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].”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shaquille O’Neal on Site Throughout ECF

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

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

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

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

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

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


2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Schedule

(All Times ET)

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

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

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

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

Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

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

Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

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

Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

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

Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

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

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

Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

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

Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

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

Postgame Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Turner Sports Announces Multi-Year Extensions for Inside the NBA’s Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal

nba-on-tntTNT’s iconic and critically-acclaimed Inside the NBA studio show – the recipient of 13 Sports Emmy Awards – will continue to offer fans its dynamic combination of basketball insight and analysis, entertainment and social commentary with its unduplicated studio team of host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.  Turner Sports today announced multi-year extensions for each member of the studio team.

“We truly believe Inside the NBA is among the best studio shows of all time and a large part of its success is due to the unrivaled chemistry between Ernie, Charles, Kenny and Shaquille,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports. “We’re looking forward to continuing the creativity and pioneering spirit behind the show for a very long time.”

TNT’s Inside the NBA has continued to increase in popularity through the years, becoming appointment viewing for both the hardcore basketball fan and casual sports fans alike, while also pulling in the casual television viewer.  The content of the show – including popular re-occurring segments such as “EJ’s Neat-O Stat of the Night,” “Gone Fishin’” and “Shaqtin’ a Fool,” among others – often transcends sport, mixing into the pop culture domain.  In doing so, the show’s passionate fan base regularly cause Inside the NBA to “go viral” through the sharing of its top moments across a growing number of social media platforms.

Inside the NBA is the most-watched NBA studio show on cable television, based on Nielsen Research, and frequently generates the second most-watched program on cable throughout the NBA Playoffs (trailing only live game coverage).  Additionally, Inside the NBA consistently delivers the lowest median age of any late night program during the NBA Playoffs.

Johnson, a three-time Sports Emmy Award winner, is currently in his 26th year as a studio host for Turner’s NBA telecasts. In addition to hosting Inside the NBA, Johnson is also the host of NBA TV’s popular NBA Fan Night series airing Tuesdays throughout the regular season.  He also hosts studio coverage for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship airing across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – including the Final Four and National Championship – and the PGA Championship on TNT, and provides play-by-play commentary for the MLB Postseason on TBS.

Barkley, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and two-time Sports Emmy Award winner, is in his 16th year as studio analyst for TNT’s Inside the NBA.  He also provides analysis for select NBA regular season games on TNT and makes appearance on NBA TV, including on-site studio analysis during The Finals.  Additionally, Barkley is a studio analysis for the networks’ presentation of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

Smith, a two-time NBA champion, is in his 18th year as studio analyst for TNT’s Inside the NBA.  He also makes regular appearances as a studio analyst for NBA TV, including on site at The Finals for select games.  Smith is also an analyst for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV.  He and his family was also the subject of a reality show – Meet the Smiths – airing on TBS.

O’Neal, a four-time NBA Champion and 15-time NBA All-Star, joined TNT’s Inside the NBA studio team in 2011 following a 19-year NBA career. In addition to his TNT responsibilities, O’Neal provides studio analysis for NBA TV including on site appearances during The Finals. He also hosts his own show on the network (with a weekly segment running during TNT’s Inside the NBA as well) – Shaqtin’ a Fool – featuring humorous and uncommon basketball plays that take place throughout the NBA season.


MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV Continues Friday, May 15, at 10 p.m. ET

tru-tvMetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV Continues Friday, May 15, at 10 p.m. ET

Card Highlighted by Title Bout Between Jose Benavidez Jr. & Jorge Paez, Jr.

truTV and Top Rank will exclusively present the MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV, a live primetime boxing series on Friday, May 15, at 10 p.m. ET from the US Airway Center in Phoenix.  The new boxing series, produced in association with Turner Sports and HBO Sports, will feature a 12-round bout for the WBA interim World Super Lightweight title between champion Jose Benavidez, Jr. (22-0-0, 15 KOs), fighting in his hometown against Jorge Paez, Jr. (38-5-2, 23 KOs) of Mexico.  Additionally, Antonio Orozco (21-0-0, 15 KOs) will meet Emmanuel Taylor (18-3-0, 12 KOs) in a 10-round super lightweight bout.

