NBA On TNT Notes: Chris Webber Joins Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley On the Set

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Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Chris Webber

Webber on announcing his retirement on Wednesday: “It was difficult but it was time. I’m just happy that I had such a really nice career in my eyes, did things that I dreamed about. I just concentrate on the fun I had, I don’t want to get emotional thinking that it’s over.”

Barkley on why he thinks Chris Webber should be voted into the Hall of Fame: “I think he’s a Hall of Famer. When he was at Michigan he was part of the Fab Five – it should have been Fab One and four other guys – he had two amazing years in college to get to the NCAA Championship game two years in a row. When he gets to the NBA, he wins Rookie of the Year. When he’s in Golden State they make the playoffs; when he goes to the Washington Bullets, they make the playoffs; when he goes the Sacramento Kings they make the playoffs. Everywhere he’s been he’s won. Chris Webber is a Hall of Famer, not just because of numbers but because every team he played on he’s been a winner.”

Barkley on the difference between his body and Webber’s body: “(Chris) could never drink like me because he had a six pack and I had a keg.”

Webber on the importance of Dallas beating the Nuggets: “This game is very important for Dallas. Not to disrespect Avery Johnson, but ever since I was in Sacramento no one really respects Dallas. You feel like they are a little bit soft and you feel like you can beat them. With the help of Jason Kidd they definitely can win. But you don’t want these lower seeds thinking they can beat you or even be in a close game because if you do have to play them later on (in the playoffs) the mental edge goes to the other team.”

Webber on his favorite to win in the West: “Kobe (Bryant) with (Pau) Gasol is tough, but I would never bet against San Antonio.”

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Game 1: Dallas Mavericks (105) @ Denver Nuggets (118)

Announcers: Matt Devlin, Mike Fratello with Craig Sager reporting

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson after the first quarter.

Johnson on the fast pace of the first quarter: “We are definitely getting into a track meet. We are playing at our pace, and fortunately we’ve been able to make some shots, but if we can take care of the ball I actually like the pace of this game for us. We are not trying to out run them, we are taking what the defense gives us, we don’t consider this game a track meet necessarily. We have been able to penetrate and attack the basket and that’s what we want to do.”

Fratello on Nuggets forward Linas Kleiza earning more playing time: “(Kleiza’s) a guy who (Nuggets head coach) George Karl has a lot of faith and trust in. He giving him more and more playing time, he’s rewarded the youngster for his play.”

Fratello on the hesitation to sub players when the starters are performing well: “Sometimes as a coach when your team has it going well the way the Mavs did to start the game, with everything clicking offensively for them, you are hesitant and don’t want to substitute too soon because the guys have it going. But ultimately you know you need to give them the necessary rest so they have something left at the end of the game.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Mavericks owner Mark Cuban during the game.

Cuban on the Mavericks going 0-8 against winning teams: “I’m disappointed we haven’t won some of the big games, but it’s not like we’re getting blown out and we’re not playing well, it’s coming down final possessions. Last year all those games went our way and this year none of those are going our way. It is what it is, we have to rebound and deal with it.”

Cuban on how the team will deal with the loss of forward Dirk Nowitzki to injury for several games: “We’re going to have to figure out a way, hopefully we’ll get a break here. Jason Kidd has been playing well, Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse, these guys are veterans they know how to get it done. We are counting on them to step up and hopefully some other things will go our way.”

Cuban on the Mavericks fighting for their playoff spot: “If someone would have said to me with 12 games to go you would be four games out of first, before the season started, I would have said, ‘I’ll take it.’ The West is crazy this year, it’s so competitive and every game is a playoff game.”

Cuban on his reported locker room fight with head coach Avery Johnson: “As far as what happened with the General, there are two, three or four times a year where we’ll walk in and Avery will scream, Avery likes to scream. I never raise my voice and we go back and forth. It’s the way it is, it’s emotional times, people get emotional, but there are no problems.”

Halftime

Barkley on the Nuggets being unable to stop the Mavs in the first half: “It’s so frustrating for me watching the Denver Nuggets play. Coach Fratello said it best, it’s like playground basketball, you score I score. The thing that is frightening for Denver, (the Mavs) are without their best player (in Dirk Nowitzki). Everybody is gloom and doom for the Mavs, but I say they have the best leader in our sport (in Jason Kidd). Kidd is the best leader we’ve got in our sport. They are going to make the playoffs.”

