Monday, February 1
TNT will be in Dallas, TX for exclusive coverage of NBA All-Star 2010 from Feb. 11-14. Beginning at 5 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Feb. 13, TNT All-Decade NBA presented by esurance will tip off the night’s action followed at 6 p.m. (ET) with Dunk Defying: Spud & Nate. H.O.R.S.E. presented by GEICO returns with a move to prime time at 7 p.m. (ET). Exclusive live coverage of NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm follows at 8 p.m. (ET), which includes the Haier Shooting Stars competition, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and the Sprite Slam Dunk. On Sunday, Feb. 14 the 2010 NBA All-Star Game takes center stage at 8 p.m. (ET).
Along with NBA All-Star Saturday Night and the All-Star Game on Sunday, Turner Sports will proudly present some highlights for its 2010 NBA All-Star coverage:
- In total, Turner Sports will provide 68 ½ hours of live/original NBA programming during NBA All-Star Weekend through TNT (19 ½ hours), NBA TV (20 hours) and NBA.com (29 hours).
- Eastern Conference All-Star starters Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade will get behind the TNT microphone for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan and NBA TV analyst Kevin McHale on Friday at 9 p.m. (ET).
- A special one-hour edition of “The Best of Inside the NBA” on TNT on Friday at 11 p.m. (ET), celebrating 10 years of EJ, Kenny and Charles. The show has won five Emmys as the Best Studio Show during their 10 years together.
- NBA.com brings the action to the fans’ fingertips starting Friday, Feb. 12 with 12 hours of LIVE streaming coverage.
Doug Collins, TNT NBA analyst
Kevin McHale, NBA TV/TNT analyst
Reggie Miller, TNT NBA analyst
Miller on his expectations for NBA All-Star 2010 being played in Cowboys Stadium: “From a shooter’s standpoint, I would like to play in a smaller venue, but this is more of an exhibition game. You’re playing in a place where there will potentially be 100,000 people watching you play. If you can’t get jacked up and excited about that…site lines really don’t matter. Personally for me, I can’t wait to watch it on ‘Jerry-Vision,’ that’s awesome. That’s what I’m looking forward to. It’s going to be an awesome environment. To have potentially 100,000 people watch an All-Star Game? It’s going to be unreal.”
Miller on Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson being voted by the fans to start the All-Star Game: “Sure (he should be starting), why not? The fans have spoken. It’s not Allen Iverson’s fault (that) the fans love him that much. I understand that playing in the All-Star Game shouldn’t be a lifetime achievement award. I go back to his press conference in Philadelphia the first time around when I remember him as a snotty-nosed brat talking about practice. The press conference he had when he came back to Philadelphia has the emotion, the tears, it showed how grateful (he was) to be back in the league with the team that gave him his start; that was a man in front of us. I’m happy that he’s going to be playing in the All-Star Game.”
Collins on Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Durant: “Kevin Durant has been amazing. He scores so easily. He can shoot the ball with range, he can run the floor on the break. More importantly, Oklahoma City is playing well and they have a winning record on the road. They are in the playoff hunt. Kevin Durant has been phenomenal and he is a guy that, if he stays healthy, can get three or four scoring titles before it’s all said and done. He gets to the foul line and he can shoot the three. He’ll add a little post-up game as he gets older. He’s a complete offensive player.”
McHale on his advice to All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard joining the announce team for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam: “First and foremost, (they should) keep their fingers away from (Kevin) Harlan’s mouth while he’s eating. He’ll chomp them off like a band saw. That’s the most important thing they need to know. When Harlan is eating…stay away.”
Collins on if the Dallas Mavericks can compete with the Los Angeles Lakers: “I think (the Mavericks) are pretty far behind the Lakers. Dirk (Nowitzki) has had a tremendous year, there’s no doubt about that. I think they really miss an effective Josh Howard. He was such a big part of that team and Jason Terry has really taken on his role. When Josh was playing well, he would get them out of the gate quickly. He got them off to great starts. He is struggling right now coming off the bench. I think from (head coach) Rick Carlisle’s standpoint, he’s been unhappy with the defensive slippage the team has had. I think he feels that they’ve lost some of that competitive toughness that they had earlier when they were winning. We’ll see if they can get that back. I don’t see them as a team that can beat the Lakers as they are constituted right now.”
