Notes & Video Clips from the TNT & NBA TV All-Star 2013 Conference Call & Webcast

Nba-on-tntParticipants: TNT host Ernie Johnson, analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith and NBA TV analyst Steve Smith

Video clips:


2013 NBA All-Star

Barkley on NBA All-Star events: “The All-Star Game is always spectacular. Everybody loves the Slam Dunk contest. The All-Star Game is always fun.”

S. Smith on his first All-Star appearance: “It was special because it was in New York. It was a dream come true. It was a highlight [of my career].”

Barkley on playing in the All-Star Game: “The first one is always the most special. You take so many people with you. I took my mother, grandmother, my financial guy, my brothers. ”

Michael Jordan

Barkley on Michael Jordan (as both near their 50th birthdays): “There are three guys, any time I see them, I pay homage to – Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, who saved the NBA and took it to an incredible level, and Michael Jordan…I will always appreciate the blessing of playing in the Michael Jordan Era. We all know Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player ever. I was blessed to play in his era.”

K. Smith on Jordan: “To me, he was the first athlete who had great fundamentals…and was a super athlete. All of a sudden he became the most dangerous man alive. Very few people are cut from both. Everything was perfect.”

S. Smith on Jordan: “Being a two-guard…[I tried to] rack my brain…I [tried] to get him in foul trouble. There was nothing I could really do except try and beat him up at the post. He was the greatest ever.”

Biggest Surprise Player

Barkley on the most surprising player this season: “[Portland’s] Damian Lillard came out of nowhere and has been the best rookie by far. For that kid to come out of Weber State and be the Rookie of the Year surprised everybody. Not only is he the best rookie, he’s the best rookie by far. Lillard has been fantastic since day one.”

K. Smith on the most surprising player so far this season: “My most [positive story] this year would be Tim Duncan. I thought the gas was out of the tank. I didn’t even think there was any in it. He’s got the Spurs 39-11…and putting up Tim Duncan-type numbers…All-Star numbers.”

Barkley on Tony Parker: “He’s got to be in the MVP conversation. Tony Parker is a Hall of Famer.”

Miami vs. Oklahoma City Rematch

Barkley on the Finals rematch between Miami and Oklahoma City (airing Thursday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. on TNT): “It’s very important from a psychological standpoint. They [OKC] need to beat them [Miami] at some point.”

Barkley on Miami vs. OKC: “LeBron James can’t stop Kevin Durant, but he can slow him down. If you don’t have a guy who can punish the Miami Heat down low, you’re not going to beat them. Westbrook is going to play well. Durant is going to score. But if you don’t punish them boys down low, you’re not going to beat the Miami Heat.”

K. Smith: “For OKC, anything less than getting back to the NBA Finals is not a successful season.”

Barkley on the Oklahoma City Thunder: “[Russell] Westbrook and [Serge] Ibaka, to me, are the keys. Ibaka, to me, is the guy. The only way to beat the Miami Heat is to beat them down low. He’s got to post up and beat Chris Bosh down low. It will be a very good rematch.”

Lakers – Playoff Chances

K. Smith on the Lakers chances to make the playoffs: “Zero chance [to] make the playoffs. Houston is a team that is going to be over .500. I don’t think the Lakers are going to be over .500 by four games to make the playoffs. Boston has more of a chance to make the playoffs than the Lakers. I believe in the Toronto Raptors more than I believe in the Lakers.”

Barkley on the Lakers: “I told you three weeks ago, before those guys got hurt, they’ve got no chance to make the playoffs.”

S. Smith on the Lakers: “The only reason I said they will make the playoffs is if [other teams] have injuries. Right now, with Pau Gasol out, they don’t have a chance. It’s a wrap.”

New York Knicks

 Barkley on the New York Knicks: “I’m not a Knicks believer. I don’t think they rebound the ball well enough. I said three things about the Knicks – they couldn’t stay healthy because they’re old and they’re breaking down all over the place; I didn’t think they could keep shooting threes like that; and my biggest concern is they don’t rebound the basketball.”

K. Smith on the Knicks: “I’m a Knicks believer. With the exception of the Miami Heat, they [Knicks] are the best team in the East. They are old but they make you play at their pace. There’s only a [few] ways to win basketball games – rebounding, scoring and pace. They’ve controlled the pace of every game they’ve been in – win, lose or draw.”

S. Smith on the Knicks: “Jason Kidd has to stay healthy…they need Jason Kidd on the floor a lot with Raymond Felton. Those two guys, to me, are the key to New York’s success.”

Barkley on the Pacers and Bulls: “Don’t sleep on the Pacers or Bulls. The Bulls, without Derrick Rose, still beat the Knicks because they kill them on the boards. They own the Knicks. Nobody wants to see Indiana and the Bulls. [Those] teams have a legitimate shot and can beat the Knicks.”

Golden State Warriors

Barkley on Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes and the team’s future: “I love those guys. I have been bragging on Klay Thompson for the last two years. Harrison Barnes has really impressed me this year. They’ve got a really bright future with those guys.”

Barkley on the Warriors this season: “It’s a shame Andrew Bogut has had so many injuries. If they could get a big guy to go with those wings [Thompson and Barnes] and if Steph [Curry] can stay healthy, they can do some damage for the next five or six years. And Mark Jackson is my front-runner for Coach of the Year right now.”

S. Smith on Barnes and Thompson: “Harrison Barnes…when you look at him and Klay Thompson, those two right there are the future.”

K. Smith on Warriors head coach Mark Jackson: “The one thing Mark has done, he’s kept everyone in their comfort zone.”

Brooklyn Nets

S. Smith on the Nets’ backcourt: “I thought they would play much better together. What’s disappointing to me is to not see those guys [Deron Williams and Joe Johnson] just dominate.”

Barkley on Williams and Johnson: “They’re not athletic enough. They look slow to me compared to other guard tandems. The Nets have a higher ceiling than the Knicks team. I still think they have a better playoff team and will have a better run in the playoffs than the Knicks.”

Orlando Magic – Rebuilding

Barkley on the Orlando Magic: “I’ve always believed you have to bottom out – you have to have cap space or draft picks. That’s the only way to rebuild your team. Free agents want to go to glamour cities.”

S. Smith on the Magic: “If you’re at the bottom, you’ve got to have an owner that is committed if you’re going to go out and get free agents…or you’ve got to get lucky in the draft.”

K. Smith on rebuilding:  “You can do what Oklahoma City did and get three great draft picks and move them on. That could possibly happen or you’re going to have to spend some money. The only way you can do either is bottom out.”

Kyrie Irving

 Barkley on Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving: “He’s already there. He’s an elite point guard. He’s a terrific point guard. That team is on the right path. He’s an elite point guard – the guy made the All-Star team.”

K. Smith on Irving: “He’s an elite point guard. What’s going to make him the elite point guard…when he wins. They are a young team and once they are playing for something that matters…all of sudden you see the best come out of them.”


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