Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage ­ Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from TNT’s NBA Tip-Off Presented by AutoTrader.com – Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

2015 NBA All-Star Reserves Exclusively Announced on TNT

TNT is the exclusive home of extensive live NBA All-Star coverage including all of the marquee events from New York. Programming highlights include the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13; State Farm All-Star Saturday Night featuring the Degree Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk on Saturday, Feb. 14; and the 2015 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

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

Western Conference All-Star reserves:

James Harden Houston Rockets
Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder
LaMarcus Aldridge

Tim Duncan

Chris Paul

Portland Trail Blazers

San Antonio Spurs

Los Angeles Clippers

Barkley on Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins being left off the Western Conference All-Star team: “DeMarcus Cousins deserved to make the All-Star team…the kid is a hell of a player.”

Barkley on Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard: “I have a serious problem with Damian Lillard not making this team. That’s really not fair. I love [Thunder forward] Kevin Durant, but he hasn’t played enough games. This isn’t a lifetime achievement award. Lillard is having a terrific year.”

Barkley on Thunder forward Kevin Durant making the All-Star team: “Kevin Durant is the second best player in the world, but he has not played enough games to be an All-Star.”

Smith on Durant: “We all know he’s an All-Star. He’s an MVP. However, there is validity to [basing All-Star selections] off of the amount of games they’ve played and the type of season they are having to this point. Damian Lillard and DeMarcus Cousins have played well enough in the games that they’ve played this season to be on this list. I believe in Kevin Durant, but 21 games isn’t enough.”

Barkley on the two Thunder players, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, making the All-Star team: “If the playoffs started today, the Thunder wouldn’t be in it…and they get two All-Stars? That’s not right.”

O’Neal on choosing All-Stars based on individual accomplishments: “All-Star is singular. [Kings center DeMarcus] Cousins is an All-Star, he’s playing like an All-Star, and like the best center in the league. His feelings are hurt and my feelings are hurt for him. He definitely got snubbed today.”

Smith on choosing between Western Conference point guards Damian Lillard and Chris Paul: “Damian Lillard is having a better year than Chris Paul. Lillard got snubbed when he was left off of the USA Men’s Basketball team, and now the All-Star team.”

Smith on Rockets center Dwight Howard missing the All-Star team for the first time in eight years: “It’s because of injuries. He’s been hurt, and hasn’t played enough games consistently to say he’s an All-Star. He is arguably one of the top two centers in the league. For the same reason we said ‘no Kevin Durant,’ they said ‘no Dwight Howard.’ Also, the Rockets won games while Howard wasn’t there.”

Eastern Conference All-Star reserves:

Kyrie Irving Cleveland Cavaliers
Chris Bosh Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks
Paul Millsap

Jeff Teague

Dwyane Wade

Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks

Miami Heat

Smith on who was snubbed in the East: “The guys I feel for in the East are [Milwaukee Bucks point guard] Brandon Knight and [Atlanta Hawks shooting guard] Kyle Korver.”

Barkley on Heat veteran Dwyane Wade as an Eastern Conference All-Star: “Dwyane Wade shouldn’t have made the All-Star team. He is a Hall of Famer, but he didn’t deserve to be an All-Star this year. [Heat center Chris] Bosh has been the best player for Miami this year.  Brandon Knight in Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings in Detroit or Kyle Korver in Atlanta should have been rewarded for having good seasons. This might be the only time Knight, Jennings or Korver have a chance to make the All-Star team. I always give the edge to guys who are winning. Dwyane Wade is not having an All-Star year.”

Barkley on why Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver deserves to be an All-Star: “I always give the edge to guys who are winning. I would fine guys who left him wide open if I coached a team. Even if you have to hold his hand, don’t leave him shoot.”

O’Neal on Wizards center Marcin Gortat: “I think Marcin Gortat got snubbed. I think he is having a wonderful year. Washington is playing very well, and he is a vital part of that.”

Barkley on naming veteran stars to the All-Star teams over players having better years: “We all know who used to be great, but you can’t keep rewarding guys for what they used to be.”

Barkley on whether Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving or Bucks point guard Brandon Knight deserved to be an All-Star more: “Kyrie is incredible. Irving is a better all-around player, but for the first half of the season, Brandon Knight was better. He lifted his team to greater heights.”

Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage will continue on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Los Angeles Clippers @ Cleveland Cavaliers followed by the Phoenix Suns @ Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m.

  

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Denver Nuggets (69) @ Memphis Grizzlies (99)
Brian Anderson (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

   

Miller on the Memphis Grizzlies: “Even before they went out and got [forward] Jeff Green, I thought this team was the best in the West. They have a great floor general in [point guard] Mike Conley and two bigs down low in [center] Marc Gasol and [power forward] Zach Randolph who pound the paint. They are tough to beat.”

Miller on Grizzlies All-Star center Marc Gasol: “I think what Marc Gasol does at both ends, as well as his passing ability, really separates him from the other centers in the league.”

Miller on Memphis forward Tony Allen: “This is why the Memphis Grizzlies are a special team. Tony Allen had been the starter on this team for the past few years, through all their success. When they went out and got Jeff Green, this young man basically gave up his starting position. Allen is all about grit, hard work and toughness at the defensive end. That is a selfless player. It makes the Grizzlies bench that much better.”

Miller on the positive effect the Jeff Green trade has had on the Grizzlies: “[Memphis forward] Jeff Green brings a level of athleticism that this team has not seen. No disrespect to [Grizzlies guard] Courtney Lee or Tony Allen, but at 6’9” Green has an ability to both stretch the floor and knock down threes.”

Miller on how the Grizzlies get it done on the defensive end: “They don’t put you on the free-throw line a lot. They don’t foul you, so you have to make shots against their stingy defense. That has always been the mark of a championship team.”

Miller on the frontcourt duo of Marc Gazol and Zach Randolph: “We always get into the great debate of the best backcourt. We talk about the Splash Brothers, John Wall and Bradley Beal…but what about the best big man duos in the game today? I would certainly pick Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol as the best frontcourt duo.”

Miller on Green replacing Allen in the Grizzlies’ starting lineup: “This is a team that is going to go much further with Jeff Green on the floor than it would with Tony Allen. That’s not to say anything bad about Allen. His minutes will be very valuable in the starting unit.”

   Miller on Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried: “There is no way Faried is going to be able to handle [Grizzlies power forward] Zach Randolph down low.”

Miller on Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson: “Lawson leads the nuggets in scoring, assists and steals, but his game has been very inconsistent. If he wants to be the floor general on this team, he has to be consistent every night.”

Miller on Faried: “He’s a high energy guy. When he is able to get the guy off the glass and go coast to coast, you can see that athleticism.”

Miller on Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson: “Take away what he does on the court, his most valuable contribution has been in the locker room. His leadership and veteran savvy have really rubbed off on the young players on the Nuggets.”

Miller on the future of the Denver Nuggets: “How are the Nuggets doing? I just don’t know what direction or path they want to take. Before the season started, they were supposed to be one of those teams fighting for that eighth spot. They have kind of been a rollercoaster team all season.”

Miller on Faried: “I was expecting a bigger and better season from Kenneth Faried. I thought coming off that gold medal this summer and playing with USA Men’s Basketball, being that energy guy off the bench for Coach K, that confidence wise, he would come in and play like gangbusters. He hasn’t done that. His numbers are the same, but he’s not quite the same player confidence wise.”

Miller on Nuggets center JaVale McGee: “He has loads of talent and great athleticism.”

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Chicago Bulls (118) @ Los Angeles Lakers (123)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Brent Barry (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)


  Barry on newly named All-Star guard Jimmy Butler:  “He is absolutely remarkable this year. The things that he has been able to do and show regarding the growth of his game are great. He can post up at the 2-guard position. He can defend the best player on the opposing team whether that is a two or three man…well deserved All-Star appearance with many more to come. This guy works and goes about his business.”

Barry on guard Derrick Rose learning how to be a great player: “The greatest players in our league motivate themselves just because they are out here competing.”

 Barry on shooting guard Mike Dunleavy: “He doesn’t stop on the offensive end of the floor but is constantly moving…he’s one of the better three-point shooters in the league.”

