MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV to Debut Friday, May 1, at 10 p.m. ET

tru-tvNew Primetime Series to Include First-Ever Use of “Spidercam” for Live Boxing Telecast

Kevin Kugler to Provide Play-by-Play with World Class Welterweight

Timothy Bradley & Reporter Crystina Poncher

truTV and Top Rank will partner to exclusively present the MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV, a live primetime boxing series set to debut Friday, May 1, at 10 p.m. ET.  The new boxing series, in association with Turner Sports and HBO Sports, will launch on the eve of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view fight with a card featuring two title bouts inside The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The network’s presentation will feature the first-ever domestic use of “Spidercam” technology for a live boxing telecast, providing dynamic coverage of this new 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.

“Spidercam” will provide the definitive views of the action throughout the series, including a main event on Friday, May 1, showcasing Takahiro Ao (27-3-1, 16 KOs) from Chiba, Japan, vs. Ray Beltran (29-7-1, 17 KOs) from Los Mochis, Mexico, in a 12-round bout for the vacant WBO Lightweight World Championship.  The undercard will include two undefeated fighters in action – Mikael Zewski (26-0, 23 KOs) from Quebec, Canada, vs. Konstantin Ponomarev (27-0, 13 KOs) from Miass, Russia – in a 10-round bout for the NABF Welterweight Championship.

Commentators for the event will include Kevin Kugler providing play-by-play with analyst Timothy Bradley 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, including a win over Pacquiao during his career.  Poncher is a commentator and reporter for Top Rank, as well as a host, reporter and correspondent for NFL Network and NFL.com. Additionally, closed captioning in Spanish will be available.

The second week of the MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV series – live from Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Friday, May 8, at 10 p.m. – will be headlined by Top-10 contenders Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia (23-1, 15 KOs) from Passaic, N.J., and “Irish” Seanie Monaghan (23-0, 15 KOs) in action.  Tapia will defend his NABO junior middleweight title against Michael Soro (25-1-1, 15 KOs) from France, with Monaghan (defending his WBC Continental Americas light heavyweight title) facing Cleiton Conceicao (20-6-2, 16 KOs) from Brazil.

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.

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Thursday, April 23, 2015

nba-on-tntTNT’s NBA coverage of the playoffs continues Saturday, April 25, with doubleheader action featuring the Atlanta Hawks @ Brooklyn Nets at 3 p.m. ET and the Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks at 5:30 p.m.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by Autotrader 

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

Barkley on the idea of Cleveland intimidating the Celtics: “The words ‘intimidation’ and ‘bulletin board material,’ I think that’s always overused.”

O’Neal on the effect of intimidation: “For me, intimidation was my whole thing.  The guys I couldn’t intimidate, I had trouble with; Hakeem [Olajuwon] and Tim Duncan on certain days.  The guys I could intimidate, it made it easier for me.”

O’Neal on LeBron James’ ability to intimidate opponents: “LeBron, to me, is more on the Magic [Johnson] side of things; great player, Hall of Famer, first ballot..but he’s not really intimidating.  Guys are not really going to fear him.”

Smith on how intimidation factors into the game: “At the beginning of the game, you’re not intimidated, but as the game goes on and you realize you can’t stop them, that’s intimidating.”

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Cleveland Cavaliers (103) @ Boston Celtics (95); Cavaliers lead 3-0
Marv Albert (play-by-play) Chris Webber (analyst) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

Webber on Cavaliers’ center Timofey Mozgov: “I love Mozgov.  He just does his job…He cut down the lane and finished like a big guy’s supposed to.”

Webber on a big man’s job on offense: “As a big man, you have to be two things – aware and ready to catch the ball.”

Webber on Kevin Love’s all-around offensive game: “Everyone in Cleveland should be excited when Kevin Love gets it in the post.  He’s a great passer and more than capable in the post.”

Webber on Tristan Thompson and teams intentionally fouling below-average foul shooters in the playoffs: “If you want people to quit hacking you, make your free throws.”

Webber on LeBron setting the pace for the Cavaliers’ offense: “He wanted to make sure he led by example, and the example was getting to the basket.”

Webber on Kevin Love’s impact: “It’s how he did it, not just shooting threes, but being in the post and also getting back on defense.”

Webber on LeBron’s minutes this season: “I know a lot of Cleveland fans are worried that LeBron played almost 42 minutes a game, but this season he’s played the least amount of minutes of his career.  Coach [David] Blatt said they’ve prepared for this all season.”

Webber on the Celtics’ team depth: “In the playoffs, 90% of teams… shrink their rotation.  [Coach Brad] Stevens said he knows that’s the way it usually goes, but he thinks they have strength in numbers and depth.  They want to play more [players], as opposed less.”

Webber on the match of the Celtics’ style and the Boston crowd: “Young teams needs energy.  They need to get it from the crowd and from hustle plays… When you show the crowd, you’re in it on those hustle plays; they give you all the support that you need.”

Webber on Boston’s philosophy: “This team is known for sharing the ball and getting guys open shots.”

Webber on silver linings for Boston: “There are no moral victories if you lose, but there are building blocks.”

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Golden State Warriors (123) @ New Orleans Pelicans (119) in OT; Warriors lead 3-0
Brian Anderson (play-by-play) Steve Smith (analyst) with Tracy Wolfson (reporter)

Smith on Stephen Curry’s development: “Because of his ability to handle the basketball, show shot and drive, and take the contact, he’s a little bit stronger and more confident than in his first year.”

Smith on Curry aggressively driving to the basket: “He uses his speed and ability to get the rim and he’s a tough puppy.”

Smith on Klay Thompson: “That’s the next evolution for Klay Thompson…putting some pressure on little guards and get to the free throw line and also be effective with his size at the two-guard position.”

Smith on the Warriors needing to cool off the Pelicans offense: “They have no problem scoring, but right now, they have to defend.”
Smith on how Ryan Anderson affects the Pelicans: “This is a different team with Ryan Anderson…[when he’s effective], it allows them to rest Anthony Davis.”

Smith on the Pelicans’ transition offense: “That’s what a missed [Golden State] three point shot does for you; it starts the fast break because it’s a long rebound and guys can’t get back.”

Smith on Anthony Davis: “That’s what makes him special.  Being able to play both ends, and with his length, he can guard you [either] out to the three point line [or] at the rim.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Barkley, Smith

Barkley on match-up problems caused by Anthony Davis: “I would go to Anthony Davis every time and make [the Warriors] double [team] him, or get Draymond Green in foul trouble.”

O’Neal on Davis: “[Charles and I] love when big men come ready to play, and this kid is ready to play…he can do it all…he’s the best power forward in the game today.”

Barkley on momentum: “Once this game went to overtime, it was a rap.”

Barkley on New Orleans blowing the big lead: “If I was the coach, I would say I had a lot to do with us losing that game.”

