Sunday MLB on TBS Continues Sunday, July 26, with Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets at 1 p.m. ET; Game to be Seen Locally in L.A.

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Coverage Continues with Full National Telecast August 2 – New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox – at 2 p.m.

Sunday MLB on TBS will continue July 26 with a match-up of National League playoff contenders, as the first place Los Angeles Dodgers and All-Stars Adrian Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson visit the New York Mets and All-Star and probable starting pitcher Jacob deGrom at 1 p.m. ETBrian Anderson will provide play-by-play for the game, seen locally in the Los Angeles market, alongside veteran MLB on TBS analyst Ron Darling.

In a full national broadcast, Sunday MLB on TBS will feature the New York Yankees visiting the Chicago White Sox on August 2 at 2 p.m.  Dick Stockton will provide play-by-play, joined by 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.

Upcoming Sunday MLB on TBS Schedule

July 26, 1 p.m.:            Los Angeles Dodgers @ New York Mets

Brian Anderson (play-by-play) and Ron Darling (analyst)

August 2, 2 p.m.:         New York Yankees @ Chicago White Sox

Dick Stockton (play-by-play) and Darling (analyst)

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Notes from Turner Sports’ 2015 Sunday MLB on TBS Media Conference Call

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Notes from Turner Sports’ 2015 Sunday MLB on TBS
Media Conference Call

 

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.

Notes from today’s media conference call, featuring Ripken, Darling and 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee Pedro Martinez:

Ripken on the season’s most interesting storylines: “The Minnesota Twins are the big surprise.  I don’t think anyone expected them to play as well as they’ve played.  [Rookie Manager] Paul Molitor has done a fantastic job and seems like exactly what they needed.  They’re back again, they are always a good story as a small market team making good baseball decisions and baseball evaluations, putting a team together that’s competitive, similar to the Rays.  They will be fun to watch and see if they can keep it going in the second half.  The Oakland A’s are good, and you scratch your head and wonder why they aren’t winning.  The answer there is how important the defensive execution is in one run games and putting yourself in a position to win and developing momentum through their defense.  They are a good club, and it will be interesting to see what happens with them, if they make moves.  Billy Beane is always entertaining to try and predict [what he will do].  It will be fun to see their direction in the second half.”

Martinez on the season’s biggest surprise: “I was very sarcastic about them, so I have to tip my hat to the Houston Astros.  I kept saying no, no, they’re going to land.  I was the same way about the Mets, they wouldn’t hold on.  Both teams have really surprised me with how they’ve played and how consistent they are.  It’s no coincidence that probably the best pitcher in baseball is one of the Houston Astros [left-hander Dallas Keuchel]. I was sarcastic about them but they proved me wrong in the first half and now I have to believe the second half they will keep on playing baseball the way they have.”

Darling on the first half’s standout performers: “Josh Donaldson having an MVP year, he’s become one of my favorites to watch because of his grit and determination and Toronto is better for it…[Houston’s] Carlos Correa…is one of the brightest shortstop prospects we’ve seen in quite some time…We’re talking [a talent level] like the Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers and Manny Machados.  The future of the game has some great young stars in it.”

Darling on the All-Star Final Vote candidates: “I’m lucky enough to watch [Mets closer Jeurys] Familia every day and he’s had an amazing year.  I think it’s going to be difficult for him to garner enough votes to beat out [Dodgers’ ace Clayton] Kershaw or [Rockies’ shortstop Troy] Tulowitzki.  He didn’t get the closer job until Mejia was suspended, and once he got it, he’s been as good as anyone in baseball.  He has seven saves of more than an inning, which is unheard of. He’s gone above and beyond and I’d like to see him rewarded because of that.  I’ll stick up for [Yankees’ outfielder Brett] Gardner in the American League, I hope he [wins the vote].  They’ve both been their team MVPs and it would be nice if they were rewarded for that.”

Ripken on the Final Vote: “Mine are more sentimental choices.  I know that the game matters for home field advantage in the World Series and if I’m in the manager’s seat I’d look at the make-up of the club and add a specialty piece.  I can’t imagine the way that Clayton Kershaw’s pitched the last few years [penalizing him for] looking a little bit human this year…I would vote for him and his body of work.  Brian Dozier from Minnesota, I really enjoy watching him play and compete.  He jumps out at me, but it’s not to slight anyone else on the list.”

Martinez on the Final Vote: “I have to agree with Ron on Familia because, when you look at the numbers, you don’t really stop to think of the importance he has had for the Mets.  The Mets had [reliever] Bobby Parnell go down, then [closer] Jenrry Mejia came up and got suspended.  If Familia wasn’t there, where would the Mets be, regardless of [Matt] Harvey and [Jacob] deGrom and those guys?  The kid has done an outstanding job and because of the importance of what he means to the team and how steady he has been, I think he deserves a chance.  On the other side, Dozier has done some unbelievable things for the Minnesota Twins and probably the biggest reason they are having the success they are having this year is because of what he does.”

Martinez on his upcoming Hall of Fame induction: “I’ve always been a fan of expressing what I feel at the time.  I had a draft of things and people I wanted to mention that I couldn’t have forgotten that have influenced me and my career and my life.  Things I wanted to say to the fan bases, but I’ll be speaking from my heart.  I’m anxious to see what it’s going to be like.  For Latinos and Dominicans, it’s not every day you get a Hall of Famer.  It’s been 32 years for a Dominican.  It’s really important to acknowledge that and maybe a lot of Dominicans will show up in Cooperstown.  We are different, we are loud, we have drums and merengue and I’m interested in seeing those things.  I did not know [the preparation] was going to be so much work.”