   Barry on Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson’s athleticism: “I saw him play last summer in Las Vegas and there were signs of what Jordan Clarkson can do on the court where you raised an eyebrow to his potential. Can he find his way to be a point guard in this league where most of them dominate the game? I’m not sure if he is ready for that test but this season will pay some dividends.

Barry on the Lakers’ bench: “The Lakers have guys coming off the bench that have started in the league: Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin…these guys are capable of putting points on the board.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on Bulls guard Derrick Rose: “Derrick Rose is still playing like the old Derrick Rose. He’s got to learn that he is not the same guy. He has to learn to play with Jimmy Butler. You are a great player when you play with other great players. You shouldn’t try to do too much.”

Barkley on Derrick Rose: “He has to realize he’s not the MVP anymore.”

Barkley on Rose sharing the field: “You have to adjust. He can’t shoot 33 times. It was like when he was a one-man crew…but, in my opinion, Jimmy Butler is the best player on the team and he is also playing with the best offensive big man he’s ever had.”

O’Neal on what the Bulls need to work on: “They need to get their identity back on defense and create easy shots. Offense is not the problem, defense is.”

   Barkley on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol: “The best power forward center combination in the NBA.”
  Barkley on Denver Nuggets: “We blame the coaches all the time and these players never take responsibility. It’s hard to lose an NBA game by 30 points. I feel bad because Brian is a really nice guy and a good coach. It’s a players league and sometimes the coach gets thrown under the bus.”

Smith on how the Nuggets lack effort: “They have to beat you one way.  If they don’t play you that way, they are going to lose.”

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

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Inside Sports Illustrated 1.29.15

THIS WEEK’S SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

Richard Sherman Dishes on the Legion of Boom and SI Pays Tribute to One of Baseball’s Greats

NEW YORK, NY (January 29, 2015) – This week’s Sports Illustrated cover features Seattle’s Legion of Boom. As the Seahawks line up for another run at the Lombardi Trophy, Richard Sherman exclusively offers his own take on the state of the game, while also reflecting on how he will evoke change by being a great role model. Andy Benoit analyzes the three key arguments for the Seahawks and the Patriots, including Russell Wilson’s speed and New England’s hidden gem in Devin McCourty. With all eyes on “deflategate,” Ben Raskin recaps past Super Bowl distractions.

This week’s regional cover pays tribute to Mr. Cub – Ernie Banks and his impact on the Chicago Cubs. In remembrance, Rich Cohen discusses Banks’s life and how he became –and still is – the heart and soul of the Wrigley Field faithful. The two-time national league MVP and Hall of Famer’s buoyant spirit never changed throughout numerous losing seasons. Also in the issue, Luke Winn delves into Coach Larry Krystowiak and how he’s transformed the University of Utah Men’s Basketball program from a historically bad team to one that has Final Four potential. Winn explores the turnaround for a program on the verge of having its best season record since 1998. Albert Chen takes a look at the growing industry that is daily fantasy sports and the way it has captivated fans, while maximizing revenue and expanding its demographics. Lee Jenkins delves into the life of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the struggles he’s endured since entering the league.

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Richard Sherman: Boomsday

Before Richard Sherman became the center of the media’s attention he received a contract extension, and when asked what the increase in pay would do for him he simply replied that he wasn’t playing football for the money but rather to be the best in the game. In this piece, Sherman discusses not only his Legion of Boom teammates, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, but also his coach, Pete Carroll. Sherman, conveys his disappointment in Roger Goodell, as well as NFL management, talks about the difficulties that New England’s offense might pose and speaks on the league’s top defenders (hint: It’s not who you think). This is not just a football piece by a football player though, Sherman seamlessly transitions from football life to the everyday world as he opens up about media scrutiny and social issues that players face but are not allowed to speak out on and relates all of this into how he plans on being the best role model he can be as he prepares for the arrival of his first child, and the challenges that lie ahead for him.

“I’ll be the guy who has $50 million in the bank and plays like he has $5.” – Richard Sherman

Albert Chen: Every Sunday Is Super Bowl Sunday

With new fantasy leagues emerging constantly, each day can be a payday for players of snake drafts or keeper leagues. Growing from 500,000 participants in 1988 to over 40 million in 2014, fantasy football has become more than a hobby; it’s become a way of life to those willing to invest. Daily fantasy sports (or, DFS as the professionals call it) have turned amateur fans into stat-studying magicians who live and die by mathematics, analytics, spreadsheets and just a bit of intuition. But more than just a nice payout, DFS leagues are changing the way fans interact with the game, as well as the way that leagues interact with fans. MLB has a sponsorship deal with DraftKings, as does the NFL and the NHL while the NBA has inked a four-year partnership with FanDuel. Leagues have shown their support for these games and the revenue for the companies has ballooned to $97 million between them. This much is clear; the traditional season long fantasy games are long gone and the bright future that is DFS has only begun.

“I’ve been playing fantasy football since 1983; I’m in 26 leagues now. I’ve seen the evolution of fantasy. I see all the weaknesses that piss people off. Daily fantasy fixes it all. It’s not just a fad. It’s the future.”- Bob Harris, emcee and DFS participant

“If the NFL is looking for its [most ardent] audience, this is where they find it. There’s not a more passionate group.”- Harris

Luke Winn: Keep Chopping Wood

Thanks to a former NBA player, a one in 1,000 recruit and the Navy SEALs, head coach Larry Krystkowiak – and his childhood mantra– have brought the Utah Utes from historically bad to Final Four good. After landing recruit Jakob Poeltl in a lottery that included 1,000 other schools (according to Poeltl’s mother) and enticing young guard Delon Wright– brother to the NBA’s Dorrell Wright–  to stay in school rather than enter the NBA draft coach Krystkowiak began to see the results he knew would come. This Coach K saw it all. He became the coach with only four players returning, lost his starting center to injury and became desperate enough to hold walk-on tryouts for starting jobs. Through it all, he knew that the train was, moving though, and used exercises employed by the Navy SEALs, a scholarship offer that landed him a top 100 recruit and a stingy defense to get the Utes to where they are today– on the brink of greatness. They are on pace to finish with their best record since Andre Miller and the 1998 squad landed in the national title game and it comes as no surprise to anyone on the team.

“I’m not saying much today, but when I am, you’ve gotta be listening. Good thing we’re not Navy SEALs, because we’d all have our asses shot up right now.”- Coach Krystkowiak

“What I would tell people back then was, I can see myself at Utah. And just look where we’re at now.”- Point Guard Delon Wright

Lee Jenkins: Work In Progress

For many players a 19-foot jumper and a smooth postgame interview would be nothing to blink at. For Michael Kidd-Gilchrist it represented a culmination of a lifetime of hard work. Recruiting for Kidd-Gilchrist started when he was seven; at 12 he was friends with Jay-Z and his middle school team was sponsored by Reebok. He played alongside No.1 pick Kyrie Irving in high school and alongside No.1 pick Anthony Davis in college. He won a national championship in 2012 and was selected No.2 overall by the Hornets in the NBA draft. But while Davis and Irving thrived in the NBA and gained All-Star status, Kidd-Gilchrist struggled to find his identity. He enlisted the help of shooting guru Mark Price to fix his erratic shot and mend his confidence while he also sought assistance from a speech pathologist to help him with his stutter. At age 21 he has overhauled so many things about himself during his long journey that he is at last comfortable with where he is makes that jumper and his perfect post-game interview that much sweeter.