Commentators for the event will include Kevin Kugler providing play-by-play with analysts Timothy Bradley and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and reporter Crystina Poncher.  Kugler is a veteran announcer who has called college basketball and NFL coverage for Westwood One and college football for the Big Ten Network.  Bradley is a former WBO welterweight champion and former WBO and two-time WBC junior welterweight champion.  Mancini is a 2015 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee and former NABF and WBA lightweight champion.  Poncher is a commentator and reporter for Top Rank, as well as a host, reporter and correspondent for NFL Network and Closed captioning in Spanish will be available for the truTV telecast.

The network’s presentation will feature the continued use of “Spidercam” technology, the first of its kind for a live domestic boxing telecast, providing dynamic coverage during the series.  “Spidercam” operates on a four-point system of cables from designated points beyond the corners of the boxing ring. The suspended camera has the ability to provide compelling 360-degree angles of the action including the ability to move in three dimensions – left/right, forward/backward and up/down.

As part of its entitlement sponsorship of the boxing series on truTV, MetroPCS will receive camera-visible center ring and corner pad brand placement for each fight, as well as inclusion in all promotional messaging across truTV and other Turner Broadcasting networks.

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


Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Monday, May 11, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Monday, May 11, 2015

TNT’s NBA Playoffs coverage continues Tuesday, May 12, with the Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. ET, Game 5, followed by Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets at 9:30 p.m., Game 5

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Atlanta Hawks (106) @ Washington Wizards (101); Series tied, 2-2
Ian Eagle (play-by-play) Brent Barry (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

Barry on Atlanta improving on the offensive end: “It’s just been crazy in the series to think that as a team, collectively, they’ve shot 30% in uncontested jumpers… Tonight they’ve been much better because the penetration has opened up opportunities for them, but this is a team that shoots the ball much better. You’ve got to think, at some point, they’ll get back in a rhythm on that side of the floor.”

Barry on Dennis Schroder’s offensive approach: “In the same way [Rajon] Rondo is disrespected with regards to his jump shot, people play off of him, and he takes up that three or four feet of space with a tremendous amount of momentum. For him, the way he can shift his body and catch those angles, that’s what makes him devastating once he gets by a primary defender.”

Barry on Atlanta evening the series: “In the process [of getting a road win], they may have found out a little more about themselves than they had coming into this game for the rest of this series. [With] two games remaining at home, a great opportunity.”

Barry on finding offense in the playoffs: “Paul Pierce and Drew Gooden are two of the top three remaining three-point shooters in the playoffs… the Wizards are really finding offense from new resources.”

Barry on Bradley Beal taking on a greater role: “Bradley Beal is doing a great job of heading up some responsibilities that you didn’t see much during the regular season. Handling the ball on pick and roll, directing traffic on offense.”

Barry on Beal’s performance: “He’s been awesome, awesome tonight. Mixing up his game, from attack, to midrange to three point shooting and decision making.”

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Golden State Warriors (101) @ Memphis Grizzlies (84); Series tied, 2-2
Brian Anderson (play-by-play) Steve Smith (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)

Smith on Stephen Curry finding ways to get his teammates involved: “We know he is able to score the basketball, but I think being able to create some offense off the bounce, getting into the teeth of the defense and kicking out, just getting some other guys some easy looks, is going to be the way for him to go.”

Smith on Golden State needing to involve Harrison Barnes more: “Harrison Barnes, who I’ve been raving about for the Golden State Warriors, I think he needs more touches on the offensive end. He’s been very productive for the Golden State Warriors.”

Smith on Harrison Barnes and Stephen Curry having to switch up on defense: “When you’re watching Harrison Barnes, and also Stephen Curry, they’re not guarding their original guy. It puts a lot of pressure on Harrison Barnes and Stephen Curry, not to defend, but to box out against those bigger guys.”

Smith on Golden State’s defense stepping up: “Give the Warriors’ defense a lot of credit. They’ve been aggressive, they’ve been active, and they’ve come up with some turnovers.”

Smith on Draymond Green’s improved game: “He’s been their leader on the defensive end, and also a guy who can move the basketball and play that stretch four position, and make plays off the bounce.”

Smith on the Grizzlies’ physicality: “This style of play wears you down… I think if you’re [head coach] Dave Joerger and those guys, you go back and make your adjustments. Mike Conley, you can see didn’t have a great game but it’s nice to have him back… You would figure they’ll shoot better. Jeff Green was a little more aggressive. They need him. And Vince Carter made some buckets. It came down to, you have Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, 17 and 12 [points], they got touches but the double team made them force it.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

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

Smith on the Hawks playing as a team: “No one player, to me, when I watch the Atlanta Hawks, is more valuable than the other…but no one player can be missing.”

