Sports Illustrated: Where Are They Now Issue Featuring Exclusive New Interview With Brett Favre

unknownToday, Sports Illustrated releases its special “Where Are They Now?” double issue, featuring interviews with some of the top sports headliners and athletes from years past who reflect on their careers, discuss what they’re doing now, what they miss, and more. Brett Favre is featured on the cover wearing his old Green Bay Packers jersey — the first time that he’s worn the dark green number 4 since his final game with the team in 2008. The cover story features an exclusive interview with Favre in which he discusses whether he could still play in the NFL, what he thinks of the league today, his excitement to return to Green Bay to be inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame, his health fears after a career full of big hits and concussions, and more. SI Editors write about this year’s Where Are They Now issue: “They were promoters (Don King) and pariahs (Jose Canseco), record breakers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and underachievers (Drew Henson). But Where Are They Now? To catch up with this year’s crop of former headliners, SI ranged from Hollywood to small-town Oklahoma to the Bahamas and beyond.”
See the cover and read more about the cover shoot and new issue, here: http://on.si.com/1NsnZzg
Read more and watch video of SI’s interview with Brett Favre, here: http://on.si.com/1dv3YLy
HIGHLIGHTS FROM SI’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BRETT FAVRE:
On whether he could still play in the NFL: “I think I could play…. As far as throwing, of course. I could make all the throws I made before…. We’re not trying to start some he’s-coming-out-of-retirement deal…. But I could play.”
Favre discusses his health concerns after a career that included more than 300 NFL starts over 20 seasons: “No one’s invincible…Things do catch up with you. There is a price to be paid. What that will be is yet to be seen. It may be from one violent hit. I don’t know, but it’s scary. Because you wonder, you can’t help but wonder, what is that going to do to me? Or am I going to be one of the lucky ones? Whatever lucky is. I’m not knocking the NFL. I knew what I signed up for. I could have got out whenever I wanted to get out…. I didn’t do myself any favors, the way I played.”
On suffering a concussion on what ended up being the last play of his career: “I shouldn’t have been playing…. From that point on, I never missed it…. I knew it was time.”
On his abrupt retirement from the Packers in 2008: “Had I [taken my time deciding], I would have come back and played…The drama would have been avoided.” And on his larger history of retiring: “I don’t study my retirements…But I have watched them. I look at them the way I do old pictures. Like, Oh my gosh. That haircut.”
On returning to Green Bay in July to be inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame and the fans’ interest in the ceremony: “I was blown away…. I mean, it’s not Elvis, but it feels that way. Like Elvis is coming back for one last show.”
On his successor in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers: “We got along fine, regardless of what you’ve heard.”
On his life today: “I just want to hide on my property and not do anything.”
Former Packer head coach Mike Holmgren tells SI of Favre: “That’s how he should be remembered…As a Packer.”
SI senior writer Greg Bishop writes on Favre: “Favre did not make any master plan for life after football. He approached retirement the same way he approached the game itself: He winged it…. He turned down offers from at least 10 reality television shows and Dancing with the Stars…. He made more than 30 trips to Disney World, still the boy who never quite grew up.”
MORE FEATURES FROM THE WHERE ARE THEY NOW ISSUE: 
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The Hall of Fame center who played with his back to the world was immersing himself in Malcolm X and Sherlock Holmes stories before tip-offs. Now he has grown comfortable sharing his insights on race, religion, sports and history as a public intellectual.
Jose Canseco: He’s been a feared slugger, a disgraced whistle-blower and a Twitter oddity. Now the six-time All-Star travels to minor league towns and indy ball fields, putting on a show—and it’s the closest he’ll ever again get to the major league game he changed forever.
Don King: The octogenarian who promoted and personified a glorious era in boxing—the heyday of the heavyweights—is as recognizable and bombastic as ever. It’s just that fewer people are looking or listening, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Major League Soccer: As the league plays its 20th season, key figures recall the kickoff campaign in an oral history of its first year.
+Plus: Cheryl Miller, Marlin Briscoe, Dolph Lundgren, Drew Henson, WWE Mania, the stray dogs of Sochi, the Baha Men, and more.
-See the latest content from the “Where Are They Now?” issue as it rolls out on SI.com over the coming weeks, here: SI.com/WATN

Sunday MLB on TBS Returns July 12 with New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox at 1:30 p.m. ET

mlb-on-tbsCoverage Continues July 19 – Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals – at 1:30 p.m. ET

MLB on TBS Analyst Ron Darling Shares Perspective on Opening Months of 2015 MLB Season

Sunday MLB on TBS will return July 12 with the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez visiting the Boston Red Sox and David Ortiz at 1:30 p.m. ET.  Three-time Sports Emmy Award winning commentator Ernie Johnson will provide play-by-play for the game, seen locally in the Boston market, alongside veteran MLB on TBS analyst Ron Darling.

The following week, Sunday MLB on TBS will feature a match-up of current National League division leaders as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Yasiel Puig visit the Washington Nationals and Bryce Harper on July 19 at 1:30 p.m., with the telecast shown locally in Washington, D.C.  Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. will join Johnson and Darling in the broadcast booth.

TBS is entering its 8th consecutive year of live MLB game coverage, with a lineup featuring regular season telecasts each Sunday afternoon and an extensive MLB Postseason schedule including the exclusive presentation of the National League Wild Card Game, both National League Division Series and the National League Championship Series this year.

MLB on TBS analyst Darling shares his reflections on the upcoming Yankees/Red Sox matchup, some early season surprises and a look ahead at a potential NLCS showdown:

Darling on the New York-Boston match-up:

“I’m looking forward to seeing Mookie Betts play in person.  His versatility and athleticism make him one of the more exciting young players in the league.  I also think that a healthy Mark Teixeira has given the New York offense a big boost with his power [18 home runs and a slugging percentage over .550], which has helped him against the shift.”

