of SNF on Facebook and Twitter can keep up with “The Sunday Night Football” on the SNF Facebook page, and at the end of each SNF game, “The Sunday Night Football” will be signed by the player of the game.

For more information on Sunday Night Football’s comprehensive digital coverage, click here: http://nbcsportsgrouppressbox.com/2014/08/28/nbc-sports-group-surrounds-week-1-of-2014-nfl-season-with-nfl-kickoff-2014-and-sunday-night-football/

NFL TURNING POINT – TONIGHT AT 10:30 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

Tonight’s all new edition of NFL Turning Point, NBCSN’s Emmy Award-nominated weekly NFL show co-produced by NFL Films, will feature in-depth analysis of some of Week 8’s most compelling matchups, including the New Orleans Saints upset over the Green Bay Packers. Airing tomorrow night at 10:30 p.m. ET, the episode will also review the key moments that defined the Eagles-Cardinals, Falcons-Lions and Bengals–Ravens contests.

In addition, NFL Turning Point will bring viewers inside an NFL film study session with Miami Dolphins DE Cameron Wake.

Click here for more info: http://nbcsportsgrouppressbox.com/2014/10/28/packers-saints-headline-new-episode-of-nfl-turning-point-tomorrow-night-at-11-p-m-et-on-nbcsn/

PRO FOOTBALL TALK ON NBCSN WEEKNIGHTS, 5:30 P.M. ET

Pro Football Talk, NBCSN’s daily NFL studio show co-hosted by Mike Florio and Paul Burmeister, airs at 5:30 p.m. ET every Monday through Friday. Pro Football Talk provides all-encompassing coverage of the NFL, and features a roster of NBC Sports football commentators who share a combined eight Super Bowl titles and 169 seasons of NFL experience, including Cris Collinsworth (Thursdays), Tony Dungy (Tuesdays), Hines Ward (Wednesdays), Doug Flutie (Fridays), Jason Taylor, Takeo Spikes, Brian Westbrook, Ross Tucker, Jon Ritchie, NFL coach Kevin Gilbride, and longtime NFL athletic trainer Mike Ryan.

FANTASY FOOTBALL LIVE ON NBCSN TUESDAY – THURSDAY NIGHTS, 6:30 P.M. ET

Fantasy Football Live is a live and on-demand, multi-platform, fantasy football program that airs Tuesday through Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, combining the best fantasy football expertise from Yahoo! Sports and NBC Sports, including unique metrics from Yahoo! Sports’ leading fantasy football platform, and full integration with NBC Sports’ premier fantasy sports information site, Rotoworld.com.

Hosted by NBC Sports’ Dave Briggs,  Fantasy Football Live features a roster of Yahoo Sports, NBC Sports and Rotoworld fantasy analysts, including Rotoworld’s Kay Adams, as well as Yahoo Sports’ Brad EvansBrandon Funston and Andy Behrens.

NBCSN SUNDAY SPORTS REPORT SUNDAY NIGHTS, 11:30 P.M. ET

NBCSN Sunday Sports Report, a new, weekly, one-hour program that showcases the news and highlights of the sports properties that are carried by NBC Sports Group, airs every Sunday night at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Hosted by Liam McHugh, NBCSN Sunday Sports Report goes in-depth into the high-profile sports properties that primarily air on NBC and NBCSN, including the Olympics, NFL, NASCAR, NHL, Premier League, golf, Triple Crown horse racing, Notre Dame Football, Formula One, IndyCar and more.

Click here for more info: http://nbcsportsgrouppressbox.com/2014/07/14/nbcsn-sunday-sports-report-premieres-august-17/

NBC SPORTS RADIO

NBC Sports Radio will surround the 2014 NFL season with daily coverage on 439 radio affiliates, highlighted by McNabb and Malone; an all-sports show that leverages the unique perspective of two former NFL quarterbacks, and Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison; featuring three-time All Pro and two-time Super Bowl-winner Rodney Harrison.

To listen to a live stream of NBC Sports Radio, or find your local affiliate, visit www.NBCSportsRadio.com

NBC SPORTS REGIONAL NETWORKS

NBC Sports Regional Networks, which serve top NFL markets such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston and San Francisco, will surround the 2014 NFL season with in-depth news, analysis and original programming on the teams that matter most in more than 43 million U.S. households.

2014 SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

NBC will broadcast 19 primetime NFL games during the 2014 regular season including NBC’s annual Thanksgiving night game, featuring the heated NFC West rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

2014 NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
DATE WEEK MATCHUP
*Sun. Nov. 2 Week 9 Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
*Sun. Nov. 9 Week 10 Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
*Sun. Nov. 16 Week 11 New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
*Sun. Nov. 23 Week 12 Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
**Thurs. Nov. 27 Week 13 Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
*Sun. Nov. 30 Week 13 Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
*Sun. Dec. 7 Week 14 New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers
*Sun. Dec. 14 Week 15 Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
*Sun. Dec. 21 Week 16 Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
*Sun. Dec. 28 Week 17 TBA

*Flex Week

** Thanksgiving Night Game

Follow “Sunday Night Football” on Twitter @SNFonNBC

Become a fan of “Sunday Night Football” on Facebook at: Facebook.com/SNFonNBC

Follow “Sunday Night Football” on Instagram @snfonnbc

Visit SNF All-Access at: http://snfallaccess.nbcsports.com/

For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com

–NBC SPORTS GROUP–

Brady vs. Manning Features Highlight Week 9 NFL Content on ESPN

Sunday NFL Countdown logoBrady vs. Manning Features Highlight Week 9 NFL Content on ESPN

Sunday NFL Countdown: Brady and Manning – Best of SNL; Cardinals WR John Brown; Seahawks Gnome; and More

Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis will preview week 8 on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 10 a.m. Anchor/host Wendi Nix will handle select segments, while NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news.

ESPN reporters at game sites:

·         Cardinals at Cowboys (Ed Werder and Ron Jaworski)

·         Eagles at Texans (Josina Anderson)

·         Chargers at Dolphins (Britt McHenry)

·         Broncos at Patriots (Sal Paolantonio)

Features:

·         Brady and Manning – Best of SNL: Off the field, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have both served as guest hosts of Saturday Night Live, America’s premier sketch comedy and variety show. Countdown presents some of the best moments of these two quarterbacks hosting SNL.

·         Playing with Manning and Brady: In their own words, some of the players who have played with both quarterbacks – WR Wes Welker, C Dan Koppen and DT/FB Dan Klecko – share the similarities, differences, strengths and weaknesses of these Hall of Fame-bound quarterbacks.

·         Brady-Manning – Through the Years: Countdown relives the journey for Brady and Manning with a vignette dating back to their childhood, through pee wee football, high school, college football, and their careers in the NFL.

·         Aqib Talib: In a one-on-one conversation with Countdown’s Michelle Beisner, Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, formerly with the Patriots, discusses being teammates with Manning and Brady, playing for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and more

·         Arizona Cardinals’ John Brown: After watching his half-brother James Walker die following nine months in a coma after being shot, John Brown vowed to make it to the NFL – a dream that bound the two brothers together. SportsCenter host Jade McCarthy, in her first report for Countdown, tells how the Cardinals rookie receiver has turned the tragedy into a motivating force behind his success in the National Football League.

·         The Seattle Gnome: After the Seahawks won the Super Bowl last season, a Seattle couple had the Seahawks gnome in their garden stolen. The gnome mysteriously re-appeared on the opening night of the 2014 season, along with a calendar of pictures showing the many places the gnome had travelled – San Francisco, Yellowstone Park, Las Vegas, and more. ESPN.com’s Greg Garber chronicles the mysterious off-season journey of a Seahawks gnome.

·         Frank Caliendo – Jon Gruden, The History Teacher: Countdown comedian Frank Caliendo plays ESPN Monday Night Football analyst and Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden as an American history teacher, including a Bob Ley cameo role as the school principal.

Andrew Luck and the Colts Face Eli Manning and the Giants on ESPN’s Monday Night Football

Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts will face Eli Manning and the New York Giants on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on Nov. 3, at 8:15 p.m. The MNF booth team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call the game from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., with sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

MNF is also televised on ESPN Deportes and available on WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers.

The ESPN NFL lineup Monday begins with NFL Primetime (2 p.m.), followed by NFL Insiders (3 p.m.), NFL Live (4 p.m.) and the MNF pregame show Monday Night Countdown at 6 p.m. Countdown will originate from New Jersey with Suzy Kolber and NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young and from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., with studio host Chris Berman, NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Monday Night Countdown features:

·         Soundtracks – Andrew Luck: In his third NFL season, Luck leads the league in passing yards and touchdowns and has thrown for 300+ yards in six straight games.  Luck, wired for in-game audio during the Colts’ week 5 win over the Ravens, is the subject of this week’s Soundtracks.

·         Gruden’s Grill Session with Ahmad Bradshaw: MNF’s Gruden sits with Colts running back Bradshaw, who talks about the matchup against his former team in this week’s Grill Session.

·         Rick Reilly’s Feature – Steve Weatherford: Weatherford might not only have the best physique on the New York Giants team, the punter is arguably at the top among active NFL players. Countdown’s Reilly reports on Weatherford’s non-stop energy in the gym, as well as his service to the community.

NFL Matchup – Patriots Defense vs. Manning; Carson Palmer to John Brown; Roethlisberger Throwing with Anticipation; and More

NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s key matchups via fill room Xs and Os analysis Saturday, Nov. 1, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-air on ESPN, Sunday at 3:30 a.m.).  Highlights:

·         Inside the Matchup – Patriots Defense vs. Manning: Jaworski and Hoge take a deep dive into how the Patriots will mix up their defensive schemes against Broncos receivers to stall the Peyton Manning-led offense.

·         X and O Files – Tom Brady Sack vs. Chiefs: In a key matchup versus a speedy Broncos pass rush, the Patriots offensive line must protect Tom Brady better than they did against the Chiefs’ in week 4.

·         Blitz Breakdown – Redskins Pressure Confuses Romo: The Redskins were able to bring pressure and disrupt the Cowboys passing game – something Tony Romo and his offensive line must fix before their matchup with the heavy-blitzing Arizona Cardinals defense.

·         Game Changer – Carson Palmer to John Brown: The Cardinals designed a perfect play to beat the Eagles defense last week, creating a matchup for speedy rookie wide receiver John Brown for the winning score.

·         Anatomy of a Play – Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill shows his development as a passer by throwing a perfect touchdown to receiver Mike Wallace in the back of the end zone.

·         Hoge Breakdown – Roethlisberger Throwing with Anticipation: Hoge shows how the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger found his groove against the Colts, making perfect throws to his receivers by trusting they would be open against tight coverage.

·         Between the Lines – Luck to Hilton Touchdown: Jaworski explains how the big play ability of receiver T.Y. Hilton, and the downfield passing attack of the Colts, will be key in this week’s matchup against the Giants.

·         Coaches Clicker – Arian Foster’s Big Numbers: Jaworski and Hoge contend that if Houston wants to beat Philadelphia on Sunday, they will have to feed the ball to running back Arian Foster, who is compiling an impressive season in a well-designed running game. 

NFL on ESPN Radio: Nick Foles and the Eagles at J.J. Watt and the Texans Sunday

On Sunday, Nov. 2, at 12 p.m., ESPN Radio will broadcast Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles visiting J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. Play-by-play voice Mark Kestecher will describe the action with reporter Ian Fitzsimmons.

Mike & Mike Celebrate Halloween in Foxborough on Fall Football Tour

ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike will broadcast live from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31, as part of ESPN Audio’s annual Fall Football Tour.  The show will preview the New England Patriots game against the Denver Broncos this weekend, and will feature Greeny and Golic dressed in Patriots-themed costumes.  Mike & Mike airs weekdays 6 – 10 a.m. on ESPN Radio via terrestrial stations, ESPNRadio.com, the ESPN Radio app, SiriusXM, iTunes Radio, Slacker, TuneIn and is simulcast on ESPN2.

