Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, December 27, 2012

Nba-on-tntTNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, January 10, at 8 p.m. (ET) with doubleheader action featuring the New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers followed by the Miami Heat @ Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m. (ET)

***CLIP OF THE NIGHT***

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The TNT studio team discusses the Brooklyn Nets firing head coach Avery Johnson

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith

Smith on the Nets firing of head coach Avery Johnson: “This league is about winning basketball games. There aren’t any fair firings in the NBA. Avery Johnson had a system that didn’t fit the parts that were [in New Jersey]…Avery Johnson is a good quality NBA coach but this was a team that the expectations started to get to them.”

Barkley on Nets point guard Deron Williams’ reputation: “He’s got the reputation of getting coaches fired. Whatever happened in Utah [head coach Jerry Sloan resigned], it happened. Whatever happened in Brooklyn, it happened. This is all on Deron Williams right now. It’s time to put up or shut up.”

Barkley on the Nets’ style of play: “I think they should play at a much faster pace, they have too much talent to walk the ball up and down the court. They have a lot of talent in their starting unit and on their bench.”

O’Neal on Deron Williams: “Sometimes before great players point fingers, they should look in the mirror. This is the first time I’ve heard the guy with the ball at all times say that he doesn’t like the offense. My advice is for him to look in the mirror and see if he’s doing enough. At times, I think he’s trying to do too much. There are only 24 seconds on the shot clock and he spends 10-12 seconds dribbling between his legs. He needs to get everyone else involved and himself involved…he’s not really playing that well.”

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Game 1:  Dallas Mavericks (105) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (111) in OT

Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Steve Kerr (analyst) with Craig Sager (reporter)

Kerr on Mavericks veteran forward Shawn Marion: “At this stage in his career, he’s not the physical wonder that he was in his early years in Phoenix. He’s a very smart player, he’ll score around the basket and guard anyone on the floor. He’s given the Mavs some stability.”

Kerr on Thunder forward Kevin Durant: “He’s gotten more and more efficient as his career has gone on. Durant has become a much better playmaker.”

Kerr on the Mavericks signing of Chris Douglas-Roberts: “He’s got a sneaky in-between game and he can find his way past defenders using angles. He’s a pretty good offensive weapon.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith

Smith on the difference between point guards now and in previous eras: “The difference between the modern day [point guards] is that the ability to be athletic overpowers the ability [to manage] time and score. To me, it’s always the point guard’s job to manage time and score.”

O’Neal on the Thunder: “[Serge Ibaka is] an animal and with the one-two offensive punch they have [with Durant and Westbrook], I don’t see anyone beating them.”

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Kerr on the explosiveness of LeBron James and Kevin Durant: “”There are two guys that, when they get going on the dribble to their right in transition…it’s just over…one is LeBron James and the other is Kevin Durant.”

Kerr on Thunder reserve point guard Reggie Jackson: “I like this Reggie Jackson kid. He’s strong and a good defensive player.”

Kerr on the Thunder: “They just wear you out. They wear you down with their athleticism on both ends of the floor.”

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Game 2:  Boston Celtics (77) @ Los Angeles Clippers (106)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller and Chris Webber (analysts) with Jaime Maggio (reporter)

Webber on the Clippers’ identity: “The thing that’s different about this team is that we’ve watched them progress and this team has an identity now. It’s an identity of hard work and a hard-working bench. It’s an identity of a group of guys that really want to get after it. What this team has that other [Clippers] teams haven’t had is a trust with fans and themselves that they’ll follow through on their mission.”

Miller on Clippers reserve Jamal Crawford winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award for the second time in his career: “Book it…it’s his.”

Webber on the impact of Chris Paul on the Clippers: “Chris Paul has brought in a culture of sharing the ball. Guys don’t have to play ‘hero ball’ looking for the next guy. Not only is it exciting, it’s efficient.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on how to beat the Clippers: “I don’t like their half-court offense. As long as they are running and dunking, they will be tough to beat. But if you slow them down and make them walk the ball up and down the court, I think that’s going to be their bug-a-boo.”

Smith on the Clippers playoff chances: “I think they can get to the Conference Finals this year.”

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Webber on how far the Clippers can go this season: “I think they can go as far as they want because I really trust Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups and his championship experience. They have so many different lineup options, if they can stay within themselves in the half court, you never know what can happen in a seven-game series.”

Miller on a chippy Celtics vs. Clippers game: “I like the scrums…it brings you closer together as a team.”

Webber on the Clippers’ Caron Butler: “Not only is he scoring but he’s their most solid defender. He is one of their most consistent players, especially defensively.”

Webber on whether Jamal Crawford should make the All-Star team: “Absolutely…he’s the best player coming off the bench for a team with one of the best records in the NBA. I’ll be the first one to fill out that ballot…he’s in.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

The TNT studio team interviewed Clippers point guard Chris Paul via satellite following the game

Paul on the Clippers’ success this season: “We’re playing consistent defense on a nightly basis. The most special thing about our team is nobody cares who gets the credit.”

Paul on his leadership style: “I’m very vocal…sometimes too much. That’s something my teammates talk to me about. In order to be a good leader, you have to be a good listener too. I just try to be there in all aspects of the game for my teammates.”

Smith on the Celtics underachieving this season: “They’ve underachieved. I think they added more talent to their team but they haven’t added more experience. Usually, the Celtics have been great at adding younger guys with some experience. I think the most disappointing comeback so far has been Jeff Green. He was counted on this year to really be a key contributor. He’s a guy that can get you 17-20 points every night, not some nights. He should be a starter on this team.”

O’Neal on the Celtics: “In order for them to play well, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are going to have to play out of their mind and the others have to step up. I would like to see Kevin Garnett be more aggressive.”

Barkley on Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook: “Russell Westbrook is the most athletic point guard I’ve ever seen in the NBA.”

Barkley on the Thunder: “For the Thunder to go to the next level, [Serge] Ibaka and [Russell] Westbrook are the keys. They have to get better and stop turning the ball over.”

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