Darling on teams that have surprised him so far this season:

“Houston has been a great surprise this year, built on power, young talent and a rebuilt bullpen that has been very good.  The recent promotion of shortstop Carlos Correa has given them another young, dynamic, up the middle talent.  Seattle has been disappointing to me, especially after signing Nelson Cruz in the off-season to boost the offense.”

Darling on his favorites to meet in the NLCS:

“I expect to see St. Louis and Washington play for the chance to represent the NL in the World Series.  Both teams have weathered injuries so far and can rely on excellent pitching.  Their postseason experience will help come October.”

Upcoming Sunday MLB on TBS Schedule

July 12, 1:30 p.m. ET: New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox

Ernie Johnson (play-by-play), Ron Darling (analyst)

July 19, 1:30 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Washington Nationals

Johnson (play-by-play), Darling and Cal Ripken, Jr. (analysts)

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New Sports Illustrated Cover: All American Pharoah

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This week’s cover of Sports Illustrated commemorates the historic Triple Crown win by American Pharaoh, whose victory at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday earned the first Triple Crown title in 37 years. The cover image features a shot by SI’s deputy picture editor Erick Rasco, in which he managed to use a pole cam to get above a sea of fans that had begun to stand on chairs and benches, smartphones in hand, to capture a truly unique image from the fans’ perspective. SI senior writer Tim Layden writes in this week’s cover story, “With a Blazing Belmont, American Pharoah made the end of a 37-year drought even sweeter than we hoped.”

Sports Illustrated’s managing editor Chris Stone says of the new cover: “The race was, first, about American Pharaoh winning the first Triple Crown in 37 years, but it also about a horse making people care about a sport in a way they haven’t in a long time. Not the trainers or the jockeys or stable workers who live and sweat it every day, but the people in that photo with their arms raised, their smartphones poised, in full throat. On an amazing sports weekend, horse racing was back at its center because of the extraordinary horse first, but also because of all the people who found themselves emotionally invested in that story—at least for a little while.”

More from Tim Layden’s cover feature: “The moment unfolded as if from another time, asking a sport to keep hanging on to faith that had been lost in too many disappointments, too many euphoric buildups that had crashed in failure and sent its fans sulking into the darkness, unfulfilled. Horse racing was stuck on the same, yellowed page: So many times the Triple Crown had seemed at hand and so many times cruel reality had dropped a hammer at old Belmont Park, leaving a generation and more with no legend of its own to pass along, just musty recollections that grew more distant by the year….. At 6:52 last Saturday night [American Pharoah] won the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes and became the 12th horse to sweep racing’s Triple Crown…. With every stride the Belmont grandstand quaked, engulfed by a primal roar of exorcism, desperation given sound…. It was yet another June evening at Belmont Park, yet another horse running for the Triple Crown, yet another reach at history. Only this time was so different, a prayer answered in the gloaming. This time the horse was right. Now the wait is done.”

Winning Jockey Victor Espinoza tells Sports Illustrated of the race: “I think, in that first turn, that was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”

Layden reports that Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Frosted (the horse that came in second), pushed his way toward American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert at the end of the race and said: “I wanted to win the race…. But in the last eighth of a mile, my whole family and I were cheering for American Pharoah.’’

Read Tim Layden’s full report on SI.com: http://on.si.com/1dVtpXI

Notes & Video Clips from TNT’s NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 Coverage – Tuesday, May 26, 2015

nba-on-tntTNT culminated its coverage of the 2015 NBA Playoffs with last night’s victory by the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.  Following are video clips and notes from Tuesday’s NBA on TNT coverage.

Click here  for a “Best of Inside the NBA” video clip looking back at some of the top moments from this past season.

Click here for a video clip featuring the cast of the upcoming Entourage movie making a guest appearance on TNT’s Inside the NBA.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by Autotrader 

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal

Smith on guard Jeff Teague: “He’s not a guy that is going to take difficult shots, he’s a guy that just takes more. He has a clear advantage on this team, no one else has a clear advantage.”

O’Neal on the aggressiveness of Matthew Dellavedova: “He’s not a dirty player, he’s a hustle player. I understand the brotherhood, but this is the playoffs and all that goes out of the window.”

O’Neal on power forward Tristan Thompson: “He’s a great player. Tristan Thompson has been the heart and soul of this team all year.”

Smith on LeBron James: “What poison are you going to pick with LeBron? I think LeBron James can get 10 assists and 18 rebounds every night. To make him more of a passer allows you to not get him a 40-point night. To me, he is going to rebound and assist and when he scores he compounds everything on you and it is just too hard.”
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Cleveland Cavaliers (118) @ Atlanta Hawks (88); Cavs sweep Atlanta Hawks 4-0; advance to 2015 NBA Finals for the first time since 2007
Marv Albert play-by-play) Chris Webber & Reggie Miller (analysts) with Rachel Nichols and David Aldridge (reporters)

Miller on guard Matthew Dellavedova: “A lot of people have been weighing in on hustle versus dirty play. There is one thing you can say about Dellavedova; he’s not going to change how he plays the ball game and I like that.”

Webber on team chemistry: “We talk a lot about chemistry starting in the locker room. Chemistry is when you know where a guy is without looking and that is what this team has right now.”

Webber on staying consistent with how you play: “I remember this same situation with Patrick Beverley when he was playing that type of way. Some guys have to stick with what got them there.”

Miller on the distinction between dirty plays: “If you are Matthew Dellavedova, be who you are. Just be careful when doing that. He’s not a dirty player but those are borderline dirty plays. There is a big difference.”

Webber on guard Kyrie Irving returning for Game 4: “This is definitely a calculated risk. You just don’t want to see anything happen.”

Webber on [head coach David] Blatt’s adjustments:  “It seems as if all the adjustments he made early on in the year prepared him for all the adjustments he has to make now.”