Also, the show launched its “Who’s In? Mike & Mike at the College Football Playoff” contest earlier this week, in which listeners have the opportunity to win a trip to the College Football Championship game in Dallas.

ESPN.com NFL “Hot Read”

Ahead of the matchup between the two top NFL quarterbacks – Tom Brady and Peyton Manning – ESPN.com features a three-pronged “Hot Read” on the matchup. Highlights:

·         Brady-Manning Finish Line: Insight from a roundtable of eight ESPN experts – Mike Reiss, Jackie MacMullan, Jeff Saturday, Bill Williamson, Kevin Seifert, Tedy Bruschi, Jeff Legwold and Field Yates – on what to expect in the last few years of the Hall of Fame careers of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

·         The ESPN Stats and Info blog delves into numbers and analysis via a “Next-Level” look inside the matchup of Brady vs. Manning.

·         Broncos-Patriots Salary Comparison: While Denver seems to have gone all-in on quarterback Peyton Manning’s championship window, New England seems unwilling to mortgage the future for Tom Brady. ESPN.com NFL Nation writer Kevin Seifert on how both organizations are building their teams to take advantage of the championship windows of their Hall of Fame-bound quarterbacks.

E:60 Profiles Cam Newton

ESPN’s award-winning newsmagazine, E:60, will profile Carolina Panthers quarterback and 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton on Tuesday, Nov. 4 (8 p.m., ESPN). Summary:

Cam Newton is used to being number one. He was the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He led his Auburn Tigers to the 2010 BCS National Championship. That season he also won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award and the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s top quarterback. Even his jersey with the Panthers is #1. It’s been this way since his father pushed him into youth football, and since he starred as a high school quarterback in Atlanta, GA. Greatness has been always been expected of Newton. But now in his fourth season with Carolina, many are wondering if he will reach the same heights in the NFL. Reporting for E:60, ESPN First Take host Cari Champion tells the story of the immensely talented Cam Newton, to whom much was given, and of whom even more is expected. Newton recounts, along with his father, the past incidents that cast doubt upon his integrity, and describes the maturation that could ultimately deliver the NFL success so many expect. Preview.

 

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FOX Sports Programming Highlights: MLB, NFL, Soccer & More

fox-sports-logoFOX SPORTS HIGHLIGHTS – 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

MLB: For Only the Second Time Since 2002 – World Series Game 7 on FOX with San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals

NFL: NFC West Leaders Cardinals at NFC East Leaders Cowboys on FOX

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No. 5 Oregon Hosts Stanford in Key Pac-12 Battle on FOX

*******************************************************************************************************

MLB

WORLD SERIES GAME 7 TONIGHT ON FOX

For just the second time since 2002, baseball fans get a World Series Game 7 as the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals battle for the 2014 World Series title tonight on FOX (7:00 PM ET) live from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO.

Kevin Burkhardt anchors FOX’s extended 60-minute pregame show and is joined by Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher and MLB on FOX analyst Gabe Kapler, both past World Series Champions, in addition to Hall of Famer Frank Thomas.

Seven-time Emmy award-winner Joe Buck handles play-by-play for Game 7 with analysis from Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci. MLB insider Ken Rosenthal and veteran Erin Andrews report from the field.

Immediately following Game 7 on the broadcast network, FOX Sports 1’s FOX SPORTS LIVE recaps and analyzes the game with former MLB players Eric Karros and C.J. Nitkowski. The program features game highlights from Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole.

  • World Series Game 7: San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals
    • FOX, FOX Deportes & FOX Sports GO, TONIGHT, Oct. 29 (7:00 PM ET)

 

NFL

ENTERTAINING NFL SINGLEHEADER SLATE ON FOX HIGHLIGHTED BY CARDINALS AT COWBOYS THIS SUNDAY

Week 9 of the NFL season is upon us and the NFL on FOX rolls on with another exciting matchup as the Arizona Cardinals visit the Dallas Cowboys from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, at 1:00 PM ET this Sunday. After calling MLB Postseason coverage on FOX and FOX Sports 1, play-by-play announcer Joe Buck rejoins his football broadcast partner Troy Aikman in the booth. NFL reporter Erin Andrews contributes from the sidelines.

FOX Sports’ NFL coverage begins each Sunday on FOX Sports 1 with FOX NFL KICKOFF at 11:00 AM ET with host Joel Klatt and analysts Donovan McNabb, Dave Wannstedt and Randy Moss. On the FOX broadcast network, FOX NFL SUNDAY immediately follows FOX NFL KICKOFF at 12:00 PM ET with co-hosts Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee alongside analysts Howie Long, Michael Strahan, Jimmy Johnson, insider Jay Glazer and rules analyst Mike Pereira.

Sunday, November 2

GAME                                                                       PLAY-BY-PLAY/ANALYST/SIDELINE         COV.                 TIME (ET) 

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys                 Joe Buck, Troy Aikman                             63%                       1:00PM 

                                                                                          & Erin Andrews    

AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas

MARKETS INCLUDE: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Charlotte, Nashville, Hartford, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Greenville, West Palm Beach, Las Vegas, Austin, Birmingham, Oklahoma City, Greensboro, Albuquerque, Jacksonville, Louisville, Memphis, Buffalo, New Orleans, Providence, Tulsa, Knoxville, Fort Myers

Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans                Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston               7%                          1:00PM

          & On-field analyst Tony Siragusa

NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas

MARKETS INCLUDE: Philadelphia, Houston, Indianapolis

 

Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings       Chris Myers, Ronde Barber                    10%                        1:00PM                                                                                            & Jennifer Hale

TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minn.

MARKETS INCLUDE: Washington, Minneapolis, Raleigh, Baltimore, Norfolk, Richmond

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cleveland Browns    Thom Brennanman, David Diehl          8%                          1:00PM   

         & Laura Okmin

FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, Ohio

MARKETS INCLUDE: Tampa, Cleveland, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Dayton

 

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers                Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch               11%                      4:05PM                                                                                              & Pam Oliver

Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, Calif.

MARKETS INCLUDE: San Francisco, Miami, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Diego, Kansas City, Cincinnati

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

KEY PAC-12 BATTLES HIGHLIGHT COLLEGE FOOTBALL ON FOX AND FOX SPORTS 1

  • Network/When/Talent:

o   No. 19 Oklahoma at Iowa State

  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Nov. 1 (12:00 PM ET)
  • Craig Bolerjack and Ryan Nece
  • #OUvsISU

o   Western Kentucky University vs. Louisiana Tech

  • FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Nov. 1 (3:00 PM ET)
  • Brendan Burke, Ben Leber and Christian Steckel
  • #WKUvsLATech

o   Kansas at No. 12 Baylor

  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Nov. 1 (4:00 PM ET)
  • Aaron Goldsmith and Brian Baldinger
  • #KUvsBAYLOR

o   Stanford at No. 5 Oregon

  • FOX, FOX Deportes  & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Nov. 1 (7:30 PM ET)
  • Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Molly McGrath
  • #STANvsORE
  • Deportes: Felipe Valenzuela and Erika Garza

o   Texas at Texas Tech

  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Nov. 1 (7:30 PM ET)
  • Tim Brando and Brady Quinn
  • #TEXASvsTTU

o   Southern Miss at UTEP

  • FOX College Sports & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Nov. 1 (8:00 PM ET)
  • Mike Morgan, JC Pearson and Steffi Sorensen
  • #USMvsUTEP

o   No. 18 Utah at No. 15 Arizona State

  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Nov. 1 (11:00 PM ET)
  • Joe Davis, Joey Harrington and Kris Budden
  • #UTAHvsASU
  • This Week: FOX and FOX Sports 1 carry a pair of huge Pac-12 battles, as the top two teams in the North Division – No. 5 Oregon and Stanford – square off on FOX and FOX Deportes (7:30 PM ET), while two of the top three teams in the South Division – No. 15 Arizona State and No. 18 Utah – meet on FOX Sports 1. Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Molly McGrath call the action live from Autzen Stadium. Joe Davis, Joey Harrington and Kris Budden call the action from Tempe as the Sun Devils and Utes battle for the top spot in the division. FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREGAME, hosted by Rob Stone with analysts Joel Klatt and Dave Wannstedt, gets fans ready for kickoff of Stanford-Oregon. The pregame show begins at 6:30 PM ET on FOX.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BILL RAFTERY GOES IN-DEPTH ON BIG EAST HOOPS WITH BILL RAFTERY’S BIG EAST PREVIEW

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, Sunday, Nov. 2 (9:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Host Rob Stone with analysts Bill Raftery and Jim Jackson
  • This Week: In this one-hour special, FOX Sports’ lead college basketball analyst Bill Raftery selects his preseason All-Conference team, while the group breaks down each team’s roster and schedule, and hears from coaches and players from around the conference. Stone, Raftery and Jackson discuss which teams are poised for breakout seasons, who will cut down the nets at Madison Square Garden in March and much more.

FOX SPORTS OPENS COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON WITH HISTORIC EXHIBITION CONTEST

  • Network/When:

o   Northwood at Villanova (exhibition)

  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Tuesday, Nov. 4 (7:00 PM ET)
  • This Week: FOX Sports opens its coverage of the 2014-15 college basketball season with an historic matchup between Villanova and Northwood on Tuesday, Nov. 4 (7:00 PM ET) on FOX Sports 1. Northwood head coach Rollie Massimino served as Villanova’s head coach from 1973-92, leading the Wildcats to the 1985 NCAA Championship and meets his former squad as the program celebrates the 30th anniversary of its national title.

 

STUDIO SHOWS

FOX SPORTS LIVE – WORLD SERIES GAME 7 POSTGAME COVERAGE, EXTENDED NBA HIGHLIGHTS AS REGULAR SEASON BEGINS: THURSDAY NIGHT NFL POSTGAME

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, nightly (11:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Jay Onrait, Dan O’Toole, Jay Glazer, Gabe Kapler, Joel Klatt, Eric Karros, Matt Leinart, Donovan McNabb, Randy Moss, CJ Nitkowski, Petros Papadakis, Brady Quinn, Ephraim Salaam.
  • This Week: Few things in sports rival the excitement of a Game 7 in a championship series. And thanks to the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, baseball fans are treated to just that on Wednesday night. After a dominating win in Game 6, the Royals forced a deciding finale and FOX SPORTS LIVE delivers comprehensive coverage of the Fall Classic with a post-trophy presentation postgame show. The show is highlighted by immediate reaction and analysis recapping all the action, anchored at the outfield plaza set by Kevin Burkhardt, who is joined by regular FOX SPORTS 1 analysts Gabe Kapler and Frank Thomas, in addition to current Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher. Exclusive interviews and site hits also come courtesy of reporters Erin Andrews, Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, who are on-hand to capture postgame reactions from both coaches and players. The dawn of the new NBA season is here as the league officially began regular season play Tuesday night. In step with the action, FOX SPORTS LIVE welcomes analysts Jim Jackson and Gary Payton back to the studio, joining insider Bill Reiter for nightly analysis and discussions recapping all the games and updating the many storylines. Thursday night kicks off this week’s NFL action with an NFC South showdown between the New Orleans Saints visiting the Carolina Panthers. A wide-open division that currently sees all four teams with losing records, Thursday’s game holds long-term divisional implications for both teams as the season makes its turn to the second half. FOX SPORTS LIVE has postgame reaction from insider Jay Glazer and analysts Donovan McNabb and Ephraim Salaam, breaking down all of the action.