Webber on playing with Jason Kidd: “There is not a point guard in the game I’d rather play with than Jason Kidd right now.”

Barkley on the lack of defense played by the Denver Nuggets: “I never feel (good about) Denver because they never play defense. If they just played half court basketball they would be unstoppable, they would be in the NBA Finals, but there are two ends of the court. You saw Dallas try to win like this two years ago, you saw Phoenix try to win like this, you can’t go out and outscore people They’ve got two of the best players offensively in the NBA, they’ve got Carmelo (Anthony) and AI (Allen Iverson), but to give up 70 points to Dallas (in the first half) with no Dirk, George Karl has got to be going crazy.”

Webber on what teams expect when they play Denver: “You have to watch out for AI (Allen Iverson) and Carmelo (Anthony) and (Marcus) Camby is the great X factor. Other than that you feel like you can score at will, guys know they are going to get their points in the game. I’m disappointed they are not playing with more urgency (tonight), if they lose this game it’s over.”

Webber on Warriors guard Monta Ellis: “Monta (Ellis) is the best kept secret in the NBA, if you look at his stats, his scoring, what he does. That’s probably one of the reasons I hurt my knee, trying to keep up with him because he’s so fast with the ball.”

Webber on his decision to play for the Warriors: “I felt that it would work, I didn’t want to go into it as a gimmick, I felt I had to work myself back into shape. I heard at halftime in one of the games Charles say you only have so many jumps in your legs. And I think that’s true and you have to face that. But being in the right positions, and everyone knows that Don Nelson puts you in certain positions to be successful, I trusted in the fact that he would put me in there and that would show my strengths and camouflage any weaknesses.”

Webber on the dislike of Warriors fans for Barkley: “People in Oakland sent me here as a hit man and I took care of him!”

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Fratello on the Mavericks getting two technical fouls: “Most of the time you see a coach sticking up for his player get the second technical after his player has been hit with one, but that time (Josh) Howard said you’re not doing that to my coach, I’m getting one for him!”

Fratello on the tough schedule the Celtics have played: “Maybe I’m just imagining it, but it seems like the Celtics keep having the next big challenge. First it’s the West coast trip, then they finally get back home and it’s one contender and the next contender…they’d like to just have an easy game. But they certainly have (responded).”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Nuggets head coach George Karl after the third quarter.

Karl on the defense of the Nuggets: “Keeping them in front of us, we give them some energy with what we want to do. They have a lot of pride, even though we don’t play 48 minutes of defense, a lot of times we play good defense.”

Karl on how the competitiveness of the Western Conference might hurt teams in the long run: “I’m glad we’re just a part of this (Western Conference) race because it’s fun. We’re playing playoff basketball for the last seven or eight games and we’re going to play playoff basketball for (the next) ten games. In the end, it might hurt the Western Conference because I think the intensity, the stress and the pressure has now started March 15 instead of when it usually starts on April 15.”

Fratello on Nuggets forward Nene entering the game for the first time since having a testicular tumor removed: “The way this whole thing has worked out, tonight they have this comfortable lead. George Karl can put (Nene) in with a minute and a half remaining. That now is in the past, he’s back in an NBA game again and perhaps George Karl can start using him a few minutes here and there.”

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Game 2: Portland Trail Blazers (95) @ Golden State Warriors (111)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Cheryl Miller reporting

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan after the first quarter.

McMillan on the fast tempo of the Trail Blazers: “We got a little excited, we started to make some shots, you get caught up in the game. But you’ve got to control the tempo, you’ve to be smart and slow it down. We did a good job of getting the ball inside and making good decisions, but down the stretch we got a little anxious.”

Collins on Portland adopting a faster tempo to keep up with the Golden State style of play: “We are in the gold rush state, but that’s fool’s gold for Portland if they want to play like that against this Golden State team. You have to have patience- play early, run for layups or run to get to the free throw line or a post up, or play late, use the clock and get the ball in the post and you get through the free throw line and now you get your defense back. Playing through the post calms the game down and gives you a chance to play at the offensive efficiency you need to play at.”

Collins on the Trail Blazers leaving Warriors forward Austin Croshere open: “I used to have a coach that would say to a guy, ‘do you know why you’re open? Because they want you to take that shot.’ That’s the case for Austin Croshere. (The Trail Blazers) are going to force him to make a shot.”