“What I saw was a tenacious defender who could get to the basket and a motor that would not shut off. I thought, if there is a way to improve the shot, this kid is going to find it.” – Charlotte general manager Rod Higgins

“Everybody has flaws, and I’m a prime example, but this is me. I’ve come a long way. Everyone can see it. I can see it myself.”- Michael Kidd- Gilchrist

Rich Cohen: Ode to Joy

Ernie Banks – 1931-2015

Sports Illustrated pays tribute to Mr. Cub. An inextinguishably bright light on some very grim teams. He was, and remains, the heart and soul of the Wrigley faithful and the city of Chicago. Losing with him wasn’t always fun, but losing without him would have been intolerable.

truTV Orders Pilot for Shaq, Inq. (working title) From Mandalay Sports Media and Executive Producers Shaquille O¹Neal and Mike Tollin

tru-tv

truTV Orders Pilot for Shaq, Inq. (working title)

From Mandalay Sports Media and Executive Producers

Shaquille O’Neal and Mike Tollin

Scripted Project to be Based on the Team Behind All Things Shaq

truTV has ordered a pilot for Shaq Inq. (working title), a workplace comedy loosely based on the wild and frenetic business empire of Shaquille O’Neal, who is executive-producing the show with Mike Tollin (Smallville, Arli$$). The series is being produced for truTV by Mandalay Sports Media. Jeremy Garelick (The Wedding Ringer, The Break-Up) will write the pilot, with John Fortenberry (Galavant, Instant Mom) set to direct. Perry Rogers, Colin Smeeton and Michael Parris will render producer services.

This half-hour scripted comedy follows Shaquille O’Neal and the team who runs his sprawling business empire. The offbeat, yet capable, group juggles the mayhem of managing Shaq’s existing products and endorsements while implementing his latest batch of eccentric and oftentimes brilliant business ideas. But while they’re all working towards the same goal, each employee is constantly jockeying for the power and recognition to make the big guy proud.

Dan Kaplow (Trophy Wife, Sin City Saints) and Jon Weinbach (The Other Dream Team, Straight Outta L.A.) are co-executive producers of the pilot.

Tollin said, “Shaquille and I have been friends for 20 years, and his growth as a businessman never ceases to amaze and amuse me.”

“There is no denying Shaq’s multifaceted appeal,” said Chris Linn, president, head of programming for truTV. “Thus, we couldn’t be happier to be collaborating with him, as well as Mike Tollin and Mandalay Sports Media, as we continue to push into new formats.”

Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage ­ Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from TNT’s NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com – Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

2015 NBA All-Star Starters Exclusively Announced on TNT

TNT is the exclusive home of extensive live NBA All-Star coverage including all of the marquee events from New York. Programming highlights include the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13; State Farm All-Star Saturday Night featuring the Degree Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk on Saturday, Feb. 14; and the 2015 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith

Western Conference All-Star starters:

Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis New Orleans Pelicans
Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzlies
Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers

Barkley on Rockets guard James Harden as a deserving All-Star starter: “James Harden should be starting. I love Kobe Bryant, but James Harden is in the race for MVP with [Warriors point guard] Steph Curry. He deserves to be starting in the All-Star Game. The Lakers stink and Kobe hasn’t played enough games. James Harden should be starting…plain and simple. Harden has been fantastic.”

O’Neal on Bryant: “It’s been rumored that he may shut it down after this year. Fans are saying, ‘This could be Kobe Bryant’s last All-Star game. I want to see him one last time.”

Smith on Bryant vs. Harden: “This is a fan’s list. I’d rather see Kobe Bryant as a fan. If I’m a player, picking my team to win the championship this year, then I’m picking James Harden.”

Eastern Conference All-Star starters: 

John Wall Washington Wizards
Kyle Lowry Toronto Raptors
LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers
Pau Gasol Chicago Bulls
Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks

Smith on the Gasol brothers being the first set of brothers to ever face each other in an NBA All-Star Game: “It’s crazy. Two guys in the same household are two of the top 10 most popular players in the world and two of the top 10 players in the game at their position.”

Barkley on Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony being named an All-Star starter: “I do have a problem with Carmelo [being named a starter]. I just don’t understand. Fans have to be honest and realistic.”

Smith on Anthony: “He has accumulated a big amount of fans over his career who will ride or die with him.”

O’Neal on players from losing teams being named All-Stars: “We have to come to the realization that there are two types of fans. There are fans that think like Chuck: ‘His team’s not winning. I don’t care who he is, he’s not an All-Star.’ Then there are fans like me: ‘This guy has great numbers. As a single individual, he is an All-Star.”

TNT’s Inside the NBA team pick their Western Conference reserves:

Barkley
James Harden Houston Rockets
Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers
Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors
LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Trail Blazers
DeMarcus Cousins Sacramento Kings
Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder
Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs
Smith
James Harden Houston Rockets
Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers
Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors
LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Trail Blazers
DeMarcus Cousins Sacramento Kings
Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder
Dwight Howard Houston Rockets
O’Neal
James Harden Houston Rockets
Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers
Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors
LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Trail Blazers
DeMarcus Cousins Sacramento Kings
Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder
DeAndre Jordan Los Angeles Clippers
Johnson
James Harden Houston Rockets
Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers
Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors
LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Trail Blazers
DeMarcus Cousins Sacramento Kings
Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder

Barkley on Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins: “He has played very well. He deserves to make the All-Star team. Shaq wants to anoint him as the best big man in the game and I cannot do that. If you put up good numbers, but your team loses all the time, you might be part of the problem. However, the kid is a terrific talent.”

O’Neal on Cousins: “He’s the best center in the league. When I was coming up, it was all based on numbers. Nobody is playing better than Cousins.”

Barkley on Spurs power forward Tim Duncan: “Tim Duncan has played well this year. He has been the best player on the Spurs, that’s why I put him on the team.”

Smith on his choice of Thunder point guard Russell Wesbtrook over Tim Duncan: “Any time you say Tim Duncan is an All-Star, you can’t be wrong. It’s just a personal preference. I was very close to putting Duncan in, but Russell Westbrook, without question, healthy or not healthy, is the most lethal guard in basketball. There is no one more lethal, not even Steph Curry. He has to be an All-Star.”

Barkley on Mavericks point guard Monta Ellis as an All-Star candidate: “There is just a glutton of point guards in the Western Conference. The best player on the Mavericks is Monta Ellis. He’s never going to be [center] Dirk Nowitzki, but Ellis is just going to be beat [out for All-Star] by [Warriors guard] Klay Thompson, who is the best two-guard in the league.”

Smith on the Mavericks: “If the Dallas Mavericks were in the Eastern Conference, they would have three All-Stars.”

TNT’s Inside the NBA team pick their Eastern Conference reserves:

Barkley
Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls
Jeff Teague Atlanta Hawks
Paul Millsap Atlanta Hawks
Chris Bosh Miami Heat
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks
Brandon Knight Milwaukee Bucks
Kyle Korver Atlanta Hawks

 

Smith
Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls
Jeff Teague Atlanta Hawks
Paul Millsap Atlanta Hawks
Chris Bosh Miami Heat
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks
Kyrie Irving Cleveland Cavaliers
Dwyane Wade Miami Heat
O’Neal
Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls
Jeff Teague Atlanta Hawks
Paul Millsap Atlanta Hawks
Marcin Gortat Washington Wizards
Kevin Love Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie Irving Cleveland Cavaliers
Bradley Beal Washington Wizards
Johnson
Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls
Jeff Teague Atlanta Hawks
Paul Millsap Atlanta Hawks
Marcin Gortat Washington Wizards
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks
Chris Bosh Miami Heat
Kyrie Irving Cleveland Cavaliers

Barkley on the Atlanta Hawks: “Atlanta Hawks deserve four All-Stars. I reward winning. The Hawks have the second-best record in the NBA.”

Smith on Bucks point guard Brandon Knight vs. Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving: “The toughest decision for me was Brandon Knight or Kyrie Irving. Knight is not a better player in the long run, but I would pick him for this season and what he’s doing for his team. When LeBron James was out, [Cavs center] Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving had an opportunity to separate themselves and show that they could carry a team without James…they didn’t’ do a good job of that. Knight is carrying the Bucks offensively. He is running the show.”

Barkley on Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver: “Steph Curry might be the best shooter in the NBA, but I would pay to see Kyle Korver. If I need one wide open jumper, I might go with Korver over Curry. He reminds me of Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr. ”

O’Neal on the Hawks: “They should have three or four guys that make the All-Star team, and I hope they do.”

Barkley on the Milwaukee Bucks: Milwaukee is one of the best kept secrets in the NBA. They lost [Bucks forward] Jabari Parker, who was arguably the Rookie of the Year, but they are still winning.”

