Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Playoffs – Sunday, May 10, 2009
TNT’s “40 Games in 40 Nights” NBA Playoffs coverage continues on Monday, May 11th at 7 p.m. ET with the Cleveland Cavaliers @ Atlanta Hawks (Game #4), followed by the Denver Nuggets @ Dallas Mavericks (Game #4).
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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith
Barkley on the Lakers not playing with a sense of urgency unless real urgency exists: “The Lakers are not trying to beat the Rockets, they are trying to win a championship and, as a Lakers fan, you’ve got to be concerned. You watched the Lakers on Friday night and they said, ‘you know what? We’ve got to win this game, we’ve got to come out with a sense of urgency,’ and then to see them come out today. No matter how much energy the Rockets came out with today, if (the Lakers) had come out and punched the Rockets early in the game, they might have lost but you don’t come out and get hit and keep backing up. The Lakers are guilty of having so much talent, they win because they are good, but they never play with a sense of urgency unless there is a (real) sense of urgency. In Game #3, there was a sense of urgency. The Lakers could have come out and knocked the Rockets out, to come out that flat, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose some of these games, but is this team legitimately trying to set a statement and win? The Lakers are winning games on talent.”
Smith on the big picture that the Lakers can still win the series: “We do get caught in game by game, we evaluate the (whole) series game by game. The key is the Rockets played an excellent game, but the Lakers are still in a position to win it all without Yao Ming (playing for Houston). They are still in position to win the series and you have to look at the bigger picture.”
Barkley on the Lakers not consistently playing at a high level: “I still think the Lakers are going to win the series, but I think it’s going to hurt them down the line whether it’s against Denver or the Cavaliers. I don’t think you can turn it on and off. LeBron (James) hasn’t turned it off, he is going to burn his engine up he’s going so hard. If it’s a great player or a great team, I’ve never seen them turn it on and off. They might not have a good game, but not because it’s not because they are (just) going through the motions.”
Barkley on NBA coaching great Chuck Daly, who passed away on Saturday: “When I first spent quality time with (Chuck Daly) was with the Dream Team. I said, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that guy coached these Pistons. I cannot believe that guy was a great coach and nice man, I can’t believe he coached the Bad Boy Pistons.’ They were a terrific team and they were really dirty and he was just a nice man. You go back and look at it realistically, he had such a diverse group of personalities and for him to mesh those together and win, you have to take your hat off to him. He had to be somewhat of a psychiatrist. Everybody talks about the coaching stuff, that’s self-explanatory, but he was just a nice man and it was an honor to get to spend a lot time with him on the first Dream Team. Thinking back, I’ve never seen the guy raise his voice, to command all those egos in Detroit and all those egos on the Dream Team, he never raised his voice yelling and screaming. (He had) a great run and it was my pleasure to get to play for him.”
Smith on Chuck Daly being basketball royalty: “(Chuck Daly) was basketball royalty. When you walked onto the court as a player, there are few times that you feel that there are regal guys around you. For me, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar fit into that category, and as coaches go, Chuck Daly fit in that category. He was one of the coaches that you really didn’t want to look at if you were the opposing player. You’re so scared to look at him because of the basketball royalty that he was, and just being a great, great coach and technician are the things you remember.”
Smith on the missed call in Game #3 that resulted in a Carmelo Anthony game-winning shot for Denver: “Everybody says for (Mavericks forward) Antoine Wright, that you’re supposed to wrap him up. Well no, you’re told as a player to go for the ball as you go for the foul because they may not call it. You don’t really wrap a guy up in this situation, a lot of times you go for the ball and you might get a steal.”
Barkley on the missed call by the officials in Game #3 of the Nuggets/Mavericks game: “Even though they missed (the call), I’m going to give (referee) Mark Wunderlich a pass. If you look at that closely, he’s looking at Carmelo (Anthony’s) feet to make sure he’s behind the three-point line. These guys aren’t trying to miss calls, all referees are really trying to do the best job, but they made a mistake in that situation. Teams I’ve been on, coaches tell players to tell the referees, ‘we are going to take a foul.’ That wasn’t really a hard foul. They missed it, I agree, but (Antoine Wright) should have hit him a little harder in that situation.”