FOX SPORTS LIVE: COUNTDOWN TO KICK OFF FEATURES TALKBACK WITH TOP HEISMAN CONTENDER MARIOTA

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, Friday evenings (This week: 12:00 AM ET)
  • Talent: Matt Leinart, Petros Papadakis, Joel Klatt, Clay Travis, Mike Hill, Todd Fuhrman, Bruce Feldman, Dave Wannstedt, Stewart Mandel
  • This Week: College football coverage remains an emphasis during the week, leading up to Friday’s sixth installment of FOX SPORTS LIVE: COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF. The hour-long show counts down the sport’s 10 biggest stories of the week with a stable of insiders and information men that includes Bruce Feldman, Stewart Mandel and Clay Travis, who provide up-to-the-minute reporting and insight on programs from across the nation. Former players Joel Klatt, Petros Papadakis and Matt Leinart are on-hand, joining longtime collegiate and professional coach Dave Wannstedt for game analysis and breakdowns. University of Oregon junior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota is interviewed via satellite. The Hawaiian signal caller is enjoying his finest season and with the Ducks at No. 5 in the initial rankings for the College Football Playoff, Mariota leads the 7-1 squad into a Pac-12 showdown this week at home against Stanford. The game is set for Saturday, Nov. 1 (7:30 PM ET) on FOX, and Mariota previews the game while also evaluating his Heisman candidacy as the regular season enters its final month.

AMERICA’S PREGAME – WORLD SERIES GAME 7 PREGAME, TALKBACKS WITH SABERHAGEN AND MORRIS WEDNESDAY, CARDINALS LB FOOTE THURSDAY, NASCAR LEGEND JEFF GORDON FRIDAY

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, weekdays (6:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Mike Hill, Molly McGrath, CJ Nitkowski, Kirk Morrison, Ephraim Salaam, Brady Quinn, Jill Arrington, Royce Clayton, Jay Glazer
  • This Week: With the World Series drawing to its dramatic conclusion in the form of a Game 7 on Wednesday night, AMERICA’S PREGAME is the one-stop shop for the build-up to the deciding game. Wednesday’s extended 90-minute show includes a satellite interview with 1985 World Series MVP and former Kansas City Royals’ two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Bret Saberhagen, previewing Game 7. Analysts Royce Clayton, Eric Karros and CJ Nitkowski are in studio, while insiders Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal report from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, contributing live interviews with players and coaches from the series. The show also takes extended site hits from the pregame crew of Kevin Burkhardt, Gabe Kapler, Frank Thomas and Nick Swisher from the outfield set. The Arizona Cardinals are one of the surprises of the NFL this season and enter Week 9 atop the ultra-competitive NFC West with a 6-1 record. Despite a number of injuries at key positions, the Cardinals have been powered, in part, by their excellent defense and 13-year veteran linebacker Larry Foote joins APG on Thursday for a satellite interview to discuss the team’s first half and looming matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Four-time NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES champion and current points’ leader Jeff Gordon joins APG on Friday from Texas Motor Speedway, where the series competes this weekend. With three races remaining in 2014 and two left in the Eliminator Round, Gordon and other contenders look to knock down a win and automatic advancement into the final, one-race Champion’s Round in the season finale at Homestead.

 

NASCAR

A WIN AND SPOT IN FINAL CHASE ROUND UP FOR GRABS AT TEXAS; TRUCK SERIES OFFERS TRICKS & TREATS FOR FANS ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT LIVE ON FOX SPORTS 1 — Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Martinsville Speedway last weekend, robbing the eight remaining contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Eliminator Round of a win and subsequent automatic advancement to the final round of the championship. In addition, usually dominant drivers Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski suffered miserable outings, digging deep holes in the point standings with only two races remaining in the third of four rounds in the Chase.

Headed into Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with three races remaining in 2014, four-time champion Jeff Gordon leads Ryan Newman (-3), Joey Logano (-4), Matt Kenseth (-5), Denny Hamlin (-7), Carl Edwards (-20), Keselowski (-31) and Harvick (-33).  A win in any of the Eliminator Round’s three races automatically advances a driver to the final, one-race Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway, for which only four drivers qualify.

FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Sports GO offer 12.5 total hours of live NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES, NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES coverage this weekend from Texas, beginning Friday, Oct. 31 at 12:00 PM ET.  The Truck Series competes under the lights on Halloween night, kicking off with NCWTS SETUP live on FOX Sports 1 at 8:00 PM ET.

Defending Truck Series champion Matt Crafton continues his quest to become the first Truck Series champion to win consecutive titles. Last week at Martinsville, he slightly stretched his lead over second-place Ryan Blaney to 18 points, followed by Darrell Wallace Jr. (-22), Johnny Sauter (-40) and Timothy Peters (-77).

LARRY MCREYNOLDS SAYS RYAN NEWMAN HAS BEEN A SURPRISE THUS FAR IN THE CHASE: “Ryan Newman is playing with house money right now because he is one of three drivers who barely got into the Chase, and he had no wins in the first 26 races. I felt consistency would get him through the Challenger Round but didn’t think it would get him past the Contender Round. In the first 26 races, he only had two top-five finishes. In the last five races of the Chase, he’s had five consecutive top-10 finishes and now two consecutive top-five finishes at Talladega and Martinsville. Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning Martinsville (and not a Chase contender) could play right into Newman’s wheelhouse (on advancing into the final round).”

MCREYNOLDS THINKS KEVIN HARVICK’S FRUSTRATION WITH MATT KENSETH COULD BECOME A DISTRACTION IN HARVICK’S TITLE PURSUIT: “I was a little puzzled with everything I saw (from Harvick at Martinsville). I know Kevin Harvick had to be wondering how in the world that accident happened. When he was sitting in his car in the garage, he called the camera man over to watch the replay on the monitor. I guess in Harvick’s mind, he’s wondering why Kenseth is driving that far over his head when they’re not even at the halfway point of the race. And, of course, when he got back out, he tried to brake-check Kenseth and just about put the radiator up in the firewall. I’m not sure Kenseth did anything intentional to Harvick, though.    It’s hard to control Kevin Harvick’s emotions, but Rodney Childers is the leader of that No. 4 team. He has to get his focus back. Focusing on Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 car right now will help Harvick accomplish nothing. Focus on Texas and Phoenix. That’s the dot on the radar right now.”

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES RACE FROM TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  • Network/When:  FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Oct. 31 (8:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Adam Alexander, Phil Parsons, Michael Waltrip, Ray Dunlap and Hermie Sadler

NCWTS SETUP FROM TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Oct. 31 (8:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Krista Voda, Adam Alexander, Phil Parsons, Michael Waltrip, Bob Dillner, Ray Dunlap and Hermie Sadler
  • This Week: NCWTS SETUP offers a flashback to the spring Texas race, won by defending champion Matt Crafton, as well as a look back at last week’s Martinsville race, won by Darrell Wallace Jr., driving the No. 34 in a special tribute to Wendell Scott; a feature on four-time champ Ron Hornaday Jr. in what may be his last Truck Series start; a review of what took place between Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter at Martinsville after the Martinsville race; a feature with Sauter and former Dallas Cowboys player Randy White as the series heads to the Cowboys’ backyard; and the NCWTS SETUP cameras follow Darrell Wallace Jr. as he makes an appearance at the grand opening of the Toyota facility in Plano, Texas.

 

NASCAR RACE HUB

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Monday through Thursday (5:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Co-hosts Danielle Trotta, Adam Alexander and John Roberts; analysts Matt Clark, Ray Dunlap, Bob Dillner, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds
  • This Week: Halloween “Frankendriver” feature in which NASCAR RACE HUB’s “nutty professor,” Larry McReynolds, and his sidekick Ray Dunlap, dissect parts of various drivers to create their ultimate driver (brain, heart, hands/car control, etc.); several drivers share their favorite Halloween memories; “Simmering Feuds” feature showcasing the fact all eight Chase drivers recently have had a feud with another Chase driver; full Texas preview and “Let it Ride” odds segment for Texas on Thursday, Oct. 30.
  • Next Week: Driver/analyst AJ Allmendinger on Monday, Nov. 3.

 

NASCAR RACEDAY FROM TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, Nov. 2 (1:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: John Roberts, Kenny Wallace, Larry McReynolds, Kaitlyn Vincie and Rutledge Wood
  • This Week: Sit-down interviews with Chase contenders Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman.

 

UFC

UFC FIGHT FLASHBACK: VELASQUEZ VS DOS SANTOS III

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Wednesday, Oct. 29 (7:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos
  • This Week: Witness-never-before seen images from the final chapter of the greatest heavyweight trilogy of all-time when champion Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos battle for the UFC heavyweight belt at UFC 166. From the final moments leading up to their epic title clash, through the unforgettable aftermath, this is an all-access account of UFC heavyweight champion Velasquez’s thrilling grudge match against the only man to ever beat him, dos Santos. Watch the main event from all new vantage points, including super slow-motion film cameras, both corners mic’d up, and Velasquez’s teammate Josh Thomson’s blow-by-blow account. Witness exclusive reactions from fellow UFC fighters, UFC president Dana White, and star Houston Rockets players Dwight Howard and James Harden who were on hand.

 

UFC TONIGHT INTERVIEWS BISPING, STANN GUEST CO-HOST

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Wednesday, Oct. 29 (8:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Daniel Cormier, Brian Stann, Karyn Bryant, Ariel Helwani
  • This Week: On UFC TONIGHT, Cormier and Bryant are joined in the studio by guest co-host Brian Stann. They interview Michael Bisping before his fight next week versus Luke Rockhold. Ariel Helwani interviews Anderson Silva about his expected return in January. They also catch up with Dr. Robert Klapper. Plus, Helwani and Bryant add reports.

THE UTLIMATE FIGHTER: #5 DALY BATTLES #12 MAGANA FOR SHOT IN QUARTERFINALS

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Wednesday, Oct. 29 (10:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, Dana White
  • This Week: This week on THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER, Aisling Daly’s struggles get UFC president Dana White’s attention. Tecia Torres’ return to the competition angers some fighters. Then, in the sixth fight of the tournament, Team Pettis pits No. 5-ranked Daly against No. 12-ranked Angela Magana for a chance to advance to the quarterfinals.

UFC ULTIMATE KNOCKOUTS FEATURES TITLE FIGHT KNOCKOUTS

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Monday, Nov. 3 (10:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Chuck Liddell, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Cain Velasquez
  • This Week: Watch these nasty knockouts decide epic title fights on UFC ULTIMATE KNOCKOUTS’ championship edition. The sport’s greats like Chuck Liddell, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Cain Velasquez and more rise to the occasion when the belt is on the line.