Barkley on Golden State’s comeback: “Take your hat off to the guys from Golden State, but they had a lot of help from New Orleans.”

Smith on the Celtics effort: “I loved the way the Celtics compete, they just don’t have the talent level… They fought, they just don’t have enough.”

Barkley on Derrick Rose’s health: “I like the way he’s attacking the basket…When he doesn’t have confidence in his body, he shoots a lot of jumpers.  When he’s going forward towards the basket, he has confidence in his legs.”

Smith on Rose’s offensive versatility: “When he’s playing a mixed game, he’s one of the best guards in the NBA.”

Barkley on the Bulls this year: “This is a different Bulls teams than a few years ago, they’ve got a lot of weapons.”

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Wednesday, April 22, 2015

nba-on-tntTNT’s NBA coverage of the playoffs continues tonight, Thursday, April 23, with doubleheader action featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics at 7 p.m. ET and the Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans at 9:30 p.m.

 

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by Autotrader 

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

Barkley on the Grizzlies chances in the Western Conference: “This Memphis team, I’ve always thought they were the best team in the West if [point guard] Mike Conley is healthy. If he’s healthy, they are terrific. They have the best center / power forward combo in the NBA.”

O’Neal on the firing of Thunder head coach Scott Brooks: “What he did wrong is he didn’t have all of his players. Really, he didn’t do anything wrong. It’s unfair that he got fired, but he had ample chances to get his team to the next level. It’s just one of those things where he couldn’t get past certain teams. He lost to the Spurs a couple of times, but he did an unbelievable job. I know he will be a coach somewhere else.”

Barkley: “Scott Brooks did not deserve to get fired. Plain and simple. The guy made it to The Finals, and has been in the Conference Finals two other times. He was missing an All-Star those years, and missing an MVP this year…getting fired was really unfair.”

Smith: “It was not a deficiency in skill. It was probably something with personality, between the players, ownership or management. It was probably something else, because if you look at his resume…it’s impressive.”

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Portland Trail Blazers (82) @ Memphis Grizzlies (97); Grizzlies lead 2-0
Kevin Calabro (play-by-play) Brent Barry (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)

Barry on Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard: “When he can get out there and get off the ball in attack mode, he is much more difficult to guard.”

Barry on the Trail Blazers’ lack of offense: “The Blazers are going to have to find some offense [in order to win the series], but I’m not sure where that is against this Memphis Grizzlies defense.”

 

Barry on Lillard vs. the Grizzlies defense: “Head coach Terry Stotts needs to find a way to get Damian Lillard better opportunities throughout the course of the game, and try to find fast break points. That is so difficult to do against this Grizzlies team that plays balanced offensive possessions and is able to get back on defense.”

Barry on Grizzlies center Marc Gasol: “It’s a great thing to watch. Gasol is getting into the paint and keeping his confidence going.”

Barry on Grizzlies veteran shooting guard Vince Carter: “He had so many great moments last year for Dallas in that playoff series against San Antonio, pushing them to a Game 7… Vince was brought here for some playoff basketball, hoping to find some of that magic.”

Barry on the disruption in the Grizzlies’ team chemistry with forward Tony Allen out of the lineup: “Some of the things [forward] Jeff Green was doing for them offensively were ok, but defensively they had just fallen off a cliff with Tony Allen out. It was a bit disruptive to their team chemistry to not have Allen out there, who is the heart and soul of this grit and grind team. Allen is back starting and they will get back into their rotation, tighten it up and rely on Jeff Green’s production off the bench offensively.”

Barry on Memphis guard Courtney Lee: “When you get some offense from Courtney Lee, Memphis becomes a very difficult team to stop.”

Barry on the strength of the Grizzlies defense: “The Memphis defense is so good. They are going to guard one-action. If your offense starts to get predicated on one-on-one basketball with them set, and you’re not shifting the ball from side to side, there is just no way you are going to find effective offense possessions.”

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San Antonio Spurs (111) @ Los Angeles Clippers (107) in Overtime; Series Tied 1-1
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) Reggie Miller (analyst) with Jaime Maggio (reporter)

Miller on the strength of the Spurs bench: “It’s so huge for the Spurs to even up the series. They are hoping the longer the series goes, the more their depth is going to rise up. You are not going to get a lot of production out of the Clippers bench.”

Miller on Spurs PG Tony Parker vs. Clippers PG Chris Paul: “The Spurs need a bigger defender on Chris Paul. After Tony Parker tweaked his leg in Game 1, I don’t think he’s strong enough to guard Chris Paul.”

Miller on Spurs veteran power forward Tim Duncan: “It never gets old, watching greatness. We have the best seats in the house.”

Miller on Tony Parker’s lack of offensive production in Game 2: “After the Game 1 he had, if you told me Tony Parker would be 0-5 from the field and only have one point in the middle of the third quarter, I would have guessed the Spurs would be down 15.”

Miller on the minutes played by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili: “That’s why [head coach] Pop kept his ‘Big Three’s’ minutes down all season, for times like this… In a time of need, you need your best players.”

Miller on the focus of Clippers point guard Chris Paul: “Chris Paul is so focused and locked in for these playoffs. He is shooting the basketball great and is running this team at such a high level. He’s a man on a mission.”

Miller on Clippers power forward Blake Griffin taking advantage of matchups: “Blake Griffin has gotten the memo. He is starting to recognize matchups. When there is a smaller defender on them, he just bodies them and takes them to the paint.”

Miller on Griffin: “It’s all about power and athleticism. When there’s a taller defender he is going to use that quickness and speed. With a smaller defender, he will use bully ball. He’s a big factor for this Clipper ball club.”

Miller on Griffin: “This may be the best I’ve ever seen Blake Griffin play. He’s engaged. I don’t know why it took until the playoffs for me to see it, but he looks like a different animal. He has taken this game to another level. He gets it. He understands it.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Barkley, Smith

Barkley on the one-dimensional play of point guard Damian Lillard:  “The one negative to Damian’s game is, when he doesn’t score, he has zero impact on the game. When we talk about guys who are All-Stars and superstars, what separates them is their ability to make an impact on the game when you’re not doing what you do well. Sometimes you’re not going to make shots, but if the only thing you can do is make shots, you’re going to put your team at a disadvantage. Everybody in the NBA can play. What separates guys [are] stat stuffers who can do a bunch of different things.”

Smith on Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley: What puts the Memphis Grizzlies over the top is Mike Conley. He is the most underrated point guard in the NBA.”

Barkley on Conley: “That guy is a flat-out stud.”

Barkley on the improvement of Clippers power forward Blake Griffin: “He’s always played the game strictly on talent. Now he’s learning the mental aspect of the game. You can’t let these little guys guard you down low, you have to shoot over them like they are chairs.”  

Barkley on the Clippers Game 2 loss: “[Head coach] Doc Rivers said it; they should have won this game.”