Smith on Heat guard Dwyane Wade: “He gets the job done. You’re talking about an Eastern Conference that isn’t guard heavy.”

Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage will continue on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Denver Nuggets @ Memphis Grizzlies followed by the Chicago Bulls @ Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m.

  

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San Antonio Spurs (81) @ Chicago Bulls (104)
Marv Albert (play-by-play), Reggie Miller and Grant Hill (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

 

 

Hill on Bulls point guard Derrick Rose getting over his injuries: “It is about trusting your body. The mental hurdle is the last hurdle to accomplish. Derrick Rose is there but he has to continue to trust his body that he’ll be okay.”

Hill on the potential of the Bulls team once all healthy: “When they get healthy, they have a chance to make up some ground.”

 

Hill on the Bulls’ loss in Cleveland earlier this week: “Tonight is a drastic change from Monday night in Cleveland. They are bringing energy and effort, and playing with a sense of urgency they didn’t have against the Cavs. That game might have been the lowest point for Chicago this season. They had team meetings and a lot of speculation in the media. It’s encouraging to see them come out and play Chicago Bulls basketball.”

Miller on Bulls guard Jimmy Butler and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard: “Both are fabulous talents who get it done at both ends of the floor. More importantly, on defense. They are hard, gritty and they both rebound. Butler is only the second guard behind James Harden in free throw attempts. That shows he’s aggressive.”

Miller on Butler: “You should book a ticket to New York for Jimmy Butler. He deserves to be an All-Star reserve for the Eastern Conference.”

Hill on Derrick Rose: “I love the explosion of Derrick Rose tonight. He’s getting to the basket, getting up high and elevating in traffic. It’s a great sign for the Bulls.”

Hill on the success of Bulls power forward Pau Gasol in Chicago: “He was marginalized and forgotten the last two or three years in Los Angeles. That [Lakers former head coach] Mike D’Antoni style of play didn’t really fit him. People forgot how talented he is. Here in Chicago, he gets a chance to show that he’s still got it.”

  Hill on the value of a deep bench: “It’s a great luxury to have a deep bench. [Spurs head coach Gregg] Popovich learns to trust them and they typically come through in the playoffs when he needs them. A lot of coaches don’t trust their bench through the season.  Popovich empowers these guys and makes them believe in themselves. He can rely on them when he needs them down the stretch.”

Miller on the Spurs offense: “The Spurs are so patient at the offensive end when the shot clock is running down. They constantly have movement.”

Hill on Spurs center Boris Diaw: “Boris Diaw is yet another playmaker for San Antonio and a very talented defender.”

Miller on Diaw: “This guy is so crafty with the basketball. What makes him even tougher to guard is his passing ability at that size.”

Hill on whether the Spurs can repeat as NBA Champions this year: “Without a doubt. There is no real team in the West that is sticking out. The Spurs have an easy schedule, and it’s conceivable that by All-Star they could be third or fourth in the conference. They are gaining momentum, which they usually do this time of year. You can’t count out the San Antonio Spurs…I’ve learned that.”

 

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Brooklyn Nets (84) @ Los Angeles Clippers (123)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Brent Barry (analyst) with Jaime Maggio (reporter)

 

 

 

 

Barry on the weakness of the Nets defense: “There are gaps all over the Brooklyn Nets defense that the Clippers are exposing.”

Barry on the lack of consistent shooters on the Nets: “No shooter has gotten hot and stayed consistent for the Nets this season. It takes so much away from your offense when your point guards are pitching it out to opportunities and no one is able to knock those shots down.”

Barry on whether Lionel Hollins’ new system in Brooklyn has been a success: “The Nets have a new coach and new perspective, as well as veteran guys learning a new system. Hollins will admit he’s had to make adjustments around those guys, once he found out if they were capable of carrying out their assignments. Then you have the injuries, with [center] Brook Lopez and [power forward] Kevin Garnett in and out of the lineup. Hollins feels like he’s done a pretty good job in the first half of the year. Hopefully they can get some consistency and a good run in the second half.”

Barry on the Nets offense: “[Nets point guard] Deron Williams does so much offensively, but they are only going to be as good as their shooters start to take them. Williams is gearing up, they need more consistent minutes for Garnett, and the [center] Mason Plumlee is improving. They need to win a stretch of games before we can start believing in what this team can do.”

Barry on bench players getting an opportunity to play in blowout games:  “Whether you are up, or you see the hole that’s been dug and you know you’ll stay buried for the rest of the game, you have to play the game the right way. There is some karma that can carry over. If you play hard as a bench player, you compete and you do the right things, the next game, something good might happen to you. Don’t come in and think ‘this is embarrassing’ when the game is well out of hand. It’s a difficult thought, but you have to avoid it.”

   

Barry on the Clippers this season: “It just feels different. They are dealing with something they haven’t ever experienced…expectations.”  

 

Barry on Clipper center DeAndre Jordan: “What he does on the interior on a nightly basis for [head coach] Doc Rivers puts the Clippers in a great position to win.”

Barry on Clippers guard Jamal Crawford: “Jamal continues to be a bright spot for the Clippers. There are so many nights when they rely on him. He comes in and saves them offensively.”

Barry on the improvement of Clippers star Blake Griffin: “He’s shooting the ball well. I think he has expanded his game a little bit and has taken some criticism for doing the things he needed to in order to start being a better player.”

Barry on head coach Doc Rivers bringing in his son, guard Austin Rivers: “It is very interesting. There is lots of chatter about Doc making the move to bring Austin in. His career has gotten off to a rough start. This might be Doc’s attempt to try and save Austin River’s career moving forward, to simplify things for him and give him this great opportunity. It tells you a lot about the trust he has in the rest of the team, to take on Austin as a player, add him to this roster and give him minutes as they try to make progress throughout the season.”

Brent on the monster dunks of DeAndre Jordan: “There are two or three dunks a year that DeAndre Jordan gets on an opposing player, and it’s talked about all summer long. Makes for a miserable summer for his defenders.”

Barry on the inconsistency between the Clippers starters and bench players: “The Clippers bench is like when you are a parent and you have kids. You have friends come over, you give your kids to them and they wind them up and get them all excited. But when the kids start crying and fussing the friends hand them back to their parents. That’s what the bench and the starters are for the Clippers. The starters get the game going, hand it over to the bench and the kid is crying when they come back in. The bench has to be able to maintain and take care of the game.”

Barry on the impending trade deadline and if Doc Rivers will bring any players in to positively affect his team: “We’ve already seen teams that are in the hunt make significant moves on their roster, to bring in guys that will be significant in their rotation. Doc Rivers is content to wait, because he wants to add veteran presence. He wants to make sure he can pick guys that he knows what they can bring to the team. Sticking with the known and leaving the unknown alone. That’s the M.O. of Doc Rivers when it comes to adding players to the roster.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

Smith on the Chicago Bulls: “They are a team that could contend. They have all the elements in every position. One out of three nights they will have the advantage, minimum. Especially when [center] Joakim Noah is back.”

O’Neal on Bulls power forward Pau Gasol: “Pau is playing unbelievable. It’s hard to believe this is his 14th year [in the NBA]…and his best year.”

 

Smith on Bulls point guard Aaron Brooks: “Everywhere he’s been, he’s been able to score. Even when he went overseas, he was able to score.”

 

 

 

 

Barkley on the Spurs loss to the Bulls: “I think Coach Popovich was surprised at the level of competitiveness. You can’t judge the Spurs until everybody gets healthy. They are just getting Kawhi Leonard back and Tony Parker has been in and out. They are going to be tough because they play hard, smart and they have the best coach in the NBA. It’s going to be interesting now with the injury to Aldridge. It’s just ridiculous out West right now.”

 

Smith on his NBA finals prediction: “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the Spurs and Bulls playing each other in June.”

 

O’Neal on the Spurs chances in the playoffs: “I’m not worried about the Spurs. Yes, they are older, but they can win on the road. It’s not checkers; it’s chess. If the playoffs started today, I think the Spurs could go into Portland and win.”

