TNT is the exclusive home to more NBA Playoff games than any network including first and second round action and the exclusive presentation of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. In addition to its full slate of NBA Playoff games, the network also features the multiple-time, Sports Emmy Award winning Inside the NBA studio team of host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.
Coverage on TNT will begin this Sunday with a tripleheader featuring the Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks at 5:30 p.m. ET, Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies at 8 p.m. and San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m.
Additionally, NBA TV – co-managed by the Turner Sports and the NBA – will feature up to nine originally produced telecasts during the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The network will also provide comprehensive studio coverage via its NBA GameTime studio show throughout the entire playoffs, including on site at The Finals (including integration with the Inside the NBA team). NBA GameTime is the definitive show for comprehensive playoff coverage including highlights, analysis, player interviews and live press conference coverage.
NBA.com and NBA Mobile will also be ‘playoffs central’ with series breakdowns, live video coverage, highlights, scores, stats, social interaction, press conferences and more.
Notes from today’s media conference call featuring Turner Sports NBA analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith:
Charles Barkley on this year’s championship favorites: “I have no idea who’s going to win the championship. I’ve been in the NBA for over 30 years and I’ve never seen a year where there’s no clear cut two or three teams… This year, there’s probably seven teams that can win the championship and I wouldn’t be surprised they won it.”
Barkley on the favorites in the Eastern Conference: “Cleveland and Chicago are the best two teams in the Eastern Conference, and when they play in second round, that will be the Eastern Conference Finals. Cleveland would beat Golden State in The Finals if they played, but I’m not sure they’d beat San Antonio, Portland, Los Angeles or Memphis.”
Barkley on the most compelling first round match-ups: “There are some magnificent first round series in the West that are toss-ups for me; Clippers/Spurs, Dallas/Houston and Portland/Memphis, depending on health.”
Kenny Smith on the Warriors’ title chances: “I feel they are [legitimate title contenders]. When [2013-14 NBA MVP Kevin] Durant didn’t come back [for the Oklahoma City Thunder from his foot injury], that made [Golden State] a title contender. Oklahoma City being the eighth seed would have hurt [the Warriors]. That opened the door… This is their biggest year of opportunity to get to the Western Conference Finals. After that, too many things can happen and there are too many variables.”
Barkley on the Warriors regular season success: “They’ve had a terrific season. It’s between Steph Curry and James Harden for MVP. Steve Kerr is probably going to get Coach of the Year.”
Barkley on the playoff outlook for Golden State: “They’re going to beat the New Orleans Pelicans, but they have some match-up issues and I think they’ll struggle against big teams. They are a legitimate contender, I just think bigger teams can beat them up down low.”
Barkley on Golden State’s offensive style of play: “I don’t like jump shooting teams; I don’t think you can make enough jumpers to win four series, and I’ve said that for 25 years.”>
Barkley on James Harden’s season and MVP chances: “I have said that if Houston ends up a top-three seed in the West, I have no problem if he wins MVP. It has to be him or Steph Curry. You can have other guys three-four-five, but if you don’t vote for Steph or Harden, you need to check yourself.”
Barkley on Chris Paul’s impact on the Clippers: “When the Clippers lose, it has nothing to do with [All-Star point guard] Chris Paul. In the last five years, he has been the best point guard in the game along with [the Spurs’] Tony Parker… He’s the best leader in the NBA.”
Barkley on the Grizzlies’ health going into the playoffs: “I thought Memphis had a real chance before their injuries. I thought they were going to win the Western Conference, but I have no idea how healthy those guys are going to be. [Point guard] Mike Conley is the most underrated player in the NBA and Memphis won’t win without him.”
Barkley on San Antonio ending up the No. 6 seed instead of the No. 2 in the Western Conference: “The Spurs screwed up last night; no team is good enough to win three straight series in the West on the road. These teams are really good. You might win one series on the road, but I don’t think you can win two more.”
Smith on the challenge San Antonio faces: “I think they could do it for sure. I don’t think [center Tim] Duncan, [point guard Tony] Parker, [guard Manu] Ginobili, [forward] Kawhi [Leonard] and [guard/forward] Danny Green are worried to play on the road. It doesn’t bother them, and that’s the first key.”
Barkley on what makes Dallas a tough match-up for Houston: “Their best player is Monta Ellis, followed by [power forward] Dirk [Nowitzki] and [point guard Rajon] Rondo. They will be a better playoff team because [head coach] Rick Carlisle will make adjustments from game-to-game. He won’t let [James] Harden beat them four times in seven games.”
Barkley on the domination of Anthony Davis: “Anthony is going to be best player in the world in the next three years when LeBron gets a little older. Anthony has a mismatch every night, and this will be huge against Golden State no matter who they put on him. I want to watch that.”