Miller on the Lakers dominating the Western Conference: “It’s hard to compare any team in the West (Conference) to the Los Angeles Lakers. To me, they are head and shoulders above everyone else.”
Miller on the Charlotte Bobcats: “Having played for Larry Brown (with the Pacers), I remember our first three years, we always got off to slow starts and rounded ourselves into shape around the All-Star break. We always would take off in the final 30-35 games of the season. When I look at the (Charlotte) Bobcats, they are very much set up that (same) way. I know what type of basketball player Stephen Jackson is. He can hit big shots and you add him to first time All-Star Gerald Wallace, who is playing out of his mind. Raymond Felton is playing great at the point guard position. They are a little thin in the frontcourt but they are going to play hard and tough. It starts with their defense and they know they are always going to be in games because of their defense. Whether or not their offense can catch up to their defense remains to be seen. They could be a scary team in that six or seven seed in the first round (of the playoffs).”
McHale on the importance of playing well down the stretch of the regular season: “The whole thing depends on how you’re playing coming down the stretch. I always thought the most telling thing with championship teams is (how they are playing) in the last 25 games of the season. I think up to that point there is a lot of positioning. But those last 25 games really separates you and how you’re playing. The teams that play well in that stretch, go into the playoffs on a roll.”
Collins on achieving chemistry in the broadcast booth: “It takes a while to get chemistry (with other broadcasters). That’s why, during the course of the year, TNT will put Reggie (Miller), Marv (Albert) and I together for a few games so going into the All-Star Game, we won’t be doing our first games of the year (together). It’s one of our bigger games of the year with a big following. You learn people’s idiosyncrasies; you learn when they are going to pause or how they’re going to get out. How they are going to take a breath so you don’t step on top of them. When you have a three-man booth where there are three voices that want to be heard, you make eye contact or tap the guy next to you to let him know you want to make a point. There’s a lot of teamwork that goes on. When you have a three-man booth, you really have to cut back because you can’t have wall-to-wall sound. The All-Star Game was such a high entertainment value that you’re not going to have a lot of analysis. You’ll have a lot of storytelling.”
Miller on working with Marv Albert and Doug Collins at the All-Star Game: “For an All-Star Game, this is going to be ‘Marvelous’ Marv Albert at his best. Between the passes and the dunks, (the fans) want to hear the ‘voice of the NBA’ and that’s Marv Albert. It’s an honor and pleasure to be working with two Hall of Famers with Albert and Coach Collins. I’m still learning and I get a chance to learn from the best.”
Collins on the Orlando Magic missing Hedo Turkoglu’s decision making abilities: “It’s been a struggle (for Vince Carter). When you take over for Hedo Turkoglu, who was such a huge part of Orlando, he was the guy in the fourth quarter that you were going to put the ball in his hands and you know what Orlando was going to run. They were going to run the pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard and Turkoglu, they were going to spread the floor with three-point shooters and Turkoglu was going to make the right decision. People don’t give him enough credit for the decisions he made in critical situations for that team.”
McHale on Vince Carter replacing Hedo Turkoglu with the Magic: “I was really concerned when Orlando changed the finisher. Turkoglu was the finisher. Vince is a better one-on-one, get-your-own-shot guy than Hedo is. Hedo made the simple pass out. I think he made everybody better. Vince, for all of his talents, I don’t think he makes anybody better as a basketball player.”
