NBA On TNT Playoff Notes: “The one thing that Mike Bibby should allude to is that (the Celtics are) a real team.”

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KG and the C’s are looking to get the ATL outta there

Smith on Atlanta Hawks guard Mike Bibby focusing on the wrong thing with his comments about Celtics fans: “The one thing that Mike Bibby should allude to is that (the Celtics are) a real team. They’re playing against a team that can win the NBA title for sure and those are the things he needs to concentrate on, the execution things that the Hawks need to do.”

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Game #1: Atlanta Hawks (77) @ Boston Celtics (96) – Boston leads the series 2-0

Announcers: Dick Stockton, Mike Fratello with Cheryl Miller reporting

Fratello on Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo’s defensive abilities: “One thing you want from your point guard is dribble penetration. (Mike) Bibby is having a hard time getting away from Rondo. Rondo puts great pressure on the point guard.”

Fratello on the poor shot attempts by the Atlanta Hawks: “The intent is good, (the Hawks are) being aggressive, but you have to know what a good shot is.”

Fratello on the bonding affect on the Celtics from their preseason trip to Europe: “Sometimes you see that you have to go away for two weeks and ‘I’m not going to get my work done,’ but it was a good solidifier for this team in terms of chemistry. It was a blessing in disguise for the Celtics and Doc Rivers.”

Cheryl Miller interviewed Hawks head coach Mike Woodson following the first quarter.

Woodson on the Hawks’ poor start and the insertion of guard Acie Law: “Our shot selection early in the first quarter was awful, but I think we made up for it with our energy…(Acie Law) gives us a little more stability in terms of running our team as far as getting into our sets and we really struggled last game as far as getting into our sets. I’m not taking anything away from Mike Bibby, I thought he started tremendously, but (Law) is a bigger body, a better match up.”

Fratello on the offensive repertoire of Celtics forward Paul Pierce: “You back off, (Paul Pierce) shoots it in your face. You play him tight, he runs you off a teammate and he also can beat you off the dribble.”

Stockton following another turnover by the Atlanta Hawks: “And right now you would have to say that the Atlanta Hawks are not ready for primetime.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Smith and Barkley

Smith on why the Hawks only score in spurts: “The biggest thing (the Hawks) have trouble with offensively is execution, especially in the half-court. They don’t have a great half court offense, they don’t have a go-to guy and they don’t have go to guys, so the ball stays on the perimeter.”

Barkley on the first half of the Hawks-Celtics game: “I was actually watching (TBS’) House of Payne, I wasn’t watching this game. I’m just waiting for the second game with the Lakers and the Nuggets.”

Barkley on the Atlanta Hawks: “Atlanta does not have a guy you can give the ball to and say ‘Go get us a basket’…Atlanta’s got a bright future, but we live in the present.”

Barkley on the Denver Nuggets’ decision to play more zone defense in Game #2: “I think the Lakers are too good a team to play a zone (against the Nuggets). Zone means ‘We suck at defense.'”

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Fratello on the struggles of Hawks guard Mike Bibby: “(The Hawks have) got to get some productivity out of Mike Bibby…He’s a proven playoff player, he’s made big shots in big series…Mike Bibby is struggling because the defense of (Rajon) Rondo is so good. He’s so quick and so long and he takes everything away from Bibby that he is trying to do.”

Boston Celtics great JoJo White joined Stockton and Fratello at courtside.

White on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo: “(Rajon Rondon) has instincts that you can’t teach…it’s just like me trying to teach a six-footer how to be a seven footer….Rondo is a very energetic athlete and he’s a very quick study, so as we go he is only going to get better.”

TNT reporter Cheryl Miller interviewed Celtics head coach Doc Rivers after the third quarter.

Fratello on Doc Rivers’ pessimism: “Doc (Rivers) is sounding so much like a veteran coach. He says ‘We haven’t closed out a quarter yet in the playoffs.’ Doc, it’s only Game 2!”

Stockton on the Boston Celtics back-to-back blowout wins: “The Atlanta Hawks have run into a buzzsaw.”

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Game #2: Denver Nuggets (107) @ LA Lakers (122) – The Lakers lead the series 2-0.

Announcers: Marv Albert, Reggie Miller with Craig Sager reporting

Miller responding to a TNT interview with Lakers guard Kobe Bryant who felt that the MVP award has evolved to be more about the team game than an individual accomplishment: “I disagree, (the MVP award) has always been about the team game because if it wasn’t Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson would have won it every year. The difference this year is that (Kobe Bryant) believed in his teammates and they end up with the #1 record in a tough Western Conference, that’s why Kobe is going to be the MVP.”

Sager interviewed Nuggets head coach George Karl after the first quarter after Lakers guard Kobe Bryant scored 20 points.