  Barkley on the fast play of the Clippers: “The Clippers are the best full-court team in the NBA. You can’t let them play fast. When you let them dunk and everything, they are going to be tough to beat.”

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 Coverage ­ Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage will continue with a special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day doubleheader on Monday, Jan. 19, at 7:30 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers followed by the Los Angeles Lakers @ Phoenix Suns at 10 p.m. 

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

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

  Barkley on the rumors of tension between Cavaliers head coach David Blatt and the players in Cleveland: “I don’t know what is true and not, but if these rumors that these guys on the cavaliers are trying to get their coach fired and assistant coaches are trying to undermine their head coach, they are punks in my opinion.”
 

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Oklahoma City Thunder (101) @ Houston Rockets (112)
Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Chris Webber (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

 

 

 Webber on the quick release of Rockets guard James Harden: “He doesn’t have as quick of a release as [Warriors point guard] Steph Curry, but he’s right up there.”

Webber on the team play of the Rockets: “The Rockets are winning games because of sharing and penetration, and it all starts with [James] Harden.”

Webber on Rockets forward Josh Smith: “He’s athletic and a willing passer. He is a good defender and keeps guys involved, but [for Smith to be successful in the NBA] it’s going to take somebody like Rockets head coach Kevin McHale believing in him.”

Webber on the winning style of the Rockets: “The great thing about Houston is they have defenders, guys that can steal; they shoot threes and they have the personnel to switch. If [center] Dwight Howard goes out, [power forward] Donatas Motiejunas comes in to stretch the floor. It seems like the perfect team for the defensive and offensive style that [head coach] Kevin McHale wants to see his team play.”

Webber on Josh Smith’s poor three-point shooting: “If you don’t shoot well, it affects your aggressiveness. Smith needs to improve his three-point shooting or teams are going to hack-a-Josh in the fourth quarter, and the Rockets don’t want that.”

Webber on Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley: “We all know he is a capable offensive player but, with his defense, any offense that you get is just extra. Usually you have a specialist on your team that just plays defense. No one in the league guards the ball or turns guys like he does. Having his offense is just the icing on the cake.”

Webber on the recent incident between Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard: “I would like to see Dwight Howard protect himself and show other players that you can’t do that to him, but that’s not his personality or his character.”

   Webber on Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook’s unselfish play:  “Until Kevin Durant came back [from injury], Westbrook was carrying the team on his shoulders. Right now he is trying to make sure his team wins regardless of his stats.”

Webber on Thunder’s recent trade for guard Dion Waiters: “They are starting to get their mojo and their groove back, and they are very excited about Waiters. They are saying that he is a defensive player and he really helps the facilitating.”

Webber on the versatility of Westbrook: “I love the different speeds of Westbrook…he can speed it up or slow it down. He can also shoot from anywhere on the court.”

Webber on the three-team trade between the Cavaliers, Knicks and Thunder: “I like the trade for everyone, especially [Thunder guard] Dion Waiters. Whenever you are traded it’s a deflation of your ego, but you have to remember someone wanted you and asked for you. It’s a great opportunity for guys to revaluate themselves, be honest and reinvent themselves.”

Webber on reported trade involving Nets center Brook Lopez to the Thunder: “I know it’s just speculation, but Brook Lopez is what OKC might need. He can block shots and finish. If I’m a Thunder fan; I’m very excited about that prospect.”

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Cleveland Cavaliers (109) @ Los Angeles Lakers (102)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller (analyst) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

 

 

 Miller on the speculation surrounding unrest between the Cavaliers players and head coach: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There is probably a little validity to what everyone is saying. However, there is one person in this building who can stop all this nonsense, and it’s [Cleveland star] LeBron James. If LeBron were to get in front of a microphone and say, ‘I’m tired of hearing all this noise,’ we wouldn’t hear anything. We’re rolling with this guy. But it’s silence from LeBron James…I understand he’s in a tough predicament, but he could stop all of this.”

Miller on the reason it is taking this Cavaliers time to find their rhythm: “There are a lot of moving parts. You are adding a center, two shooting guards [J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert], a new system and a rookie coach who has never coached in the NBA before.”

Miller on Cavs head coach David Blatt: “The thought when he first came to Cleveland was that he was going to expand the Cavaliers’ game offensively. The reason why we haven’t seen that is all the injuries and trades.”

Miller on the relationship between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant: “I equate these two to Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan on the original Dream Team. Kobe and LeBron are the best of their generation, obviously. They have a special relationship. They are the best players on the planet.”

Miller on Cavaliers center Kevin Love’s back spasms: “You can tell Kevin Love is very uncomfortable by the way he is walking. His back is really acting up. If you’re [head coach] David Blatt that is something to really think about. There are a lot of games left to play.”

Miller on Love playing through the pain: “It sends a message to your team. ‘I play hurt. I’ll do whatever it takes to win.’”

   Miller on a 36-year-old Kobe Bryant: “I know exactly what Kobe is going through. In my 17th and 18th year, there were some games where I didn’t even know I had legs because they were so fatigued and sore. I like that [head coach] Byron Scott and the trainers have come up with a game plan [to keep him healthy]. They are going to stick to Kobe playing only 32 minutes a game.”

Miller on the notion that the Lakers might shut Kobe down after the All-Star break: “If that ever happens, I would love to be in the room for that conversation. There is no way Kobe will ever think about shutting down. He wants to compete at the highest level, all the time. It’s already tough enough that the Lakers have cut his minutes down to 32, but Father Time is undefeated for a reason.”

Miller on the mutual respect shared by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James: “LeBron looks up to Kobe, but it’s mutual respect and admiration. At the end of the day, these two want to beat each other, but they’ll have a good time while doing it. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them going against each other on the court due to injuries. It’s a great scene.”

Miller on how the Lakers can improve next season: “In a perfect world, this team wants to be bad enough to have a top five pick. Then they will get an injured [Lakers rookie] Julius Randle back, have a top draft pick and still have money to go out and get a top free agent.”

Miller on the impressive play of Kobe Bryant: “I hope people appreciate this. We aren’t going to see it much longer. There are only two guards in the history of the game that I would take over Kobe Bryant. One being Michael Jordan, the other being Magic Johnson. After that, Kobe Bryant is the best guard who has ever played this game.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 Smith on early MVP candidate James Harden: “James Harden is the best one-on-one player in the NBA. He took the title over from Carmelo Anthony.”
 

 

 Barkley on the Memphis Grizzlies as a contender: “I really like what Memphis has done, going out and getting [forward] Jeff Green. It makes them a three-headed monster.”
  Barkley on the Milwaukee Bucks 21-19 record so far this season: “Jason Kidd has done a fantastic job. One of the most underrated things in sports is the ability to play hard. Everybody gets so enamored with talent, but energy is a talent.”

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

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NBA on TNT to Present Special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Doubleheader ‹ Bulls vs. Cavaliers & Lakers vs. Suns ‹ Monday, Jan. 19, at 7:30 p.m. ET

nba-on-tnt NBA TV to Tip-Off Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Coverage with Western Conference Showdown — Mavericks vs. Grizzlies  at 5 p.m.

TNT Updates NBA Telecast Schedule to Include Nuggets vs. Grizzlies on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m.

NBA on TNT presented by State Farm regular season coverage continues with a special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day doubleheader on Monday, Jan. 19, with the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe hosting the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant at 10 p.m. Marv Albert will call the Bulls/Cavaliers game alongside analysts Grant Hill and reporter David Aldridge, while Brian Anderson will provide play-by-play for the Lakers/Suns matchup with analyst Reggie Miller and reporter Rachel Nichols. TNT’s coverage will begin at 7 p.m. with TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com.

TNT’s Sports Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA presented by Kia with host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal will recap the night’s action following the doubleheader.

Additionally, NBA TV will tip-off the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day game lineup with two of the best teams in the Western Conference in action when the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki visit the Memphis Grizzlies and Marc Gasol at 5 p.m. Coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the AutoTrader.com Pregame Show hosted by Matt Winer alongside analysts Steve Smith and Brent Barry.