Barkley on the slow pace of San Antonio: “The key to the game was the Spurs’ ability to keep it at a slow pace. They want to walk it up and down the court and use body movement and ball movement.”

Barkley on a tired, injured Spurs team heading into Game 3: “What’s going to be interesting is it’s a quick turnaround. [Tim] Duncan played the most minutes he’s played all season. You have to worry about [Manu] Ginobili. You have to worry about [Tony] Parker. On the other hand, the Clippers have no bench. This could become a battle of attrition.”

O’Neal on Tim Duncan: “Tim Duncan is a bonafide superstar. Superstars don’t have two bad games in a row. I knew after the first game, he was going to come out ready.”

Smith on Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle’s comments regarding PG Rajon Rondo’s future in Dallas: “It’s unfortunate because he could have been what they needed. [Part of it was] his inability to conform. You still always have to be a pro in that environment, which at times I don’t think he was.”

Barkley on Rondo: “It’s best that they part ways. It just didn’t work.”

Smith on the Atlanta Hawks vs. Brooklyn Nets series: “The Atlanta Hawks are a better basketball team than Brooklyn. They have proven it all year. They won 60 games, and the Nets side-stepped into the playoffs. How could you think Brooklyn was going to play Atlanta tough?”

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Tuesday, April 21, 2015

nba-on-tntTNT’s NBA coverage of the playoffs continues tonight, Wednesday, April 22, with doubleheader action featuring the Portland Trail Blazers @ Memphis Grizzlies at 8 p.m. ET and the San Antonio Spurs  @ Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m.

 

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by Autotrader 

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

Smith on Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving: “He’s electric. His ability off the dribble is second to none in the NBA. He’s the best in the business at getting to the areas of the floor he wants to go. When you allow those two guys to score, they are difficult to beat. He is a natural born scorer. It’s easy for him.”

O’Neal on the Cavaliers’ desire to keep this first round series short: “It’s advisable not to mess around. Go out and take care of business so you can get a couple days of rest.”

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Boston Celtics (91) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (99); Cavaliers lead 2-0
Marv Albert (play-by-play) Chris Webber (analyst) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

Webber on the Celtics aggressive play: “The Celtics aren’t backing down. They are saying, ‘We deserve to be here too.’

You have to love how the Celtics are not afraid…not afraid to be embarrassed.”

Webber on the Celtics as a road team: “[I] love the energy of the road team. You want to see how young teams come out after a loss on the road. It seems as if this team is coming out and not thinking about the loss.”

Webber on the potential of the Celtics: “I know we are supposed to be focused on the series, but this young team is going to be really good in a few years.”

Webber on guard Isaiah Thomas: “One of the most exciting little players in the league.”

Smith on the Celtics against the Cavaliers: “You [the Cavs] are going to have to play ‘playoff basketball’ to win.  Typically 2-7 or 1-8, you don’t have to play ‘playoff basketball.’ They are forcing Cleveland to play ‘playoff basketball.’

Webber on point guard Kyrie Irving under forward LeBron James leadership: “It’s so great for Kyrie Irving to have a leader, mentor and big brother [in LeBron James]. He is making the most of it.”

Webber on power forward Kevin Love: “One thing we haven’t been seeing from Kevin Love is his passing ability because he hasn’t been getting the ball in areas where he is a triple threat.”

Barkley on the impact of center Timofey Mozgov: “Mozgov is the guy that turned around their season. They were too small with [Kevin] Love and [Anderson] Varejao down low. Mozgov is the guy.”

Webber on Irving: “Kyrie’s passing is so underrated because his dribbling is so spectacular.”

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Dallas Mavericks (99) @ Houston Rockets (111); Houston leads  2-0
Brian Anderson (play-by-play) Steve Smith (analyst) with Rebecca Haarlow (reporter)

Smith on guard Raymond Felton: “We know he can come in and play and that he’s not scared of the moment.”

Smith on guard Rajon Rondo: “Rondo has to be more engaged offensively. He’s a guy that can dominate in his position.”

Smith on guard James Harden: “He’s so strong, has the ability to read you and go through your shoulder. He’s the best at the Euro-step and laying it up.”

Smith on the Houston Rockets: “With this game you see how deep and talented this team is.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Barkley, Smith

Barkley on the Mavericks: “I’ll take my hat off to Dallas. They did compete tonight.”

Barkley on the friction between head coach Rick Carlisle 

 and Rajon Rondo: “If you are not engaged in a game, how are you going to help my team? Clearly, they have something going on. My obligation (as coach) is to the other players.”

Smith on playing without guard Rajon Rondo:  “You are not going to win this series with JJ Barea and anyone else at the point guard position. You need Rondo. When he makes great decisions, he’s a great basketball player. So we need to figure out what’s going on to get him engaged.”

Smith on the Rockets errors: “The errors that they had were because of effort. Their errors weren’t because of negligence.”

Barkley on power forward Josh Smith: “This was probably one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play. He was fantastic.”

O’Neal on center Dwight Howard: “If he can get 28-15 and be engaged and dominate offensive and defensive rebounds, they can definitely win; but I need him to play like that all the time.”

Barkley on Josh Smith: “This guy has All-Star type talent. He was fantastic tonight. We are in the second round of the playoffs, so let’s not overreact, but if he plays like that they can beat anyone.”

Barkley on being surprised by the Wizards: “This is the Wizards team that we thought we were going to see all year.”

Barkley on the Wizards backcourt: “They have one of the best backcourts in the league. They are second behind those guys in Golden State.”

Barkley: “The next true great tandum is [John] Wall and [Bradley] Beal.”

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Monday, April 20, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Monday, April 20, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage of the playoffs continues tonight, Tuesday, April 21, with doubleheader action featuring the Boston Celtics @ Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. ET and the Dallas Mavericks  @ Houston Rockets at 9:30 p.m

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by Autotrader 

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

O’Neal on the Bucks’ ability to shut down power forward Pau Gasol in Game 1: “Pau is ok with that. When he gets double teamed, he is a great passer. They won’t slow him down the whole series. He has a championship pedigree. He knows what to do to get himself going.”  
Barkley on the Chicago Bulls’ place in the Eastern Conference: “I think they are the best team in the Eastern Conference if they’re healthy.  No disrespect to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Chicago Bulls have the highest ceiling. We’ve seen the Cavaliers play as well as they can play. If [point guard] Derrick Rose is healthy, the Chicago Bulls are the team to beat.”
Barkley on the most important question surrounding the Bulls: “They have terrific guards, a great bench and Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol down low. They have it all. It’s just the same question we’ve had all season; are they going to stay healthy?”
Smith on the playoff expectations of the Milwaukee Bucks: “They are happy to be there. This is an opportunity for his young players to gain some playoff experience. This is a great opportunity for Milwaukee.”