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Boston Celtics (95) @ Orlando Magic (94) – The series is tied 2-2.
Announcers: Marv Albert and Reggie Miller; with David Aldridge reporting
Celtics coach Don Rivers on the importance of Game #4 for his team: “This is a big game for us, it’s a big game for both teams if you think about it. It’s a swing game, we can swing this into a great series or we can swing this into a very difficult series for us. There’s going to be a game at some point where both teams will play well, I tell our team that everyday. They’ll play well and we’ll play well at the same time and we’re going to have to win that game.”
Miller on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo’s defense: “(Rajon) Rondo is an excellent defender, but he gambles a lot. If you’re going to gamble up top and you don’t get the basketball, it’s a wide avenue for (Anthony) Johnson to get down the lane.”
Miller on the difficulty by Celtics forward Mikki Moore to guard Magic forward Rashard Lewis: “Mikki Moore cannot guard him, I don’t care if it’s out on the floor or down low, Rashard Lewis is too gifted offensively for Mikki Moore to stay with him.”
Albert on NBA players who are effective at drawing fouls while scoring: “Vince Carter of the Nets, perhaps along with Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, that group is the most effective at drawing the foul and getting a good shot off, not a fling, but a good shot and a chance to score on a three-point play.”
Miller: “You’re talking about wing players who are long, gifted and athletic. You’re putting the defense at a disadvantage when you try to crowd them or lay off of them because they are so good offensively.”
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T-Mobile Halftime Report
Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on Magic forward Marcin Gortat: “(Marcin Gortat) is even more polished offensively than Dwight Howard.”
Barkley on the Orlando Magic needing to take control of the game in the second half: “If I’m Orlando, I don’t like the way this game is going. The crowd is not in the game, they lull them to sleep. You don’t want to be playing this game down to the wire, you’ve got to find a way to get going offensively, you’ve got to find a way to get your crowd in the game. You don’t want a nail biter down the stretch, you want to find a way to put this team away up 3-1.”
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Miller on the normal strategy of fouling the opposing team’s big men: “In season’s past it would have been ‘Hack-a-Howard’ because of his free throws, but (the Celtics) don’t have the luxury because they don’t have enough big men with Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe being out for the remainder of the playoffs.”
TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Magic coach Stan Van Gundy after the third quarter.
Van Gundy on the Magic allowing the Celtics to get to the line: “That’s the big problem and it’s the same problem in Game #2 for us and at the end of Game #1. When we’re fouling them we can’t get in transition, it’s all in half court, that’s what’s killing us. We’ve got to get some stops and keep them off the line.”
Miller on Magic guard Courtney Lee missing a wide open jumper: “Those are normally hardest shots to take for shooters are the wide open ones.”
Miller on Magic guard Courtney Lee: “How about the fearless shooting of the rookie (Courtney Lee)? I remember watching this kid at Pike High School in Indianapolis, going to a couple of games. I knew he would be a big time scorer, I was surprised IU or Purdue didn’t (sign him), he ended up going to Western Kentucky, had a fabulous career there and has paid huge dividends for Orlando.”
TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Magic forward Glen Davis following the game.
Davis on making the game winning shot: “I was just doing my assignment, being ready to shoot, always ready to shoot. I worked on that all day, everyday I work on that, and that’s what you see, hard work.”
Davis on his match-up against Magic forward Rashard Lewis: “I’m just playing my game. I know I can play this game, Doc knows I can play this game, everybody knows I can play this game. I’m just trying to go out there and win for my teammates, that’s all that matters. I’m not looking at a matchup, I’m just trying to get a W (win), that’s it.”