Live streaming coverage of all NBA on TNT games is available via www.tntdrama.com/watchtnt and the Watch TNT app.  Fans are 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, enhanced live streaming coverage of select NBA on TNT games is available via TNT Overtime (http://www.nba.com/tntovertime/).

TNT Updates NBA Telecast Schedule

TNT has updated its upcoming NBA regular season schedule to include the Grizzlies hosting the Denver Nuggets and Ty Lawson on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m.  The game telecast will replace the previously scheduled New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers matchup.  The NBA on TNT schedule over the remainder of the month:

Date Time (ET) Game / Commentators
Thursday, Jan. 15 8 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets

Marv Albert, Chris Webber, David Aldridge

10:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers @ Los Angeles Lakers

Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Rachel Nichols

 
Post-game Inside the NBA presented by Kia

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

     
Monday, Jan. 19 7 p.m. TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith

     
7:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Albert, Grant Hill, Aldridge

10 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers @ Phoenix Suns

Brian Anderson, Miller, Nichols

 
Post-game Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith

Thursday, Jan. 22 8 p.m. San Antonio Spurs @ Chicago Bulls

Albert, Miller, Hill, Nichols

10:30 p.m. Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Clippers

Harlan, Greg Anthony, Jaime Maggio

 
Post-game Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith

   
Thursday, Jan. 29 8 p.m. Denver Nuggets @ Memphis Grizzlies

Albert, Miller, Aldridge

10:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls @ Los Angeles Lakers

Harlan, Brent Barry

 
Post-game Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith

Turner Sports, marking its 31st consecutive year of NBA coverage, will feature a 53-game regular-season schedule on TNT.  Additionally, TNT is the exclusive home of NBA Thursday Night doubleheaders, the NBA All-Star Weekend and more NBA Playoff games than any other network including first and second round action along with the exclusive presentation of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

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 Coverage ­ Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015

nba-on-tntTNT’s NBA coverage will continue Thursday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers @ Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. 

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

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

 

 

 O’Neal on Rockets forward Dwight Howard: “I don’t know if I like Dwight Howard deferring to James Harden so much. I know James is playing great, but I know from experience if you want to win a championship you have to dominate.  It’s not good enough to be a good/great big man; you have to dominate.”

Smith on the Rockets playoff chances: “They are going to win the same amount of games in the regular season without Josh Smith or Corey Brewer. During the playoffs, they will have seven guys that at any night can explode. That actually moved them up.”

Barkley on Houston’s Josh Smith: “At this stage in Josh Smith’s career, he’s never going to get it.”

  Barkley on the players the Cleveland Cavaliers recently acquired: “This makes the Cavs relevant. They were way out of the conversation. You got the Bulls, Wizards and the Raptors. I didn’t even count the Cavaliers. The addition of those two guys…getting [Timofey] Mosgov and [Iman] Shumpert makes the Cavs relevant again.
 

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Houston Rockets (120) @ New York Knicks (96)
Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller (analyst) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

 

 

 Miller on guard Trevor Ariza:  “Ariza has played fantastic for Kevin McHale and his Rockets.”

Miller on Josh Smith: “There’s no question this guy has talent…his athletic ability and what he can do on the floor.  If you are Kevin McHale you have to put him in the right situation to thrive with this team.”

Miller on James Harden: “His MVP play really started this summer under Coach K and that team. When [Kevin] Durant and Paul George didn’t play on that team, I think the responsibility of being team leader went to James Harden and he accepted that. I think that play has come over to the regular season for Houston.”

O’Neal on his criticism of Dwight Howard: “A lot of people may think I’m picking on him. I’m not picking on him. I have to stay on the big man like the forefathers stayed on me.”

   Miller on the Knicks center Cole Aldrich: “One of the winners in the trade is Cole Aldrich. This gives Aldrich a chance to play major minutes.  He’s very serviceable, has good hands around the basket and is a pretty good passer in this triangle offense, which you need. You need bigs that are able to pass the basketball.”

Miller on the Knicks roster: “I want to see more of Cleanthony Early and Tim Hardway, Jr. If you are going to rebuild, play the young guys. Let’s see what we have here.”

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Miami Heat (83) @ Portland Trail Blazers (99)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Greg Anthony (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)

 

 

 

 Anthony on center Hassan Whiteside: “He gives them size and versatility on the front line. He has the ability to finish in traffic which is an added skill and asset for any team.”

Barkley on Miami: “They are the Heat without LeBron James…every game is challenging.”

   Anthony on center LaMarcus Aldridge: “He has found his groove as an elite player.”

Anthony on Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts: “He has matured as a head coach and really has the attention of this team.”

Anthony on Portland becoming a legitimate contender: “Last year they were in the top 10, defensively; now they are in the top five defensively and they are getting better bench play.”

Barkley: “If I had to pick two teams to represent their conference right now, I would pick the Trail Blazers and the Bulls.”

Anthony on the Trail Blazers: “They are high octane offensively, but also very proficient on the defensive side of the ball. “

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on the Cleveland trade: “I love the trade.  J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert need to play well in Cleveland…they need to get better on the perimeter. The Cavs were irrelevant last week but now they are back in the conversation.”
 

 

Smith on his choice between Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers: “Sustainability…Portland has it. They can play likes this for the rest of the season. I don’t think Golden State can win the West; I think Portland is more consistent.”

Barkley on the Trail Blazers: “[Right now] they can get baskets down low and they have two of the best shooters but, at some point (going into the playoffs), they need to find out how to get easier baskets.”

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

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SI Predicts Oregon Will Beat OSU & Highlights The NFL Playoffs and Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski

si-logo

THIS WEEK’S SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

SI Predicts Oregon Will Beat OSU & Highlights The NFL Playoffs and Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski

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NEW YORK, NY (January 6, 2015) – This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated highlights the National Championship between the Buckeyes and the Ducks.  SI picks Oregon to win, but their records and the long list of similar stats suggest a close final. Joey Bosa is graced with NFL talent, but the Ohio State d-lineman must harness all that ability for the Buckeyes to upset the Ducks. This issue also showcases a preview to the NFL Playoffs. Senior writer Andy Benoit analyzes the final 8 teams and brilliantly breaks down the divisional matchups.

02COVv11NE_Promo

On the regional cover, Pete Thamel dives into the life of New England’s Rob Gronkowski, from his white party bus to his past injuries and on-field abilities. He may party hard but he works even harder. John Elway, former Broncos’ QB and current GM, has four Super Bowl blowouts and two titles on his resume. Aside from that, he’s sure he has another Lombardi Trophy coming to him – so he built a team designed to grab one right now. Seth Davis unearths the story of George Raveling, the pioneering African-American college basketball coach, who historically crossed paths with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 and walked away with one of the defining documents of the civil rights movement.

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Brian Hamilton: Thriving On The Edge

If Ohio State wants to beat Oregon, sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa will need to channel his inner NFL roots, continue to refine his skills, and prove that the hype surrounding him is deserved. Described as goofy and a pain in the ass by his mother, Bosa’s 20 tackles for a loss this season is nothing to laugh at. Despite receiving his first offer from Alabama, he decided to follow his father’s footsteps to Columbus which explains why the upset over the number one seed was that much sweeter for him. But to beat Oregon, he’ll need to disrupt Marcus Mariota the same way he did Blake Sims.

“He’s quick, he’s smart, and he’s coordinated. The combination of those attributes is really impressive, because he knows how to use them and when to use them.” – Senior tackle Michael Bennett

“He has an innate gift of contact balance that you don’t find in a lot of defensive linemen. He’s got the greatest core strength of anybody I’ve seen at a young age. He can do unbelievable things because he’s under control.” –Luke Fickel, Ohio State defensive coordinator

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Pete Thamel: Gronk Worker’s Party

Fueled partly by work ethic and partly by genetics, Rob Gronkowski has regained his MVP form after six surgeries cost him 17 games over the 2012 & 2013 seasons. Yes, he is fiesta, but after losing two seasons, he’s a more mature – and extremely dedicated – frat-house hero. Gronk has always worked harder than he partied, something his friends insist got lost as his public persona evolved. Hop on, New England: Rob is driving the Patriots’ bus.

