Notes from TNT’s NBA Playoffs Coverage – Thursday, April 24, 2014

nba-on-tntTNT’s NBA Playoffs coverage continues Saturday, April 26, with doubleheader action featuring the Indiana Pacers @ Atlanta Hawks at 2 p.m. ET and the San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks at 4:30 p.m.

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Oklahoma City Thunder (95) at Memphis Grizzlies (98) in OT – Memphis leads series 2-1
Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Steve Kerr (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)
Kerr on the Thunder/Grizzlies series: “[Oklahoma City] is clearly the more athletic team and they are quicker at most positions. Memphis has to execute, which they have done beautifully throughout the series.”

Kerr on the Grizzlies’ style of play: “Memphis is so unique to play against. It’s old school basketball. Very rarely these days do you go against one dominate low post player…Memphis has two. They play an old style, inside out game. As long as they control the ball, which they usually do, they’re able to control the tempo.”

Kerr on Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph: “He has a knack for finding all the right angles and the holes. You think you’ve got him, but he’s got really long arms and a soft touch. He’s deceptively quick.”

Kerr on his time with Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph when they were teammates in Portland: “He was a rookie and didn’t know anything about the league, but he was a great kid, very talented and wanted to learn everything. He has become a respected veteran and leader of this team and is beloved in Memphis.”

Kerr on Thunder point guard Derek Fisher playing in his 243rd playoff game: “It’s been an amazing career for Derek Fisher. I thought he was done about three years ago…I really did. Yet, he continues to find his way into rotations because of experience and the ability to hit big shots. He’s also able to find a matchup that works for him and always knows where he needs to be defensively.”

Kerr on the dominance of the Grizzlies bench: “Coming into this series the thought was that Oklahoma City had the better depth, yet in Game 2 it was the Grizzlies bench that really dominated.”

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

Barkley on the struggles of the Thunder: “They’ve got a psychological thing going on. They aren’t sure of their identity right now.”

Barkley on Thunder forward Kevin Durant: “He’s got a hole in his game. If he would add a post-up game, as great of a player as he is, it would take his game to a whole new level.”
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Kerr on the Thunder’s lack of two-way players: “In the playoffs, you’ve got to have two-way players…players who can make plays offensively but also defend. One of Oklahoma City’s weaknesses if they have a few guys that are really one-way players. Both [Thunder center Kendrick] Perkins and [Thunder guard Thabo] Sefolosha are great defensive players, but aren’t much of a threat offensively. The Thunder are much easier for Memphis to guard when those two players are on the floor.”

Kerr on Grizzlies forward Mike Miller: “What Miller brings is floor spacing. He has not attempted a shot [in Game 3], but he has had a man on him the entire time. They have to respect him, that gives more room for [Grizzlies center Marc] Gasol and [Grizzlies forward Zach] Randolph.”

Kerr on Memphis guard Beno Udrih: “You can only be a role player on a good team, and Udrih has found a role with the Grizzlies.”

Kerr on the Grizzlies ability to stay big: “This whole series has been about Memphis’ unwillingness to bend in terms of staying big. You want to stay big in terms of rebounding integrity and staying big at the rim. As long as they’re not exposed by a small lineup, than they are fine.”

Kerr on Grizzlies stars Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol: “Randolph and Gasol are a joy to watch…their skill level, what they can do and the number of ways they can beat you.”

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Los Angeles Clippers (98) at Golden State Warriors (96) – Los Angeles leads series 2-1
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

Miller on the Warriors’ high turnover rate: “This is the problem with turning the basketball over if you’re the Warriors…they’ve won basketball games when they’ve had a high turnover rate because of their ability to make threes. When you’re not making threes to be the great equalizer, it’s very tough on your offense.”

Miller on the Warriors loss in Game 2: “People around here in Warrior nation are thinking the sky is getting ready to fall. [The Warriors] went down to Los Angeles [for Game 1 and 2] and got the split…but if you read all the papers and listen to everyone on the street here they are scratching their head. It’s just one game.”

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Sprint Halftime Report
Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

O’Neal on Clippers center DeAndre Jordan: “DeAndre Jordan will be a bona fide superstar, just like [Bulls center] Joakim Noah. He’s doing it all off of hustle.”

Barkley on the Warriors offense: “They’re lackadaisical and they hang their hat on offense and [trying to] play pretty. When it’s working it’s really pretty to watch, but it’s not working now. It’s a half-court game, and they can’t beat the Clippers in the half-court because you don’t get wide open shots; those come in a fast break situation.”

Barkley on Warriors point guard Steph Curry: “To be a superstar you have to be able to win the game multiple ways. A lot of guys can go out there and get 25 points and do nothing else. When they’re not scoring they do absolutely nothing to help their team win. Steph isn’t making a lot of shots [in Game 3], but he has eight assists…that’s helping his team win. I’m impressed with Steph tonight.”

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Miller on the implications Game 3 has on the series: “History has shown us, when a series is tied one game apiece, whoever wins Game 3 goes on to win the series 77% of the time. In my opinion, whoever wins tonight, wins the series.”

Miller on the physical play of Clippers power forward Blake Griffin: “He’s been taking a beating all year. They can beat up on him all they want, but his free-throw attempts are up this year, he’s the No. 1 scorer of points in the paint and his offensive repertoire has expanded. He knows how to hurt you.”

Miller on Blake Griffin: “When he was off the floor in the first two games the Clippers were a plus-five; when he was on the floor, a plus-31…they run everything through him. He’s been able to produce.”

Miller on Clippers point guard Chris Paul’s hot streak in the fourth: “This is why you have a floor general who recognizes time and score.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia
Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith

Smith on Clippers Chris Paul guarding Warriors Steph Curry’s potentially game-winning shot: “That was a foul in every state.”

O’Neal on Warriors point guard Steph Curry: “At some point your superstar needs to be a little bit selfish. When you’re a shooter, you need to stay in rhythm. Him coming down [the court] and making passes, that’s good…but as the best player on the court I would like to see him put the team on his back and go get his.”

Smith on the Warriors improvement in Game 3: “I still think it’s going to be a long series. Golden State played much better. They found some answers. The Clippers’ game plan is working…now it’s up to [Warriors head coach] Mark Jackson and Golden State to make an adjustment. It’s just a matter of keeping it consistent [for the Clippers].”

Barkley on Clippers power forward Blake Griffin: “The Clippers have really gotten better because Blake has worked on his game. The best thing that happened this year was [Clippers point guard] Chris Paul getting hurt because it forced him to take his game to a whole new level. Now they have a half-court game…something they didn’t have in the past.”

O’Neal on whether or not the Thunder are in trouble in the series against Memphis: “They’re in a lot of trouble. They’re frustrating [Thunder forward] Kevin Durant and forcing [Thunder point guard] Russell Westbrook to take big shots. Someone else needs to step up.”

Barkley on the similarities between the Thunder and the Warriors: “Golden State and Oklahoma City are the same team to me…they can’t win a championship because they don’t have a low post scorer. When guys are really guarding you, you aren’t going to make threes. They’ve never addressed their low post scoring. Durant is a great player, but guys are hanging all over him…same with Westbrook.”

O’Neal on Pacers center Roy Hibbert’s recent struggles: “Seems to me like he’s lost his confidence. He’s trying too hard, rather than just letting the game come to him.”

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