Halftime

Webber on how much defense is stressed by Warriors coach Don Nelson: “My rookie year playing for Don Nelson, the first game he put 125 on the board and said if we score this we’ll win. That’s his philosophy, it’s no secret. He does say defense, but it’s offense first.”

Barkley on the Golden State Warriors: “People say that Golden State is dangerous; Golden State is not dangerous, they are just fun to watch. They are going to score a lot of points, they shoot threes, and any team that shoots threes is going to be inconsistent.”

Webber on what teams will not fare well facing the Warriors: “If you’re a team that doesn’t have a post presence, like a Denver or a Houston, if you don’t have a post presence you’re not going to beat them because their guards are great and their guards are going to punish you every time.”

Webber on blaming the Mavericks recent struggles on guard Jason Kidd: “I don’t understand how they say that it’s Jason (Kidd’s) fault that their record is this way. Now that he’s taken over more control I think it’s obvious that everyone needs to step up their game, it’s not just on him.”

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Collins on Nuggets coach George Karl’s point that several teams are already playing as if it is the playoffs: “George Karl was talking to Mike Fratello earlier today and said we started the playoffs on March 15, a month early. We’ve got to play like we are in the playoffs for a month just to get in the playoffs. That’s what Golden State is going to have to do, Dallas is going to have to do, all those teams at the seven, eight and nine mark.”

Collins on coaches’ personalities dictating coaching styles: “You coach what you’re comfortable coaching, Don Nelson likes the small ball aspect of it. I always need a big guy in there because I’m not a guy who likes to give up a lot of easy baskets. Golden State averages 110 but they give up 108. I’m just not comfortable giving up a lot of easy baskets. It’s got to be your personality and that just wasn’t my personality. I like a little bit bigger guys out on the floor.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Golden State head coach Don Nelson after the third quarter.

Collins on Portland coach Nate McMillan continuing to develop his team throughout the season: “Nate (McMillan’s) done a great job with these guys, he wants to keep them focused to finish this season. Every night he wants to teach them what it’s like to play this time of year when your body is beat up and when you’re tired and you’re in playoff races or playing for home court advantage. He wants the players to feel that the rest of the season so they can continue to grow with that.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Warriors forward Stephen Jackson after the game.

Jackson on needing the win against Portland: “We didn’t want to let this game be a let down, we’re playing for something and we didn’t want to come out here and lay an egg like we did against LA. When a game means something we need to get it. It’s good that we could find a way to win without (Baron Davis), but at the same time it’s good because he’s on a streak showing everyone he can play every game of the season. A win is a win because during the playoffs we’re going to have a guys step up because we’re not going to have it every night and tonight’s the night to show that.”

Jackson on fighting for a playoff spot in the West: “We never thought we’d be still be fighting for a playoff spot considering how many games over 500 we are, but I guess it keeps us focused. We’ve got to win every game and take one game at a time and we’ll put ourselves in a great position.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Chris Webber

Webber on what surprised him about the Golden State Warriors in his short time with the team: “I didn’t know the attitude they had. I didn’t know (Warriors guard) Baron Davis personally off the basketball court. He and (Warriors forward) Stephen Jackson are great leaders and (that team) follows where (Davis and Jackson) go. When they are prepared, when they listen and when everything is going right, (it’s) because of those two guys. I didn’t know that they were leaders like that.”

Barkley on Warriors forward Stephen Jackson: “I’m really proud of Stephen Jackson, he’s been fantastic all season as a player. You really have to take your hat off to him, he’s really matured and he’s been fantastic.”

Webber on if he believes in the New Orleans Hornets: “I can’t say that I was a believer in New Orleans (early in the season). But after seeing what they’ve done to this point (in the season), I have to believe in them. They have the best record in the NBA, I think you have to give (Hornets guard) Chris Paul the MVP. He doesn’t have the talent that a lot of these other guys have around him. You have to be believers right now.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Nuggets guard Allen Iverson after the Mavericks/Nuggets game.

Iverson on Chris Webber’s retirement and if he misses seeing him on the court: “I miss (Chris Webber) off the court. That’s my man, I love Web. I just want to see him succeed in another aspect of his life. He was a great basketball player, he’s a Hall of Fame basketball player and now he’s going to move on. He’s a smart man, he’s got a lot of things he wants to do after basketball and I support him.”

Barkley on the Philadelphia 76ers surprising season: “(76ers head coach) Maurice Cheeks is doing a fantastic job and everybody in Philadelphia should apologize to (former GM) Billy King. He did a better job than he got credit for.”