“He’s one of the hardest-working guys that I’ve ever been around.” – Bill O’Brien, former Patriots offensive coordinator

“Medically speaking, we expected him to be playing and effective. But as far as being an MVP candidate, that’s unheard of.” – Ryan Donahue, physical therapist

“Don’t get lost in his awkward silliness. It’s not immaturity. He’s a great competitor.” – former Arizona coach Mike Stoops

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S.L. Price: Elway – The Tao Of Woody

After losing 43-8 in last year’s Super Bowl, the only thing on John Elway’s mind was how to get better. Now, he has assembled a team that he believes has another Super Bowl in sight. Worth in sports is decided by winning and Elway’s two victories help prove that notion and change the narrative about him. Now for Elway, the business of football has shifted from playing to creating. There is no denying that the window is closing on his time, which is why he has made his team suited for winning now.

“My viewpoint is different from everybody else’s. I’ve always fought to stay off the pedestal. I’ve got to make [everyone else] feel like I’m one of them. When they know their opinion is important, you’re going to get the best out of those people.”- Elway

“It’s part of him being an ex-player: his aggressiveness and will to win. He’s about winning now. He’s not building a team for five years from now.” – Terrance Knighton, Broncos’ defensive tackle

 si6

Seth Davis: The Coach And The Preacher

George Raveling needs three storage units for all the things he has collected, but one item means more to him than all the others: the three papers that lay on the podium while Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his memorable speech. A former basketball star at Villanova, Raveling was a pioneering college coach at predominately white universities. After being coerced to attend the march in Washington D.C., Raveling asked to work security. With only a handful of people between him and MLK Jr., he asked for the speech when it was all over.  He never knew it would become such a historic document, and now refuses to sell it despite its undeniable worth.

“I never heard anybody who had the command and gifts of public speaking that he did. He carried himself as you would envision a leader would do…I was in total awe; I just froze and was totally locked in on what he was saying.” – Raveling

“At no time do I remember thinking, Wow, we got this historic document.”- Raveling

Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014

TNT’s NBA coverage will continue Thursday, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Houston Rockets @ New York Knicks followed by the Miami Heat @ Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

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

 

 

 Charles Barkley on the Wizards: “John Wall and the Washington Wizards are a clear and present danger to the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls.”
O’Neal on the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade: “D-Wade played like the young D-Wade today. He came out with a lot of energy… D-Wade played like the young Flash today.”
Barkley on the Chicago Bulls: “I think if Derrick Rose is healthy, not only are the Bulls the best team in the East, I would make them the favorite to win the World Championship. They have everything… Derrick Rose is the only question mark. [Jimmy] Butler is terrific, [Taj] Gibson, the addition of Pau Gasol, [Joakim] Noah, [Nikola] Mirotic, they don’t even have [Doug] McDermott but let me tell you something, they have it all.

Kenny Smith on the Bulls: “The only component they don’t have is health, so if they’re able to stay together, stay healthy, there isn’t a team in the NBA that has all of the dynamics, from center to point guard to bench.”

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Los Angeles Lakers (93) @ Chicago Bulls (113)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Chris Webber (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)


   Webber on the Lakers’ offensive productivity improving when Bryant’s not on the floor: “I definitely believe it. It’s not because of Kobe, it might be because of guys sitting around stargazing… If you have a failsafe there, you usually tend to go to that and not put risk on yourself. For Kobe, it seems sometimes guys aren’t as aggressive because they’re willing to lean on their leader so much.”

Webber on Bryant’s disappointment in missing the game: “Seeing Kobe’s face today, and knowing him for as long as I have, I don’t know if I’ve seen a more disappointed Kobe. I know the fans are disappointed, but I think Kobe expected to play more than the fans expected him to play.”

Webber on Lakers coach Byron Scott: “He loves the team as much as Lakers fans do, and whenever you have a guy like that’s committed; he’s a Laker for life. This isn’t him just out here in a coaching job, he’s a Laker for life. This means a lot to him.”

Webber on Scott and Bryant’s relationship: “No other coach the Lakers could have hired in this world, no other coach I believe could have gotten Kobe to sit down. Not only did they hire his coach, they hired his old head, his mentor, his ex-teammate who he knows has his best interest at heart.”

 

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 Webber on Pau Gasol: “I think [Pau] Gasol has come here and proven I can play on either coast, I’m tough inside, I can get back to career-high numbers in rebounding and scoring. The emergence of Pau after injuries and, when you thought he was on the downturn of his career, it’s not that way at all.”

Webber on Aaron Brooks: “[Aaron] Brooks averaged about 20 points for Houston, has always been a pacesetter, and on this Bulls teams that plays such great defense, when he comes into the game with the second unit and the pace just increases.”

Webber on this year’s Bulls team compared to 2010: “Even though Chicago was good in 2010, with aspirations to win a championship, I still feel this team is better because now Derrick Rose doesn’t have to stand outside, shoot the ball, and go off 20 pick-and-rolls. He has guys that can get him involved. This team is much better.”

Webber on Mirotic being considered among the top rookies in the NBA: “He’s definitely in the Rookie of the Year conversation. He may be a little hamstrung only because his team is so good and maybe he can’t get minutes because it’s a really good team.”

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Golden State Warriors (86) @ Los Angeles Clippers (100)
Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller (analyst) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)


   Miller on Draymond Green: “They may have to pay that heartbeat [Green] because he’s an unrestricted free agent at year end… Here’s the question, you already got David Lee making $14 or $15 [million] a year coming off the bench, Bob Myers and that brain trust, Jerry West, Joe Lacob, the owner, they’re going to have some decisions to make on Draymond Green because he’s certainly having a breakout season here for the Warriors.”

Miller on Klay Thompson: “This is a guy that gets it done on both ends of the floor. You can talk all you want about his outside shooting, the way he’s able to stretch the floor, but he’s one of the best, if not the best, two-way guards.”

Miller on Justin Holiday: “Steve Kerr can relate to the effort that [Justin] Holiday has put in during those practice hours. This is a guy coming off the bench with role players and your minutes are scattered, but if you work hard in practice and get some minutes, this guy the last two games has been averaging 15 points and almost 45 percent [shooting percentage] from downtown.”

Miller on the weakness for the Warriors: “The Achilles heel in this team is when they turn the basketball over they’re not a very good ball club.”

   Miller on DeAndre Jordan being active around the rim: “This is one thing [a put back at the rim] Doc Rivers has the luxury to have. He doesn’t have to run a single play for [Jordan], but he always ends the game with a double-double.”

Miller on the success of Doc Rivers in Los Angeles: “I think that gets lost in the Donald Sterling saga last year, what Doc Rivers did with all those distractions to get by this Warriors team in that slugfest seven-game series, and then [the Clippers] had a chance, really, to beat OKC [Oklahoma City].”

Miller on Jamal Crawford: “The best hard shot maker in the NBA..”

Miller on the Clippers win against the Western Conference-leading Warriors: “You know how ultra-competitive this Western Conference is going to be, so this is a huge win for the Clippers, who’ve really struggled against the powerhouses of the Western Conference.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

 

Barkley on the Clippers: “I’m not sold on the Clippers at all. They’re not tough enough… They’re not mentally tough enough; Blake [Griffin] doesn’t impose his will.”
Smith on the Warriors improving defensively this season: “I think that with Draymond Green being able to guard guys one-on-one, as you saw tonight, Andre Iguodala being able to guard guys one-on-one…Klay Thompson is a very improved defensive player, and then you add [Andrew] Bogut who’s a shot blocker, and David Lee, who’s a defensive player, they have more of a defensive presence than they’ve ever had.”
   Barkley on the best team in the Western Conference: “The Portland Trail Blazers… They have solidified their bench… It’s a fluid situation; in my opinion right now… I might take the Portland Trail Blazers coming out of the west.”

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 Coverage – Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

TNT’s NBA coverage will continue Thursday, Dec. 25, with a special Christmas Day showcase featuring the Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls at 8 p.m. ET,

followed by the Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m. 