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Milwaukee Bucks (82) @ Chicago Bulls (91); Bulls lead 2-0
Brian Anderson (play-by-play) Steve Smith (analyst) with Allie LaForce (reporter)

 
Smith on Bulls point guard Derrick Rose’s Game 1 success: “All eyes are on Derrick Rose. He came out and played extremely well in Game 1. The gear in which he played was flashes of the old Derrick Rose.”

Smith on Bulls guard Jimmy Butler: “He is one of the elite two-way players we have in the game.”

Smith on Butler’s strengths on both ends: “Back in the day, we would label him one of those players that just doesn’t let you off the hook. Offensively he’s going to drive the basketball extremely hard, he’s going to cut, he’s going to keep his body moving. On the defensive end, he does not give up on plays. He’s a fabulous player to watch and I would love to be his teammate, the way he relentlessly keeps attacking on both ends.”

Smith on Butler: “You talk about setting the table. I love the way he approached this game. He didn’t take a lot of out-of-character shots. Defensively, he was fantastic. Beautiful job by the Bulls backcourt.”

Smith on Bulls center Joakim Noah: “You talk about the heart and soul of a team. Physically he looks much better [than the regular season]. He is locked in to these playoffs.”
Smith on the struggle for Rose to remain healthy: “He’s gone through three years of everybody breaking down his game and breaking down his body. He hasn’t been on the court that much. We understand his talent is there, but he has to get comfortable. I just look at the way he’s moving. He missed shots in the first half, but he’s moving well. That’s a good sign for the Bulls.”

Smith on the pace of the Milwaukee Bucks:  “[Head coach] Jason Kidd is happy. The pace is to his liking. They are moving bodies, moving the basketball and moving around. They aren’t making shots, but their pace is wearing down the Chicago Bulls, which is what Kidd is trying to do.”

Smith on the defensive-minded coaching style of Jason Kidd: “Jason Kidd has this team on a string defensively.”

Smith on the experience the young Bucks team is gaining in the playoffs: “As a young team, you just want them to be consistent, knock down shots, make the right basketball play and move the basketball side to side.”

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New Orleans Pelicans (87) @ Golden State Warriors (97); Warriors lead 2-0
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) Reggie Miller (analyst) with Tracy Wolfson (reporter)

Miller on the defense of shooting guard Klay Thompson: “Look at his body frame. He’s 6’7 with long arms. We know about his shooting, but to me, what has separated him as a shooting guard is his on-ball defense.”

Miller on the Warriors’ home court advantage: “Can the Warriors win a championship? Absolutely. All they need to do is win all their home games. Who cares what they do on the road?”

Miller on the dangerous shooting prowess of the Warriors: “They are just too good and too lethal when they get good looks.”

Miller on why Stephen Curry deserves the 2014-15 MVP: “He’s the best player on the best team, and there were six or seven games where he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. His numbers would have been even more inflated if he had.”

Miller on the pressure surrounding the top-seeded Golden State Warriors: “The last two years the Warriors were the underdogs in the playoffs. Now they have a bullseye on their back”

Miller on Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala accepting his role as a bench player for Golden State: “How about a veteran being able to accept the role, and be the consummate professional coming off the bench. He’s No. 2 in the NBA in taking the charge, and he’s a role player on this Warriors team. It’s the type of player [head coach] Steve Kerr was…he was one of those role players. Yes, he made a lot of big shots in San Antonio and Chicago, but he did all the little things as well.”

Miller on Warriors forward Draymond Green: “I love me some Draymond Green. This guy gives you everything.”

Miller on the defensive approach by the New Orleans Pelicans: “New Orleans does a wonderful job of wanting you off that three-point line. The problem is, once they did that it was a layup drill [for the Warriors] in Game 1. They have to have multiple efforts on the defensive end.”

Miller on the Pelicans’ playoff inexperience: “Everyone is talking about the playoff inexperience of this young team. Yes, they scratched their way to get into that eighth spot, but they are here now. They were a little bit shell shocked in Game 1, until they came alive in the fourth.”

Miller on Pelicans guard Norris Cole: “He does have two rings last time I checked. He’s used to this kind of playoff atmosphere, playing on the road in hostile environments.”

Miller on Pelicans star Anthony Davis: “This kid is too good, too skilled and starting to understand the game. I think playing last summer for Team USA with all of those other great superstars really did a lot for his game.”

Miller on how the Pelicans should use Davis to punish opponents: “When you have such a prodigy and young talent in Anthony Davis… I know he’s young and this is his first time in the playoffs, but I would come down and make every single possession would have to run through Anthony Davis. He doesn’t have to shoot the basketball, but he makes the defense react in such a way where it would make the game so much easier for the other guys on the floor.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Barkley, Smith

Barkley on the Warriors bench: “The difference in the game was the Golden State bench. That’s when they made their run in the second quarter. Barbosa was great.”

Barkley on why the Warriors are beatable: “People think I dislike the Golden State Warriors, but that is totally wrong. They have the best backcourt in the NBA, but Steve Kerr is concerned. They turn the ball over and they are great shooters who take bad shots. When they play against Memphis, Portland, teams like that…their flaws are really going to show. They don’t put fear in your heart. That’s the problem they are going to have in the long run when they start to play elite teams.”

Smith on the fear the Warriors Splash Brothers [Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson] put in opposing backcourts:  “They could get punished. They might not put fear into guys like [Clippers center] DeAndre Jordan or [power forward] Blake Griffin, but I bet you there is fear in [Trail Blazers PG] Damian Lillard, [Clippers PG] Chris Paul and everyone who is in the backcourt. They will run a play, but they keep their dribble alive when most guards would have to pass. That causes the most unconventional defensive effort. That’s fear.”

Smith on the Bucks improvement in Game 2: “Did you not expect the Bucks to come out and play well? They lost Game 1. They are going to be focused in. This was a do or die type atmosphere.”

Barkley on Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic: “He’s going to come in second for Rookie of the Year. They can’t afford to lose him. He’s a stud.”

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Notes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage ­ Sunday, April 19, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Playoff Coverage – Sunday, April 19, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage of the playoffs continues tonight, Monday, April 20, with doubleheader action featuring the Milwaukee Bucks @ Chicago Bulls at 8 p.m. ET and the New Orleans Pelicans  @ Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by Autotrader 

Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith
Smith on whether the Brooklyn Nets have a chance to win the series: “To me, this will be an Atlanta smacking… They are not better than the Atlanta Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks have been playing great basketball all year and they are mentally focused. They have heard all of the…not whispers…the are yelling that they are not good enough. Atlanta will smack Brooklyn.”

Barkley on the Hawks’ chance for success in the playoffs: “I’m concerned about the Hawks coming down the stretch. They took their foot off the pedal. I think they will win the series, but I don’t think you can turn it on and off.”

O’Neal on the Hawks: “No one expected them to win that many games. They are No. 1. They have never made it to the Conference Finals. I wonder if they really believe they can win a championship in their locker room. If they do, then they really have to take care of business.”