SOCCER

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGES CONTINUE TUESDAY

  • This Week: The highly competitive group stages resume with two entertaining encounters as Liverpool takes on Real Madrid on Tuesday, and Ajax faces Barcelona on Wednesday – both matches on FOX Sports 1. Match Day 4 also features top English teams Arsenal and Manchester City in action on FOX Sports 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. MULTIMATCH 90, the live UEFA Champions League whip-around show, continues on FOX Soccer 2Go and FOX Soccer Plus.
  • Talent: Rob Stone hosts pregame, halftime and postgame coverage in studio alongside analysts Eric Wynalda, Warren Barton and Brian McBride. Sports Illustrated senior columnist and FOX Sports soccer insider Grant Wahl also joins in studio.
  • Network/When:

           

Tuesday, Nov. 4                    Match                                                 Network

2:00 PM          UEFA Champions League Pregame              FS1, FS2, FSN, Plus

2:30 PM          Real Madrid vs Liverpool                                FOX Sports 1

2:30 PM          Arsenal vs Anderlecht                                     FOX Sports 2

2:30 PM          Juventus vs Olympiacos                                FOX Sports Net

2:30 PM          MULTIMATCH 90                                          FOX Soccer Plus

2:45 PM          Malmö FF vs Atlético Madrid                                     DirecTV

11:50 AM        Zenit vs Bayer Leverkusen                             Plus/DirecTV

2:45 PM          Basel vs Ludogorets                                       DirecTV

2:45 PM          SL Benfica vs AS Monaco                             DirecTV

2:45 PM          Borussia Dortmund vs Galatasaray               DirecTV

Wednesday, Nov. 5               Match                                                 Network

2:00 PM          UEFA Champions League Pregame              FS1, FS2, FSN, Plus

2:30 PM          Ajax vs Barcelona                                           FOX Sports 1

2:30 PM          Manchester City vs CSKA Moskva               FOX Sports 2

2:30 PM          NK Maribor vs Chelsea                                  FOX Sports Net

2:30 PM          MULTIMATCH 90                                          FOX Soccer Plus

2:45 PM          Bayern München vs AS Roma                      DirecTV

2:45 PM          Paris Saint-Germain vs APOEL                     DirecTV

2:45 PM          Sporting Lisbon vs FC Schalke                      DirecTV

2:45 PM          Shakhtar Donetsk vs FC BATE Borisov        DirecTV

2:45 PM          Athletic BIlbao vs FC Porto                            DirecTV

BOXING

GOLDEN BOY BOXING PRESENTS BOSTON “MONSTER BRAWL” FEATURING WELTERWEIGHTS O’CONNOR VS. FARMER

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Oct. 10 (10:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Brian Custer, Paulie Malignaggi and Jessica Rosales
  • This Week: Golden Boy Live! takes Plymouth Memorial Hall by storm on Thursday, October 30 with a special Halloween Eve “Monster Brawl” brought to fight fans by Golden Boy Promotions and Murphys Boxing, featuring the main event 10-round welterweight bout pitting former U.S. Olympic Team member Danny O’Connor (23-2, 7 KOs) against the tough and determined Andrew Farmer (18-2, 7 KOs). In the co-main event, lightweight contender Sharif Bogere (25-1, 17 KOs) faces the experienced Fernando Garcia in a 10-round bout. The televised opener will showcase Irish standout Jason Quigley (2-0, 2 KOs) in a four-round middleweight bout against Thomas Gifford. “I’m really looking forward to calling these fights, which showcase a lot of East Coast talent and up-and-coming stars,” says FOX Sports boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi. “There is always something extra exciting about watching fighters fight close to home and I think fans will see that.”

ORIGINALS

 

SPADE RIDES THREE-GAME WIN STREAK TO CLIMB WITHIN ONE GAME OF LEADERS ON FANTASY FOOTBALL UNCENSORED

  • Network/When:  FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Thursday, Oct. 30 (7:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Jay Glazer
  • This Week: Comedian/actor David Spade has reeled off three wins in a row to move to 4-4 on the season, climbing out of the cellar and to within striking distance of the leaders heading into Week 9 of FANTASY FOOTBALL UNCENSORED. With Glazer, NFL on FOX Insider, serving as the commish, Spade leads a motley crew of celebrity football fans through a season of Fantasy Football competition. Joining Spade are fellow comedians Nick Swardson and Brody Stevens, Rascal Flatts’ bassist, Jay DeMarcus, MMA icon Chuck Liddell, No Filter’s Katie Nolan and actor Jerry Ferrara. One final entry, representing NFL on FOX, consists of rotating appearances by John Lynch, Ronde Barber and David Diehl. The league competes through FOX Fantasy Football on FOXSports.com. Orthopedic surgeon and FOX Sports contributor Dr. Robert Klapper provides insight into player injuries, deciphering team talk and offering fantasy football players a leg up on their competition. FOX Sports Fantasy Football, offered online, as an iPhone app or through the mobile site, provides live, automated and online drafts; customizable scoring options; up-to-the-minute live scoring and expert analysis. For current league standings, please visit: http://foxs.pt/1EYqbLU

 

STREET LEAGUE

STREET LEAGUE SUPER CROWN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ENCORE ON FOX

  • Network/When: FOX & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, Nov. 2 (adjacent to NFL on FOX, check local listings)
  • Talent: Trace Worthington, David Boudia
  • This Week: The 90-minute 2014 SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship encore features the most elite skateboarding competition in the world where the top eight pros battle it out in a custom designed street course in a winner-takes-all format for the biggest prize in skateboarding history: $200,000. In addition to the encore special, SLS Founder Rob Dyrdek appears on FOX NFL SUNDAY earlier that day.

RED BULL

 

RED BULL CLIFF DIVING MAKES FIRST-EVER STOP IN BASQUE COUNTRY

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Monday, Nov. 3 (8:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Trace Worthington, David Boudia
  • This Week: With the iconic Guggenheim Museum as a backdrop, Spain’s Basque country is ready to hold a one-of-a-kind 27-meter diving event off La Salve Bridge when the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series makes its next stop. “The overall title is on the line and the pressure is on England’s Gary Hunt to maintain his lead over American Steve Lobue,” says FOX Sports 1 host Trace Worthington. “Hunt could lock in the overall title with a top finish, while Lobue needs another win like he earned in Portugal to keep things close.” The La Salve Bridge, which usually welcomes sailors returning from sea, will be the take off point for three seconds of aesthetic free-fall. The cliff diving elite will demonstrate multiple twisting and flipping action while diving into the Nervión River at more than 52 mph from mind-blowing heights. The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is part of a stunning global sports series on FOX Sports 1 that also includes the Air Race World Championship, Crashed Ice World Championship and X-Fighters World Tour.

Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, October 30, 2014

nba-on-tntNotes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, October 30, 2014

Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, October 30, 2014

TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, November 6, at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive doubleheader featuring the San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets followed by the Dallas Mavericks @ Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m.

  

****    ****    ****    ****

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber

 

 

Smith on Cleveland’s LeBron James being a scorer as opposed to deferring to teammates: “When he did that in Miami they didn’t win. When he said, ‘I’m the best player, and I’m going to be the best player, and you guys have to fall back,’ that’s when they won championships. So, to me, he’s going to have to be the best player for them to be successful.”

Webber on the excitement building for James’ return as a special event in Cleveland: “When you go to places, New York, L.A., you notice the stars, the celebrities on the side. If you’re a superstar, you want to make sure you give them their money’s worth; you go to their movies and to their concerts. I think it’s going to be electric.”

 

  Smith on the New York Knicks needing to display patience: “Patience is not a New York City word. I’ve never heard that in the vocabulary of a New York franchise, New York person. So, the lack of patience, they have to get it done, figure out a way to get it done… J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony, they have to have phenomenal seasons to take them to the 54 wins they had two or three seasons ago.”

O’Neal on players improving individually once they grasp the triangle offense: “History shows the triangle has worked perfectly when you have two Hall of Famers, two great players… Every great player that has used the triangle, when you look at their highlights, it’s [Michael] Jordan in the iso, it’s Shaq in the post, it’s Kobe [Bryant] in the iso; so once these guys learn it, Carmelo can say, ‘cut through, cut through,’ I’m going to do what I do.”

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New York Knicks (95) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (90)
Marv Albert (play-by-play), Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

 

 

 

Miller on the adjustment James’ Cavaliers teammates need to make: “When you acquire the best player on the planet in LeBron James, I said early on, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waters need to be in the gym shooting 500 to 1,000 jump shots a day because LeBron James is going to be double and triple teamed, especially in the open court.”

Barkley on Kevin Love as one of the best power forwards in the NBA: “The guy’s been the best power forward in the NBA the last three or four years. He didn’t have a lot of help in Minnesota. You’re getting 12, 13, 14 rebounds a night… You can’t fake rebounding numbers…if you’re getting 14 rebounds a night, you’re a hell of a player.”

Barkley on David Blatt’s goal the first month of the season: “The first month of the season is really going to be for the Cavaliers, trying to figure out who works well together. He’s [Blatt] got to figure out [Anderson] Varejao, Love, Tristan Thompson, he’s got to get their big man rotation in order. That to me is going to be the key to the first month for the Cavaliers.”

Miller on Love’s passing: “An underrated part of Kevin Love’s game is his ability to pass the basketball, and more so, his length of court outlets.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers’ weaknesses: “One thing I think the Cavs need is they’re missing a big guy.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers not handling pressure of such a big game to start the season: “The moment just got too big for them tonight. They played flat the entire game…they played great, like the first five minutes, then the adrenaline, everything, made them tired and flat for the rest of the game.”

  Barkley on Tim Hardaway, Jr.: “I like Tim Hardaway, Jr. He’s going to be a good player in the league for a long time.”

Barkley on Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks and Kevin Durant: “Carmelo’s obviously a great player. It drives me crazy sometimes, he’s not the reason the Knicks are not any good. Kevin Durant is a good scorer, but if I need one basket, inside [or] outside, I’m going to Carmelo Anthony.”
Miller on the Knicks bouncing back for the win: “In this league, you don’t get too high, you don’t get too low. You talk about New York just getting shellacked at home in their season opener versus Chicago. And all the adrenaline is in the favor of Cleveland tonight. And New York comes out here, and got off to a slow start, and found a way.”

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Oklahoma City Thunder (90) @ Los Angeles Clippers (93)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Greg Anthony (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

 

 

 

Anthony on Russell Westbrook’s status in the league: “He’s a true superstar. It still baffles me that he catches so much criticism for a guy who’s truly a superstar.”

Anthony on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Perry Jones: “This is about as good as he’s looked as a pro. It’s been a transition for him. [He had] only the one year in college. Often times with players like that, it takes them a little longer to get comfortable, and physically be mature enough to have an impact at this level.”

Anthony on the Thunder’s approach without Kevin Durant: “They have realistic expectations. The bottom line, you want to make sure that by the time [Kevin] Durant comes back, our young guys are better basketball players. It may not be reflective in the win-loss column, but it allows you to keep your eye on the big picture.”

  Anthony on Blake Griffin’s improved jumper: “The talk was coming in, the improvement of that midrange jump shot. It just takes a lot of pressure off your body when you have that where you can knock down several of these during the course of a game.”

Anthony on new Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer: “He’s like a kid in a candy store. It is good to see.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Smith and Webber

 

 

Webber on Cavaliers’ struggles: “I want to go back to the Miami Heat. Watching this Cleveland team just made me remember how much of a well-oiled machine the Miami Heat were with LeBron… and remembering their journey, and how they they had to do that [develop] with Erik [Spoelstra] makes those fans kind of patient.”

Smith on James’ uncharacteristic turnovers: “The one thing you don’t expect him to make are mental errors. With eight turnovers it was mental errors. That means possessions when you didn’t get a shot…he is the master at getting the right shot at the right time in his runs with Miami. And, today, he was not that.”

  O’Neal on the Knicks’ triangle offense: “As a professor of the triangle, I gave them a C-minus on the triangle tonight. But, when it comes to heart and effort, I give them a B-plus. When it comes to Carmelo doing what he does, they get an A-plus.”
 

 

Webber on players needing to step up for Oklahoma City following injuries to Durant and Westbrook: “Every team I played on or watched, you see it as an opportunity for other guys to step up. Look at Chicago, the reason why I think Chicago will be such a problem this year, [Jimmy] Butler got chances to play without [Derrick] Rose, other guys got a chance to play.”
  O’Neal on the Clippers needing to put teams away: “We talk about identity, and for so many years the Clippers were viewed as soft… New owner, we’re at home, new, fresh beginning, you have to start developing that killer instinct now.”

Visit the Turner Sports online press room for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR

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Coming Next Week on MLB Network: The Return of “Hot Stove” & End-of-Season Awards Announcements

mlb-networkOffseason Studio Programming Begins Monday, November 3 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Awards Coverage Includes BBWAA Awards, Players Choice Awards,

Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards, Silver Slugger Awards & MLB.com GIBBY Awards

October 30, 2014 – Fresh off its extensive coverage of the 2014 World Series, MLB Network’s offseason programming begins with an expanded schedule on Monday, November 3 as High Heat with Christopher Russo and MLB Now, hosted by Brian Kenny, continue year-round.

Weekdays in the offseason on MLB Network will include a full slate of studio shows, beginning with Hot Stove presented by Sports Authority, now in its third season and hosted by Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds live at 9:00 a.m. ET. The afternoons feature High Heat presented by Liberty Mutual, MLB Now presented by the U.S. Army, and Intentional Talk presented by The Marines with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar. MLB Network’s signature studio show, MLB Tonight presented by Kay Jewelers, will continue to provide the latest news and interviews around the league live at 6:00 p.m. ET.

