Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Playoffs – Thursday, April 23, 2009

Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Playoffs – Thursday, April 23, 2009

TNT’s “40 Games in 40 Nights” NBA Playoffs coverage continues on Saturday, April 25th with a special 30 minute edition of TNT NBA Tip-off at 3:30 p.m. ET followed by the San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks (Game #4) at 4 p.m. ET and the Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat (Game #3) at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by

Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Smith on teams not guarding Celtics guard Rajon Rondo: “You have to respect him. Most teams all through his career said, ‘he can’t shoot the basketball, so we are not going to play him.’ I think that’s the worst thing to do. Guys who don’t shoot the basketball comfortably from the outside you have to play them so they have a hand in their face when they try to take it. (Rondo) gets way too many open looks and they don’t pay him attention because they don’t think he’s an outside shooter, so it creates passing lanes, it creates driving lanes. Play the guy like he is Mark Price or Chris Paul, like he is a great shooter or a great guy who can play the point.”

Barkley on Celtics forward Kevin Garnett coming back during the playoffs: “I think it’s great that (Kevin Garnett) is out there working with (Kendrick) Perkins, working with Mikki Moore, trying to help those guys. But the notion that a guy join the playoffs and be effective, I don’t think that’s realistic to say, ‘I’ve been sitting out for three months, but I can just come in the playoffs and play against NBA players,’ I think that is just unrealistic.”

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Game #1Boston Celtics (107) @ Chicago Bulls (86) – Boston leads the series 2-1.

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Doug Collins; and Pam Oliver reporting

Collins comparing Bulls guard Derrick Rose to former 76ers guard Maurice Cheeks: “As a player, I had a young player from the city of Chicago who really became a great point guard, who was a really great player.  That was Maurice Cheeks who was very quiet and unassuming, I don’t know if he said six words the first six weeks. He won us over with his play, just like Derrick Rose has.”

Collins on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo making a great pass: “Look at that no look-away look, like he was going to Paul Pierce, take your eyes in one direction. Like Peyton Manning throwing a little touchdown pass there.”

Collins on the Celtics needing forward Paul Pierce to be their main scorer: “With the depleted team and with the bench being much thinner, for Boston to win this series Paul Pierce can not be their third leading scorer, he has to be the star.”

Collins on the impact of Celtics guard Rajon Rondo’s rebounding: “(Rondo) has that knack to go to the boards, he has big hands. A lot of times his guy is helping a lot defensively and what that does is gives him a lot of room to roam, so he can sneak in there and go to the boards and do the things he is doing and he is putting up All-Pro numbers here.”

Collins on Celtics forward Kevin Garnett coaching Kendrick Perkins from the sidelines: “When you can’t play sometimes you have to be an assistant coach. You are going to work on this move, showing him the footwork, talking to him about it. (Perkins) should look over at Kevin Garnett, a nice little teacher and a good student.”

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T-Mobile Halftime Report

Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on Utah’s chances of beating the Lakers: “This is not the same Utah team, Ernie. We keep expecting them (to play better), they are going to get it, they are going to get it. You know what?  The season is over, now the playoffs have started and I don’t think it’s going to ever kick in for Utah.”

Smith on the home court advantage in Utah: “When you go into Utah it is a different animal. Utah is different from 95% of arenas that you play in. It is important for your best player to play and create and set the tone. (Kobe Bryant) wants the crowd to be on Kobe Bryant. He doesn’t want the crowd to be on (Trevor) Ariza, he doesn’t want the crowd to be on Pau Gasol, he wants them to be on himself. So if he is making shots they are going to be booing him and if he is missing shots they are going to be laughing at him. So it takes the pressure off the guys in the second quarter, and in the third quarter and he can come back in the fourth and be Kobe Bryant.”

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Collins on the death of Long time Bulls announcer Johnny “Red” Kerr: “(Kerr) was just like Mr. Chicago, when you seen him at a game he put all kinds of a smile on your face.”

Collins on home court advantage being overrated until Game #7: “In the playoffs home court is overrated to me unless you are playing in that seventh game. I know you will look at the stats and say percentages don’t tell you that, and when you play against a really good team unless it’s that seventh game I don’t see an advantage.”

Collins on Celtics forward Glen Davis finding his niche with the Celtics: “(Davis) has very quick hands, he is an undersized player, what he has done he uses his bulk very well. He does a nice job playing against Yao Ming and some of these bigger guys because he gets his lower leverage and gets into their bodies. He is a weapon now offensively; he can shoot the basketball out from 15 to 17 feet so he has found his own niche here offensively with the Celtics.”

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Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on Utah forward Carlos Boozer’s quotes “We are not going to go down 3-0”
: “I still think the Lakers are going to win. This is not Utah’s year.”

Smith: “That to me sounds like a boxer, ‘I will not get knocked out in this fight.’ That doesn’t impress me.”
Barkley: “You don’t look at it like that. You say, ‘we just have to win this one game tonight to get back in this series.’”

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Game #2:  Utah Jazz (88) @ Los Angeles Lakers (86) – The Lakers lead the series 2-1.

Announcers: Marv Albert and Reggie Miller; Craig Sager reporting

Miller on Utah’s early success at home: “Isn’t it amazing when you put on those white uniforms how crisp you run your offense, how some of those openings in the lane are there?”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed L.A. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson.

Jackson on Utah forward Carlos Boozer: “He’s a monster in there. He’s a big strong guy, he’s pushing our guys around and getting good position for rebounds.”

Miller on Lakers guard Trevor Ariza: “(Trevor) Ariza has really been a factor for the Lakers. You would think he is out there for his defense, but it has been his offense that has carried the Lakers.”