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Brooklyn Nets (92) @ Atlanta Hawks (99); Hawks lead 1-0
Marv Albert (play-by-play) Chris Webber (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

Webber on Hawks guard Dennis Schroder: “He’s the longest short guy I’ve ever seen in my life. He uses his quickness very well. This team actually ups their pace when he comes in the game.”

Webber on the secret weapon of the Hawks offense: “So much has been made of this Atlanta Hawks offense. Their secret is they have two big guys in [center] Al Horford and [forward] Paul Millsap that can get out, play the pick-and-roll, contest jump shots and knock a few into the stands.”

Webber on the Hawks defense: “That chemistry they have on offense translates to the defensive end where they play for each other as well.”

Webber on the Hawks’ ball movement: “This is what they do and who they are. It’s also why they are so efficient defensively. They score, can set up their half-court defense, they don’t waste possessions by being careless and getting turnovers. You have to love how much this team values the ball.”

Webber on the Nets: “Regardless of how the Brooklyn Nets got in the playoffs, you better respect them.”

Webber on the size of the Nets: “Even though Coach Hollins said his team doesn’t have an advantage over the Hawks, I disagree. I believe size is their offensive advantage.”

Webber on Nets guard Jarrett Jack: “Sometimes it’s just about heart. He’s not the most athletic or the quickest, but this is when he loves to shine and try to prove himself…in the playoffs.

“He’s ready to play. He’s a [Trail Blazers guard] Wesley Matthews type player. He has a lot of heart, does it on both ends, is aggressive and gives the offensive rebounders a chance to get a bucket even when he doesn’t make the shot.”

Webber on the body language of the Brooklyn Nets: “What’s disappointing to me about the Nets is their body language. They are acting too cool. You want to see [point guard] Deron Williams start to get mad and be aggressive.”

Webber on Brooklyn forward Joe Johnson: “He is always going to be an underrated superstar because he never talks about himself. The worst thing you ever hear about Joe Johnson is that he’s quiet.”

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Portland Trail Blazers (86) @ Memphis Grizzlies (100); Grizzlies lead 1-0
Kevin Calabro (play-by-play) Brent Barry (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)

Barry on guard Tony Allen: “Tony Allen is hugely important to Memphis, especially for what they do on the defensive end of the floor.”

Barry on Vince Carter’s role with the Grizzlies: “He’s replacing last year what Mike Miller meant to Memphis in that first round with OKC. It’s been a low year for Vince in terms of shooting. They just hope that Vince finds a little bit of confidence for one more go.”

Barry on guard Beno Udrih’s importance to Memphis: “It was just a matter of accepting what he was in this league in terms of coming in, backing up and finding a home. Memphis gave him his shot…and this is where he is going to make his living. A free agent at the end of this year but an important part of what they are going to do this offseason… He’s just an offensive spark. He’s very good and very aggressive. “

Barkley: “[Marc] Gasol and [Zach] Randolph are the best center / power forward combination in the league.”

Barkley on Mike Conley’s health: If Conley is healthy, I’ve always thought that Memphis has had the most complete team…the addition of Jeff Green has made them a totally different team.”

Barry on the Gasol brothers: “I believe that Marc and Pau [Gasol] have the best career that siblings have ever had in this league.”

Barry on power forward Zach Randolph: When he’s playing good, the team is pretty much unstoppable.”

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San Antonio Spurs (92) @ Los Angeles Clippers (107); Clippers lead 1-0
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) Reggie Miller (analyst) with Jaime Maggio (reporter)

Barkley on the Clippers: “This is the year that the Clippers go deep in the playoffs. Chris Paul is on a mission. DeAndre [Jordan] is on a mission. This is the year that people are starting to criticize them. The guy that really has to step up is Blake.”

Barkley on the future of the Clippers: “If they don’t beat this old school Spurs team, they are going to have to break this team up.”

Miller on the pressure on forward Blake Griffin this series: “A lot of people are talking about Blake Griffin having to have one of those series if the Clippers are going to move on to the Western Conference Semis.  He has so much potential and athleticism, in a series like this going against [San Antonio forwards] Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan, he’s going to need to use all those skill sets to raise his level of play.”

Miller on the point guard battle between Chris Paul and Tony Parker: “It’s almost a wash.  Offensively, both know how to put the ball in the basket, and it’s going to be interesting to see who can stop the other on the defensive end.”

Barkley on forward Blake Griffin: “He’s the key to the entire series.  They can’t guard him.  When they put [Boris] Diaw on him, he can take him down low.  Blake has to understand, your move is dictated by who’s guarding you.  I want him to go to the basket more.”

Miller on forward Blake Griffin: “He can do so much. Not only can he score and rebound, but he’s a fabulous passer. That’s why people are expecting so much from him.”

Miller on Chris Paul: “He’s been so efficient with this shooting, not just in the playoffs but in all 82 games. Such balance and flow.”

Miller on the importance of bench play: “As this series goes on, it’s all about the benches. In my opinion, that’s how the Spurs won their last championship.”

Smith on the Spurs: “When Miami beat the Spurs, they had such superior talent in LeBron, [Dwyane] Wade and [Chris] Bosh.  However, they weren’t a smarter basketball team than San Antonio.  I’m not sure if Blake, DeAndre [Jordan] and Chris Paul are that level of talent over the Spurs, while the Spurs are still just as smart.”

Miller on the Spurs: “They don’t complain, they just go out and play; they are a machine.”

Miller on Coach Rivers and Coach Popovich: “This is a chess match. These are arguably the two best coaches in our game right now, going head to head in this first round.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Barkley, Smith

Smith on the Spurs entering Game 2: “They are (very rarely) going to sweep people. They just weren’t making shots. They have had that happen before. They are the masters of the six, seven game series…You can’t say by one game the Spurs are the best team or they are going to lose a series.”
Smith on the flow of the game: “The Clippers did a great job of increasing the pace after halftime.”

O’Neal on the Clippers: “The key for the Clippers is, you’ve always been a good team, are you a great team?  Are you going to come out in Game 2 and put this team away or are you going let them hang around?”

Barkley on Blake Griffin’s impact: “The key was Blake’s rebounding.  If you can jump like that, you gotta average 10, 11, 12 rebounds a game.”

Smith on the Hawks passing: “This is called [true, redefined] ‘Hero Ball,’ when you have a wide open three or a wide open lay-up, EVERY time you take the lay-up.”

Barkley on Nicolas Batum on being the x-factor: “When he plays well, the Portland Trail Blazers have a good chance of winning. He’s the guy that can make up the difference.”<

Barkley on the Nets: “I like Deron Williams, but if he can’t play healthy, they have to go to Jarrett Jack.”