Miller on Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen: “(Ray Allen) looked great in that Orlando game down in Orlando last Thursday. Obviously the older you get for jump shooters your percentages go down. I think that’s what everyone is somewhat concerned about with Ray right now, but he’s played in every game this season. I had a chance to speak with him before the game and he was a lot like me when it came to preparation before a game, I liked to get there three or four hours before a game and, as I called it, smell the gym, get up there early and gets some shots up. I told him, the older I got, I cut back. I got there at the same time, but I didn’t go through a two-hour shooting routine because I felt drained once the game started. He might have to start thinking about that by cutting down a lot of volume of shots that he puts up before the game so he can be a little fresher when game time comes around. Ray knows how much respect I have for him because I love guys who like to come to the gym early and stay late. He has struggled at times, especially at playoff times, with his shooting, but I thought he was fantastic in last year’s playoffs in that Chicago series. He had so many big games. But they’ll right the ship. Health is going to be a big part for the Celtics. Kevin will have to get healthy along with Paul Pierce, but once Marquis Daniels comes back and Doc (Rivers) has his full complement of players, I think then maybe then we’ll see what the Celtics are made of.”
McHale on how the Boston Celtics are playing at this point in the season: “(The Celtics) are ok right now, they are getting where they want to be. When you get to the age where Kevin Garnett is, and Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen is, it’s always going to be after the All-Star break. You do pace yourself. When you’re 22 or 23 you’re out there going gung ho, you have no idea what you’re doing anyway. You’re playing on energy and running around. As you get older you start conserving your energy and you start to realize you can be 40-10 at the All-Star break. If you play poorly down the stretch and don’t get in the playoffs on a roll, healthy and playing well, it doesn’t make any difference. I think they are pacing themselves. When you are a jump shooter, it comes and goes, it’s hard, I can’t imagine being a jump shooter and relying on that shot all the time. I always liked when Ray would drive a little more and get fouled and get free throws; he’s such a good free throw shooter, but as you get older that gets harder to do. Doing that for 82 games is very hard. Is he getting longer in the tooth? Yeah, but that’s what happens. If you stayed 25 none of us would ever play because Jerry West and Bill Russell and everyone would never let us play. So as you get older they start looking at the season differently, it’s going to be after the All-Star break. I’ll be able to assess that team a lot better after the All-Star break. They are fine, they are where they need to be. They are geared for the playoffs and have a different mindset than a lot of the other teams.”
McHale on the Wizards’ slow start to their season and the impact of the locker room incident: “Flip (Saunders) is a tremendous offensive coach, he calls the game on the sidelines like an offensive coordinator does in football. But he puts a lot of stuff in, so I wasn’t surprised that they were struggling at the beginning of the season. Flip puts a comprehensive package in really quickly. I’d say, ‘Flip, how can you add 10 plays in two days?’ He’d say, ‘don’t worry, they’ll get it, I’d rather get it in and have them know and we’ll refresh it as we go.’ I was always surprised at how he was able to put a lot of stuff in. Even the years that Flip was winning 50 games here in Minnesota and doing well, his teams started off slower and then hit their stride, so that didn’t surprise me. People don’t realize that not having Mike Miller on that team is a big factor. Mike really knows how to play, he moves the ball, he makes three pointers and can really do a lot of stuff. Then when the gun incident happened, that was so disruptive. This whole thing with (Gilbert) Arenas and the gun, it goes through the whole team and makes everything really odd. When you’re a good team and you get your momentum and you start rolling and playing better it’s a snowball going downhill in a positive direction. On bad teams that snowballs goes downhill but it’s all in a negative direction. I just sense that there’s a negative vibe with the team. You’ve got to give Flip a chance, he’s a tremendous coach and I think he will get them. I wasn’t surprised that they started slowly, but after what happened with the gun thing I thought all bets were off.”
