Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nba-on-tntNotes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, December 13, 2012

TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, December 20, at 7 p.m. ET with doubleheader action featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder @ Minnesota Timberwolves

followed by the Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks at 9:30 p.m.

***CLIP OF THE NIGHT***

(Please click the text below to view)

Inside the NBA team – EJ, Shaq, Kenny and Chris Webber – analyze the Lakers lack of fire

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber

Smith on what is plaguing the Los Angeles Lakers this season: “Winning basketball is all about trust. There is no trust.”

O’Neal on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant trusting his teammates: “Kobe will trust you for the first two quarters. If you don’t have the look in your eye, he will take over the game.”

Smith on the New York Knicks this season: “The big ‘x-factor’ has been Raymond Felton.”

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Game 1:  L.A. Lakers (107) @ New York Knicks (116)

Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr and Charles Barkley (analysts) and David Aldridge (reporter)

Kerr on the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden: “This is going to be fun tonight. There is always a great atmosphere here. There is just an aura in this building tonight.”

Barkley on whether the New York Knicks can sustain their momentum throughout the season: “They don’t get a lot of easy baskets. I don’t think a team can win a championship shooting jumpers.”

Kerr on the Lakers defensive flaws: “They’re slow laterally defensively and it kills them.”

Barkley on Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni: “He’s going to have to change his system [when Steve Nash returns]. They don’t compete defensively.”

Barkley on Knicks guard Jason Kidd: “He is like a player coach out there. Jason Kidd is one of the smartest guys who has ever played in the NBA.”

Kerr on the lack of confidence by the Lakers: “The Lakers have no offensive confidence, no rhythm. When you don’t play with a precision offense, you end up with poor spacing defensively. Maybe when the Lakers come back with [Pau] Gasol and [Steve] Nash, and their offense improves, maybe their defense can improve as well.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, O’Neal, Smith and Webber

O’Neal on the Knicks and their success shooting three pointers: “Every now and then you get a team that can beat you with the long ball. They have a look in their eye like they want to win a championship.”

 

Webber on the Knicks’ 68-point first half against the Lakers: “It’s a great first half for the Knicks. The reason Carmelo [Anthony] is in the main race for the MVP is because he trusts his other teammates. These guys are sharing.”

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Kerr on the Knicks balance between offense and defense: “Rasheed [Wallace] is terrific defensively. This Knicks team has a really nice balance between their offense and defense.”

Barkley on what the return of Amar’e Stoudemire will mean to the Knicks: “Amar’e is going to have to play defense and rebound the ball. Can he do that? I’m not sure. The jury is still out.”

Kerr on Lakers guard Steve Nash: “Steve [Nash] is going to be a major ally and confidante [to Coach Mike D’Antoni]. He prepares his body and skill set more than any other player I’ve ever seen.”

Barkley on Knicks center Tyson Chandler: “I love Tyson Chandler’s game.”

Barkley on Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni’s system: “Mike D’Antoni is a very good coach but he’s the one who is going to have to change [his style].”

Kerr on the Lakers pace of play tonight: “When the game slowed down, the Lakers played better.”

Kerr on the Knicks: “I’m a believer in the Knicks. The last two teams to win an NBA title both played small. Neither one was a great rebounding team…New York has Carmelo [Anthony], they’ve got three-point shooting, they’ve got [Tyson] Chandler. If they can hold up, I believe this team is a championship contender.”

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Game 2:  San Antonio Spurs (90) @ Portland Trail Blazers (98)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst) and Craig Sager (reporter)

Miller on the Spurs road-heavy schedule in the first half of the season: “All these games they’re winning early on the road, you have to put in the piggy bank because when you come to March and all those home games…this is where Gregg Popovich wants to be.”

Miller on the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard during rookie Summer League: “He was dynamic…his consistency seems to be there. He is the real deal.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, O’Neal, Smith and Webber

Smith on Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard playing against Spurs veteran point guard Tony Parker: “Playing against great players got me in good preparation on how to become a good player because you didn’t want to get embarrassed. Lillard reminds me of Chauncey Billups. He keeps the game very Chauncey Billups-like simple.”

O’Neal on the San Antonio Spurs success this season despite their age: “Time in and time out, the system is proven to work for them. They have that championship experience plus the experience of winning on the road. Nothing really fazes them.”

Webber on the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich making adjustments to their play: “Pops is a guy that can change with his team and change with the players he’s got. I love seeing the Spurs make adjustments in his system.”

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Miller on Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard: “This kid has swag about him. He doesn’t really force anything and he’s taken it over with their best player – LaMarcus Aldridge – on the bench.”

Miller on Portland’s Damian Lillard late in the fourth quarter: “He’s the one player the Blazers have that can create his own shot.”

Miller on the Trail Blazers’ win over the Spurs: “This team is trying to find their identity but this is huge to get a win like this.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard after his 29-point night

Lillard: “I wanted to come out and attack the game. It’s momentum for us to get on a winning streak.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, O’Neal, Smith and Webber

O’Neal on a way to fix the Lakers defense: “Right now, they are making all the experts look correct…they really aren’t playing well. The Lakers don’t have it…they don’t have that look of confidence, they don’t have the look of being ready and they don’t have the look of fire. There is only guy that has that look and he tried to carry them [tonight].”

Smith on what the Lakers are missing: “When you don’t know what your role is, the game plan is, or how you are going to win, you are uncertain. That uncertainty leads to coolness, leads to lack of trust, leads to lack of ball movement and lack of defense.  That uncertainty is what the Lakers are actually doing under Mike D’Antoni.”

Smith on the Knicks’ Jason Kid and Rasheed Wallace: “Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace are two guys who have come into this team and put their imprint and mind print on the team. The ball moves, the body moves, it is an unselfishness that those two older veterans have shown.”

Smith on Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard: “He is a great young player. You can’t rush him or speed him up. At his own pace, he gets to the rim. You are not putting pressure on him and making him do things that are uncomfortable.”

O’Neal on Lillard: “I like his swagger. I like his confidence. I like the fact that he worked out with Jason Kidd and Gary Payton. He’s from Oakland. If you know anything about Oakland, you know he has no butter in his game.”

Webber on the Atlanta Hawks being a 50-win team: “I think they are a 44, 45 [win] team. They are playing so well and I didn’t expect this from this team. My expectation was nowhere near 50 [wins]. I would be surprised if they made 50. I don’t think they will make 50 even though they are playing well.”

Smith on the Atlanta Hawks: “I think they win 51 games and Larry Drew could be considered one of the Coaches of the Year possibly.

O’Neal on the Hawks being a better team than last year: “The difference that I see is that the ball is moving. Right now they are moving the ball and shooting the ball. I’m going to go with 46, 47 [wins]. Even though they have a nice streak going on, I don’t think they will win 50.”

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