MLB Network will provide exclusive coverage of end-of-season awards announcements throughout the next several weeks, starting with the winners of the Players Choice Awards presented by PlayStation on Monday, November 3. Later in the week, MLB Network will host the announcement of the finalists for the BBWAA Awards on Tuesday, November 4, followed by the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards on Wednesday, November 5, and the Silver Slugger Awards presented by Louisville Slugger on Thursday, November 6. Beginning on Monday, November 10, MLB Network will dedicate the entire week to the BBWAA Awards and the exclusive announcements of the winners of the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. Coming in December, MLB Network and MLB.com will host the announcement of the winners of the 13th annual MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards.

As announced earlier this week, live baseball coverage will continue this offseason as many of the game’s elite prospects can be seen on MLB Network and MLB.com in Arizona Fall League games televised and simulcast online starting tomorrow, October 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET. MLB Network’s daily offseason programming schedule can be found here.

Transcript: ABC & ESPN NBA Countdown Season Preview Media Conference Call

NBA_on_ABCABC and ESPN NBA Countdown analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins discussed the start of the 2014-15 NBA season on a media conference call. ESPN’s NBA season tips off Wednesday, Oct. 29, beginning with an hour-long NBA Countdown at 7 p.m. ET with Rose, Collins and host Sage Steele. The program will feature a live performance by International recording artist Aloe Blacc. Following Countdown, the Chicago Bulls and the returning Derrick Rose will visit the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony at 8 p.m. while the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard will host the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook at 10:30 p.m.
Here is the replay of today’s conference call.
Q.  With a couple of the top title contenders this year coming in San Antonio, Cleveland and Oklahoma City, while some of the big markets rebuild, I was wondering if you think that it’s a good thing for the league that a lot of the top teams and most marketable stars are in smaller markets rather than bigger markets now?
 
JALEN ROSE:  Well, a couple of things.  The game has graduated with social media, international and world presence, television sponsors – to where you can get the game and get the experience on so many different avenues. You know how people today basically watch television on their phone as they’re moving around.
So playing for a storied franchise – the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets – it’s not necessary per se to continue to make big time endorsement dollars, to continue to be the face of a franchise that’s successful, to be in one of those markets.  So if you’re a really good player like a Kevin Durant who gets drafted by Oklahoma City, you can become the MVP of the league and get exorbitant dollars from a shoe company, and at that point it’s all about winning.  It doesn’t work out for everybody like it worked out for Kobe Bryant getting five championships and spending his entire career in LA or even a Carmelo Anthony who just got a max deal.
If you’re in a good situation now, instead of chasing a large market like Kevin Love could have, he chose to chase the championship rings to Cleveland, something LeBron James couldn’t get people to do a handful of years ago.
Q.  I’m going to go parochial here with the Heat.  What do you expect from them this year?
       
ROSE:  I’ve got to see how many games Dwyane Wade is going to play, just like everyone else.  He has a few different phases to his career and that’s what happens when you become a veteran.  You reinvent yourself on and off the floor. He’s been really mature and handled himself like a leader and a champion off the floor, but on the floor early in the career, it was drive to the basket, contest and/or block shots, one or two spectacular dunks a game, Finals MVP champion.
Then there was what I consider, I guess, The Flash versus Flashes stage where you’ve got LeBron. First year he plays 76 games.  This past year he missed 28 games. Four Finals, two championships.
Now can he be that guy again that the team can rely on to play over 65 games?  I don’t know health wise if he’s going to be able to hold up, and because of that, that’s what’s going to make it a tough season for the Miami Heat, especially based on the recent success they’ve had.
Q.  I know the city of Boston has changed dramatically since you were in the league and you came out in ’94.  What would be your impressions for the city as a free agent destination?  They’re going to have cap space next summer, and obviously Doc is not here to sell the team, nor is Garnett or Pierce or Allen.  It’s going to have to be maybe Rondo or if not, a bunch of young guys.  How do you see Boston as a free agent destination?
       
ROSE:  Now if you’re a city like Boston where you haven’t been able to land terrific superstar level free agents other than your big three scenario with KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. It was literally a perfect storm with Doc Rivers standing on the sideline, a young Rajon Rondo, who developed into a high-level point guard.  That was more of the exception than the rule.
I know that they flirted somewhat with Kevin Love and didn’t get too far on trying to attract him as a free agent.  I think when you’re one of those destinations like Boston, you have to draft real well and hope that one of the guys that you’re taking with all the picks you’ve been stockpiling for the last few years either becomes a player that’s already under contract from another team that really has no choice but to come and play there, even if he wouldn’t sign as a free agent, or hope that one of those players turns into a multi-time All-Star that can play alongside Rajon Rondo.  Since that has not happened, you kind of have the picks, you kind of have the money.  You’ve still got Rondo, but you’re not contending in any way, shape or form, and you have the cap space next year.
I think it’s going to be crucial to see what happens with Rondo.  They have to turn him into a player and/or a few players that are going to be multi All Stars, and then once you’re able to do that and you’re a winner again, people always want to try to play for a winner.
Q.  How much does the city itself, obviously with Miami and LA it does, but in terms of just the money you get versus the city you’re playing in, can Milwaukee or Sacramento attract free agents if they have the right amount of money?
       
ROSE:  Yeah, absolutely.  I joke all of the time, keep getting them checks.  You’ve got enough money, you’ll get some players.  Now, the thing is, is it going to be the New York Knicks?  You sign Amar’e Stoudemire, it doesn’t turn out, all of a sudden you bring in Andrea Bargnani, you’re paying him over $10 million to go with Melo and Tyson Chandler. All of a sudden you’ve got the highest-paid front court in the NBA’s history, yet you’re not a playoff team.
So you want to be responsible with how you spend the money, but the second part of the league as the finances start to change and everybody knows the new TV deal is going to be in play, there are players who have role-player statistics now looking for max dollars. So when you see what they ended up having to pay for Avery Bradley, who I really like his game, he’s tough defensively. He’s learned to make an open shot, and he is somebody you can have in the game the last two minutes.  If you take his salary base, if you’re going to be a great team, he’s probably going to be your fourth or fifth highest-paid player.  So who are those other guys?  That becomes the dilemma.
Q.  My question specifically is about the Philadelphia 76ers and what you feel about Sam Hinkie’s approach toward turning this team from a loser to supposedly building it into a winner, and he seems to think it’s maybe the only way you can do it in the NBA.  Do you agree?
       
ROSE:  There are a lot of different ways to do it, so just because you get the No. 1 pick, that guy has only went on to win a championship with that team – if it was Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan, those are the only No. 1 picks that have gone on to win titles with the team that drafted them.  It’s not an exact science that tanking is going to get you a great player or a franchise championship player, or it’s going to turn around your forces.  You still need Nerlens Noel to become that shot blocker he was at Kentucky and play hopefully reminiscent of how Jermaine O’Neal played.  He kind of reminded me of him; Jermaine has a softer touch.  You hope he grows into that kind of player.
You hope Embiid becomes a guy that was worthy to be the No. 1 pick. He was a game changer defensively in college and all of a sudden you’ve got two rim protectors to go with Michael Carter-Williams, who was the Rookie of the Year.
But now, what price do you pay as fans?  How long are you willing to wait?  Because Philadelphia does have knowledgeable fans but also ticket prices are so exorbitant in today’s landscape. If you support your team, are you going to spend your money to support your team, which makes it bad for the rest of the league because what happens when other teams that are moderate come to town, a .500 team comes on a Wednesday night?  You have guys taking pictures like he did last year, a guy I think bought basically a whole roll of tickets for $75.  So that becomes bad for the entire league.
Hopefully if that is the plan, which they’re definitely engrained to have that as being the plan, this is the last year for that for everybody involved.
And one other thing that affects that is it’s a league issue.  It’s when you decide that you can pay rookies 500K or first year contract or people in their first contract $500,000 but a 10-year veteran is around $1.5 million. It waters down the roster to where not only do you have a team that’s struggling, but you have a team of young guys that aren’t experienced that are struggling. So they don’t understand how to be professionals and bring it every night, compete every possession, still work hard in practice, know what to say to the media, still be involved in the community.  Those are learned behaviors because of the reasons of trying to save money that teams hurt their roster from just having a competitive team on a nightly basis.
Q.  I’ve got a couple Bulls questions.  How much of an upgrade do you think Pau Gasol will be over Carlos Boozer, and how would you compare Joakim Noah’s game?
       
ROSE:  I think the Chicago Bulls on paper right now, you’d have to argue the players that they’re going to have playing minutes at the four and five position, and I’m including McDermott because of his size, I’m including Mirotic because of his size even though they’re rookies, and I think the team drafted well to add those two guys.  But when you have Pau – who averaged 17 points last year, still is a factor around the basket and is a really good passer high low and he’s an unselfish player and he’s a cerebral player to go with an all-NBA performer in Noah, who was the Defensive Player of the Year, and then add Taj Gibson, who they still have, who can finish over the top, who’s tough to the point where they allow Carlos Boozer to be expendable because he’s so good defensively in the fourth quarter. That’s as formidable as it gets, and that’s what I’m looking at when you compare them to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
You know what you’re going to get from Kevin Love.  You can book his 20 plus and 10 plus.  Tristan Thompson, he was close to a double-double last year.  Is he going to be consistent?  Can he stay out of foul trouble?  How many games are you going to get from Varejao?  I’m not really a big believer in Haywood at this point of his career playing quality playoff minutes.
If I had to go interior and give a team the edge, it would be the Bulls, and that’s why at this point of the season, if I had to pick who I felt like was going to come out of the East, it would be Chicago for those reasons.
Q.  So I take it you have really high expectations for Derrick Rose this year then?
       
ROSE:  Yes, I like a guy that can get 30 points in 24 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Coach Collins broke down a play on our Countdown show where it was 0-0 and Derrick Rose got a long outlet, dribbled up the left side, went over a high pick and roll, drove right to the basket and laid it up.  So what that showed me is that that’s another thing that’s going to make that rivalry great.  Kyrie can boogie with the ball.  I joked that he’s like, I guess, Turbo and Breakin’ outside of the store dancing with a broom.  He can really make it happen, but he has to learn as well as Love and even Waiters to compete defensively.
Chicago has a toughness about them.  They have a defensive identity, and they have the coach in the league with the highest win percentage that has never won a championship in Tom Thibodeau.  They have those pieces in place, and I think they could be ready to take that leap.
Q.  What do you think about Chris Bosh as a No. 1 option offensively at this point?
 
ROSE:  When you look down at the stat sheet, I think he’s still going to be 18 points, shoot a high percentage, cause matchup problems for the opposing four.  He’s shown that he can be an All Star level player, whether in Toronto, and/or a champion in Miami, who’s clutch.  He makes big shots at the end of the games.  But the difference is the wear and tear that’s going to happen with him now having to play closer to the basket, doing more post ups, and grabbing more rebounds.  That’s the biggest decrease that I’ve seen in his game is that as he’s shot more threes and basically it was because of their system that was successful for that team, that took him away from the paint, and he got less rebounds.
So he’s going to be in there trying to get more rebounds and be more of a physical presence, and it’s going to be good.  I think he’s going to be able to live up to the fact that they need him to score buckets, but they’re going to need a lot more points from that roster than he’s going to be able to deliver, I think.
Q.  Two quick questions:  One quick one with regards to the Wizards and your thoughts about the entire Southeast Division, and secondly, your thoughts about the Cavaliers’ first year coach, David Blatt?
 