Miller on how the brawl in Detroit impacted the Pacers drawing parallels to the situation in Washington: “Being on a team when total chaos hit, it was deflating to our team from the simple fact that we had gotten off to a 7-2 or 8-1 start. We were going to beat Detroit in Detroit, it was the closing moments of that game. Our arch rivals who beat us in the conference finals and went on the win a championship. We were getting ready to beat them in the Palace, we had signed Stephen Jackson who was going to be coming off the bench as our sixth man, so we thought we were primed to get back to the conference finals and get over the hump and get back to the championship. Then all hell broke loose. You’ve got Ron (Artest) who was suspended for 73 games, Stephan Jackson for 30 games, at the time Jermaine O’Neal was slated to be suspended for 30 games, but I think he ended up out for 15 games and came back in mid-December. So God Bless Coach (Rick) Carlisle making makeshift line-ups on the go, calling up NBA D-League players, guys off the street were suiting up. It was deflating because it took the wind out and on top of that it was my last year as well. Everything just built up and it was tough. I can only imagine what’s going on in that locker room because Ron never really came around. He would show up here and there. I’m not sure if Gilbert is showing up and practicing or working out on his own. Now that he’s been suspended for the year there’s no need to work out. But we never saw Ron, Stephen would come here and there. It was tough. Hats off to Carlisle and his staff, we ended up in the fifth or sixth spot and we were lucky to get that and move on to the second round. We made it work, Flip (Saunders) will make it work. As they always say, and this too shall pass. This will pass. We don’t know what the future holds for the Wizards, but Flip is an excellent coach. I know he didn’t sign up for this, but it’s very, very unfortunate. (The Pacers) still haven’t recovered. Other than Danny Granger, who was an All-Star last year and (Roy) Hibbert’s playing well this year. They play hard, but the Pacers have never, ever recovered from that night. Things will never be the same until they get lucky in the draft, they are able to overpay a free agent and things get turned around, but things will never be the same. Let’s hope that’s not the case in the nation’s capital with the Wizards, but it’s just not the same.”
Collins on the Chicago Bulls and what factors have led to their success: “I like a couple of things that Vinny (Del Negro) has done. First of all, John Salmons was really struggling to start the year, he couldn’t make shots, (Kirk) Hinrich couldn’t make shots and he was out of sorts. Derrick Rose did tweak his ankle in preseason, but I personally don’t think he came into camp in great shape. He learned a valuable lesson this year about the importance of the offseason and preparing himself especially when you come off that Rookie-of-the-Year and what he did. I remember talking to Jerry Reinsdorf, we were talking and he said after the Celtics series, he was very happy with the way the team competed, but he said, ‘I had to let the team know the fans here love you so much, don’t forget the fact that you lost that series, you didn’t win that series. So we’ve got places we’ve got to go and we’ve got to get better.’ I like what Vinny did, I like putting Kirk Hinrich in the starting lineup. I think it helps your defense, I think it helps Kirk, I think Salmons settled in coming in off the bench and started shooting the ball well. Luol (Deng) has been very consistent this year. They have a real surprise in Taj Gibson, what a mature young guy he is and what he’s done there. Joakim Noah who could have been an All-Star with the way he’s played and the energy he’s brought. It’s a combination of things and I think they are confident now. They were totally out of synch offensively, their defense really has been very good all season long, but they couldn’t score. Then all of a sudden they got into rhythm offensively and it starts with Derrick Rose with the ball in his hands, when he gets that ball and he starts attacking, he gets to the foul line. Early in the year he was flipping shots at the basket and not getting to the line, now he’s creating contact, playing at an incredibly high level. It’s all worked together, Vinny making Hinrich a starter and he got his confidence back and it helps get Salmons back in the swing of things. A lot of good things are happening in Chicago.”
McHale on the difficulty of guarding Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony: “The thing I love about Carmelo (Anthony) is he gets to the line. You put a small guy on him because he makes a couple of jump shots. You’re the opposing coach so you say, ‘I’m going a little smaller because he made a couple of jump shots, so I’ll get a smaller guy to push up on him on the perimeter.’ Then he turns around and takes him off that right box where he does most of his work, not a true low post, but a step or two off that post. He turns and goes, he’s strong as an ox, he gets to the hole and all of a sudden you’ve got the small guy on him. You’re thinking, gee, he takes him to the post, we’re fouling, I’ll put the bigger guy on him. Then he steps back out and makes some shots. He’s impossible to match-up, he’s too strong and big for the smaller guys who can contend with him on the perimeter and he’s too gifted, he can shoot it, he can make threes, he beats the bigs off the dribble when you go bigger on him. He’s a match-up nightmare. I love the fact that he’s more patient, he’s going slower this year. He’s taking his time and scoring at his pace. I think the maturity in his game is showing. He scores as easy as anyone in our league. He can have a so-so energy night and end up with 28 points.”