Miller on how the Cavs adjusted to team injuries: “I think this team really changed their identity. It was somewhat a blessing in disguise when [Anderson] Varejao went down. They went out and got [Timofey] Mozgov and that gave them a rim protector. [Kevin] Love goes down…which is difficult for everyone but Tristan Thompson comes in. This has made them better defensively for playoff basketball. Where it may rear its ugly head is against Golden State.”

Barkley on the risk of playing guard Kyrie Irving in Game 4: “These are the same Chihuahuas out here in Atlanta. There is a pitbull in Golden State. You can’t take any chances when you are up 3-0.”

Webber on the Cavs lineup: “They have so many talented players and so many substitution patterns they can put in.”

Miller on LeBron’s journey of leaving Cleveland only to return to take a young team to the NBA Finals: “He had to go away and find a way to win a championship. I know how tough it is in a small market. The fans were heartbroken… For LeBron to go to Miami, he had to find a way to win. Now he is back here showing this younger team how to win like he did in Miami.”
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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

Smith on the Hawks in Game 4: “When they got up about nine, 12 points, the realization that their season was over hit. You never know how that feels. It’s not quitting, its just defeat. Hats off to the Hawks…great season.”

O’Neal on the Hawks getting over the hump: “You learn from this. Nobody expected them to go this far. We knew it was going to be tough for them to win. They now have the blueprint to win. I still think they are a few key pieces away. They play good team ball but you have to have a 1-2 punch you can rely on.”

Smith on what the Hawks need for next season: “The first issue they have to address is size. They are too small. Tristan Thompson looked like Wilt Chamberlin on the offensive and defensive board.”
O’Neal on the Cavs: “It’s just their time. I’m really excited for the city of Cleveland and LeBron.”

Barkley on power forward Tristan Thompson: “He’s a terror on the offensive board. This was just a complete win by the Cavs.”

Smith on LeBron reaching his fifth consecutive NBA Finals: “This is his best accomplishment in all of his runs.”

O’Neal on LeBron’s legacy: “We all grew up on great sports stories. If this kid wins for this town, it will have to be a top 10 sports story. Guy grew up here, left…was criticized, won in Miami and came back.”

Barkley on the potential matchup between the Cavaliers and Warriors in The Finals: “The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to win the World Championship this year. [Tristan] Thompson has solidified the power forward spot… They have athletic ability on the perimeter now. [Timfoey] Mozgov saved their season…because they were just too small. The addition of [Iman] Shumpert and J.R. Smith made them a legit NBA team. Kyrie [Irving] has to be healthy. I think the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to win.”

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Sunday, May 24, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Sunday, May 24, 2015

TNT’s exclusive coverage of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals – Game 4 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks – will continue tomorrow, Tuesday, May 26, at 8:30 p.m. ET.  The NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader pre-game show will preview the live game action at 8 p.m.

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NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst), Shaquille O’Neal (analyst) and Kenny Smith (analyst)

O’Neal on LeBron James: “He’s a great player that makes the ‘others’ great.  He’s the true definition of a great player.”

Barkley on Kyrie Irving not playing in Game 3: “He’s gotta be smart.  It’s only been 48 hours since he didn’t play in Game 2.  He hasn’t gotten back to 100%.  Just rest up and get ready for June 4.”

Barkley on the Hawks: “From Game 1, their body language and energy has not been there.  It’s like they’re mentally defeated.”

Barkley on how the Hawks can be successful: “If they’re not making threes, they’re not going to beat the Cavaliers because they always have a rebounding deficiency.”

Smith on what Jeff Teague needs to do in Game 3: “Jeff Teague has to change his mental fortitude and personality.  He has to take, minimally, five shots a quarter and I don’t know if that’s in his DNA…He can get anywhere on the floor to score, and [the Hawks] are having trouble scoring.”

O’Neal on how he would defend LeBron James in Game 3: “The Hawks should take it old school; let’s see if LeBron goes crazy before you start to double [team] him.”

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Atlanta Hawks (111) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (114) in OT; Cavaliers lead the series, 3-0
Marv Albert (play-by-play) Chris Webber and Reggie Miller (analysts) with Rachel Nichols and David Aldridge (reporters)

Webber on the energy level he expects from Cleveland: “When I think about Kobe [Bryant], Magic [Johnson], LeBron [James], those guys that know what it takes to get to the pinnacle, they’re going to make sure their team comes out with the right energy.”

Webber on how he would handle Kyrie Irving’s recovery: “If I’m Kyrie’s teammates, I’m telling him I don’t care what the doctors say, we need you later on…If we do advance, we’re gonna have some guards and we’ll need your quickness.”

Webber on James driving the ball to the basket: “That’s where I like seeing LeBron James…he’s so tough to stop inside with his size and quickness.”

Miller on Matthew Dellavedova: “He’s not a dirty player, but when I look at those three plays [Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver and Al Horford], contact is initiated by Dellavedova…There’s a difference between being an irritant and being a dirty player and I think he’s an irritant…but those three plays, it kind of makes you question it a little bit.”

Webber on Tristan Thompson: “This is a guy we’ve been watching improve in the playoffs under the [brightest] lights of the league.”

Miller on how Atlanta’s offense needs to flow: “The ball has been sticking, and now without their catch-and-shoot player in Kyle Korver, it’s even more paramount that you have that ball movement from side to side.”

Webber on what the Hawks miss without Kyle Korver on the floor: “Kyle Korver can go zero-for-10 in a game, and still get players on his team wide open jump shots.  Now, you don’t have anybody on the floor that you have to respect play after play after play, just for fear of them knocking down that shot.  His presence is sorely missed for the other guys out here.”

Miller on Atlanta’s fast break: “This is where the Hawks have to be better, in transition.  Something we haven’t seen is a lot of fast break points this series from Atlanta.”

Webber on the Hawks’ fourth quarter comeback: “They’ve done it playing Hawk basketball…[their offense] has pace, they move the ball, get the others involved, you’re seeing that tonight.”