ROSE:  I’ll go Coach David Blatt first because it was last and it was fresh.  Having LeBron James, Kevin Love and also Kyrie Irving with the fact that he is a really successful championship international coach that’s been really creative with his teams, and his players have really enjoyed playing for him, playing in his system – the way that he wants them to move the basketball and not really play a lot of isolation – for that I think they’re going to be one of the most efficient teams that we’ve seen in the league.
If I had to pick two players to play with LeBron just from an offensive standpoint, it would be Kyrie Irving and it would be Kevin Love.  When is the last time that guy has played on a team where one guy is going to get the rebound, somebody else is going to get the outlet, and he can actually be on a 2-on-1 break trying to dunk on someone?  I’m excited to see that.
Q.  Not since college.
 
ROSE:  I joked that the best point guard that he’s probably played against his high school was Rich Paul.  And the second question?
Q.  The Washington Wizards and your assessment of the entire Southeast Division.
 
ROSE:  The Washington Wizards, I really enjoyed seeing the emergence of John Wall, becoming an All Star caliber player.  It’s hard sometimes as a point guard where that’s the toughest position on a nightly basis in the league to come into your own, and he ended up staying healthy last year and became an All Star level player.  Couple him with Bradley Beal, I really like them as a young, talented backcourt.  I affectionately call them Hustle and Flow.
You bring in a Paul Pierce. The last two or three minutes of a game, Paul Pierce has shown that he’s a guy that you want the basketball in his hands because he can make plays with the best of them.
You’re really going to lose Trevor Ariza’s athleticism, his defense, his ability to switch multiple positions, and he has quick hands, so I think they’re going to miss that.  Can Nene stay healthy?  When you look at him, whether it was in Denver, every time I see him, I was like, wow, if that guy could stay healthy, he could be an All-Star caliber player, and then he just had health issue after health issue. You saw what he can bring if he’s healthy come playoff time, what he did in this past playoffs, and Gortat, who they just signed to new deal, that’s a real formidable four/five.  They basically remade their bench and those guys have got to prove their worth.
As far as the entire division?
Q.  Do you feel it to be kind of an up for grabs situation, that there’s Washington, there’s Miami, there’s Carolina, literally any number of teams that could really jump in there and take it?
 
ROSE:  Absolutely, but I want to grade Miami on a curve for a second.  They’re getting graded on having Pat Riley, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and going to four straight Finals, okay.  The other teams in this division still have a lot of work to do, and they did add Luol Deng, and I don’t think that they’re going to be an Eastern Conference finalist, but don’t be surprised if the Heat are a playoff team.
Atlanta, I love Al Horford.  He’s going to back in the lineup.  You put him back with Millsap, they’re a team no one really talks much about.  They can also be in the playoffs again.
Lance Stephenson is now with Charlotte.  Put him with Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker, they’re quietly putting their team together, who’s going to make three point shots for that squad.
And Orlando, they’re dealing with Oladipo’s injury, and I really like Vucevic and Tobias Harris.  It is a division that’s up for grabs, but don’t be surprised when the smoke clears if the Heat is not a lot closer to the top than people really realize on paper.
Q.  A couple more Cavs questions:  Starting with LeBron’s thing that the offense that they’re running is unlike anything he’s done in his 11 years in the league, and in watching the preseason games, have you picked up on any of that that you could explain to us as to what they’re doing that’s so different than the rest of the league is doing?
       
ROSE:  LeBron gets to play as a small forward.  In Miami he was a point power forward.  Early in his Cleveland days he was basically like a point forward because he wasn’t playing post-up basketball much at that point in his career.
His whole dynamic of how he’s seeing the game has changed because his positions have literally switched.  When you have a legitimate All Star point guard in Kyrie, you don’t have to come and get every outlet pass because you know, A, that’s his job; B, you want him to make the second pass sometimes.  And then all of a sudden, Kyrie, while he may get the hockey assist, LeBron is in a position in transition to make a play for himself or for others.
In the half court, it’s basically throwback NBA basketball.  Some teams still play power basketball like the Memphis Grizzlies where they go and throw it to the elbow and drop it to the box and see if they can take advantage of a mismatch or set a small screen for the big weak side like Stockton used to do Malone, then all of a sudden we can get some action that way.
How they’re trying to do it, it’s just have five-man basketball. Pass, cut, moving like your hair is on fire, no standing around, the basketball finds the energy, the energy finds the hot man, and you hope to get a good shot and have a situation where people never feel like they have to force their offensive flow.
Q.  And then to follow up, you were on a Phoenix team with some big time personalities and stardom between Nash and Stoudemire and Marion.  When you have a group like this Cavs group where you have Love and Kyrie and LeBron, how much is that on the responsibility of the players to fit together, and how much does David Blatt shoulder that to make sure everyone is on the same page?
       
ROSE:  Well, the ultimate responsibility is going to fall to LeBron because I think those pieces are in place even though they hired the coach before.  He officially decided to come back to Cleveland.  When you have a four time MVP on your roster it’s going to start and end with him.  He’s the marionette that learned from the puppeteer Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade how to be a champion, how to lead the team, how to recruit players to come play in Cleveland.
He even poached a couple of the Heat players off their roster, formerly Mike Miller and then James Jones.
So when you’re now in Cleveland, his whole goal is to show a young Kyrie Irving, a young Dion Waiters how to be a pro, how to work, how to compete, and Kevin Love how to transform those numbers that he was getting into wins and losses, into more wins.
I think that dynamic is really ironed out, and there won’t be any gray area at all.
Q.  LeBron James basically transformed the Miami Heat franchise, obviously the players, the roster, everything from the organization, top down.  What’s the toughest thing for the Heat, the players on the roster and the organization as a whole going forward while that shadow of LeBron’s departure hovers over the franchise?
DOUG COLLINS:  Well, the thing about it is you know with Miami, the blueprint is in place.  You know, Pat Riley has been there, Erik Spoelstra has been there 20 years.  They call it the Miami way.  This is the way we do things.
The big thing for Erik now is he’s got to find the best way for this particular team without LeBron to win basketball games.  It’s going to be a different offense.  It’s going to be a different defense, and you’ve got a lot of different dynamics. Last year, so often LeBron was the point guard, so now you’re asking Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to assume those duties of being the point guard and running whatever kind of offense that Erik feels they need to run to be able to be successful.
Chris Bosh has gone from being the third guy, a spacer shooting the ball and not being in the post much, shooting threes, to now being the No. 1 option, being in the paint more, scoring on the block, going back to a lot of the ways that he played in Toronto.
The big question to me is going to be Dwyane Wade.  Last year he missed 28 games and the blueprint looked like it was working until into The Finals, where it looked like he didn’t have a lot left at that particular time.  How are they going to manage him this year?  What role is he going to play?  We know that when he’s healthy, he’s still a dynamic player.
You’re adding Josh McRoberts, when he’s healthy, to be a starting power forward.  Chris Bosh is a center.  Who’s their bench going to be?
The Miami way is in place.  It’s now going to be what do we have to do in the absence of the best player in the NBA to find a way to win on both ends of the floor.  How can we maximize our bench?  How can we maximize our starters?  But to me at the end of the day it’s how effective are Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh going to be, and everybody has got to play off them.
I didn’t mention Luol Deng.  I think it was an excellent acquisition in that deal.  We know what kind of player Luol is, but it’s going to be a totally different team, and how long it takes them to come together is going to be very interesting.
Q.  And then for Jalen, as a player coming out of this, what’s your perspective?  How do you deal with this?  Just everything in general from the lack of media circus to maybe lower expectations now?
       
ROSE:  This is where your pride and professionalism kicks in, in particular for Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.  They want to prove like, wow, LeBron was a leader and the MVP, that they weren’t just living off his fumes.  That’s what’s going to drive them.  I can be a first option if I’m Chris Bosh.  I can put up the numbers that people feel like I wasn’t able to put up because I was sharing the basketball and sacrificing myself for championships.
And for Dwyane Wade, already one of the top two guards that the league has seen, can he go back to being a guy that was blocking shots, getting steals, being active, playing multiple games a year?
It’s hard just to imagine on paper to have a maintenance plan with LeBron James that called for him to miss 28 games, and unfortunately he got fatigued come Finals.  I can’t imagine how that could go stronger this year without LeBron James on the roster.
Q.  With the Lakers not being able to land like a big time free agent in the off season, a lot has been made about the fall of the Lakers and that franchise, and a lot of the blame seems to be going towards Kobe Bryant.  How much blame for the struggles of the franchise do you believe should be pointed towards Kobe?
       
COLLINS:  I’m not going to put any blame on Kobe Bryant.  That guy has played for almost 20 years now.  He’s played over 50,000 career minutes.  When he’s healthy, he’s been the best player at his position throughout his time in the NBA.  He’s been all defense.
You have to understand, success is cyclical in this league.  How did the Celtics do after they lost Bird, McHale and Parrish?  How did the Lakers do after they lost Magic and Kareem and Worthy and that group of guys?  How did the Bulls do after they lost Michael, Scottie and Phil and that group of guys?
And sometimes we don’t understand, the league has changed a lot, where super teams are put together to last for a while with each other.  Look at the Boston Celtics right now. They had the run with Doc and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.  Look where they are.  It’s a cyclical part of the NBA, and what’s changed, and maybe Jalen can talk about this, is if you look at it, when is the last time the Boston Celtics signed a big-time free agent?  When is the last time that the Philadelphia 76ers have signed big-time free agent?  When is the last time the New York Knicks have signed a big-time free agent?
The days of those teams automatically signing those guys isn’t happening.  Guys are going and playing other places.  They understand that you don’t have to play in the biggest markets to have success as well as get endorsements and all.  Look at Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City; look at the team down in San Antonio.
To put that on Kobe, I’m not buying it.  The guy is one of the all-time great competitors.  I think he’s an easy target right now because Kobe is not a warm and fuzzy guy, and he’ll step up to the plate and compete every night, but I just think that’s wrong to put all this on his plate.
ROSE:  And I’ll second what Doug said because great teams in today’s era, the elite teams have three guys playing at All-Star levels; the contending teams have two; playoff caliber teams, especially in the East, can have one.  Kobe was great when he had Shaq.  He was a champion when he had Gasol.
I look back at one decision that changed the Lakers’ fortune that probably is going to put Kobe in a position not to get a sixth ring.  It was the decision to hire Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson.  Now, for a guy that’s won five championships with your franchise, and we know about the personal relationship he has with Jeanie Buss, but just professionally, when they decided to go to Mike D’Antoni, well, who else was in tow with Mike D’Antoni?  Steve Nash.  Well, Steve Nash we all know is already out for the season and Mike D’Antoni has been fired.
Those were the two catalyst decisions to me that put Kobe in a position to now say, of course I’m going to ask for maximum dollars.  I see the team that’s probably a shell of itself taking me into my twilight, so of course, who am I going to leave money on the table for?  So he looks at a young team and he looks at a situation that’s in flux, and he says, I’m going to be a pro, I’m going to get healthy, I’m going to show the world I can come back and average 25 points.  But when he does that, he’s coming back to a Western Conference that 32 wins won’t get you in the playoffs, and I think that’s what they’re looking at.
Q.  Feeding off that, comment on the notion that free agents don’t want to go play with Kobe.
       
COLLINS:  When you’re a great player in this league, I mean, LeBron James had two choices:  LeBron was either going to stay in Miami or he was going to go home.  He wasn’t going to go to his third city.  At the end of the day, Carmelo was not going to leave New York City and what that brings to him.  I think that’s really unfair to say guys don’t want to go play with Kobe.
I think there’s a lot of chatter and all that kind of stuff or whatever, but I don’t buy that at all.  I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that.
ROSE:  It relates to one All Star caliber player who’s listed around a top 10, top 15 player, and that’s about Dwight Howard, and since they didn’t click initially and Dwight didn’t stay, that was the other domino that I talked about with the other scenarios. Then all of a sudden you lose an All-Star guy to Houston and you don’t get anything in return.
Q.  Clearly the biggest storyline of the offseason was LeBron returning home to Cleveland.  What storylines are you most intrigued by as we’re getting ready to open up the season?
       