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Notes from Today’s Turner Sports 2015 NBA Playoffs Conference Call

nba-on-tntTNT is the exclusive home to more NBA Playoff games than any network including first and second round action and the exclusive presentation of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. In addition to its full slate of NBA Playoff games, the network also features the multiple-time, Sports Emmy Award winning Inside the NBA studio team of host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

Coverage on TNT will begin this Sunday with a tripleheader featuring the Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks at 5:30 p.m. ET, Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies at 8 p.m. and San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m.

Additionally, NBA TV – co-managed by the Turner Sports and the NBA – will feature up to nine originally produced telecasts during the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The network will also provide comprehensive studio coverage via its NBA GameTime studio show throughout the entire playoffs, including on site at The Finals (including integration with the Inside the NBA team). NBA GameTime is the definitive show for comprehensive playoff coverage including highlights, analysis, player interviews and live press conference coverage.

NBA.com and NBA Mobile will also be ‘playoffs central’ with series breakdowns, live video coverage, highlights, scores, stats, social interaction, press conferences and more.

Notes from today’s media conference call featuring Turner Sports NBA analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith:

Charles Barkley on this year’s championship favorites: “I have no idea who’s going to win the championship.  I’ve been in the NBA for over 30 years and I’ve never seen a year where there’s no clear cut two or three teams… This year, there’s probably seven teams that can win the championship and I wouldn’t be surprised they won it.”

Barkley on the favorites in the Eastern Conference: “Cleveland and Chicago are the best two teams in the Eastern Conference, and when they play in second round, that will be the Eastern Conference Finals.  Cleveland would beat Golden State in The Finals if they played, but I’m not sure they’d beat San Antonio, Portland, Los Angeles or Memphis.”

Barkley on the most compelling first round match-ups: “There are some magnificent first round series in the West that are toss-ups for me; Clippers/Spurs, Dallas/Houston and Portland/Memphis, depending on health.”

Kenny Smith on the Warriors’ title chances: “I feel they are [legitimate title contenders].  When [2013-14 NBA MVP Kevin] Durant didn’t come back [for the Oklahoma City Thunder from his foot injury], that made [Golden State] a title contender.  Oklahoma City being the eighth seed would have hurt [the Warriors].  That opened the door… This is their biggest year of opportunity to get to the Western Conference Finals.  After that, too many things can happen and there are too many variables.”

Barkley on the Warriors regular season success: “They’ve had a terrific season.  It’s between Steph Curry and James Harden for MVP.  Steve Kerr is probably going to get Coach of the Year.”

Barkley on the playoff outlook for Golden State: “They’re going to beat the New Orleans Pelicans, but they have some match-up issues and I think they’ll struggle against big teams.  They are a legitimate contender, I just think bigger teams can beat them up down low.”

Barkley on Golden State’s offensive style of play: “I don’t like jump shooting teams; I don’t think you can make enough jumpers to win four series, and I’ve said that for 25 years.”>

Barkley on James Harden’s season and MVP chances: “I have said that if Houston ends up a top-three seed in the West, I have no problem if he wins MVP.  It has to be him or Steph Curry.  You can have other guys three-four-five, but if you don’t vote for Steph or Harden, you need to check yourself.”

Barkley on Chris Paul’s impact on the Clippers: “When the Clippers lose, it has nothing to do with [All-Star point guard] Chris Paul.  In the last five years, he has been the best point guard in the game along with [the Spurs’] Tony Parker… He’s the best leader in the NBA.”

Barkley on the Grizzlies’ health going into the playoffs: “I thought Memphis had a real chance before their injuries.  I thought they were going to win the Western Conference, but I have no idea how healthy those guys are going to be.  [Point guard] Mike Conley is the most underrated player in the NBA and Memphis won’t win without him.”

Barkley on San Antonio ending up the No. 6 seed instead of the No. 2 in the Western Conference: “The Spurs screwed up last night; no team is good enough to win three straight series in the West on the road.  These teams are really good.  You might win one series on the road, but I don’t think you can win two more.”

Smith on the challenge San Antonio faces: “I think they could do it for sure.  I don’t think [center Tim] Duncan, [point guard Tony] Parker, [guard Manu] Ginobili, [forward] Kawhi [Leonard] and [guard/forward] Danny Green are worried to play on the road.  It doesn’t bother them, and that’s the first key.”

Barkley on what makes Dallas a tough match-up for Houston: “Their best player is Monta Ellis, followed by [power forward] Dirk [Nowitzki] and [point guard Rajon] Rondo.  They will be a better playoff team because [head coach] Rick Carlisle will make adjustments from game-to-game.  He won’t let [James] Harden beat them four times in seven games.”

Barkley on the domination of Anthony Davis: “Anthony is going to be best player in the world in the next three years when LeBron gets a little older.  Anthony has a mismatch every night, and this will be huge against Golden State no matter who they put on him.  I want to watch that.”

Barkley on the outlook for Oklahoma City next season: “I said this earlier today to somebody, if Oklahoma City [gets back a healthy Kevin Durant] and they keep the team the way it is to go with [center Enes] Kanter, [center Steve] Adams, [forward Mitch] McGary, [forward Serge] Ibaka, in my opinion, they should be the championship favorites next year.  They are only not in playoffs because of injuries, and they almost made it without last year’s league MVP [Durant].

Barkley on Scott Brooks’ job security: “For some reason, people keep wanting to fire the coach and I don’t know why.  Scott Brooks has done a good job.  If you lose the MVP and are still fighting at the end, it’s a good job.”

Barkley on the Hawks’ series against Brooklyn: “I don’t think Brooklyn can beat them, but I think it can be a very interesting series.  What’s going to be real interesting is the Joe Johnson factor. I can promise you that [former seven-year Hawk and current Net combo guard] Joe Johnson is going to try to win that series by himself… The Nets won’t beat the Hawks, but I’m not sold on the Hawks because they are too little.”

Smith on Atlanta’s chances in the Eastern Conference: “[The Hawks and Warriors] both won 60 games for a reason, and [the eight seeds] squeaked in for a reason.  After the first round, with the best eight teams left, a lot can happen.  Atlanta and Golden State have proven that they are more than jump shooting teams, they have good defenses and will have a good chance to finish it out.”

Barkley on the lack of playoff experience for Cleveland’s young stars: “I think [talk of that is] a little overrated.  The Cavs [didn’t miss the playoffs last year] because of [point guard] Kyrie [Irving].  The Timberwolves [didn’t miss the playoffs last year] because of [power forward Kevin] Love.  Both of those guys are perennial All-Stars, and they have LeBron James, the best player in the world.  [Irving and Love] will both play well. They have an easy series the first round against Boston and the second round match-up with Chicago will be tough.  They won’t lose because of inexperience [if they do lose to Chicago], they’ll play well.”

Barkley on the positives of some of the Bulls’ injuries: “Derrick Rose’s injury and Joakim Noah’s injury make them fresher than most guys going into the playoffs.  We don’t know Chicago’s ceiling as a team since they haven’t played together for more than a few weeks.  I think they have the highest ceiling in the Eastern Conference.”