Miller on playing in Utah during his career: “This crowd is fantastic. They are expert hecklers, kind of creative at times. Some were clever, some could be downright ugly at times, but it’s all fair, it’s all good.”

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T-Mobile Halftime Report

Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on Utah forward Carlos Boozer breaking the first half rebounding record set by Karl Malone and Greg Ostertag: “Wow, I never thought I’d hear those two names (Malone and Ostertag) in the same sentence.”

Barkley on why a close game favors the L.A. Lakers with Kobe Bryant: “I don’t like the pace of the game for them (Utah). The Lakers have the ultimate closer (in Kobe Bryant). The closer the game, the better it is for the Lakers and the Black Mamba.”

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Miller on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant’s work ethic: “Kobe (Bryant) usually takes one month off after the season, then he starts lifting weights. Then he starts his one-a-days, sometimes two-a-days. His goal is to be at 95% going into Labor Day. Most basketball players are just picking up a basketball after Labor Day. You see why Kobe Bryant is so far ahead of the rest of the competitors in this league, it’s because he puts his time and his hours.”

Miller on future Hall of Famer John Stockton mentoring current Jazz guard Deron Williams: “You are coming in to fill the shoes of one of the greatest point guards to play the game. John Stockton, very gracious, they actually worked out early on during Deron Williams’ first two years. Stockton is also helping let him know how to handle your head coach in Jerry Sloan, and Jerry Sloan’s been around the block a few times. (Malone) saying ‘this is how you are going to have to approach every day.’ If I’m a young player, that is such a treat to learn from a Hall of Famer in John Stockton.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan.

Sloan on why the Jazz lost their halftime lead: “They jumped on us and we kind of dropped our heads and felt sorry for ourselves.”

Miller on Lakers forward Pau Gasol: “At 7’2” he is always going to have the advantage over any of the Jazz frontcourt players. He is always going to be able to back them down and shoot over them.”

Miller on the game winning shot by Utah guard Deron Williams: ‘You need a player to be able to create his own shot.  I wonder if this is something future NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton might have taught Deron Williams during those informal workout sessions.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Jazz guard Deron Williams and forward Carlos Boozer after the Jazz defeated the Lakers.

Williams on his game winning shot: “I had to make up for my horrible play all night. I’m glad I made the shot.”

Boozer on teammate Ronnie Brewer’s defense on Kobe Bryant: “Ron (Brewer) just played great ‘D.’ He’s physical, he’s tough, he makes him (Bryant) take tough shots. He’s our best defender and we put him one of the best players.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on the complacency of the Lakers: “The Lakers are winning because they are really good.  They are not on a mission.  Denver is on a mission.  LeBron (James) is on a mission.  (The Lakers, Nuggets and Cavaliers) are the three best teams I’ve seen in the playoffs this year.  But the Lakers are playing the worst out of those three teams because they are not on a mission.”

Barkley on the Lakers not finishing teams off when they have the chance: “This is going to come back to bite them in the long run, when they have a chance to finish teams off…anything can happen in any extra game (in a series).  A guy can get hurt, something flukey can happen in the next game…anything can happen.  (Lakers head coach) Phil Jackson has to be very disappointed.”

Smith on the Lakers beating themselves in Game #3: “Tonight (in Game #3), the Los Angeles Lakers beat themselves.  They had the lead and were playing well enough to finish the game off and all of a sudden, they let up on the gas and let the Jazz back in (the game).”

TNT’s Marty Snider interviewed Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki following their Game #3 win over the Spurs.

Nowitzki on the Mavericks’ defense in Game #3 being the key to their win: “Defense was the key for us (in Game #3).  You can do whatever pick-and-roll coverage you want to do, if you don’t have that focus and energy, nothing is going to work.  Getting a big lead early was the key because that opens it up for us offensively and we don’t have to grind it out all the time. We can open up the floor and get the ball on the run and that’s when we are at our best.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the host of Anderson Cooper 360, joined the studio show via satellite.

Barkley on a recent cover of Washingtonian Magazine featuring a photo of President Obama without his shirt on: “I think it’s disrespectful to show the President without his shirt (on).  First of all, this is before he was (elected) President so it’s an old photo.  If he went to the beach as President, this wouldn’t be a big deal.  I just think to show an old photo is disrespectful to the President.”

Smith on how the Washingtonian Magazine cover might motivate people to get in shape: “I think that with the amount of child obesity in the country and the number of people who are out of shape, a lot of people said they have to get to the gym after seeing that photo (of President Obama).  (They say) ‘The President of the United States is in shape and I need to get into the gym’.”

Barkley on the Somali pirates: “Why don’t they shoot those damn pirates?”

Cooper: “It’s a good question, a lot of people have asked about that.  They brought (one pirate) to the United States, he was smiling and clearly seemed disoriented; it must have been surreal for him.  But I don’t know why they don’t shoot them or at least arrest them.  NATO arrested a couple just the other day and released them so they are back out there doing the same thing.”

Johnson on Cooper’s Twitter page: “You have 154,000 followers on Twitter and we are on Twitter for the NBA Playoffs.  Do you have people Tweeting for you or do you do your own Tweets?”

Cooper: “We have a show (Anderson Cooper 360) Twitter and anytime it’s me Twittering, we say that it’s me and if it’s something about the show, it might be somebody else.  If it’s from me, I’ll say ‘this is from Anderson’ because I wouldn’t want anyone Twittering in my place.  If you’re saying it’s from you…you guys might actually have to do this.  Not sure if that’s the answer you wanted.”

Barkley on Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo who recently suffered a potentially career-ending knee injury: “Not only was (Mutombo) a great player, he was also a great man.”

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