Miller on Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups being a key to forward Carmelo Anthony’s success: “It’s no coincidence that he’s having his most efficient year and you have a point guard like Chauncey Billups, a guy who understands big shots, big moments, has played on championship teams and has been to so many Conference Finals. He’s directing you and giving you the ball and going over game film with you saying these are the positions in your ‘kill zones.’ It’s not a secret that his game has evolved to a different level. When I played against Carmelo his rookie year, he was in such a hurry to take the quick shot, make the quick move, very impatient and that showed in his shooting percentage. But now he’s much more patient, he’s reading defenses much clearer, he understands time and score and all that is predicated on the success of the Nuggets with Coach Karl, but adding a true, understanding point guard in Chauncey Billups has elevated his game.”
Collins on where Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant ranks on his MVP list: “I put him in my top five (of MVP candidates). I had LeBron (James), Kobe (Bryant), (Kevin) Durant, Steve Nash and Carmelo (Anthony). The thing I go on is what has he brought to the franchise. Those people are so excited about basketball in Oklahoma, it’s an incredible environment, it’s almost like a college crowd the way they cheer on that team. They have a chance to win every night. He’s consistent, he’s fun to watch, he plays with great energy. A big part of being a star is that charisma, that energy, where you walk out onto the floor and you bring a presence. He has that. At the same time, he’s incredibly humble, his team is winning, they’ve done a nice job putting pieces around, they’ve got a lot of draft picks. They are in the thick of things in the playoff race. As long as they are, you have to start talking about him. Is he probably going to win over LeBron or Kobe? The chances are probably not, but now that he’s an All-Star and you’re starting to talk about him and the breadth of what he does for his team…I love the young guy and he plays the game.”
Miller on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant needing to be in the MVP conversation: “Will (Kevin Durant) win an MVP this year? No, that’s probably going to go to one of the big two: Kobe or LeBron. But this is my magic number, if he can get to 50 or 55 games (of scoring 25 points a game), you certainly have to strongly consider this guy if he continues to play like this. When you talk about these teams – how do they win on the road? Oklahoma City is winning games in the road, this is a team who is finding ways to win. What is scary is when a young, athletic team finds a way to win on the road. So 50 or 55 games and if he continues to play like this and score and elevate his team, then you absolutely have to put him in the same breath with Carmelo, Kobe, LeBron, Dwyane Wade. It will probably happen more so later on in his career because these guys are at the pinnacle of their careers.”
Miller on the state of the Philadelphia 76ers: “They are going to have to come up with a solution for Andre Iguodala. Are they going to trade him or are they going to keep him? He’s reading his name in the paper every time he’s going into the sports complex. They bring back Allen Iverson the senior member of that team to try to bring back some stability. This is not the Philly team that we all expected; we expected them to be one of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference so it’s been a little tough. Lou Williams was out with that broken jaw for a month or two months, so we haven’t seen the real Philadelphia 76ers.”
Collins in the Philadelphia 76ers biggest problem being a lack of a point guard: “People now are starting to figure out how important Andre Miller was to that team. You take a point guard off that team, Andre Miller is one of the best to throw the ball ahead on the break and let guys attack. Sometimes you lose assists that way and usually a lot of point guards hold on to that ball until the last second to get assists. This guy advances the ball, he can get down to the post, play out of the post. When you look at Philadelphia, the year that they had the really good finish and they went to the playoffs, it was a team that was built on speed and quickness, they played a small line-up. When you get Elton Brand and you put Elton Brand with Samuel Dalembert, all of a sudden you have two guys (Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala) playing out of position with no point guard. Now all of a sudden your struggles start coming and you’ve got to teach an offense predicated on cutting and moving and reading. That’s an offense that takes a lot of time to learn and a lot of time to teach. Now you have some injuries and you bring Allen Iverson into the mix and they play a different style. They are twisting and turning in between, they are all over the board with what they are trying to get accomplished. That Philadelphia team is much better playing one big guy and four smalls and running and getting in the open court. I just don’t think the pieces fit well and they really, really miss a point guard.”