Webber on Jeff Teague’s aggressiveness: “I love seeing Teague take it upon himself tonight, especially late in [the fourth] quarter to attack the basket and get some easy shots for his teammates.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

O’Neal on the total team effort by Cleveland: “When LeBron came out of the game the ‘others’ played very well, they moved the ball, they took some shots and they hit some shots.”

Smith on the Cavs’ rebounding edge: “The difference in this game was the offensive rebounds Cleveland had.”

O’Neal on Matthew Dellavedova: “I commend this guy for going out, playing hard and diving for the ball.  It’s just the nature of the game.”

Barkley on Dellavedova’s style of play: “This kid plays hard.  He doesn’t have the talent of some of these other guys, so he’s going to be a pest, he’s going to nag you, but I want to be careful before we start calling guys dirty players.”

Smith on James leading the Cavaliers within a game of the NBA Finals without Kevin Love and a banged up Kyrie Irving: “It’s probably the biggest Criss Angel, Harry Houdini performance ever.”

Barkley on Atlanta’s missed opportunity: “I thought Atlanta lost the game in the first half when LeBron was 0-for-10 and it was a tie game…That really came back to haunt them in the long run.”

Smith on Jeff Teague’s impact tonight: “I thought what kept Atlanta in the game was Jeff Teague just deciding ‘I am the advantage.’”

Barkley on Horford’s ejection: “I don’t like guys getting thrown out of playoff games.  I wish they would have given him a Flagrant 1.”

O’Neal on the Hawks battling back and competing all game after Al Horford was ejected: “They showed a lot of heart tonight.”

Barkley on this being a wildly successful season for Atlanta regardless of the series outcome: “There’s not a single person in New York, Cleveland, San Antonio, even in Atlanta, that thought before the season started that the Hawks would win 60 games, so you take your hat off.”

Barkley on Danny Ferry: “I gotta give this guy a shout out because I know he’s in the dog house right now.  Danny Ferry did a fantastic job of putting this team together.  I hope he gets his job back because Danny Ferry did a fantastic job and nobody wants to say that.  Danny Ferry made a mistake, I’ll be the first to admit that, but he did a hell of a job putting this team together.”


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

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Friday, May 22, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Friday, May 22, 2015

TNT’s exclusive coverage of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 between the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers will continue tomorrow Sunday, May 24, at 8:30 p.m. ET.  The NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader pre-game show will preview the live game action at 8 p.m.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by Autotrader 

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal

Smith on Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll playing through injury in Game 2: “You can’t guard LeBron James on one leg…I don’t know many that can guard him with two. This is a big blow for the Atlanta Hawks.”

O’Neal on Carroll: “Carol is the heart and soul of the Atlanta Hawks. I commend him for coming back to play.”

O’Neal on Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver: “If you’re a team with championship aspirations, your shooter has to keep busy. Don’t tell me he can’t get off the shot.  He has to get off the shot. He has to get going, play big, and knock down timely shots for the Hawks to have a chance.”

Smith on the Cavaliers without injured point guard Kyrie Irving: “The Cavaliers have been playing without him for the last 5 or 6 games because [even when he’s in the game] he hasn’t been the same Kyrie Irving. I don’t think their attack will change.”

Smith on how pace of play can work in the Cavaliers’ favor: “If you are watching the game at home and it doesn’t look like a tennis match or a ping pong match, that means the Hawks are losing. When the ball gets stationary on either end of the court, the Cavs have the advantage. When LeBron just has it and it’s not moving, he is good enough to make a play. When the Hawks have it and it’s stationary, they are not good enough to make a play. If the ball is moving around, it is the Hawks game.”

O’Neal on Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson: “He’s an animal out there and a very hard worker. He’s definitely been doing his job.”

O’Neal on Cavs point guard Matthew Dellavedova starting in Kyrie Irving’s absence: “Let’s not forget what he did in the Chicago series when he got hot. We know this guy is a capable player.”

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Cleveland Cavaliers (94) @ Atlanta Hawks (82); Cavs lead series 2-0
Marv Albert play-by-play) Chris Webber & Reggie Miller (analysts) with Rachel Nichols and David Aldridge (reporters)

Webber on Carroll guarding James with an injured left knee: “You have to admire Carroll’s heart tonight. You’re guarding the best player in the league on one wheel, but at the same time you have to make sure that you can offer your team as much help you can without being a hindrance, since you can’t move as well as you would like.”

Webber on Hawks guard Kent Bazemore: “That’s what Bazemore does. He’s an energy player, gets the crowd involved and attacks the basket. Players like that keep the crowd in it and keep the game close with their extra effort.”

Miller on the Hawks offense in Game 2: “The Hawks are playing isolation offense…they are playing the Cavaliers game! If you go back to Game 1, the Cavs actually had more passes than the Hawks.”

Webber on the Hawks team ball: “When you get back down, how do you get back in? For the Hawks, it is usually about playing as a unit.”

Webber on what Hawks point guard Jeff Teague needs to do for the Hawks to win the series: “This is not a team of superstars, but Teague needs to become one.”

Miller on Cavs forward LeBron James facing an injured DeMarre Carroll: “LeBron realizes he has a wounded animal in front of him.”

Webber on the defensive play of Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert: “Shumpert looks like a ball in a pin ball machine running around chasing [Hawks guard] Kyle Korver and running into those screens. You have to love his effort defensively.”

Miller on the Cavaliers defense: “The defensive effort of the Cavaliers is keeping every one of the Hawks off of the three point line.”

Webber on the Cavaliers control of Game 2: “You know when you have a team by the neck when you have them playing out of character.”

Miller: “Make them play your way. That’s exactly what the Cavaliers have done in these first few games against the Atlanta Hawks.”

Webber on the determination of LeBron James: “LeBron James hasn’t been as efficient as he was in other playoff series, but it just seems he is more determined.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

Barkley on the Hawks defensive strategy against LeBron James: “The Hawks were doubling him for no reason, way out on the court. Then [Cavs guard] Iman Shumpert was standing there just making wide open shots.”