Barkley on the Bulls’ size advantage:  “If they could ever get healthy, they’re the best team in the Eastern Conference.  No disrespect to Cleveland, but [the Bulls] have more weapons.  They will have hands full with Noah and [center Pau] Gasol down low.”

Smith on the Bulls team approach: “Chicago has every element.  Derrick Rose doesn’t have to be playing at an MVP-level for them to be great.”

Barkley on the Raptors’ as a potential second round problem for the Hawks: “The second round will be some terrific series.  Toronto has played great against Atlanta all year, they won the season series.”

Barkley on the Wizards’ season: “I thought they came together and were looking great for the future last year.  They regressed this year. I thought they were going to take that next step and say ‘we’re here, you have to beat us.’  They were inconsistent and I don’t think they can turn it back on when the playoffs start.”

Barkley on the Wizards’ John Wall and Bradley Beal: “They have an elite backcourt.  Beal will be one of the best [shooting] guards in the league in the next few years.”

Barkley on head coach Jason Kidd’s impact on Michael Carter-Williams: “[Carter-Williams] has been playing great lately.  It takes a while, people think you show up and play.  It took a while to adjust [after the trade], and he’s played great the last few weeks.  Having what I call the ‘Point Guard Whisperer’ coaching there is huge.  Jason Kidd was best leader we had in the NBA, now it’s Chris Paul.  Kidd will turn Michael Carter-Williams into a perennial All-Star and that team into a perennial playoff team.  Without [rookie] Jabari Parker, I thought there was no way they could make the playoffs, but Kidd is so smart that anyone that listens to him becomes a better player.”

Barkley on the short-term outlook for the Celtics: “[Head Coach] Brad Stevens, everyone knew he’d be successful.  The problem we have now… is that no one has patience.  [President] Danny Ainge has done good job drafting, they’ve gotten better every year… The have something like 102 first round draft picks the next few years… I give them credit for being patient.”

Barkley on his expectations for the Nets-Hawks series: “The Nets won’t go out quickly, they have a good chance to make it a competitive series.”

Smith on the Nets’ season: “Brooklyn was so inconsistent this year, it won’t be a terribly difficult series for Atlanta.  But if Brooklyn had gotten it together, this could have been a series I’d think they could win.

Barkley on the 2015-16 outlook for Miami: “They won’t be a top-four team in the Eastern Conference next year.  You don’t go from out of the playoffs to being in the top four, unless they can get LeBron to move back there.  They need some more building blocks, even if they re-sign [guard] Goran Dragic.”

Smith on how injuries impacted Miami this season: “They definitely would have been a playoff team if [10-time All-Star forward] Chris Bosh was playing, probably around the sixth seed.”

This Week’s Sports Illustrated Jordan Spieth makes history at the Masters; Rex Ryan on the Bills, Jets and Expectations

si-logo

NEW YORK, NY (April 15, 2015) –  This week’s Sports Illustrated features 21-year-old Masters Champion Jordan Spieth on the national cover, mimicking a cover shot seen 14 years ago as following Tiger Wood’s second masters victory. In an SI exclusive feature, Rex Ryan has brought new life – and new hope – to the Buffalo Bills and appears on one of this week’s regional covers. University of Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma and the 10-time national champion Huskies goes on the record with Richard Deitsch with a firsthand tale of perfection, phone calls from the President and his NBA dream.

This issue also includes with NFL Draft Preview with 60 pages of NFL draft coverage to prepare for what promises to be a top notch year. Austin Murphy profiles pick between Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston for who should be the No. 1 pick. Coverage includes breakdowns by position – from wide receivers and running backs to tight ends and linemen. The issue closes with Ben Baskin’s draft laundry list and Chris Burke’s 2015 mock draft.

Jenny Vrentas: The Rex Effect

Rex Ryan’s arrival in Buffalo has turned the Bills’ franchise from a team agonizing over a 15-year playoff drought to one where the playoffs –and more – are already being promised. The reason behind this? None other than Rex Ryan.

Following a tumultuous ending with the Jets, Ryan has landed in Buffalo, infusing into the area traits that haven’t had since their Super Bowl heyday: personality, excitement and optimism. Ryan has only been the coach of the Bills for three months, but has already become the face of the franchise. He has won over the fans and the franchise’s legends – Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas –  and his arrival has created an atmosphere of hope and faith. Described as a Buffalo guy at heart (he drives a pickup truck, drinks beer, wears a throwback jersey and had his Jets tattoo redone to fit the Bills) Ryan is already making bold predictions for the Bills, With a roster loaded with stars –including one, Lesean McCoy, that took only 30 minutes to acquire – they may come true.

Ryan on his last days with the Jets: “I wasn’t the boss anymore, I was just a guy. Whether they want to say it or not, all of a sudden I became less important to the team. They were trying to pull away from me, like it was my fault, somehow, that people identified the Jets with me, and that was a bad thing and not a good thing. I was just being who I was. From that point on I knew I wasn’t going to be long for that job.”

His expectations for Buffalo: “I want to win the damn Super Bowl, that’s what drives me. I don’t want to just be known as good. I want to be special. For our team, for our franchise here in Buffalo, that’s what we want.”

His feelings towards the Jets: “I want success for Woody Johnson, I do. But don’t kid yourself – we’re gonna try to kick the s— out of them when we bring our team in. We’re going to try to whip your ass. There are people in that organization who are going to be lifelong friends to me. But this is my damn football family.

Alan Shipnuck: Old School

Few records were left unchallenged as 21-year-old Jordan Spieth took his pure putting stroke and a maturity that exceeds his age to put on a show at Augusta National and stamp himself as America’s future star. His grip and swing may not be textbook, but 14 years after Tiger Woods won his second Masters, Spieth was rewriting the record book and etching his name into an exclusive club in the process.

“His composure is Bernhard Langer-like, which is incredible for 21. That’s his x-factor.” – Tour sage Geoff Ogilvy

“Jordan Spieth might be the perfect Texas pro: the focus and will of Hogan, the likeability of Nelson, and the putting stroke of Crenshaw.” – Dan Jenkins, dean of American sportswriters

Geno Auriemma (As told to Richard Deitsch): Leader of the pack

After winning his 10th title, Geno goes on the record to discuss John Wooden, his NBA fantasies and coaching perhaps the best women’s player ever. Speaking about texts from Gregg Popovich, jabs from the President, and the tradition of being carried off the court after a national championship, Geno gives us a look into his world, his 10 titles and his five perfect seasons.

“It’s interesting to me that people who have achieved great things and understand how hard it is to be really good at something are the first people to congratulate you.” – Auriemma

“I’m still excited and emotional about what I do. When the charge isn’t there anymore, then I’ll know it’s time to get out. But as long as it is, you’ll see me around the gym.” – Auriemma

This Week’s Sports Illustrated: An Unlikely Hero leads Duke to Title No. 5

si-logo“It was a magical win, it was an unbelievable win. The thing is: these kids really never get the credit a team [not] coached by me or [a team not] at Duke would get. There are eight guys. Four of them are freshmen! Are you kidding me? But because I’ve coached national championships….We understood it as a staff the whole year. This is like: Holy mackerel! How are they doing all this? But they have.”