COLLINS:  For me, obviously to watch this Cleveland team as they grow through this period of time.  Some of these guys are going to be under the greatest scrutiny they’ve ever been under as players.  You’ve already seen it.  Kevin Love makes a little statement I need more touches to get going, and basically LeBron gets the guys together and says, guys, understand that every word we say is going to be parsed.  Don’t you find it interesting that every press conference that they had in Miami, he and Dwyane Wade did them together?  We’re going to make sure that we’re on the same page every single day, so it can’t be divide and conquer. This guy said this, this guy said that.
To watch them, David Blatt is a terrific coach.  I think his biggest challenge is going to be handling the media and all that goes with this team as it continues to grow.
I think it’s going to be interesting with the Chicago Bulls.  They’ve got new pieces.  Jalen and I differ on this a little bit.  I think they have the right pieces, but I think that’s going to take a while longer.  Derrick Rose coming back, they’re still not solidified yet with that starting situation.  I’m of the belief that McDermott would be a better starter and Dunleavy coming off the bench would solidify that second unit, but I think Tibs is concerned about having the best possible team he can have out there to start the season so they don’t get off to a slow start.
How do you incorporate Pau Gasol into the low post?  They played through Joakim Noah last year.  Now he’s playing as a power forward.  He’s not catching the ball as much.  He’s not much of a playmaker because you have Rose and you have Pau Gasol.  Jimmy Butler has already got an injury.  So there’s a lot of stuff going on there that we know they’re going to be great defensively.  Can they get good enough offensively to be a team that can win a championship?
And then to me the West Coast, I mean, it’s unfortunate the injury to Kevin Durant, but you’ve got eight teams that made the playoffs last year.  If any team is going to be able to break through, can the Pelicans break through?  They’ve got six really good players.  Do they have enough depth?  Can they stay healthy?
Phoenix Suns had a feel-good season last year.  Can they build on that?  So to me there are 10 teams in the West for eight spots.  How far is Oklahoma City going to drop with the injury to Durant?
I think as much as the Clippers had a great year last year, I think they still have some questions.  Jalen and I both talk about I’m concerned about their size on the wings and on the perimeter.  When it comes to playing teams, they really struggled against Oklahoma City last year, size on the perimeter.  That three-spot right now is by committee.  J.J. Redick has got to stay healthy.  There’s a lot of things going on out there.
To me, so many storylines in the West, but the East, last year we were talking about two teams.  Start of the year we said Indiana and Miami are going to be there in the Conference Finals, and they were.  This year in the East, we’re talking about two teams:  Cleveland and Chicago and everybody else, so it’ll be interesting to watch for me.
ROSE:  And I’ll give you a couple of quick nuggets because Coach killed it.  The return of Derrick Rose.  If he can play at an all NBA level, I feel like they should win the Eastern Conference.  LeBron’s return to Cleveland, I mean, just the maturation to forgive the letter written by Dan Gilbert, but also that means an acknowledgment of his transgressions that he felt like he could have done things a lot different with the organization and with the fans, then to turn around and be able to recruit Kevin Love, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, James Jones and possibly Ray Allen.  Stay tuned for that one.
On the West, working the NBA Finals and being at those games, just appreciating the Spurs fans, I just have a soundtrack in my head that just literally says, Go Spurs Go!  I think I’m so wound up that I might just blurt it out every now and then because that’s how dominant they were and how impressed I am with the way they do things.
Their offseason included re-signing Pop, re-signing Tony, re-signing Tim, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner, and they’re hoping to obviously get an extension going with Kawhi Leonard.
They’re back in tow, along with what Coach said, the Clippers.  Is it their turn?  CP3, Blake Griffin, all-NBA performers.  DeAndre Jordan is going to be in position to lead the league in field goal percentage and blocks and rebounds, probably the first guy to be able to do that in NBA history.
So I’m trying to see if it’s going to be the Clippers’ turn because I think they have what it takes to push the San Antonio Spurs.
COLLINS:  Just to build on what Jalen said, too, to me there’s some really intriguing teams in the West.  Golden State, can they cut down on their turnovers?  Steve is really working on having a more free flowing offense.  Can they keep their defensive integrity?  You look at a team like Portland; last year their starters were healthy most of the entire year.  They win 54 – they hope to be able to have some internal improvement.  They’ve added Chris Kaman and Stevie Blake.  Can C.J. McCollum help them?  Can they have a bench?
To me, Memphis, all these teams, first of all, the success of every team as Jalen knows is all based upon health.  So given every team stays healthy, to me it’s going to be interesting to see at the end of the day who comes out of the mix.
ROSE:  And also, me and Coach really love Dallas and we didn’t mention them.
 
COLLINS:  Yes, sir, absolutely, I’m glad you mentioned them.  They’ve got a great coach.  I like Tyson Chandler going there, Chandler Parsons.  They’ve got depth.  They’re going to be able to score the ball, but the big thing is can they defend well enough to win a championship.
Every team, as great as their strengths are, every one of them is flawed.  There’s not a team out there that doesn’t have a flaw.  You say Spurs, the only flaw they would have is they’re older.  Other than that, they play beautiful basketball.  They’re locked in, they’ve got the corporate knowledge, they’ve never had a back to back champion.  Can they do that?  There’s so many things to talk about.
ROSE:  And also Houston with Harden and Dwight Howard, you add Trevor Ariza who I really like, can Terrence Jones become a guy that’s consistent as his career high nights.
Q.  I just want to get your impressions on Brad Stevens, his second season.  What kind of coaching job do you think he did in his first season, and how do you manage a roster like I’m sure you did where everybody is about even, you’ve got one star but you’ve got,  the rest of the guys have got chips on their shoulders, something to prove, maybe have underachieved in other places and it’s pretty even?  How do you manage that?
       
COLLINS:  I think Brad is a terrific coach.  The first thing, when you’re Brad Stevens, you’re walking in, you’re navigating basically an 80-game season, and you’re coming in. I mean, we saw what he did at Butler.  That team was as well coached as any team that was in college basketball.  He’s got a great feel for the game.  He’s got a nice demeanor.  He’s a terrific teacher.  The hardest part is dealing with the losses.  I mean, he’s never lost before.  The guy has been to two Final Fours with Butler.
So when you go in, and understand doing your job on a daily basis, and a lot of it was almost like a developmental league team, D League team, where your job is as much to try to get players better and create the assets of your team to put your team in a position to move forward as it is to focus in on how many games you can win.  That’s tough because as a competitor, all you think about is winning that next game.
I give him a lot of credit.  Brett Brown had 63 losses last year.  That’s tough to take to keep your energy up, the positive energy, to walk in practice every single day, to continue to teach, to do the things you do.
I’m a big Brad Stevens fan.  I think he did a wonderful job, and he’s going to be more comfortable this year because the second year going through it, you’ve got a better feel for the pacing of everything.  Your practices, the days off, who needs extra work, who doesn’t.
You know, I had a team in Philadelphia when I went there, probably Andre Iguodala on paper was our best player.  He became an All-Star my second year there.  Drew Holiday became an All-Star my third year there.  But when I looked at our team, I thought we had strength in numbers, and I thought if we could get seven guys averaging in double figures and develop a bench, we had a chance to get a lot better, and we went from 27 wins to 41, a 14-game improvement, was the second most in the league.  We got an identity of how we wanted to play, we defended, we didn’t turn the ball over.
But the two keys for me were Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young.  They were two of my five best players, and I went to them and I asked them if they would come off the bench for me to make us a better team.  They would play crunch time minutes.  Lou became the leading scorer for me.  Thad was one of my best players.  Lou was second in sixth man of the year, I think Thad was five.  Our team grew and we got better.
But it was because those players were willing to step up and play a role because they were two of my five best players and we got off to a 3-and-13 start that year, and for the guys to hang with it and for it to turn, it was a fun thing to watch.  But when you’re losing every single night and you’re trying to build something, it’s hard because I don’t care what any coach says, you go home, and it eats at your stomach when you’re losing basketball games.
I give Brad a lot, a lot of credit, and also I said, Brett Brown, to take those kind of losses, to start to build something for Philadelphia and Boston. I’ve got a lot of respect for both of those guys.
Q.  How do you feel about Sam’s approach toward rebuilding this franchise, especially the way you have kind of brought it up, especially the second year and the second round to see what’s happening now?  How do you feel about his approach and the state of the franchise?
       
COLLINS:  Well, I think, first of all, obviously I miss being in Philadelphia.  You know what that franchise means to me, so I always root for them.  I want them to do great.  It’s a little painful for me right now to be a former Sixer and see the losses and all.
But the one thing I remember when I left, I talked to Josh Harris, the owner, and I said, Josh, regardless of what you’re going to do, stick with the plan.  You can’t switch in mid-stream.  If it gets painful, it’s going to be painful and you’re going to have to ride through it, and once you make the choice to do what you’re going to do    and I felt they were going to do it, is to blow the team up and start all over again.  This is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to do, we ask you to stick through the pain of what we’re doing.
And you can see that Michael Carter-Williams last year was the Rookie of the Year.  Hopefully he’s going to be healthy and come back.  Nerlens Noel looks like he has a chance to be a high-energy activity defender, shock blocker, rebounder.  I don’t know if he’s ever going to be a big time scorer, but a guy who could be a part of a really, really good team.  Embiid, can he get healthy?  The Shved kid who’s overseas, all the draft picks and everything.
But there’s a lot of pain that goes with that, and that’s why I said I have a lot of respect for Brett Brown.  He’s a tremendous coach.  He walks in that gym every single day with great positive energy to teach that team.
It’s interesting when you get older you hope you can shoot your age in golf.  You don’t want to lose your age as a coach, and last year had I coached, it was 63 wins, that’s how old I am.  I did not want to lose 63 games.  At my age I just couldn’t go through that.
Sam has got a plan.  The most important thing is Josh, David Blitzer, and all the owners are on board, and they’ve made no bones about it with the city of Philadelphia, this is what we’re doing, stick with us.  We think it’s going to work.  Whether or not it does, I don’t think anybody knows, but that’s their plan.
Q.  Is there any scenario in which you could see Miami competing with Chicago and Cleveland in the East?
       
COLLINS:  I don’t see it unless there’s a major injury to one of those teams.  I think I just look at Cleveland, I think they’re going to be one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the league.  I said the first exhibition game they played, I think LeBron took seven shots, had two buckets, Kyrie didn’t play, and they had 122 points.  So they’re going to be a team that can score the ball.  I think the question is going to be for them as a champion.  Can they become a top-10 defensive team?  I think it’s going to be vital for Varejao and Tristan Thompson to stay healthy.  They’re their two big guys that they’re going to ask to give them some size.  They’re going to be a great rebounding team.  And I think at the end of the day, LeBron has a chance to lead the league in assists, and I think once again, he’ll become a first league all defender, and so I think that they’re going to be awfully tough to beat.
With Chicago, polar opposites.  Right now a team that is built on their defense.  Can their offense come up to snuff?  Can Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol give them extra points at all and make the game a little easier for them to where they don’t have to grind out every game every single night?
I’ve got a lot of respect for Miami.  I just – when I look at their team, I say, you know what, there’s still a lot of questions with Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers being your point guard, still a lot of questions about how many games Dwyane Wade is going to be able to play at a high level because of the injury to his knee that he suffered, can Chris Bosh be back to that No. 1 option, Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng filling in, what kind of bench play they’re going to get.  I know they’re going to be well prepared.  I know they’re going to compete.  I know they won’t beat themselves.  I just don’t see them being in the class of those other two teams.
Q.  As a coach, what do you think about running an offense through Chris Bosh?  Is that viable?
 