O’Neal on the lack of energy from the Hawks in Game 2: “I thought when they announced DeMarre Carroll was playing there would be more energy and passion from these guys. They played with no energy.”

Barkley on whether the Hawks can come back from being down 2-0 to win the series: “The Hawks are in trouble. They are going to get swept…plain and simple.”

O’Neal on the similarities between LeBron James and Magic Johnson: “A lot of people try to compare LeBron to Michael Jordan, but he is more like Magic. He is going to keep everybody involved.”

Smith on the chemistry between LeBron James, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith: “I didn’t know LeBron James could take the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals. That’s basically what he’s doing.”

O’Neal on the dominance of LeBron James: “If you double [team] this guy he is going to pick you apart, and he’s going to get his 30-points…no matter what.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers ability to win while Kyrie Irving is out with injuries: “This is going to be great for Kyrie Irving. He shouldn’t play the rest of the series if the Cavaliers know what they are doing. If I’m Kyrie, I’m not playing until June 4 [in the NBA Finals].”

O’Neal on the Cavs’ instinct: “I think they have a killer instinct, and will try to end the series so they can get some rest. They are getting ready for June 4.”

O’Neal on the Houston Rockets, down 2-0 against the Golden State Warriors: “The Houston Rockets are not intimidated, because they believe they could have won both games. They are comfortable going back home to Houston.”

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Wednesday, May 20, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TNT’s exclusive coverage of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks, will continue tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET.  The NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader pre-game show will preview the live game action at 8 p.m.

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NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst), Shaquille O’Neal (analyst) and Kenny Smith (analyst)

Smith on whether the Cavaliers should be considered the favorite: “Because of injuries, they are not a favorite.  The Hawks are the favorite this series for sure… If LeBron [James]’s unit is not healthy, I don’t know how they come out of this series.”

Smith on how good James has been: “He has been the most spectacular player, and I’ll say it, Jordan-like.  He’s not captivating like Michael, he’s not spectacular like Michael, but the efficiency of what he does for his team, [LeBron] has equaled that.”

O’Neal on who he expects to win the series: “Cleveland is the favorite because the Hawks have never been here before.”

Barkley on who will win the series: “I’m going to take the Cavs because of LeBron.  The Hawks have a terrific team but they aren’t a dominant team.  They have to play well.  I think LeBron can win two, maybe three games by himself and I think his role players can win another one.”

Barkley on a potential x-factor for Cleveland: “Tristan Thompson is going to be very instrumental in this series. He’s been fantastic… He has bet on himself and he’s made a lot of money this year and especially in the playoffs.”

Barkley on the Hawks’ most important player: “The guy who always makes the Hawks go is Jeff Teague.  He’s the engine, the heartbeat of the Hawks.”

Smith on what Atlanta has to do to move on: “I don’t think one [particular] guy on this team is [most] valuable.  All of them collectively are valuable… If [the Hawks dictate a style of] plug this hole over here, then this hole over here for Cleveland, then the Atlanta Hawks will be in the NBA Finals.”

O’Neal on what needs to happen for the Hawks to represent the Eastern Conference in The Finals: “Kyle Korver needs to average twenty-something points a game for them to win this series.”

****    ****    ****    ****

Cleveland Cavaliers (97) @ Atlanta Hawks (89); Cavaliers lead the series, 1-0
Marv Albert (play-by-play) Chris Webber and Reggie Miller (analysts) with Rachel Nichols and David Aldridge (reporters)

Webber on Kyrie Irving playing through injury: “He has a skill set in which he doesn’t have to penetrate [to be effective].  He can catch-and-shoot off the dribble if need be.”

Miller on Cleveland center Timofey Mozgov in the series: “Mozgov is a great rim protector. He’s going to protect that paint area.  The strength of the Hawks, especially Al Horford and Paul Millsap, is that they draw the ‘bigs’ away from the paint area.”

Webber on how the Cavaliers pick up the slack with LeBron James on the bench in foul trouble: “It seems like that’s when Kyrie loves to take over with [Iman] Shumpert and J.R. Smith… I want to see how that three-headed monster of these three guards reacts.”

Miller on the interior size of Cleveland and how it impacts the rebounding battle: “Thompson is destroying the offensive glass… Rebounding is going to be huge on the Cleveland side because they have the advantage over the smaller Hawks team.”

Webber on James’ interior scoring: “LeBron has found out the secret that no one can block a jump hook and it’s easy for him to shoot that shot.  When he makes up his mind to go inside the paint, determined, it’s hard to stop him.”

Miller on J.R. Smith’s big night: “It’s interesting because, if you’re a Knicks fan you’re saying, ‘Where was all of this, this year from J.R. Smith?’…He’s erupted here in the playoffs.”

Webber on Smith as a weapon off the bench: “What I love about J.R. Smith so much is that he’s accepted his role of coming off the bench…and he’s embraced it.”

Webber on James’ efficiency: “With this team, he should not worry about efficiency.  He’s trying to lead a team and some guys that have never been in the playoffs before to a championship.”

Webber on Jeff Teague: “He may be the most underrated point guard in the league.  The leading point guard on the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the league.”

Miller on Jeff Teague’s ability to create and score: “Teague can get anywhere he wants on this floor because of his ability to penetrate and shoot the basketball.  He’s looking at Dellavedova like ‘there’s no way you can guard me this series, my friend.’  Plant that seed early.”

 

Miller on the pace of the game: “It’s more important for Atlanta, especially in Game 1 here, to get up and down.  The way Teague can attack that paint area…is going to pay a huge dividend.”

Miller on the trade-off of the Hawks guarding LeBron James with multiple defenders: “He just so happens to be one of the most gifted passers that this game has ever seen.  You have to be very careful with the shooters that surround him on the floor.”

Webber on the Hawks lineup options: “Do you want to go small or do you want to go big?  There are repercussions to every decision.  When you go small, [Cleveland center Timofey] Mozgov makes his presence felt with offensive rebounds.”

