Notes from TNT’s NBA Playoff Coverage – Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nba-on-tntTNT’s coverage of the 2013 NBA Playoffs continues Thursday, May 2, with a doubleheader featuring the Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls (Game 6) at 8 p.m. ET and

Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors (Game 6) at 10:30 p.m. 

***CLIP OF THE NIGHT***

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The NBA on TNT studio crew break down the Celtics’ Game 5 victory over the Knicks

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

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

Smith on Kevin Garnett’s performance without injured Boston teammate Rajon Rondo: “What he misses is [Rajon] Rondo. Rondo gives him easy buckets. Those 13-point nights turn into 20-point nights. That is what he misses.”

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Game 1: Boston Celtics (92) @ New York Knicks (86) – Knicks lead series 3-2

Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Steve Kerr (analyst) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

Kerr on the Knicks’ strengths: “When the Knicks are at their best, they are spreading the floor, with penetration from [Raymond] Felton…the ball starts moving and then that three-point line becomes their friend and they can get lethal from long range.”

Kerr on Celtics guard Terrence Williams: “Incredible talent…he’s got the size and strength of a small forward but with point guard skills. You just don’t know what guy is going to show up from one night to the next.”

Kerr on the underlying theme in the Knicks/Celtics series: “I think the general theme in this series is that every time New York has felt threatened, they are able to turn the screws defensively and lock up Boston for five or six possessions in a row.”

Kerr on the impact of Raymond Felton this season: “In a lot of ways, Raymond Felton was one of the best free agent signings in the off-season. Felton had a horrible season in Portland last year…the Knicks sign him for a lot less money than Jeremy Lin and they got a better player. Felton has had a terrific season.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on the Knicks’ pre-game mindset vs. Boston: “It’s the first round of the playoffs…you don’t celebrate winning the first round…they are supposed to win this series.”

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Kerr on New York’s Iman Shumpert: “He has really turned up his game the last month to six weeks…he’s finally feeling comfortable again…he is going to be a heck of a player in this league.  He is so good defensively…he has that rare combination of strength and size and speed to be able to guard some of the best players in the league on the perimeter and his offense is getting better.”

Kerr on the Knicks and a lack of postseason success: “The most difficult game in a series is the close-out game, particularly for a team like the Knicks that has not been there before…guys like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith; they have not had a lot of success in the postseason…as a group, they have to go through this and experience it. I think we are seeing that inexperience tonight.”

Kerr on Boston and its postseason experience: “They have been here so many times. They don’t want this season to end.  They don’t want this era to end.  They came to play tonight.”

Kerr on the Knicks’ mindset in the series: “This game has shown the immaturity of the Knicks team…the inexperience, maybe, in this situation. The playoffs are always a process and you have to learn as you go. They have learned something here. You have to approach things in the playoffs in a very professional manner…you had the elbow from J.R. Smith that lead to the suspension; a lot of trash talking the last couple of days; the shenanigans with wearing black…this is about executing and playing as a team and playing hard and this is part of the process.”

Kerr on New York’s offensive struggles in the last two games: “How about 22 assists – total – for New York in the last two games…just an indication of all the isolation, not trusting each other, and maybe not being able to get some of their three-point shooters on the floor as much as they would have liked.”

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Game 2:  Houston Rockets (107) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (100) – Thunder lead series 3-2

Announcers: Dick Stockton (play-by-play) and Chris Webber (analyst) with Tracy Wolfson (reporter)

Webber on injured Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook: “If he needed to, he could come down right now and get seven points and two assists. Trust me.”

 

Webber on the Rockets’ mentality in Game 5 (following Garcia’s fourth three-pointer of the half): “Can you tell the team that has nothing to lose?  They [the Rockets] are playing like it and letting it go.”

Webber on Houston’s Aaron Brooks: “That’s why he is back on this team…his quickness, his aggressiveness and his leadership.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on the absence of Russell Westbrook: “With or without Russell Westbrook, they should beat the Houston Rockets. They are just not playing with any energy [tonight].”

Smith on the Thunder without Westbrook: “He put everyone in their natural positions.  Now, you have Kevin Durant at the point forward.  He’s at the top, [and] you can see him a little bit better at the defensive end. Everything is, ‘We’re trying it out.’ [It’s a] difficult position for the Oklahoma City Thunder.”

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Webber on one of James Harden’s aggressive moves to the basket: “That [James] Harden crossover just made Tim Hardaway say ‘Wow.’”

Webber comparing the backcourts of the Rockets and Thunder: “The Houston Rockets guards are so much quicker than the guards of OKC.”

Webber on Rockets head coach Kevin McHale: “He was a player, but [now] he is pumping up his guys…letting them know to stay confident…keep it going and, for a young team, you have to constantly encourage them and remind them how to play smart.”

Webber on the strategy to foul Omer Asik: “I’m very surprised and it feels like a gimmick. When the better team starts to do that you think you are in their hands…now you are going to be in the bonus pretty early with Harden and those guys coming at you.”

Reporter Tracy Wolfson interviewed Houston’s James Harden following the Rockets’ Game 5 win

Harden on the Rockets’ win and his performance against his former team: “It meant a lot.  This is a win or go home situation for us…it was a gutsy win for us.”

Harden on Houston’s confidence looking ahead to Game 6:  “We got another opportunity at home.  We are going to take advantage of it…come out here, watch some film, practice tomorrow and get better for Game 6.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

O’Neal on Kevin Durant late in the game: “I saw something I didn’t like, and no lead is safe when Kevin Durant is on the floor…[with the Thunder down 101-92 and 3:47 left in the game] Kevin Durant doesn’t get the ball; he does what is called ‘pout and stop.’  He pouts first; now he is stopping and lets the guys go through the offense.  He’s still not trying to get the ball.  They take the shot and he’s still upset. When he did that, I knew the game was over.”

Barkley on the Thunder: “My biggest criticism of Oklahoma City the last couple of years is they never get easy baskets. All their baskets are jump shots.  When you are not making shots, this is what you get especially without Russell Westbrook.”

Barkley on adjustments for the Thunder in the series: “[Thunder head coach] Scott Brooks has got to make a change…they cannot match up…they have to go small if they are going to win this series.”

Smith on the Rockets’ chances in the series: “Without question [they have a shot in the series]. I don’t think the Thunder’s small guys are as talented as the Rockets [if the Thunder try and go small].”

Barkley on the Game 5 performances by the Knicks and Thunder:  “You saw the weakness of the two teams – the Knicks and Oklahoma City…you don’t live by jumpers, you die by jumpers.”

Smith on the Celtics in Game 5: “Overall, the Celtics mind frame was, ‘Let’s not get good shots, let’s get great shots.’”

Follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR.

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