NBA On TNT Notes: Boston Messes Up Texas

(Photo:Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)bostongarnett.jpg

Barkley on the Dallas Mavericks needing a playing identity: “I think the Mavs just haven’t figured out how to play, they only have one way to play. They have to figure out a way to become the Phoenix Suns, they need to outscore people…They are not going to have a good half-court team, they’ve got to run and gun and let Jason Kidd make (Brandon) Bass and (Erick) Dampier better. It’s no secret, they have to speed up the game, they can only play one way.”

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Game 1: Boston Celtics (94) @ Dallas Mavericks (90)

Announcers Marv Albert and Reggie Miller; Craig Sager reporting

TNT’s Craig Sager reported that after the Dallas Mavericks’ loss to the LA Lakers on March 18 Mavs owner Mark Cuban stormed into head coach Avery Johnson’s office and the two had a heated exchange during which Johnson was overheard saying, “Then you coach the team.” Sager reported that when asked about it, both downplayed the situation.

Miller on Craig Sager’s report on an argument between Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and head coach Avery Johnson: “Where there’s smoke there’s fire, so if both guys are downplaying it then something went on. The biggest complaint from Mark Cuban was about Brandon Bass and his play the other night against the Lakers, he only played 13 minutes. It was a high energy game and he’s one of their high energy players.”

Kevin Garnett on the recent comments made by Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor that Garnett tanked games last season: “Sam Mitchell told me this a long time ago, he said, ‘You take care of yourself and you do what you can do and at the end of the night you look at yourself in the mirror and you ask yourself truthfully, did I do everything I can do?’ and if you can live with that, then so be it.’ People are going to say what they got to say, people are going to say what they want to say. But just because you’re a billionaire doesn’t make you full of taste and class, so it’s cool with me.”

Sager reporting on the NBA reprimanding Glen Taylor for his comments about Kevin Garnett: “(Glen) Taylor was summoned by the (NBA) league office and he has been reprimanded for comments detrimental to the game.”

Miller on Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor’s comments about Kevin Garnett: “The comments were personal and, in my opinion, way out of bounds. (Kevin Garnett) was an 11-time All-Star for the Timberwolves, league MVP in 2004 and outstanding in the community. I agree with Kevin, for Glen Taylor to make those comments it let’s you know that sometimes money can’t buy class. This is a guy that I’ve known for the past 10-plus years and he’s always given 100 percent…It’s just out-of-bounds for those comments.”

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Barkley on Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd: “Jason Kidd is the probably the best point guard in the NBA as far as making guys better. He’s the perfect guy and he makes everyone around him better.”

Barkley on NBA veteran Popeye Jones and his big ears: “I hate that guy Popeye Jones, he kicked my ass all the time. I could not figure that guy out. He’s like Reggie Miller, he doesn’t have any problem hearing anything.”

Derek Fisher on being booed at a recent game in Utah when the Lakers faced the Jazz: “It was personal and that was the surprise. I don’t think it was so much about that, you know, I was the hated member of the opposing team because of my game or because of our team because at that point in the season we weren’t in first place. So it wasn’t as though, ‘Okay, here comes the best team in the NBA and he’s on that team so let’s boo him.’ There was definitely a personal component to it and that was disappointing and hurtful in a sense.”

Barkley on Derek Fisher being offended by the boos of Jazz fans during a recent game: “(Derek Fisher) shouldn’t take it personally, he asked to be (let out of his contract) and the fans took that personal, it’s no big deal. If you ask to leave and go to a team that’s a rival, people are going to be offended. He didn’t ask to go to Seattle, they have good doctors there, too…Those (Utah) fans had a vested interest in him. They supported him, they loved him and then for him to come out and say, ‘I want to go somewhere else,’ and to the Lakers one of their rivals, the fans took it personally. He shouldn’t worry about it, fans are going to boo you if don’t want to play for their team. Now, he could have gone to Seattle and seen great doctors, or Milwaukee, but he wanted to play for the Lakers.”

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Miller on Mavericks assistant coach Paul Westphal: “When I moved to Malibu seven years ago (Paul Westphal) was the coach of the Pepperdine Rays. I went out many times to work out with the guys at Pepperdine.”

Albert: “He just wanted to see your house in Malibu.”

Miller on aging Boston Celtics guard Sam Cassell: “Jason Terry is taking the right approach with Sam Cassell guarding him. He knows (to) continue to move, because Sam’s not the same Sam Cassell of old. He’s a little bit older and it’s tougher for him to cover a guy like Jason Terry when he’s running off the picks.”

Miller on the Celtics sweeping the ‘Texas Triangle:’ “This was a measuring stick for the Celtics. Everyone was wondering (what would happen) when they went out West and had to go through the Texas Triangle and they came up 3-0 on them.”

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Game 2: LA Lakers (106) @ Utah Jazz (95)

Announcers Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello; Cheryl Miller reporting

Fratello on the Lakers: “(The Lakers’) look is sharp and crisp, everyone is in the right spot. They look quick on the floor, they’re making their passes, they’re catching the passes, even the ones that are a little bit behind people, and then converting.”

Fratello on Lakers guard Derek Fisher’s role on his former Jazz team: “Derek Fisher was probably the most solid defender on the Utah team a year ago. He could get after little point guards and keep them in check and lead the way defensively.”

Fratello on Lakers guard Jordan Farmar: “Jordan Farmar has really had an outstanding season and Phil Jackson has tremendous confidence in him. He worked extremely hard in the off season, improved his range on this three-point shooting and he knows that he’s got to be able to spot-up and make shots when you have people posting up like Pau Gasol, like Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, (Andrew) Bynum, you’ve got to make perimeter shots.”