Miller on where Dennis Schröder can improve his offensive game: “If I’m Schröder, I know one thing I’m working on this summer, it’s gotta be that jump shot. With the quickness he has, if he can develop an honest jump shot, the world is his.”

Webber on what the loss of DeMarre Carroll would mean to Atlanta: “You’re talking about the heart and soul of the team, your best on-the-ball defender, a leader in the locker room.”

Webber on the challenge Atlanta will face if Carroll’s leg injury is significant: “It’s going to be a test of wills and perseverance to see how this teams stays together if they have an injury to one of their best players.”

****    ****    ****    ****

Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on Smith’s three-point shooting: “J.R. Smith is a streak shooter.  Once the house started on fire…he was just gonna burn down the house, he was just on fire.”

O’Neal on Smith: “When we came in here [this afternoon], he was out shooting and had a rhythm…I knew when his first couple shots went down, he was gonna have a good night.”

Barkley on the pace of play: “I thought the tempo of the game was way too slow for the Hawks.  They need to play at a much faster pace.”

Smith on the Hawks’ offense: “When they move the basketball, they move their bodies and they are very tough to beat.  When they are stationary and play pick and roll with just Teague out front, I think they’re easy to guard, as they were down the stretch.”

O’Neal on Kyle Korver: “I still need more from Kyle Korver.  I understand he can’t get his own shots but today, when he did get open, he hit three nice shots.  He needs to do that a couple more times.”

Barkley on how Atlanta can bounce back in Game 2: “[For Atlanta], losing [DeMarre] Carroll and getting beat really soundly tonight, if they had to go to Cleveland for that next game, I think they’d be mentally depressed.  You’re gonna have to get a great effort from the home crowd Friday night to get [the Hawks] pumped back up because there is a mental scarring from tonight.”

Barkley on what’s next for the Hawks: “You have to figure out what’s going to happen with DeMarre Carroll and who’s going to start in his place.  Not only has he played great offensively, you’ve got to have somebody in there that can physically handle LeBron… They’ll miss Carroll on both ends of the floor [if he’s going to miss extended time].”

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Notes from Turner Sports’ 2015 NBA Conference Finals Media Conference Call

nba-on-tntTNT, in its 31st consecutive year of NBA coverage, will be the exclusive home of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals when the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James meet the Atlanta Hawks and its four All-Stars (Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Kyle Korver) beginning with Game 1 on Wednesday, May 20, at 8:30 p.m. ET. Marv Albert will call the best-of-seven series with analysts Reggie Miller and Chris Webber and reporters David Aldridge and Rachel Nichols.

TNT’s Sports Emmy® Award winning NBA Playoffs coverage will open with a 30-minute NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader pre-game show at 8 p.m., with host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith on site throughout the series. The studio team will also provide halftime coverage and a recap each night’s action via TNT’s Inside the NBA presented by Kia post-game show.

Notes from today’s media conference call featuring TNT NBA analysts Chris Webber and Reggie Miller:

Reggie Miller on the prevalence of three-point shooting among the conference finalists: “I think this is a game for shooters.  The four teams remaining, all of them live from behind the arc.  If you’re a shooter, if you’re in high school or college, start working on your form, because you have a job at the next level.”

Miller on not overlooking the importance of big men on these “jump shooting” teams: “The bigs are going to have a huge imprint on rebounding and points in the paint in both series.”

Chris Webber on how the four remaining teams are so similarly multi-faceted: “If you look at these last teams in, what’s unique is that on everyone but Houston, you have big guys that can step out and shoot…If they can’t shoot, other teams can switch their lineups and have a mismatch defensively.  If you’re not holding your weight offensively and defensively equally, I think you’ll be out.”

Miller on the impact of injuries this time of year: “There [are] no back-to-back games, so there’s a lot of time for maintenance to the body.  I think this little break that Cleveland and Atlanta have had is going to do both teams well because you get a chance to get your mind and body right.  To win championships, you need talent and good coaching, but a lot of luck goes into it as well.  That luck is staying healthy.  It’s a slight margin of error in terms of being lucky to win a championship.  It’s grueling and health will play a huge factor here.”

Webber on the idea of parity and how close the playoffs have been: “It shows how competitive guys are and I think it shows how much talent we have in the league right now… I have to give credit to players and coaches for putting out their best.  I hope this will become a trend.”

Webber on the results of these teams playing in the regular season and its impact on the playoffs: “I don’t count what happened during the regular season…I don’t think you can take anything from it except for looking at tape and exploring tendencies.”

Miller on regular season vs. playoffs: “It’s a brand new series in the playoffs.  You can kind of throw out regular season games because you’re not game planning for a series, you play one game and move on.”

Webber on the Western Conference Finals: “Both teams are right where they want to be and should be happy they are coming into [the series] playing well.”

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Webber on the impact of Thabo Sefolosha’s absence: “I think he will definitely be missed, with his experience in these types of situations.  He will also not be there to give [Kyle] Korver and whoever plays [small forward] a rest, defensively.  His presence is going to be missed.  You will miss him, but these guys are used to playing as a unit.”

Miller on how Atlanta will defend LeBron James: “The loss of Sefolosha is going to be huge.  He has NBA Finals pedigree with Oklahoma City and is familiar with guarding LeBron.  Coach Budenholzer has enough guys to guard LeBron and I expect that DeMarre Carroll will start on him and Paul Millsap has a little more size to go against LeBron.  It would [have been] nice to have the three-headed monster.”

Webber on the all-around game of All-Stars Paul Millsap and Al Horford: “They can post up inside but also hit the 15 footers.  With these big guys, they’re going to have a very big impact.  Millsap can lead the break sometimes…and make jump shots off penetration.”

Miller on how aggressive the Hawks guards should be against a less than 100% healthy Kyrie Irving: “If I’m Jeff Teague, I’m going to attack this kid and get after him right from the jump.”