– Coach Mike Kryzewski

“I can’t even tell you who we had. All I know is I had confidence in all our guys, so what the heck? I would like to say there was some great strategy or something.”

– Kryzewski on the second-half lineups

NEW YORK, NY (April 7, 2015) – Following an epic fifth championship win, Sports Illustrated features freshman point guard and late game hero Tyus Jones. This season just ended but Seth Davis is already thinking about the fall as he breaks down next season’s top 10 teams and who will be at the top of the polls. Luke Winn discusses Kentucky’s magical run in a season that seemed made for Hollywood – until Wisconsin flipped the script as he takes us into the world of the Wildcats following their semifinal loss to the Badgers.

Also in the issue, Joan Niesen tells us the story of Jayson Tatum, the Missouri high school star who could play for any college in the nation and who – and what – could lead him to stay in the city he loves. Jack Dickey documents the New York Islanders last season in the suburbs and their push for another Stanley Cup before they flee for Brooklyn. Michael McCarthy, an internal medicine doctor at Columbia Presbyterian, examines the science of sleep and how it has helped one slugger overcome three decades of sleep apnea.

Below is the link to the high res cover

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/3397251846/1/f_28460732686

Michael Rosenberg: Deal With the Devils

Too many, this was Kentucky’s year and everybody could see it. Then Wisconsin beat Kentucky and Duke beat Wisconsin and instead of a team making history and going 40-0, the coach with the most wins ever led the most successful program of the modern era to another national title. Behind it all was a team that was loaded but young, selfless but sometimes sloppy, occasionally overpowering but laughably thin. They weren’t expected to win the championship half-way through the season, but with Coach K at the helm, a series of tweaks and tinkering and a standout performance by an unlikely hero, the Blue Devils won another championship in Indianapolis.

“I can’t get to the level of playing defense like my 2001 [championship] team unless I have a number of older guys. It takes that long to be that good. So I have to accept a certain amount of slippage both offensively and defensively, and that means maybe trying out some other things.” – Mike Kryzewski

Joan Niesen: Home Game

Jayson Tatum is the most coveted high school player in the country, his 6’ 9” frame resembles Kevin Durant’s and his style of play does too. With the end of the college hoops season in sight, the recruiting season is soon to begin and the biggest names in basketball want Jayson in their uniforms. The pull to the elite programs is strong, but home is where the heart is: his father, his mother, best friends and mentors all stayed and played in St. Louis and they would love to keep that tradition going. But one thing is for certain, Jayson’s decision is one that will surely shock the basketball world.

“Be a trendsetter, you don’t have to go on this road because it was made for Shane Battier or Grant Hill. You can do what they did – at home.” – Justin Tatum, Jayson’s father

Jack Dickey: The Last Waltz

The New York Islanders have spent the better part of the last three decades as a laughingstock. From slow decline to flat-out bad, the Islanders have been reborn – they are fifth best in the Eastern Conference and are having their best season in points since 1984 and are no longer a joke. The Islanders were are proud to be one of the last remaining professional teams to play in the suburbs, but are headed to Brooklyn next year in hopes of bringing the franchise exactly what their old arena brought when it was developed in 1950 amongst the Levittown homes: a new way of life.

Matt McCarthy: Nap Time

Finding new competitive advantages has been at the heart of baseball for the last dozen years, but it has been a statistically-driven narrative. Now, Opening Day behind us and with the playoff race wide open, players and teams are looking for anything that will give them an advantage – medicine, sleep behavior and nutrition. The biggest advantage though may also be the most basic of human needs: sleep. With 162 games in the span of approximately 182 days, sleep control has become baseball’s new secret weapon as the Red Sox’ Mike Napoli, who has been plagued with sleep apnea, shows.

“I used to wake up 50 or a hundred times a night, now I’m actually sleeping, I’m not tired all the time.” – Mike Napoli

“Our research shows that sleepy players don’t tend to stay in major league baseball as long as well-rested players. You need sleep to do all kinds of things: to produce growth hormone, to fight infections and to heal.” – Dr. Christopher Winter, Medical Director of the Martha Jefferson Sleep Medicine Center

Kentucky-Wisconsin Delivers Best Overnight Rating for National Semifinal in 22 Years as NCAA Tournament Continues Record-Setting Numbers

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaKentucky vs. Wisconsin Across TBS, TNT and truTV Garners Highest Overnight Rating for College Basketball Game in Cable Television History

NCAA Tournament to Date Nets Highest Overnight Rating in 23 Years

NCAA March Madness Live Nets Record 77 Million Live Streams Through Saturday

Turner Sports and CBS Sports’ exclusive coverage of last night’s NCAA Tournament National Semifinal between Kentucky and Wisconsin across TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 13.3/24 overnight rating/share to deliver the highest rating for a college basketball game in the history of cable television and the highest rating for a Final Four game in 22 years (13.8/24 in 1993).  The networks’ collective coverage of Kentucky/Wisconsin peaked with a 16.4/30 overnight rating/share from 11-11:15 p.m. ET.  The game telecast is up 48% over last year, based on Nielsen metered market ratings.

The NCAA Final Four National Semifinals doubleheader – including Duke vs. Michigan State – averaged an 11.4/22 overnight rating/share to register as the highest average overnight rating for the doubleheader in 20 years (11.6/22 in 1995).  Last night’s National Semifinals are up 39% over last year.

The Duke/Michigan State telecast across TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 9.6/20 overnight rating/share, the highest overnight rating in 10 years (10.3/19 in 2005) and a 30% increase over last year.

Overall, the NCAA Tournament coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV is averaging a 7.5/15 overnight rating/share, tied as the best overnight rating in 23 years (7.7/16 in 1992).

Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live has garnered more than 77 million live video streams and 16.8 million live hours of video consumption through Saturday’s National Semifinals, both all-time records.   This year’s live streams are up 15% over last year, with live hours of video consumed up 17%.  Yesterday, NCAA March Madness Live delivered a record-setting six million live video streams and 1.5 million live hours of consumption for the National Semifinals, up 59% and 53%, respectively.

 

The NCAA Tournament has grossed a record 306 million total social impressions across Facebook and Twitter through the second Thursday for a 36% increase over 2014.

Source: Nielsen Media Research, Arianna, Live +SD data stream. 3/17/15 – 4/4/15 vs. 3/18/15 – 4/5/15.   2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 averages based on weighted average of 4 telecast gross across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. Historical audiences, CBS 1991 through 2005 based on Live data. Conviva, Adobe Analytics for digital metrics. Facebook Insights and Twitter for social analytics.

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