Barkley on the outlook for Oklahoma City next season: “I said this earlier today to somebody, if Oklahoma City [gets back a healthy Kevin Durant] and they keep the team the way it is to go with [center Enes] Kanter, [center Steve] Adams, [forward Mitch] McGary, [forward Serge] Ibaka, in my opinion, they should be the championship favorites next year. They are only not in playoffs because of injuries, and they almost made it without last year’s league MVP [Durant].
Barkley on Scott Brooks’ job security: “For some reason, people keep wanting to fire the coach and I don’t know why. Scott Brooks has done a good job. If you lose the MVP and are still fighting at the end, it’s a good job.”
Barkley on the Hawks’ series against Brooklyn: “I don’t think Brooklyn can beat them, but I think it can be a very interesting series. What’s going to be real interesting is the Joe Johnson factor. I can promise you that [former seven-year Hawk and current Net combo guard] Joe Johnson is going to try to win that series by himself… The Nets won’t beat the Hawks, but I’m not sold on the Hawks because they are too little.”
Smith on Atlanta’s chances in the Eastern Conference: “[The Hawks and Warriors] both won 60 games for a reason, and [the eight seeds] squeaked in for a reason. After the first round, with the best eight teams left, a lot can happen. Atlanta and Golden State have proven that they are more than jump shooting teams, they have good defenses and will have a good chance to finish it out.”
Barkley on the lack of playoff experience for Cleveland’s young stars: “I think [talk of that is] a little overrated. The Cavs [didn’t miss the playoffs last year] because of [point guard] Kyrie [Irving]. The Timberwolves [didn’t miss the playoffs last year] because of [power forward Kevin] Love. Both of those guys are perennial All-Stars, and they have LeBron James, the best player in the world. [Irving and Love] will both play well. They have an easy series the first round against Boston and the second round match-up with Chicago will be tough. They won’t lose because of inexperience [if they do lose to Chicago], they’ll play well.”
Barkley on the positives of some of the Bulls’ injuries: “Derrick Rose’s injury and Joakim Noah’s injury make them fresher than most guys going into the playoffs. We don’t know Chicago’s ceiling as a team since they haven’t played together for more than a few weeks. I think they have the highest ceiling in the Eastern Conference.”
Barkley on the Bulls’ size advantage: “If they could ever get healthy, they’re the best team in the Eastern Conference. No disrespect to Cleveland, but [the Bulls] have more weapons. They will have hands full with Noah and [center Pau] Gasol down low.”
Smith on the Bulls team approach: “Chicago has every element. Derrick Rose doesn’t have to be playing at an MVP-level for them to be great.”
Barkley on the Raptors’ as a potential second round problem for the Hawks: “The second round will be some terrific series. Toronto has played great against Atlanta all year, they won the season series.”
Barkley on the Wizards’ season: “I thought they came together and were looking great for the future last year. They regressed this year. I thought they were going to take that next step and say ‘we’re here, you have to beat us.’ They were inconsistent and I don’t think they can turn it back on when the playoffs start.”
Barkley on the Wizards’ John Wall and Bradley Beal: “They have an elite backcourt. Beal will be one of the best [shooting] guards in the league in the next few years.”
Barkley on head coach Jason Kidd’s impact on Michael Carter-Williams: “[Carter-Williams] has been playing great lately. It takes a while, people think you show up and play. It took a while to adjust [after the trade], and he’s played great the last few weeks. Having what I call the ‘Point Guard Whisperer’ coaching there is huge. Jason Kidd was best leader we had in the NBA, now it’s Chris Paul. Kidd will turn Michael Carter-Williams into a perennial All-Star and that team into a perennial playoff team. Without [rookie] Jabari Parker, I thought there was no way they could make the playoffs, but Kidd is so smart that anyone that listens to him becomes a better player.”
Barkley on the short-term outlook for the Celtics: “[Head Coach] Brad Stevens, everyone knew he’d be successful. The problem we have now… is that no one has patience. [President] Danny Ainge has done good job drafting, they’ve gotten better every year… The have something like 102 first round draft picks the next few years… I give them credit for being patient.”
Barkley on his expectations for the Nets-Hawks series: “The Nets won’t go out quickly, they have a good chance to make it a competitive series.”
Smith on the Nets’ season: “Brooklyn was so inconsistent this year, it won’t be a terribly difficult series for Atlanta. But if Brooklyn had gotten it together, this could have been a series I’d think they could win.
Barkley on the 2015-16 outlook for Miami: “They won’t be a top-four team in the Eastern Conference next year. You don’t go from out of the playoffs to being in the top four, unless they can get LeBron to move back there. They need some more building blocks, even if they re-sign [guard] Goran Dragic.”
Smith on how injuries impacted Miami this season: “They definitely would have been a playoff team if [10-time All-Star forward] Chris Bosh was playing, probably around the sixth seed.”