Barkley on the importance of Jeff Teague to the Hawks’ success: “I judge the Atlanta Hawks by Jeff Teague. When he’s aggressive, they play with a totally different energy because there’s really no one player you can just give the ball to except him. He can get his own shot every single time… Jeff Teague is the guy that makes everybody on this team go.”

Barkley on the Hawks playing Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder together: “I’ve got to give Coach Budenholzer credit. He switched his team up tonight. He played two point guards together to speed up the tempo.”

O’Neal on the Hawks getting easy baskets: “Huge win for the Hawks. A lot of people were questioning them, [asking] did they have enough fight… They really did a great job of getting the ball inside. When I mean get the ball inside, I don’t mean post presence, but just layups…easy, easy baskets… They really wanted this game.”

Barkley on Jeff Teague being similar to Tony Parker: “He kind of reminds me of Tony Parker. It’s almost impossible to keep him in front of you. We actually thought there was something wrong with him because he hasn’t played like the All-Star… He was fantastic tonight.”

Smith on the Hawks stars as a team: “The NBA made a statement at All-Star Weekend when they put the four Atlanta Hawks there. They wanted it to be more about team instead of an individual… The reward they got at All-Star Game showed tonight, that all of them together, collectively, make a great team, and not individually.”

O’Neal on Stephen Curry leading the Warriors: “When you’re the MVP, when you’re the best player on the team, when you come out and play aggressive, the others will follow. The others for Golden State are playing pretty good, [Harrison] Barnes and [Draymond] Green.”

O’Neal on Curry among the best shooters: “He’s a spectacular shooter. Throughout the history of the game, spectacular shooters can be off every now and then, but you can never hold them down for long periods of time. Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, and now Steph Curry… If you have the right mindset, and you stay confident, like he’s been doing, he’ll get it back. Tonight he just showed he’s a spectacular shooter. You have to put him in that category, Larry Bird, Glen Rice, guys like that.”

Barkley on the Grizzlies learning something in the second half with a smaller lineup: “If I’m Memphis, you can learn something in losses. I thought they outplayed Golden State in the second half with the small lineup… Memphis changed up in the second half… They went small. They took one of their big guys out of the game because you can’t just walk the ball up and down the court when you’re down 20 points at halftime… To play them even in the second half with a small lineup, they can use that going forward if they get down.”


Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Wednesday, May 6, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Wednesday, May 6, 2015

TNT’s NBA Playoffs coverage will continue Sunday, May 10, with the Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers (Game 4) at 8 p.m. ET

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Chicago Bulls (91) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (106); Series tied 1-1
Marv Albert (play-by-play) Chris Webber (analyst) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

Webber on the combination of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler: “You hope this tandem of Butler and Rose stay together for a long time. They’re like [similar] size, they can switch, they’re both athletic. They look for each other, they encourage each other. Just a great backcourt duo.”

Webber on Chicago’s approach: “The Bulls love playing ugly basketball. The Bulls love slowing it down. They can play fast, however you want it, as long as they can continue their defensive strategy.”

Webber on Nikola Mirotic: “He’s a scorer. You do not want him feeling it going back home with those crazy Chicago fans and that loud stadium. You want to try and keep that foot on the neck, especially on his confidence.”

Webber on Iman Shumpert: “[Iman] Shumpert actually started this season for this team, and we all know the J.R. Smith situation, but it seems like he’s been ready to come in and be their Mr. 911.”

Webber on what Kendrick Perkins brings to the Cavaliers as a veteran presence: “Having the opportunity to play with so many wonderful veterans, they add so much, the intangibles. And that’s what a guy like Perkins does. He can do a lot of things for you, especially defensively, on the court. But, his messages in the locker room are invaluable to this young Cavs team.”

Webber on LeBron James knowing the importance of Game 2: “He was here four hours early, put the headband back on. He’s down 1-0. He understands what this game means. And he understands to win a championship he’s going to have to play his best basketball of his life. Pat Riley, one of the greatest basketball minds, isn’t here right now. Dwyane Wade, his partner [in Miami] is not here right now. He knows it’s up on him.”