Webber on Atlanta’s offensive execution: “[The opponent has] to worry about movement.  When Horford catches it, he’s such a good passer, the opposite corner is wide open and he’ll see that…Atlanta seems to have the big guys that can pass and play in a fluid offense which is why it’s so hard to check their team and they get so many easy buckets.”

Webber on the difficulty Cleveland will face against Atlanta’s offense: “When you have a big guy that can shoot, it frees up the point guard in a pick-and-roll and it’s much tougher to get out and make a split-second decision.”

Miller on how Cleveland can best use their personnel: “I would not be surprised if the Cavaliers play small ball.  The injury to Kevin Love affects them.”

Webber on how effective Kyrie Irving can be playing through injuries: “He’s unique in that he can catch and shoot, he can shoot off the dribble, he can post up and he can drive.  When he gets hurt, he has more of a luxury than other players that are one or two-dimensional…Even though he’s hurt, I expect him to find ways to fit in because his skills allow him to play [multiple positions].”

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Webber on momentum coming into the Western Conference Finals: “If you’re Golden State, winning Games 3 and 4 on the road in Memphis, you take more solace in that, how you have played lately and how you played collectively over the year.”

Miller on the Warriors sweeping the regular season series, four games to none: “If you’re Golden State, you take some solace.  If you’re Houston, so what, we’re 0-0…It could almost be a detriment to Golden State, if they think it’s going to be a cake walk, it could be trouble.  You need a little bit of fear; confidence, but also a little bit of fear.  This [Rockets] team just became the ninth team to come back from down 3-1 in NBA history.”

Webber on problems Golden State’s offense causes for opposing defenses: “It is a shooting man’s game, but the thing about Golden State is they have [interior] guys that can stretch the floor, big guys that can knock down that 15-footer.  When you have those type of guys, but also have to get to Curry and get back to a shooter; it’s very tough.”

Miller on how Houston made coaching and personnel adjustments against the Clippers and how it will carry over into this round: “When you get locked in and you are watching tape on the specific personnel and the schemes that a team is going to play, things change.  As we saw throughout the Clippers series, each game took on a life of its own.  Each game will be totally different with different match-ups.”

Miller on Houston’s interior offensive dominance: “Houston was leading all teams obviously because of the dribble penetration of James Harden and more importantly, Dwight Howard and the alley-oops and the finishing in the paint.”

Miller on the Rockets’ philosophy and their advantage inside: “Yes it’s a shooter’s league and you have bigs that can stretch the floor…but at the end of the day, if you can get lay-ins and dunks, that’s Houston’s model.  They want threes, free throws and points in the paint.”

Visit the Turner Sports online pressroom for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR. Follow NBA on TNT on Twitter at @NBAonTNT.

TNT’s Exclusive 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Coverage Tips Off Wednesday, May 20, with Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks, Game 1, at 8:30 p.m. ET

nba-on-tntTNT’s Exclusive 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Coverage Tips Off

Wednesday, May 20, with Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks, Game 1, at 8:30 p.m. ET

Marv Albert, Reggie Miller & Chris Webber to Call Best-of-Seven Series

Inside the NBA Studio Team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith &

Shaquille O’Neal on Site Throughout ECF

TNT, in its 31st consecutive year of NBA coverage, will be the exclusive home of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals when the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James meet the Atlanta Hawks and its four All-Stars (Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Kyle Korver) beginning with Game 1 on Wednesday, May 20, at 8:30 p.m. ET. Marv Albert will call the best-of-seven series with analysts Reggie Miller and Chris Webber and reporters David Aldridge and Rachel Nichols.

TNT’s Sports Emmy® Award winning NBA Playoffs coverage will open with a 30-minute NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader pre-game show at 8 p.m., with host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith on site throughout the series. The studio team will also provide halftime coverage and a recap each night’s action via TNT’s Inside the NBA presented by Kia postgame show. Studio coverage will feature in-arena set locations in Atlanta and Cleveland throughout the series.

In addition to its coverage of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, TNT reporter Lewis Johnson will provide updates from the Western Conference Finals.

The network will feature several state-of-the-art technological enhancements during the playoffs including super-slow-motion cameras that will provide viewers with gripping replays at key moments of the games. Coverage will also include the use of robotic cameras placed above each backboard to provide compelling looks at the action and a “steady cam” that will capture compelling close-up shots, along with visuals from player warm-ups used in studio coverage.

Live streaming coverage of all NBA on TNT playoff games will be available via www.tntdrama.com/watchtnt and the Watch TNT app.  Fans will be able to access the games whenever and wherever they desire by logging in with the user name and password provided by their TV service provider.

Additionally, TNT Overtime will provide exclusive content and analysis from TNT commentators throughout the Eastern Conference Finals.  The unique companion experience – which is sponsored by Sprite and Nissan during the playoffs – allows fans to watch the game via four alternate camera angles including slow motion replays.  The product also provides an opportunity for fans to interact in real-time with an NBA expert and other fans via Twitter, receive enhanced stats and vote on the outcome of each playoff game.