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Barkley on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant making his teammates better: “What has happened with the Lakers is that Kobe Bryant is the best player and he’s really done a good job for the first time in his career of making the guys around him better. What happens when your best player does that is that it becomes contagious and other guys want to pass the ball. What happens if you don’t pass the ball is guys are like, ‘I better shoot it because I might not get it again.’ Kobe Bryant is making those other guys better.”

Barkley’s Fave 5 LA Lakers of all-time:

Wilt Abdul O’Neal

Magic Johnson

Kobe Bryant

Jerry West

Elgin Baylor

Barkley on his Fave 5 Lakers: “I couldn’t decide (between Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal), so I went with ‘Wilt Abdul O’Neal.'”

Johnson: “That’s a very, very tough list to whittle down…you didn’t even include Kurt Rambis…”

Barkley: “Are you kidding me?!”

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Fratello on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant’s injured finger: “(Everyone) almost stopped talking about Kobe (Bryant’s) finger, it’s still not healed and you can see it taped together on his right hand. It’s the ligament that was torn and there’s going to be surgery at some point on it. After the initial drama of announcing what it was and how serious it was Kobe just keeps playing, they keep winning and everybody stops mentioning it.”

Fratello on the threat of the Lakers’ defense once their big men return from injury: “Talk about protecting the rim with big people, just imagine when the Lakers get back (Pau) Gasol, (Andrew) Bynum and even (Chris) Mihm. Three guys at seven feet tall that can block shots.”

Fratello on Jazz forward Matt Harpring: “(Matt Harpring) is a guy who comes off the bench on a regular basis for Utah. Over his career he’s averaged over 12 points per game and he’s struggling right now. He’s a guy who deals with a number of injuries and there’s certain nights where he just can’t give it to them on the back-to-back situations, but he gives them toughness, he can play the two-guard, the small forward position, he can score on the inside and make jumpers from the outside. (Harpring is) a key piece to the Utah team.”

Fratello on the Lakers relying on guard Kobe Bryant for big shots : “Isn’t it great to have a guy that you can throw the ball to and know that when you need a basket, a big basket to quiet the crowd and stop the momentum, you’ve got a guy like Kobe (Bryant) who just gets it done for you?”

Fratello on Lakers forward Ronny Turiaf: “(Ronny Turiaf) gives (the Lakers) the toughness on the inside, he gives them the hustle plays and he gives them the cheerleading from the bench. He’s always in the game, reminding guys that the game isn’t over yet. He’s into the game whether he’s on the floor or on the bench.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Lakers guard Kobe Bryant following the game.

Bryant on being upset at the Utah fans at the end of the game: “I was very upset. Last time we came out here they booed Derek for absolutely no reason. I told the guys this morning that this game is personal.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley

Barkley on his MVP selection: “You’ve got two guys who are legit MVP candidates in the East, and that’s Kevin Garnett and LeBron (James). They are contenders, but I can’t give it to LeBron. If I was going to give it to somebody in the East, I would give it to Kevin Garnett because they’ve got the best record. But the West is much tougher, much better competition. I’ve got to give (Hornets’) Chris Paul, Byron Scott and Tyson Chandler a lot of credit. Chris Paul has been a one man wrecking crew. But Kobe Bryant it the best player we’ve got in the NBA. You’ve got an injured (Andrew) Bynum, working (Pau) Gasol in and now Gasol is out, and to still have the best record in the NBA, that’s why I would give the MVP to Kobe Bryant. I’m going it to give guys with a better record facing better competition.”

Barkley on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: “If you think Kyra Sedgwick is ‘The Closer,’ (Kobe Bryant) is the closer right here.”

Barkley on the Chicago Bulls being a slump buster: “That’s what you need when you’re on a four game losing streak is to go to Chicago. If you’re losing, get to Chicago. Michael Jordan is rolling over in his grave.”

Barkley on a locker room confrontation between Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and coach Avery Johnson: “The little dust up between Mark Cuban and Avery Johnson, confrontation is a part of sports. As long as you keep it in the locker room it can bring the team together. I think it’s going to help Dallas. Mark Cuban is my favorite owner and Avery’s got to take some criticism, that’s part of it. Now they’ve got to circle the wagons, and say, ‘you know what, this is our team and we’ve got tot stick together’ because a lot of people are trying to pull them apart.”

Barkley on assumptions that the Celtics will be the NBA Champions because they’ve gone 23-4 against Western Conference teams: “It’s not the same as playing a team four out of seven times. You’ve got to factor that in some teams might have played the night before and have been on the road or played four games in five nights. You can’t jump to that conclusion when you say they are 23-4 against the West. They are going to have a tough time with Cleveland in the second round of the playoffs and against the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. Under that theory they should trade Ray Allen because they’ve played better without Ray Allen, they beat the Champs (San Antonio Spurs) and the Houston Rockets.”

Barkley on the warm reception given to Nuggets guard Allen Iverson upon his return to Philadelphia: “Allen Iverson is a great player, you’ve got to give him credit; he’s probably the best little guy to ever play this game. Sometimes in Philadelphia the media is such a pain in the ass, but the fans have always been great. I still keep a house there and they always treat me fantastic, the negative stuff comes from the press. Allen Iverson made some mistakes there, but the guy is a great player and I’m just glad that the fans gave him a standing ovation, it was well deserved. I wanted to cry when the fans went nuts for me (when I returned), and I had to calm down.”

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