Karl: “Kobe (Bryant) had a hell of a quarter and I think we survived it. I think on the road you have to survive things like that and I think we’re playing harder than we did the other night and I thing we’re okay.”

Sager: “You gave Kenyon Martin a little rest and the next thing you know Kobe has 20 points, can you afford to give Kenyon Martin another rest?”

Karl: “Probably not, I’m hoping Phil (Jackson) gives Kobe a rest.”

Miller on Utah’s Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer: “I think the face of this league looks pretty good in the future with all these young players. Deron Williams playing fantastic, as well as (Carlos) Boozer of the Utah Jazz.”

Miller on the Denver’s porous defense: “Who out here is going to step up and take the challenge to guard Kobe Bryant?”

Miller on Nuggets guard JR Smith: “(J.R. Smith is) a talented player offensively. I wish he’d show that much passion on the defensive end.”

Sager interviewed Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who scored 25 points in the first half.

Sager: “Kenyon Martin is their best single man defender. When he comes out of the game you have JR Smith or someone else on you. What is your mentality, what do you do?”

Bryant: “Same thing as when he is in the game, it doesn’t matter.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Smith and Barkley

Barkley on Bryant’s superstar mentality: “You know, the thing that was interesting about Kobe (Bryant), as a guy who felt he was unstoppable, when Craig Sager asked ‘What can they do differently?’ and Kobe said ‘Nothing.’ Because when you’re a great scorer you might miss the shot, but you can get a shot. This ain’t like baseball, where good pitching beats good hitting….Kobe Bryant can’t be stopped.”

Barkley on Celtics forward Paul Pierce’s back strain: “If (Paul Pierce) has got a back strain, hamstring, hemorrhoids, migraines, it doesn’t matter, (the Hawks) still can’t beat the Celtics.”

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Miller on this Sunday’s TBS’ MLB game between the NY Yankees and Cleveland Indians: “They may be the Yankees to you, but they’re the evil empire to me. I’m a lifelong Angels fan.”

Miller on the Nuggets claims that by leading the league in blocks and steals they are a good defensive team: “That’s fool’s gold. That’s Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony getting beat. That’s Kenyon Martin as well as Marcus Camby blocking shots in help defense.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Lakers forward Luke Walton following the game

Walton on Kobe Bryant’s 49-point performance in Game 2: “That’s Kobe (Bryant) every night. That’s why (his Lakers teammates) feel he should be the MVP of this league. He can take over a game at any time and he still had ten assists getting all of us involved. He did a great job making decisions out there tonight.”

Walton on playing with Kobe Bryant when he is in the “zone:” “It’s awesome. It’s fun to sit back and watch if you’re on the bench. If you’re on the court, you just work and try to manipulate the offense a little bit to get him the ball in scoring position. He’s in L.A. so he definitely knows how to get the crowd into it.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

L.A. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant joined the studio show via satellite following the game

Bryant on his big night in Game 2: “I’m just taking advantage of the defense. I felt in the first game, (the Nuggets) really concentrated on ‘zoning-up’ and in the first half (of Game 2) they focused more on Pau (Gasol) and my teammates. I had open lanes and open avenues to score the ball.”

Bryant on the progress of Andrew Bynum’s injury recovery: “(Andrew Bynum) is trying to get better. It’s a daily thing and there’s a lot of speculation on when he’ll come back. The important thing for him is just to get healthy. He’s young and he has a bright future ahead (of him). We certainly could use him but at the same time, it’s important for him to get 100% healthy.”

Bryant on the challenges the Lakers face heading into Denver for Games 3 and 4: “For us, the challenge is controlling the pace. We’re a team that likes to take advantage of open-court opportunities. At the same time, you notice here at home, we forgot about that and they went on some runs. Playing in Denver, that situation could be much, much worse. We just have to do a good job of pacing the game and controlling the speed and tempo.”

Barkley on Kobe Bryant: “You can watch Kobe (Bryant) play (all day) because he’s the best basketball player in the world.”

Smith on the Nuggets giving up too many easy baskets: “When the pressure is on the line, (the Nuggets) give up lob-dunks, they give up lay-ups. They give up plays that ignite the fans and gives the other team momentum and gets them pumped up. If you are shooting badly, you can get back on track. They give up too many (easy) baskets.”

Barkley on why the Houston Rockets will not win their series against the Utah Jazz: “The Rockets can’t beat Utah, especially since Yao Ming got hurt. The Utah Jazz are a better team. I’ve never seen (Rockets guard) Tracy McGrady play harder or better than he did in Game 2. The reason the Rockets are not going to advance is not Tracy McGrady’s fault. The Utah Jazz have just got a better team…period.”

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