Webber on Tristan Thompson’s foul troubles: “Tristan not being a starter, is a high volume fouler…he puts his team in a bad position when he does this [gets in foul trouble]. You’ve already won one battle when you have [James] Jones and [Kendrick] Perkins on the court. You don’t want to keep putting your team in a situation to have to win a tough battle.”

Webber on how Cleveland’s frontcourt outplayed Chicago in Game 2: “The story of the night is definitely LeBron and him being aggressive going to the hole. But when you think about the matchup of the big fellas, [Joakim] Noah and [Pau] Gasol versus [Timofey] Mozkov and [Tristan] Thompson… I’d say having a guy off the bench coming in with the starters and outdueling the starting lineup, the frontcourt of Chicago, that’s a pretty good job.”

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Los Angeles Clippers (109) @ Houston Rockets (115); Series tied 1-1
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) Reggie Miller (analyst) with Tracy Wolfson (reporter)

Miller on Matt Barnes: “Every team, you go back through all the champions, you got to have players like Matt Barnes on your team. Guys that do the dirty work, take those hard plays. It’s those plays after the foul is called, which I love.”

Miller on the Clippers’ clutch performances: “Going into the Spurs series, everyone talked about were the Clippers going to be mentally tough enough beat the defending champs? They showed that in Game 4 when they were down 2-1 to the champs winning a huge game in San Antonio. Game 6, down 3-2, close out game, they find a way to win… So, we know they are mentally strong enough.”

Miller on Chris Paul on the bench: “The reason why he’s so nervous over there, as a player you can’t control or dictate the action when you’re sitting on the bench. And when you are the best player on this Clipper team and you’re used to barking out all the calls and the orders and you sit back and reflect, sometimes your voice on the bench doesn’t carry as much weight. I love how animated he was in Game 1 supporting his teammates.”

Miller on whether anyone is playing better than Blake Griffin in the playoffs: “I would say no. Think about it, you know what he’s doing on the offensive end. But to me, his defense has been just as good, just as stellar.”

Miller on Jason Terry’s experience: “All his championship experience, that’s what this team needs right now, a shot in the arm. Terry has always been that type of player, to get the crowd involved here, he’s made some big shots, some hustle plays.”

Miller on James Harden’s success in Game 2: A statement, put a stamp on this Game 2 here. I thought he was too passive in Game 1… He [has] not shot the ball particularly well, 5-of-13 from the field, but 13-of-13 from the free throw line.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Barkley, Smith

O’Neal on the Rockets lack of intensity: “They’ve played eight quarters versus the Clippers but they played two quarters hard. First game was a wash, lackadaisical. First half of the game [same thing]; third [quarter] started to pick it up, fourth [quarter] got hot. They will not win if they go into L.A. playing like that.”

Barkley on how well Blake Griffin is playing: “First of all, Blake is playing at a whole different level right now. He’s playing fantastic, you have to give him his props. He’s playing fantastic.”

Smith on what to expect when Chris Paul returns: “He’s going to be effective coming back now… I think he’ll be fine…his ability to penetrate and play the pick-and-roll they haven’t seen.”


Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Tuesday, May 5, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Tuesday, May 5, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage of the playoffs continues tonight, Wednesday, May 6, with doubleheader action featuring the Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers (Game 2) at 7 p.m. ET and the Los Angeles Clippers @ Houston Rockets (Game 2) at 9:30 p.m.

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Washington Wizards (90) @ Atlanta Hawks (106); Series tied 1-1
Ian Eagle (play-by-play) Brent Barry (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

Barry on Hawks point guard Jeff Teague: “When Jeff Teague is aggressive, it opens up so many things for the Atlanta offense.”

Barry on Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll: “He is playing with confidence. There are a lot of Hawks players out there who are playing very timidly, but Carroll just keeps coming at you.”

Barry on Hawks reserve point guard Dennis Schroder: “He comes in and mixes it up, goes at the Wizards bigs and attacks them. It’s something that Jeff Teague should be doing.”

Barry on the team basketball of the Hawks: “This game has been ‘Hawks-y.’ [Guard] Kyle Korver and [point guard] Jeff Teague are struggling from the field, but other guys are picking it up. It’s what the Hawks have been about all season.”