Ripken on his memories of facing 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Randy Johnson: “I’m thankful I was a right-handed hitter.  As tall as he was, it felt like he reached halfway to home plate before he delivered the ball.  His velocity was really high and there was a shortened time when you could see the ball.  I couldn’t imagine hanging in with his three-quarter delivery [as a left-handed hitter].  He was as tough as anyone, tough competitor, his velocity was maintained all game…Randy was an early two-pitch guy, he didn’t need to change up.  His slider was the speed of everybody else’s fastball.  I guess the best compliment you can pay is that I always liked to see the papers and see that he pitched the day before he was coming to town…It was not an easy day when you were facing Randy.”

Ripken on the value of winning a championship when weighing free agency decisions: “I think there’s a lot of considerations when you think about your career that don’t always revolve around money.  It’s where you want to play.  I played in my hometown and we went through some major rebuilding processes.  Even through those, I wanted to stay here and get through those and back to the World Series.  There are a lot of considerations, the money being what it is, you have choices in how much you make.  Sometimes people say, ‘How much money is enough?’ It depends on situation and what your needs are.  I applaud people thinking about their life instead of their job just in terms of money.”

Martinez on money as a deciding factor in free agency: “I had to really think of what I was doing and you have to think about the market.  The Players Association is really strong and works together like a wolf pack.  I became a free agent in two years that were a turning point for baseball in terms of the market.  I had to be careful how I chose because it would affect the market.  If I take a pay cut, from there on, everything else goes down.  Thank God I never was in a position where I had to take a big chunk of money off my salary to go somewhere.  The ring I got in 2004 is priceless to me.  It doesn’t matter what you give me, how much money, I would take my ring.”

Martinez on the development of Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer: “I’ve seen him develop the last few years and it seems like he’s growing in front of our eyes.  Each time you see him, something is improving.  I’m extremely proud that he’s following my footsteps and somehow I’ve influenced his talent.  I’m really proud he’s looking up to me as someone to emulate.  He has no ceiling for improvement.  But I don’t know how the Rays do it.  It seems like every year they have a special rookie that comes up and becomes that mega-star.  I hope they keep Archer for a long time because that kid is really special.  His strength, durability and mechanics are getting better.  I see a determination in him that I don’t see every day when it comes to pitching.”

Darling on Archer as a student of the game: “I think there’s thousands and thousands of kids that emulate Pedro and what he’s done.  The thing I love about Archer is that in this day and age where everyone has to act the same, the great thing that separated Pedro from a lot of pitchers was his passion for the game, and Archer has the same.  He’s a free spirit, has great passion, he stomps around the mound and is a great competitor.  Sometimes he wears his heart on his sleeve, but so be it, I love to see that instead of everyone playing everything close to the vest.  He’s a fun watch and baseball is an entertaining game and there’s none more entertaining than Mr. Archer.”

Ripken on Alex Rodriguez’s first half: “I think all of us could agree that what Alex has done in the first half has surprised us.  He’s been nothing short of amazing.  I kind of think that the All-Star team isn’t always based on someone’s first half performance.  A lot of times you’ll pick your All-Stars because they are All-Stars for their career.  Based on his first half numbers, he’s very deserving.”

Ripken on his impressions of the Baltimore Orioles: “They’ve been hit with the injury bug and somehow they find a player to contribute and get them to where they need to be.  You know how good Buck Showalter is as a manager at finding different talent and handling the bullpen.  Zach Britton and Darren O’Day as All-Stars, it’s really indicative of how great they’ve been at the back end of the bullpen.  Their numbers are extraordinary.  I think a lot of people were concerned that they lost Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis in the off-season, where was the offense going to come from…They are in a particularly good position now having weathered some of the injuries with Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop back.  I think they’re positioned pretty well and I’m not surprised about four All-Stars, they’ve got a good ball club.”

Ripken on Chicago Cubs’ group of talented young infielders: “I kind of laugh because everyone was a shortstop at one point in their life…I think it’s a really good problem to have.  Kris Bryant has continued to amaze.  I haven’t gotten to watch him in person closely yet but I’d like to soon.  He’s a big guy, seems to be under control at all times.  His approach and the way that he takes it in stride are amazing to me.  They are all really, really talented players.  You have to find a mix and match to get them to all play together.  I think all teams would be lucky to have those choices.”

Ripken on his memories of playing with Martinez in the 1999 All-Star Game: “The whole All-Star Game in Boston, there’s a lot of really great memorable moments from that experience.  Very rarely do you get pumped up and psyched at the All-Star Game, especially if you’ve had a few under your belt, but the adrenaline was flowing really good.  It was fun to be on that side of it.  I’m glad I wasn’t trying to face Pedro.  It was a much more fun environment and there was this great excitability different than the other All-Star Games.  It was fun to be part of that.”

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

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New Sports Illustrated Special Cover Featuring U.S. Women’s National Team

SI editors write about the special new cover: “We couldn’t resist the chance to commemorate this moment while it’s still so fresh—so we put together the cover we would have run if there were a magazine this week…. This special digital cover is a beautiful shot by SI photographer Simon Bruty, one that perfectly captures what the U.S. women’s national team is all about: a dedicated and seamless group of 23 that worked as one to bring home the World Cup trophy, the third in the program’s history—notice those three stars on the cover—and one that was a long time coming. We’ve been waiting 16 years for this cover. We weren’t going to wait another week to show it to you.”
See the cover and read more about it here: http://on.si.com/USWNTcover
SI Cover - USWNT World Cup Champions

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.”

****    ****    ****    ****

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.”

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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.”

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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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