Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nba-on-tntNotes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, January 31, 2013

TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, February 7, with a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by at 7 p.m. ET featuring the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft and the announcement of the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night participants. Following the pre-game show, TNT presents the L.A. Lakers @ Boston Celtics at

8 p.m. and the Chicago Bulls @ Denver Nuggets at 10:30 p.m.


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Kenny, Charles and Shaq weigh-in on the Rudy Gay trade

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by

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

Smith on who he would select first in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft (Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. ET on TNT): “Kyrie Irving is the best player [available] but the number one pick would be Kenneth Faried. In a game like this, he’s going to run, rebound and dunk.”

Barkley on the Memphis Grizzlies trading Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors earlier this week: “[The Grizzlies] had a legitimate shot [to win a championship] with Rudy Gay but now they are deeper.”

O’Neal on the Grizzlies/Raptors/Pistons trade: “I don’t like the trade because every year there are four or five good teams that have a legitimate shot at winning the championship. Memphis, with Rudy Gay, really had a shot to win the championship.”

Smith on the Rudy Gay trade: “I hate money deals…Rudy Gay wouldn’t be traded if he didn’t have that contract. They would’ve kept him and they would’ve tried to win a championship. They had a legitimate chance with that team to win – not just the West [Conference] but the whole thing. They could’ve made the deal at the end of the season and gotten the same [return].”

Smith on the Raptors making a good deal to pick up Rudy Gay: “They made out with this trade…If they started the season today, they would be a third or fourth seed in the East [Conference]. The team is that talented today with Rudy Gay.”

Smith on new Grizzlies center Ed Davis: “Ed Davis is like a more athletic, younger Zach Randolph. He finishes around the rim with authority but not as often.”

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Game 1:  Memphis Grizzlies (89) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (106)

Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr and Mike Fratello (analysts) with Craig Sager (reporter)

Kerr on the Grizzlies: “Memphis wants to pound you inside with [Zach] Randolph and [Marc] Gasol but in order to do it, they have to protect the basketball.”

Kerr on Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha: “He doesn’t put up big numbers but he can defend multiple positions and he makes smart plays.”

Kerr on how the Grizzlies will need to do a lot to fill the void after trading Rudy Gay: “There’s a lot more to this [trade] than just trying to fill Rudy Gay’s numbers [statistics] and the void he leaves as a player. He was a huge part of this team. He was their leading scorer, he’d been here his whole career and he was well-liked in the locker room.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on the Thunder: “Oklahoma City is the best team in the West [Conference]. I like the energy level that they play at every night.”

Smith on the Grizzlies without Rudy Gay: “They won’t be a contender anymore. They don’t have championship pedigree without Rudy Gay.”

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Fratello on the Golden State Warriors: “Golden State…believe in them because they are really, really good. They can really shoot the basketball.”

Kerr on why the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay: “They are worried about next year and the year after that. Rudy Gay, for all of his talent, is not a max [contract] player.”

Kerr on the versatility of the Thunder: “I like the versatility of Oklahoma City. They have so many guys that they can match up with.”

Kerr on Thunder forward Kevin Durant: “There’s no way to play against [Durant] where you feel like you have an advantage…He’s unstoppable when he gets the ball.”

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Game 2:  Dallas Mavericks (97) @ Golden State Warriors (100)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Chris Webber (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

Webber on Warriors guard Jarrett Jack: “He might be the best off-season acquisition through a trade. Being able to have a guy like that come off your bench is such a luxury.”

Webber on how to earn playing time in the Warriors’ lineup: “If you play defense, you’ll get the green light with this team.”

Webber on how the Warriors can play in the half-court: “They can play half-court because they have [Andrew] Bogut and [David] Lee who can slow it down and post up. [Carl] Landry is a great post-up player. When you get in trouble in the playoffs, it’s because you don’t have a guy you can get the ball to, slow things down and make it better for everyone else.”

Webber on the impact Warriors center Andrew Bogut will have on the team: “He helps on every level. He might be their best passer, he can definitely finish inside, he’s a great passer and he is their best big-man defender. He’s going to add a lot.”

Webber on Warriors guard Stephen Curry: “I don’t understand how he’s not an All-Star. On a team that plays so well, he’s their best player.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Smith on Warriors guard Harrison Barnes: “He is a mismatch nightmare. He’s going to be a better pro than he was a college player.”

Barkley on Harrison Barnes: “I like Harrison Barnes. When he plays with better players, he plays better. But if you expect him to be ‘the man,’ I’m not sure he can do that.”

O’Neal on Warriors forward David Lee: “We appreciate hard work and [Lee] puts in the work every night. He rebounds, he’s unselfish and he plays hard…he’s a hard worker.”

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Webber on Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki dealing with an ever-changing roster: “He’s a winner. He’s not happy right now being on a year-to-year basis. It’s very frustrating for a guy when players are coming in-and-out of the team’s system. You don’t want to play with a bunch of free agents. Once Tyson Chandler left Dirk [and the Mavericks], it’s been the downfall of this team because of his inside presence defensively.”

Webber on the Warriors home crowd: “Golden State is a team that plays well and their game travels on the road. But make no mistake about it – once this [home] crowd gets loud, Golden State takes it up a notch.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on the one flaw of the Golden State Warriors: “They don’t get easy baskets. They don’t overpower you. They’re a jump-shooting team. When you’re a jump-shooting team, you’re going to go through stretches where you don’t make jump shots. That’s the only flaw of this team.”

Smith on the Golden State Warriors effectiveness as a jump-shooting team: “When you’re a jump-shooter like Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, that’s their game. You don’t go through long stretches with both of those guys not shooting the basketball well. Those guys shoot it and that’s what they do. It’s going to be 45% [FG] every night.”

O’Neal on Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Bogut: “Right now, David Lee is the main go-to big guy. If Andrew Bogut can do the little things – finish the drops, rebound, get key block shots – he can help this team a lot.”

Smith on the Memphis Grizzlies trading Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors: “The winner in this is the Toronto Raptors. With Rudy Gay on that team, we know for a fact the Toronto Raptors are a better team.”

Barkley on whether or not the Toronto Raptors can make the playoffs after the addition of Rudy Gay: “The Toronto Raptors are not going to make the playoffs. The Toronto Raptors are not going to make up seven games [in the loss column].”

Barkley on OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook leaving the bench in the third quarter: “Westbrook is the key to their season – him and Serge Ibaka. He can’t be doing this [pouting].”

Smith on OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook leaving the bench and pouting over being pulled from the game in the third quarter: “Chemistry is a fragile thing with a championship-caliber team. Now, you can’t act natural around this guy [Westbrook] for a couple of days. That really messes with your team morale.”

Barkley on how Thunder head coach Scott Brooks or assistant coach Maurice Cheeks has to handle guard Russell Westbrook’s mood swings: “This goes back a couple years now. At some point Scott [Brooks] or Maurice [Cheeks] has to say: ‘Hey dude, you’ve either got to grow up or we can’t win a championship.’ When you have blow ups like this, they only show up under pressure in big situations.”

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