Davis on how the Celtics are approaching each game in the series and how they will approach Game #5: “We’re just trying to stay in there and play Celtics basketball. Paul Pierce, he took us all the way, just thank God, I finished it for us. But we try to play Celtics basketball every time we go out, every time we play the game. We’re going to go back home with a win, and that’s all what matters. I know our fans will be in tune with us, we’re going to be focused and ready to play the game. We just have to go out there and play Celtics basketball and the sky’s the limit from there.”
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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on the Magic needing to rely more on center Dwight Howard down the stretch: “I tell you what, this is one of the reasons that Orlando annoys me about not going to Dwight Howard all the time, he can make those free throws. Shaquille O’Neal, one of the greatest big men ever, the Lakers went to him and he’s not a great free throw shower. Guys like that, they make plays.”
Barkley on why he thinks Orlando will win the series: “I think Orlando has a better team, but if they lose this series they can look back to tonight. I still think Orlando has a better team and they have better match-ups, but the Boston Celtics have a lot of heart. I still like Orlando because I think they have a better team.”
Smith on the strength of the Celtics, as shown in Game #4: “Everyone will say this is the weakness of Orlando, but I say it’s the strength of the Celtics. Here’s a team, when the playoffs started, everyone questioned, ‘were they really good without Kevin Garnett?’ I didn’t realize how good (Rajon) Rondo was, but I knew how good Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were, and all of a sudden you add this element where Rondo is just playing fantastic. He is the best point guard, other than Chauncey Billups, in the playoffs right now. You add that element and everyone is feeding off the confidence. And then (Glen) ‘Big Baby’ Davis, not just tonight, forget the game winning shot, but he hits that shot consistently, which brings Dwight Howard from the basket, which allows Rondo and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to get to the basket.”
Barkley on the Rockets defeating the Lakers in Game #4: “I take my hat off, that was a beautiful game by the Rockets. Coach (Rick) Adelman, I don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but congratulations. Keep doing it.
Barkley on the Magic losing the game in final second: “Sometimes you just have to give the other team credit. Paul (Pierce) made a great pass, you’ve got Dwight Howard all over you, he made a great pass and sometimes the other team wins. It’s not anybody’s fault, the guy just made a hell of shot.”
Barkley on the Magic struggling to beat a Celtics team missing their best player in Kevin Garnett: “Orlando should not struggle with this team as much. What I mean by that, I don’t how you can take away a team’s best player (Kevin Garnett) and consider yourself a legit contender if you can’t beat that team. (The Magic) might come back and win the series, but if they lose the series they have to say, ‘if we can’t beat the Boston Celtics without Kevin Garnett, ain’t no way in the world we can beat them with him’.”
Barkley on whether the Hawks or Mavericks can win Game #4 to extend their respective series: “(The Hawks) are halfway to Cancun, that’s what they did today, they packed up. They have one foot in (Atlanta airport) Hartsfield and one in Cancun. The Mavs are going to compete, they competed like hell in Game #3, I just think the Nuggets are too big and too strong for them. I don’t think (the Mavs) can score enough points to compete. The Cavaliers in the East and the Nuggets in the West have been the two best teams, they are going to finish the Mavs tomorrow and the Hawks have packed it in.”
Smith on the Hawks admiration of Cavaliers forward LeBron James overshadowing the series and allowing James to take control: “When you play against a great player I don’t think you can have that much admiration for him. It seems like it’s been a lot of autograph signing from LeBron James. He hasn’t been knocked on his butt this whole series. When you play against great players, as a team, you can get consumed watching what he can do and admiring at the same time. The great teams look at it as a slap in the face, that he’s having a great game against you, and all of a sudden you get a little more physical, a little more testy and things aren’t as much fun. Every time (the great player) hits a basket he high fives, every time he slaps his hands it gets a little more aggravating to watch him do that and I don’t see that from the Atlanta Hawks. LeBron (James) hasn’t been angry this series, he’s not angry at the Hawks. That’s when you know the series is not a hard series.”
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