 

2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Schedule

(All Times ET)

 Time/Date Event
 
Wed., May 20
 
8 p.m. ET NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal (analysts)

 
8:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks, Game 1

Marv Albert (play-by-play), Reggie Miller and Chris Webber (analysts) with David Aldridge and Rachel Nichols (reporters)

 
Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
Fri., May 22
 
8 p.m. NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
8:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks, Game 2

Albert (play-by-play), Miller and Webber (analysts) with Aldridge and Nichols (reporters)

 
Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
Sun., May 24  
 
8 p.m. NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
8:30 p.m. Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers,Game 3

Albert (play-by-play), Miller and Webber (analysts) with Aldridge and Nichols (reporters)

 
Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
Tues., May 26  
 
8 p.m. NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
8:30 p.m. Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 4

Albert (play-by-play), Miller and Webber (analysts) with Aldridge and Nichols (reporters)

 
Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
Thu., May 28
 
8 p.m. NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 
8:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks, Game 5*

Albert (play-by-play), Miller and Webber (analysts) with Aldridge and Nichols (reporters)

 
Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
Sat., May 30
 
8 p.m. NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
8:30 p.m. Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 6*

Albert (play-by-play), Miller and Webber (analysts) with Aldridge and Nichols (reporters)

 
Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
Mon., June 1  
 
8 p.m. NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

 
8:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks, Game 7*

Albert (play-by-play), Miller and Webber (analysts) with Aldridge and Nichols (reporters)

 
Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Wednesday, May 13, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from TNT’s NBA Playoffs Coverage – Wednesday, May 13, 2015

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Washington Wizards (81) @ Atlanta Hawks (82); Hawks lead series 3-2

Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Brent Barry (analyst) and Lewis Johnson (reporter)

Barry on Hawks guard Kyle Korver’s shooting struggles during the Wizards series: “He hasn’t been able to get anything going. Korver is only making three-point attempts [in the series], and he has no free throws. We’ve got to see some offense inside the paint from Kyle if he can get there.”

Charles Barkley (at halftime) on the point guard matchup between Atlanta’s Jeff Teague and Washington’s John Wall: “Jeff Teague does not play the same way when John Wall is playing because he has to think about Wall coming back at him. Teague frustrates me at times because he is not aggressive. You can screw up, but you cannot be passive. The Hawks are only going to go as far as Jeff Teague takes them, and the Wizards will only go as far as John Wall takes them.”

Shaquille O’Neal (at halftime) on Hawks forward Paul Millsap: “Jeff Teague is the main factor for the Hawks, but part two of that factor is Paul Millsap. He really knows how to post up, read the defense and use his body.”

Barry on Wizards point guard John Wall playing through injury: “It magnifies what John Wall is going to mean to this franchise moving forward. They have been waiting for a player like this to lead them. Wall has already been that guy over the past couple of years, but this kind of performance with this type of toughness speaks volumes.”

Barry on Wall’s Game 5 performance: “John Wall touches the ball more than any player in the NBA in the front court. More than MVP Stephen Curry, more than LeBron James, more than James Harden. The fact that the Wizards were able to survive a couple of games without him and then he comes back in with a broken hand to do what he did in Game 5 on the road…just a remarkable performance.”

Barry on Wall: “Once he gets into the half court, he does what John Wall does…distribute the ball. He is finding cutters, weaving around, creating angles with his speed and understanding where their defense is going. There is a ton of confidence for this Wizards team behind his play.”

Barry on Wizards guard Bradley Beal: “He’s never scored less than 13 points in a playoff game. This guy’s future is incredibly bright, and he continues to grow.”

****    ****    ****    ****

Memphis Grizzlies (78) @ Golden State Warriors (98); Warriors lead series 3-2
Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Steve Smith (analyst) and Lewis Johnson (reporter)

Smith on Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley: “In the last couple of games he has been fatigued, but also the Warriors started KlayThompson against him. Conley has done a nice job of getting uncontested shots, but he’s had trouble with contested shots. That’s because of the length of Klay Thompson.”

Smith on Warriors forward Harrison Barnes: “I love Harrison Barnes. He is a young guy who understands his role. That is hard, when you are young and that talented, to come out and be the fourth option on a team that wins basketball games. He is the type of young guy who understands winning is more important than his numbers.”

Smith on Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry: “He is letting the Memphis Grizzlies have it from the three-point line. He is just in one of those zones.”

Smith on the Golden State Warriors defense: “The MVP Stephen Curry is doing more than just scoring. You have to talk about the Warriors defensively just as much as you talk about their offense.”

Smith on the Warriors’ style of play in Game 5: “We talk about the threes, but I’m impressed by how they are turning defense and fast breaks into easy buckets. They are committed to getting out and running.”

Anderson on the Warriors’ Game 5 dominance: “This is the kind of basketball we saw all year long from Golden State.”

Smith on Klay Thompson’s play in the Warriors/Grizzlies series: “He’s not shooting badly, he just hasn’t had those explosive nights shooting the basketball in this series…but we all know he’s capable. With no Tony Allen, he is getting some breathing room.”

****    ****    ****    ****

Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

Barkley on Hawks center Al Horford: “He was clearly the MVP tonight. He was not just the game-winner…he was fantastic.”

O’Neal on whether the Hawks have what it takes: “The jury is still out on Atlanta. I don’t know if they have the killer instinct, the playoff experience or the know-how to go in and close it out. I still think they can win the series, but I don’t know if they have what it takes to win it all.”

Barkley on the contrasting styles of play in the Warriors/Grizzlies series: “Memphis wants to walk it up and down the court and bully you to death; Golden State wants to get it out and play with pace. [The series will go to] whoever imposes their will on the opposing team.”

Smith on the absence of guard Tony Allen due to hamstring injury: “The ‘Tony Allen Effect’ is going to be big. He is that gnat that you have to keep waving off. Even if the Warriors are shooting the ball well, you don’t see the smiles from Golden State that you saw tonight [when Tony Allen plays]. Allen just makes you uncomfortable, which makes [head coach] Steve Kerr try different lineups. Today Kerr could be conventional and didn’t have to search for things. Tony Allen makes you search.”

Barkley on what Memphis needs to do in order to win the series: “At some point they are going to have to explode on offense. If they are going to win this series, I think they have to score 100. Jeff Green, Vince Carter, Courtney Lee…someone is going to have to play out of their mind. Somebody is going to have to go crazy one night, a role player.”

Barkley on the Warriors limiting Memphis’ points in the paint: “They are doing a fantastic job of doubling the big guys and scrambling on defense.”

O’Neal on Golden State’s chances to win Game 6 in Memphis: “If Golden State continues to shoot the ball like they are, the series is over.”

Smith on John Wall: “His ability to create off the dribble was impressive.”

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