Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nba-on-tntTNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, January 31, at 8 p.m. (ET) with doubleheader action featuring the Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder followed by the Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m. (ET)


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The NBA on TNT studio crew discuss their qualifications for making the All-Star Team


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Game 1:  New York Knicks (89) @ Boston Celtics (86)

Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (reporter)

Kerr on the Celtics defense: “The Celtics are always at their defensive best when they are in the passing lanes and pressuring up the court. That’s especially true against the Knicks because they are a rhythm team.”

Kerr on the Knicks’ performance of late: “The Knicks are in a dry spell right now. The [Raymond] Felton absence is huge and it’s felt in so many ways. The team shoots better when he’s out there.”

Kerr on Knicks guard J.R. Smith: “This guy is electrifying in the open floor.”

Kerr on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo: “He’s a one-man fast break.”

Kerr on Celtics legend Larry Bird trash-talking: “Larry Bird used to tell guys before his move what was coming…‘I’m going to go over my left shoulder and score over top of you.’ And then he would do it.”

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Kerr on the Celtics first half against the Knicks: “It was a real struggle for Boston offensively.”

Kerr on Celtics forward Kevin Garnett: “He has been the heart and soul of this team since he arrived. He totally changed the Celtics culture when he arrived. Remember, this was a really bad Celtics team for three or four years.”

Kerr on Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony in the second half of the game: “You could see the change in Carmelo at the beginning of the second half. He got more aggressive and assertive going to the basket and rim.”

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Game 2:  L.A. Clippers (88) @ Phoenix Suns (93)

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

Barkley on Clippers center Blake Griffin: “[He has] to impose [his] will on the game. He’s got to go out there night after night and say, ‘I’m going to kick the guy’s butt I’m playing against.’”

Miller on Griffin: “He [Griffin] needs to expand his game for this team [Clippers] to go to the next level.”

Barkley on the Clippers point guard Chris Paul: “There’s so much pressure on Chris Paul every single night.”

Barkley on the Clippers offense: “Their half-court offense is not very good.”

Barkley on Suns center Marcin Gortat: “I like [Marcin] Gortat. I thought it was a really good trade for the Suns.”

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Miller on being selected as an All-Star by the coaches: “When those other coaches vote you in, it means they respect your game and what you’re doing on the floor.”

Barkley on his early-season favorite for NBA Coach of the Year honors: “Mark Jackson should get Coach of the Year.”

Barkley on what it takes to be a superstar: “The key to being a superstar player is to make the guys around you better.”

Barkley on why he’s not convinced the Clippers will be a true contender this season: “The Clippers can’t even impose their will on a bad team [Suns].”

Barkley on the NBA All-Star festivities on TNT: “It’s a great celebration of the NBA.”

Barkley on the Clippers’ struggles without Paul: “The Clippers’ big guys, they are not great offensive players and Chris Paul has to do a lot of heavy lifting for this team.”

Barkley on the final outcome: “This was a good win for the Phoenix Suns and a really bad loss for the Clippers.”

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Johnson, O’Neal, Smith and Webber

Webber on the Clippers’ struggles in the half-court offense: “They need to play through Blake Griffin. If he can’t score or he doesn’t have Chris Paul getting him the ball and he doesn’t take it upon himself, they will have trouble in the playoffs. When the game gets slow [in the half-court], the Clippers have problems. You have to play inside-out so if you get double-teamed, you can get it out to guys who can shoot.”

Smith on the Clippers’ history impacting players: “As a player, when you go to the Los Angeles Clippers, you know about that history. I think that’s an extra weight that you have to think about.”

Webber on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo: “I don’t know any other guard that has to do more on a team than [Rondo]. I don’t think anyone on the [Celtics], other than Paul Pierce, can get their own shot. Rondo has to be the facilitator on every play.”

Smith on Celtics forward Jeff Green needing to step up: “[Green] has to step his game up. I know he sat out a year but you can’t wait [for Green to contribute] if you’re a Boston fan.”

Smith on Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan: “If he was on a really good team, his name would be in the All-Star mix.”

O’Neal on the Orlando Magic: “Even though their record doesn’t show it, they really play hard. [Head coach] Jacque Vaughn is really doing a good job of teaching those guys. They don’t have enough talent to win but they work hard.”

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