COLLINS:  Well, I mean, the thing about it is, I think when you look at their team, that’s the way they’re built now.  It’s interesting to me because we played them in the playoffs the one year, and Bosh was a little bit more of an integral part of their offense.  I thought that first year where they ran out of timeouts, they got him the ball at the elbows, they ran some isolations for him, they started games running plays for him, they got him the ball in the paint a little bit more, and I thought as time went on he became more of a home run hitter, where he was depending so much on that three, a little bit what you’ve seen with Kevin Love in the preseason in Cleveland. I think Jalen and I did a game the other night and 22 of his 45 shots, Love shot it in from the three point line.
Chris Bosh is going to be a guy, you’re going to go back, throw the ball in the post to him.  It’s sort of interesting, but you go back to one of his quotes last year in the playoffs, he said, I don’t play down in the post anymore; I don’t take all that pounding.  Well, that’s where he’s going to be right now and we’ll have to see how he plays.
Q.  You touched on the Bulls and Derrick Rose a little bit.  I just wanted to get more elaboration on what you think Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic add to the front court.  Do you think that’s going to be enough to get past Cleveland, and do you think Rose can stay healthy for the whole year?
COLLINS:  Well, I sure hope that Derrick Rose can stay healthy because as a man who suffered injury, my heart aches when you see a great player, and I was never a Derrick Rose, an MVP, but I was a player who played at a pretty high level and loved to play.  When the game was taken away from me, it was heartbreaking that I couldn’t play.  I hope he can play.  He’s taken a lot of grief from being hurt.  Nobody wants to be hurt, and so for him to be back out there – I saw some great play from him in the preseason, and I think the question is going to be his building on the minutes.  But his efficiency has been terrific.
I think when you look at the Bulls, I don’t think people realize that you have a lot of the same pieces back, but they’re a very different team.  To me when I see Pau Gasol out there playing as a center, and I see Joakim Noah playing as a power forward, his defensive role has changed.  Last year he was the Defensive Player of the Year as a center. Now you’re going to see him playing at that four spot a lot when Pau is in there as a five.  You’ll see him play as a five when he’s out there with Taj Gibson.
But so much of what they did last year, their offense, they played through Joakim as an offensive player, not necessarily to score but to facilitate.
Now he’s got to find his role in that offense now because the ball is either going to be in Derrick Rose’s hands or it’s going to be in Pau Gasol’s hands in the post.  So that’s a little different.
To me it’s going to be interesting at the end of the day who Tibs ends up settling on to be the starter.  It looks like Dunleavy maybe to start the year, but that second unit has got to get an identity.  I thought in the preseason they were very inconsistent.
When you had McDermott out there, when you had him out there with Mirotic, two rookies; you had Aaron Brooks, who was a new guy; you had Taj out there; and you had Kirk Hinrich, so I thought they were struggling to find who they needed to be.
I’d go on record and say I feel like at the end of the day, if somehow Doug McDermott can be a starter, I think he’s going to get better shots with that starting unit being out there with Pau Gasol and with Derrick Rose, and it’s not going to depend so much on Jimmy Butler having to make as many shots. And then I think Mike Dunleavy is a guy who has played off the bench in his career, and to me with him out there and Taj Gibson and Kirk and Aaron Brooks, you’ve got a little bit more of a veteran feel to it.
I don’t know what kind of minutes Mirotic is going to get because I don’t know if Tibs can play four bigs, and we know there’s 96-minutes between Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson, and I think the interesting thing for Tibs is it’s going to be – last year, it was a given, the third quarter ended, Carlos Boozer put on his warm up, he ended the game with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson.  Now Pau Gasol wants to finish those games, too, so what’s it going to be?  It might be from night to night he doesn’t always finish with the same two guys.  I think that’s a dynamic that he has to figure out.
With all this said and done and Chicago coming back, I think they have as much work to do as Cleveland in getting themselves together to where they want to be.
Q.  Quick question with regard to Coach Blatt in Cleveland.  What are some of the challenges as a first-time head coach do you think that he’s got, and do you think that he’s up to the challenge?
COLLINS:  Well, first of all, I think he’s up to the challenge.  This guy has been a success everywhere he’s been.  He’s coached everywhere, and he’s taken the talent of his team and he’s played that kind of basketball.  I know there was one team that he played, I can’t remember off of top of my head right now which one it was, but it was a team that they had to win with defense, and then he’s had some of the most dynamic offenses.
So I think he’s a guy that knows both sides of the ball.  I think to just say he’s a terrific offensive mind would be selling him short.  I love his assistant coach; he’s got T [Tyronn] Lue in there, who played for me.  I think LD, Larry Drew, is there with him, so he’s got a good group of guys. Jimmy Boylan I think is there.  So he’s got a good group of guys who understand the NBA.
To me it’s going to be managing people.  Every word that comes out of Cleveland is going to be parsed.  Miami was the most scrutinized team in the NBA when LeBron was there.  They’re going to be the most scrutinized team in the NBA with him back in Cleveland.  So to me it’s going to be just managing the media, dealing with the day to day, managing the personalities.  He has all the other stuff.  He has all the Xs and Os; he has all that stuff he needs, and I think he’s got the greatest sidekick you can have, a guy who’s locked arms with him, is LeBron.
LeBron is going home, and LeBron knows that at the end of the day, whether they rise or fall, the pressure is on LeBron James.  To me, it’s not on David Blatt.  When LeBron went back to Cleveland, he said, I’m stepping up, all the pressure is on me, it’s not on Kyrie Irving, it’s not on Kevin Love, it’s not on anybody else. It’s on me coming back to help make sure this works.
What I’m feeling from everything I’m reading and everything that he and David Blatt have gotten together, they have a wonderful working relationship.  But Cleveland hasn’t had a bump in the road yet, and until they have that first adversity where anything happens where they’ve got to fight through it, we don’t know how they’re going to be.  But I do know this:  There’s no more pressure in Cleveland LeBron is going to have on him than what he faced down in Miami on an everyday basis for four years down there.
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Mike Krzyzewski Debuts 10th Season of His SiriusXM Show Oct. 23

SIRIUS XM RADIO LOGO“Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” will air weekly

on SiriusXM College Sports Nation, channel 91

Kansas head coach Bill Self and Denver Nuggets/Team USA forward Kenneth Faried

will join Coach K on the season premiere

NEW YORK – October 22, 2014 – Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the Duke University Blue Devils and the USA Basketball Men’s National Team, will debut the 10th season of his weekly SiriusXM show, Basketball and Beyond with Coach K, tomorrow, October 23 (6:00 pm ET) on SiriusXM College Sports Nation, channel 91.

Coach K will be joined on the season premiere by Kansas Jayhawks head basketball coach Bill Self and Denver Nuggets/U.S. Men’s National Team forward Kenneth Faried.  Throughout the season, a new edition of Basketball and Beyond will air every Thursday on SiriusXM College Sports Nation, which is available on satellite radios, on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and at SiriusXM.com.  Each show will also be available on SiriusXM On Demand.

“It is amazing that we have been part of the SiriusXM team for a decade,” said Krzyzewski. “Working side by side with my partner Dave Sims, we have tried to deliver compelling conversations to our listeners over the past nine seasons. I am certain our 10th year will be no different. We’re very proud of the show and we thoroughly enjoy doing it each week throughout college basketball season. We are excited to get started this week with two outstanding guests in Coach Self and Kenneth Faried.”

“We’re honored and excited to be embarking on a 10th season of Basketball and Beyond,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer.  “Coach K is one of the most exceptional figures of our time.  To have him on SiriusXM all these years sharing his perspective and inspiring people, in sports and in their daily lives, is truly special.”

Basketball and Beyond features Coach K discussing a wide array of subjects and interviewing successful people from sports, entertainment, government and more.  Some of the high profile guests who have joined Krzyzewski on the program over the past nine seasons include former NBA Commissioner David Stern, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, fellow coaching greats Bob Knight, John Madden, Pat Summitt , Joe Torre, Bill Belichick and many others.

Over 39 years as a head basketball coach, 34 of them at Duke University, Coach K has built one of the most extraordinary coaching resumes in sports history.  He is the all-time winningest head coach in NCAA Men’s Division I basketball history with 983 victories, and has led Duke to four NCAA Championships, 13 ACC Tournament championships and 11 Final Four appearances. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Krzyzewski has been involved with USA Basketball as a coach on and off since 1979, when he started out as an assistant to Bob Knight.  Over that time he has helped lead the U.S. to 10 gold medals, two silver medals and two bronze medals.  Since 2005, when USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo selected Krzyzewski as the Senior Men’s National Team head coach, the USA is an extraordinary 75-1 in major international competitions.

In addition to Coach K’s program, SiriusXM carries live play-by-play coverage of Duke basketball games throughout the season.  SiriusXM is the leading broadcaster of live college sporting events and offers play by play from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac 12, SEC, American Athletic Conference and other NCAA Division I conferences.

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NBA TV To Salute San Antonio Spurs With Special ‘Champions Day’ Programming Monday, Oct. 27

NBA-TV-Logo“Champions Day” to Feature an NBA TV Originals Candid Conversation with Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker Reflecting on More Than a Decade of Excellence

NBA TV’s Special Programming to Include Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs,

Open Court: NBA Champions Edition, 2014 San Antonio Spurs: Go Spurs Go & NBA Finals Re-Airs

NBA TV will feature special daylong programming on Monday, Oct. 27, to celebrate the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. The network will premiere three original programs – Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs, Open Court: NBA Champions Edition and 2014San Antonio Spurs: Go Spurs Go – along with re-airs of past NBA Finals performances and season reviews from the Spurs’ five title-winning seasons.

Anchoring the programming block, Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs, an NBA TV Originals production, will feature a candid conversation between the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, at 9 p.m. ET.  The four principal figures sat down following last year’s NBA Finals win to reflect on the building of a dynasty, how their relationships have developed over the years and the satisfaction of this past year’s championship season.

The three-hour primetime block of original programming will tip off with 2014 San Antonio Spurs: Go Spurs Go, a look back at last year’s Spurs championship season, at 8 p.m. The hour-long program relives the Spurs’ fifth title run with exclusive interviews, highlights and behind-the-scenes footage.

The night will conclude with a champions-themed edition of Open Court at 10 p.m., with the critically acclaimed roundtable show featuring a cast of NBA Champions – Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Isiah Thomas, along with Rick Fox, Kenny Smith, Steve Smith and Chauncey Billups – with Sports Emmy Award-winning host Ernie Johnson. The panel of NBA greats reflects on championship experiences and discusses the perseverance it takes to win a title.

Earlier in the day, NBA TV will re-air season in review shows from the Spurs’ previous four championship seasons starting at 9 a.m., followed by encore airings of Games 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals, beginning at 2 p.m.

Excerpts from Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs:

Popovich on the beginning of the Duncan Era in San Antonio: “[Tim Duncan] came to training camp and David Robinson watched him play and about the second practice the whole offense changed. David was now in the dunker spot and Timmy was on the block catching the ball and David never even said a word…You know this new kid comes in and all of a sudden David’s not getting all of his touches…I never said, ‘David this is the way it’s going to be.’ We just did what we did and he knew it right off the bat and he loved it. Timmy just grew and grew from there, unbelievable.”

Parker on the quality of people in building the Spurs: “I like what TD said…we talked and he said we are good people at heart. I think that is the best thing when you choose the players, they are like good people, and all they care [about] is the team. It’s easy for everybody to follow.”

Duncan on Ginobili’s maturation through tough practices against Bruce Bowen: “I remember the first year you were here when we practiced; you’d have to play against Bruce [Bowen] a lot. And Bruce used to beat the absolute crap out of you. That’s where I started believing and started seeing that he was as good as advertised because Bruce would go at him and beat him up and try to slow him down and he’d play through all of it.”

Manu on witnessing firsthand the Spurs’ chemistry and execution last season: “I start on the bench so I get to see what’s going on more and there were some plays, especially this year, where it was like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, wow, or those passes from Tony to a wing to Boris [Diaw] to you or an extra pass to the corner, it was fun… I said, ‘This is nice. We are playing at a really high level and if we could understand that this is the way to go on a daily basis it can be so special.’”

About NBA TV

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