Barry on injured point guard John Wall and its impact on the Wizards’ bench play: “The production off the bench in Game 1 came from John Wall creating opportunities for [forward] Drew Gooden and [forward] Otto Porter, now someone else has to step up and be a playmaker for the Wizards.”

Barry on the backcourt scoring of Bradley Beal and Ramon Sessions: “If I told you going into the fourth quarter of this game the backcourt scoring without John Wall was 34-16 you would tell me, ‘Oh, Atlanta is crushing them.’ No…[Game 2] has been the other way around.”

Barry on the Wizards heading into Game 3: “If you’re a Wizards fan, you have to feel good about the contributions the bench made to step up in the absence of John Wall…contributions by Sessions, Gooden and Porter. I think they go home with a bit of confidence, hoping the news on John Wall is good and he will be available for Game 3.”

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Memphis Grizzlies (97) @ Golden State Warriors (90); Series Tied 1-1
Brian Anderson (play-by-play) Steve Smith (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)

Smith on Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley: “Conley is so valuable at the offensive end. He has a mid-range game and he is their guy who can knock down three-point shots. He can make plays and is a solid point guard. He is one of those guys you can see knocking at the door to be an All-Star in this very tough Western Conference.”

Smith on Conley’s return from injury: “That’s why they needed him back…patience, stability and he can make a big-time shot.”

Smith on Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph in the paint: “He’s a technician down there.”

Smith on veteran shooter Vince Carter: “Vince Carter can have one of those quarters or one of those games where he just takes over and knocks down shots. He hasn’t had one yet…but he’s capable.”

Smith on the aggressive play of forward Jeff Green: “Jeff Green is aggressive. He makes this Memphis team better with his tenacious defense.”

Smith on Warriors forward David Lee: “It’s hasn’t been a great year for David Lee. They started playing [forward] Draymond Green, whose offense has picked up. Green’s been fantastic. Defensively they like to switch a lot and Lee has problems switching on some guards. Draymond Green has been a little bit better [on that end], but this is the playoffs and Lee will have a chance to make his mark.”

Smith on Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa: “Barbosa has been fantastic for [head coach] Steve Kerr in the regular season and the playoffs with some scoring spurts in limited minutes.”

Smith on Klay Thompson’s lack of offense in Game 2: “[Grizzlies guard] Tony Allen is hawking Klay Thompson, putting pressure on him. Even though Thompson can make baskets, Allen just wants him to work.”

Smith on Warriors forward Draymond Green: “That’s what makes him special. He’s a power forward that can push the basketball and make plays like a point guard. He’s comfortable handling the ball with pressure.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Matt Winer, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal

Smith on whether Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson can win a championship shooting jumpers: “If you said Reggie Miller and Ray Allen can’t make a career off shooting jumpers, I would say you’re lying. If you said Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can’t make a career and win a championship off shooting jumpers, I would say you are lying too. Those are the only two guys who could do it. They are capable enough.”

O’Neal on whether their Game 2 loss to Memphis will force the Warriors to play any differently: “I guarantee you the Warriors are just in their locker room saying they missed shots. They were off. This is the first time I’ve seen both of the Splash Brothers off. The questions is, will they be off three more games and lose the series? I don’t think so. Just a bad night for them and an emotional night for Steph. Usually when they lose they come back with a vengeance. This next game is a very important game.”

Barkley on Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley: “Mike Conley is the key to this series. If he can stay healthy, this is going to be a long, drawn out series.”

Barkley on the Grizzlies & Warriors difference in style: “We knew two things going into the series: Golden State was going to try to beat you with jumpers and Memphis was going to try to maul you down low. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will have the advantage every game.  It’s going to come down to whether Golden State can make enough jumpers.”

O’Neal on Conley: “He wasn’t nervous. He came out, played with great intensity, controlled the floor and got an impressive win for his team.”

O’Neal on the Wizards: “I feel that Washington is the better team when they are clicking on all cylinders.”

Smith on the Wizards heading into Game 3 with the series tied 1-1: “I think, overall, the Wizards feel comfortable about the way they are playing, other than the fact that [forward] Nene [Hilario] is not participating on the offensive end. They have been able to play at the pace they want. They weren’t explosive [in Game 2] because they didn’t have John Wall. Now they go home with a split. The Wizards came here to possibly get two, but I don’t think anyone thought they could get one. They are probably feeling comfortable, even with Nene not playing well so far.”


Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Monday, May 4, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Monday, May 4, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage of the playoffs continues with the conference semi-finals on Tuesday, May 5, with doubleheader action featuring the Washington Wizards @ Atlanta Hawks at 8 p.m. ET and the Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m.

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Chicago Bulls (99) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (92); Bulls lead 1-0
Marv Albert (play-by-play) Chris Webber (analyst) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

Webber on Joakim Noah’s mentality: “[Joakim] Noah has made it clear that ‘we respect you, but we don’t like you’…that’s refreshing.”

Webber on the Bulls mindset going into this series: “The tough series the Bulls had with Milwaukee had to prepare them. They were in a dogfight. The Bucks put the Bulls in survival mode and these guys have come out ready.”

Barkley on the Bulls: “They are loaded; they are too deep on every position. LeBron [James] and Kyrie [Irving] are going to have to go crazy for four days. There are so many mismatches on the floor.”

Webber on the Bulls bench: “This is a good bench. They are quick and increase the pace. You have a really good unit to give your best players some rest.”

Webber on the Bulls/Cavs series: “When you look at these guys, so many people talk about Cleveland and LeBron coming back home, but you talk to people in Chicago…their hearts have been broken so many times. They deserve a right at this Championship; both teams are trying to impose their will.”

Webber on the Cavs being anxious for the next round: “It’s almost like training camp. Guys get in fights with each other, not because they don’t like each other…it just gets physical. You get tired of seeing each other. That shows you that they are mentally anxious and ready to see that next group.”

Webber on the importance of the “others:” In the playoff series, it’s always the ‘others’ that step up. We know what LeBron [James] is going to do, we know what [Jimmy] Butler is going to do, but what are the ‘others’ going to do?”

Webber on Kyrie Irving being LeBron’s new wingman: “Kyrie is his new partner in crime, he is someone he can trust.”

Smith on the Cavs without Kevin Love: “I thought Cleveland had size with Love. Now they become a small team. A team that is going to be hard to defend. Their skill level is so great, they can do multiple things.”

Barkley on the impact of not having Kevin Love: “They can’t win without Kevin Love. He never got enough credit for what he did. He’s a terrific rebounder but the game comes down to space. They are not going to get bigger by Wednesday and they are going to miss J.R. Smith again. Even when they had Kevin we thought they were the best team in the NBA because of their upside.”

O’Neal on the Bulls/Cavs series: “It’s still a six or seven game series.”

Smith on utilizing Kendrick Perkins: “Kendrick Perkins knows playoff basketball…he would be a help and he could stay close to [Joakim] Noah and [Pau] Gasol.”

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LA Clippers (117) @ Houston Rockets (101); Clippers lead 1-0
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) Reggie Miller (analyst) with Tracy Wolfson (reporter)

Miller on the big man matchup in the Rockets/Clippers series: “We are going to see a defensive series down low between DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard”

Miller on the growth of forward Blake Griffin: “What I saw in Blake in the first round series was growth… He is using what he learned against the Hall of Famer Tim Duncan in this series.”

Miller on forward Blake Griffin: “Early on in his career, I knew he had the strength and the power to be a great power forward. It is all coming together in these playoffs.”

O’Neal on Blake Griffin playing without Chris Paul in Game 1: “When you are apart of a one-two punch and the one goes down, you really have to step it up.”

Miller on [head coach] Doc Rivers not playing Chris Paul in Game 2: “If I’m Doc, I would think about not playing Chris Paul in Game 2. The only thing that will heal that hamstring is rest.”

Barkley on the Rockets: “If you let a team like the Clippers hang around, they can make a play. Blake [Griffin] can do something crazy or DeAndre [Jordan] can make a play.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Barkley, Smith

Smith on the Rockets mentality in Game 1: “The mental focus of a champion is different. They don’t look at these opportunities as days off but as blood in the water as sharks. The Clippers and the Rockets…the things we have been saying about them for years and why they couldn’t be championships is their mental fortitude. There is no way they shouldn’t beat the Clippers without Chris Paul in a playoff game.”

Smith on being a Champion: “You can talk about skill and the greatest players that ever played but they played with effort and that’s why they are a Champions.”

Barkley on the Bulls: “This is a different Bulls team. Derrick Rose doesn’t have to do it all by himself. He has a lot of weapons.”

Smith on LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in this series: “Those two guys have to be special, not just great.”

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