Barkley on changing the playoff format to allow the top 16 teams, regardless of conference, make the playoffs: “(Changing the playoff format is) a stupid idea because the conferences go through cycles. You can’t just switch it up because you don’t like it. Also, the East (Conference) has an advantage, they play the (bad) teams five or six times and in the West (Conference), they play against really good teams five or six times. That’s not fair to the West to let those teams have better records and have home court (advantage). Most of the teams in the East would have home court against the teams in the West and that’s not fair.”

Former SuperSonics head coach George Karl on how he feels about the possibility of the team leaving Seattle: “Empty. Devastated. I think I’m over the devastation because we’ve kind of known this is where it’s going to go and now the finality of it coming to the forefront. Empty, sad, it feels wrong. Mad at the business end of basketball. All the same stuff that you’ve heard (before). Those six years in Seattle, I don’t know if I’ll ever have a better six years. It’s like my four years (spent) at (the University of North) Carolina, I don’t know if I’ll have a better six years. And now ten years later, it’s gone for good.”

Barkley on the possibility of the SuperSonics leaving Seattle: “I feel bad for the city because, to me, that was the toughest arena to play in (along with) old Chicago Stadium and the old Boston Garden. It’s unfortunate but this is part of the business. First of all, I think some of these owners and leagues screw fans (by) making them pay for the whole thing. The owners should pay for half of it, somewhere in that range. It shouldn’t be strictly on the tax-payer because the owner and city benefits. But sports are a big business.”

Webber: I feel bad for the young fans who haven’t gotten to know the tradition of the great team that they’ve had there. I think other cities should take note because even as basketball players, you don’t like playing in an old arena. The owners need to give more and the city needs to give some sort of answer soon. I know (the issue) is coming up in Sacramento soon, I know its coming up in other places. When those teams leave, everyone wants to sing “Kumbaya” and no one wants to take the blame for it.”

Barkley on Shaquille O’Neal’s recent critical comments of his former teammates in Miami, Chris Quinn and Ricky Davis: “Shaq is my guy but he’s wrong. I love Shaq to death but he is wrong on this one. He’s pissed because he got traded. I wish he hadn’t said that because he’s such a great guy, all the players love him. For the last 10-15 years, he and (Spurs center) Tim Duncan have been the standard bearers for the league, they are what’s good about the game. I can’t defend (what he said) because he was wrong.”

Webber: “I just think it’s funny. I think (Quinn and Davis) were just caught in the crossfire because (Shaq) is frustrated with Miami. I just hope those comments weren’t directed at those two players.”

Barkley: “That’s what they call friendly fire. Wrong place, wrong time. (Quinn and Davis) just happened to be standing next to (Heat head coach) Pat Riley.”

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14 Responses to “NBA On TNT Notes: Chris Webber Joins Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley On the Set”

  1. Okori says:

    *sigh* I will miss Chris. But man… he sounds like a good analyst. Maybe that’s a career he can get into at some point.

    And Mizz…. we were doing so well….. agreeing on things. And then…. PLOMP! Right back into the sewer.

    *Listening to the baddest non-rap song ever*

  2. mizzo says:

    Whatcha mean?

  3. Okori says:

    the “Check the Replay Billy Packer” thing. Sheesh.

  4. mizzo says:

    Did you see the game?

  5. Okori says:

    yeah. but Laettner doesn’t need to be drug into every single Webber story.

  6. mizzo says:

    Yes he does in a certain conversation or history will be a lie. I’m not having it.

  7. Okori says:

    but, as we discussed already, Laettner is a college Hall-of-Famer and Webber is a pro one. let the two just live their lives.

  8. Michelle says:

    Okori,

    Your say things so well. How can I disagree. I will miss Webb to and he is perfect for any set with that colgate smile.

  9. Miranda says:

    Michelle,
    I just know C-Webb is gonna be a sports analyst – and a damn good one. The camera loves him and its just the next natural move.

  10. [...] The Starting Five placed an observative post today on NBA On TNT Notes: Chris Webber Joins Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley On the Set [...]

  11. michelle says:

    Miranda,

    I sure hope so.Now it’s back to waiting for the baseball playoffs and football season. Oh well, like you said time waits for no one.

  12. sherwin archie says:

    To kenny Smith maybe you could next year see if the NBA, Will add the worst free throw player To have a contest that will be fun.

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