Notes from TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com – Thursday, January 29, 2009
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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com
Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Chris Webber and Gary Payton
TNT exclusively announced the 2009 NBA All-Star Reserves. TNT will air the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 15.
NBA All-Star Eastern Conference Reserves:
G – Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets
G – Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
G – Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic
F – Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers
F – Rashard Lewis, Orlando Magic
F – Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
C – Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
NBA All-Star Western Conference Reserves:
G – Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets
G – Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
G – Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
F – Paul Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
F – Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
F – David West, New Orleans Hornets
C – Shaquille O’Neal, Phoenix Suns
Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups joined the studio show via satellite to discuss his fourth straight NBA All-Star selection.
Billups on adjusting to the Nuggets following the trade from the Pistons: “I had been on (the Pistons) for a long, long time. I didn’t know I would mesh so fast with (the Nuggets) because of the differences in styles. (The Nuggets) were ready. They were ready for a leader and someone to take hold of the ship. It worked out perfectly and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Billups on playing for Nuggets head coach George Karl: “(George Karl’s coaching style) is definitely better (than with the Pistons). If you play hard and don’t mind defending and you go out and try to win every night, he kind of gives you free reign. I’m in a position right now where I won’t abuse that freedom, he understands that, he has a lot of confidence in that and it’s been great.”
Billups on if he still follows the Pistons: “(The Pistons) are my brothers so I talk to them all the time. I listen to them and their frustrations right now. I feel bad for them, I really do, because they are a much better team than what they are showing right now. Hopefully, they’ll tighten it back up.”
Billups on the Pistons moving Rip Hamilton to the bench: “Of course (I talked to Hamilton) about (the benching). I can’t tell you everything we talked about but of course it’s hard (for Hamilton). He’s a guy that helped build that team to prominence and he’s now coming off the bench but he’s doing it and doing it well and he’s being aggressive when he comes off the bench. He’s never going to change; he’s always going to be a great player whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. I think everyone knows he’s a starter in this league but right now with the position he’s in, he’s doing what he has to do.
Payton on Al Jefferson not making the Western Conference All-Star team: “(Al Jefferson) has great numbers and now we have gotten his name out there and gotten some buzz around him. Next year it’ll be a lot easier for him (to make the All-Star team) because then he’ll come out and get these numbers again, his team will be better and he’ll be an All Star next year. I’m disappointed that he didn’t make it (this season).”
Smith on Utah Jazz forward Paul Milsap not making the All-Star team: “Paul Milsap is a really good player but I don’t know if he’ll ever be an All-Star. He’s a really good player and nice piece to have on your team and he can help you win a championship. But if he is one of the top two guys on your team, I don’t think you’ll be good enough to win it all.”
New Jersey Nets guard Devin Harris joined the studio show in studio to discuss his first NBA All-Star selection.
Harris on the difference in playing with the Mavericks compared to the Nets: “(The biggest difference is) the responsibility that comes every night. We had great players in Dallas (like) Dirk (Nowitzki), (Jerry) Stackhouse and Josh Howard. Now having to take more leadership and shots along with Vince (Carter), it’s different.”
Harris on Nets head coach Lawrence Frank benching him against the Celtics on January 17: “(The benching) wasn’t something that I liked. Obviously, we weren’t playing well but I don’t like to throw in the towel like that. But he felt that he had to (bench me) in order to keep the team in line. I have to respect him for that.”
Harris on the pressure of replacing point guard Jason Kidd on the Nets: “At first there was pressure but coming into the Dallas situation (as a rookie) I had to replace Steve Nash. I think that was tougher since he was so important to (the Mavericks) and the fan support he had. I felt more prepared coming into New Jersey. I can’t do the things that Jason is capable of doing and he’s a great player but the things that I can control, I’ll make (the Nets) love me for that.”
Harris on what he is looking forward to most with All-Star Weekend: “(I’m looking most forward to) seeing the guys in a different light. Getting the guys away from their teammates, you get to see them in a different light. Paul Pierce and Kobe (Bryant) and all those guys. It’ll be good to see them in a different atmosphere.”
Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O’Neal on the Suns recent losses the Spurs: “Anything that’s bad must turn to good. Shaq-ostotle. Before you succeed you must learn how to fail so we keep losing (to the Spurs) on last second shots, one day we’re going to wake up and say that we don’t want to lose to them anymore.
Smith on Suns GM Steve Kerr and owner Robert Sarver meeting with the team in the locker room prior to a recent game: “If the general manager and owner walk into the locker room, that doesn’t put any pressure on me (as a player). If my coach comes in and tells me that if I don’t start playing better, he’ll pull my minutes…that makes more of an impression (on me). The general manager and owner can’t make that kind of impression on players in the middle of the season.
Payton on Cavaliers guard Mo Williams not making the All-Star team: “I think Mo Williams played better but that’s just the way it happens. He’s going to get his time too. He’s come to Cleveland and has done what he needs to do. Now his name up there and people are going to be looking at him.
Smith on Knicks forward David Lee not making the All-Star team: “I think coaches looked at him and asked if he is really a power forward and if his system inflates his numbers. I think those two things hurt him. If he does those things again next year, then we’ll know that is the kind of player that he is and it’s not the system.”