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Grant Hill

 

 

 Smith on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo’s move to Dallas: “The great thing about Rondo is that he has played with [veterans] Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, three other guys who like having the ball and like to score. You look at [Mavericks stars] Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons and you say, ‘Ok…he’s done this before.’ Not only did he do it, he played at a high level with veterans. It’s hard to say it puts the Mavericks over the top, but they will be one or two in terms of regular season. When the playoffs start, you can’t just give it to them, because there are other teams that have done it already, OKC and San Antonio especially.”

O’Neal on Rondo to the Mavs: “It definitely puts the Mavericks in the championship talk. Last time they had weapons of this caliber, they won a championship. He makes it easier for people. Now [Mavs guard] Monta Ellis doesn’t have to handle the ball. He can get up court and Rondo will deliver. I see them making it to the Western Conference Finals.”

Hill: “This is a power move right here. You’ve got to give credit to [Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban. He’s going all in. I like this move. Anything could happen in the West.”

 

 

Hill on the Thunder’s ability to get to the postseason: “Everybody has been talking about this mountain they have to climb, but if these guys are healthy, they are going to win enough games to get into the postseason. The most important thing is they are playing their best basketball going into the postseason. They are good enough to come out of the Western Conference when they are clicking on all cylinders.”

O’Neal on playing the Thunder in the playoffs: “No one wants to face them in the first round. It’s going to be a lot of teams watching them to see what spot they’re in and they’ll be finagling games so they don’t have to play the Thunder.”

  Hill on the injury to Warriors center Andrew Bogut: “They don’t need Bogut during the regular season, but when the postseason comes and they have to prepare, they are going to need him. They are playing great basketball now. But everything changes in the postseason; they are going to need the big fella back.”

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New York Knicks (97) @ Chicago Bulls (103)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

 

 

   Barkley on Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.: “Hardaway Jr. has a chance to be a terrific player in this league. He has to be careful to not rely on the jump shot…just taking the ball to the basket will open up his outside game.”

Barkley on the Knicks: “This notion that just because they have a lot of money, everyone is going to want to come to New York and play for [Knicks President] Phil Jackson, I think that’s a flawed theory. Some of these guys will be giving up 20, 30, 40 million dollars. They’re not going to give that up just to say they played for Jackson. The Knicks are a lot of players away from being legitimate.”

Miller on why the triangle offense isn’t working for the Knicks: “When you run the triangle offense, and you have a Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal or Scottie Pippen, all your attention and your eyes are diverted to them. On this Knicks team, other than Carmelo Anthony…their opponents don’t have to double down.”

Barkley on Knicks star Carmelo Anthony: “If I needed one basket in the NBA, I would go to Carmelo. That guy is just a flat out scorer. He gets a lot of the blame, but he is not the reason the Knicks are awful.”

Miller on Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire: “Stoudemire is having the most efficient season of any of the New York Knicks, including Carmelo Anthony…balance wise, shooting wise. It’s been a nice resurgence for Amar’e.”

Miller on the lack of emotion from Knicks head coach Derek Fisher: “Why does everybody have to be [Jets head coach] Rex Ryan, ranting and screaming on the sidelines?  Everyone’s demeanor is different. All coaches coach differently. Phil Jackson wasn’t a screamer, either. This is how Derek Fisher coaches.”

Barkley on the early criticism of Fisher: “First it was [former Knicks head coach] Mike D’Antoni’s fault, then it was [former Knicks head coach] Mike Woodson’s fault…now it’s Derek Fisher’s fault. At some point as a player you have to look in the mirror and think, ‘Maybe I’m part of the problem.’ We can’t just keep firing coaches.”

Miller on why Phil Jackson and the Knicks should stick to the triangle offense instead of adjusting to the strengths of their current players: “It’s a culture and a lifestyle. If they end up getting free agents, this is how they are going to play. You have to market it and get it out there.”

Barkley on the reason this Knicks team is not buying into the triangle: “They’re not trying to buy into the triangle. They’re not worried about creating a culture. They are auditioning and are trying to put up good numbers for their future teams. Most of these players aren’t going to be with the Knicks next year. They’re just trying to get numbers.”

     Barkley on Bulls power forward Pau Gasol: “He’s rejuvenated. I think last year he didn’t feel appreciated in L.A. because he knew they weren’t going to sign him. He’s playing with great energy.”

Barkley on the Bulls: “They have the two best passing big men in the NBA with [power forward] Pau Gasol and [center] Joakim Noah down low. They are going to work well together all season.”

Miller on Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler: “Jimmy Butler should absolutely be an All-Star. It’s what he’s done at the defensive end. I love the mental approach. He learned a lot of this when he was under the tutelage of [Heat forward] Luol Deng. How he approached the game and studied his opponent, Butler is along the same cut of that in his approach on the defensive end.”

Barkley on Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau: “They play his way, with maximum energy and effort. You play defense or you don’t get to play. This guy is one of the better coaches in the NBA. We should appreciate him.”

Barkley on the Eastern Conference: “When you look at the Eastern Conference there are four elite teams. The Bulls are the best team. Then you have Toronto, Washington and Cleveland. On paper, if they can ever get healthy, the Bulls are the team to beat.”

Miller on the leaders on the Bulls: “Until [point guard] Derrick Rose is fully healthy, this offense is going to be running through Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol.”

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Oklahoma City Thunder (109) @ Golden State Warriors (114)
Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Chris Webber (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)

 

 

 Webber on the increased leadership of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook this year: “It seems that in years past Westbrook’s role was to push the pace and be aggressive. This year, there has been a switching of roles due to Durant’s early injuries. Westbrook has embraced the responsibility and increased his input. He’s been efficient and improved defensively.”

Webber on the Thunder’s strength on the road: “You have to love the way they come out, especially on the road, with their attention to detail from the start.”

Webber on the Thunder’s ability to rely on Westbrook with Durant out with injury: “It’s so great to have a player like Westbrook on your team that always stays at the same level: aggressive and ready to go. The team can focus on him and not worry about the what-ifs [surrounding Durant’s ankle injury] until after the game, because they still have a great leader like Westbrook.”

Webber on Westbrook: “I don’t know where the term ‘stopping on a dime’ came from, but he is the definition of that. He’s full speed into a jump shot. He makes it look easy.”                                                                                 

   Webber on the atmosphere in Golden State: “These are some of the most underrated fans. Even through the thin years, when their team wasn’t very good, these fans were still loud. This is what they deserve, an exciting brand of basketball with a lot of highlight plays.”

Webber on Warriors forward Draymond Green: “Being an undersized player used to be such a disadvantage, because you could only stay in the post or different areas where the coach would not allow you to play your full game. [Warriors head coach] Steve Kerr has let Green go, and he is efficient from all areas of the floor.”

Webber on the early success of Warriors head coach Steve Kerr: “He had to communicate with guys, let them know his intentions and they had to trust him. Trust is a really big thing in the NBA. Much kudos go to Kerr for having this team trusting him this early.”

 Webber on the flow of the Warriors offense: “We’re seeing shots tonight that you just don’t see all the time. Steph Curry is shooting threes and attacking. When he flows and shares [the ball] with his teammates, everything starts to flow.”

Webber on the difficulty teams have defending the Warriors: “The Warriors are not only great three-point shooters but also great three-point shooters late in the game…a tough assignment for any opponent.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Smith, Hill

  Smith on what the Pelicans need to make it to the next level: “They have all the talent. What do they need? They have a point guard who’s a star in Jrue Holiday, they have a former rookie of the year in Tyreke Evans, an emerging superstar in [center] Anthony Davis, [forward] Ryan Anderson who shoots it lights out and guys who come off the bench and contribute. The only thing they need is experience, but they have everything you need to be a contender.”
 

 

 Hill on the new starting five in Dallas: “They have the pieces. I would put that starting five up against anybody. They have to be in the conversation. I’m not 100% sure about their bench, but that starting five is as good as any, and could will a team to The Finals.”

Smith on what Rajon Rondo’s move to Dallas means for visiting teams: “When you come into Dallas, you don’t get a night off. You don’t have an advantage. You have to create an advantage when you play against Rondo.  Now teams going into Dallas will be on their heels. Rondo defends and pushes the ball on you.”