(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
When you are a “superstar” much is expected. That’s just the way it is
Smith on Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas: “Gilbert Arenas plays better when the attention is on him, he’s an attention seeker. He’s got blogs, he’s got everything else that goes on to draw attention to himself. He plays better when the spotlight is on him. He’s back in the line-up so it may give (the Wizards) an extra jolt.”
Barkley on Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas’ need to pass the ball: “The thing Gilbert has got to understand is that he’s got to pass the damn ball. Gilbert is a ball-stopper.”
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Game 1: Cleveland Cavaliers (72) @ Washington Wizards (108) – Cleveland leads the series 2-1.
Announcers Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello with Marty Snider reporting
Fratello on Cleveland Cavaliers forward Andray Blatche: “(Andray) Blatche is a very skilled, young big man. He can dribble the ball, he can pass the ball, he can score with the basketball and he’s a youngster. They have a lot of confidence in this young man and a lot of hope for the future for him.”
Fratello on Washington Wizards forward Darius Songaila: “(Darius) Songaila was a great pick up for them. He’s a guy who gives them toughness, he’ll get on the boards and he can face up and shoot an 18 to 22 foot jump shot and make them on a regular basis.”
Marty Snider interviewed Washington Wizards center Brendan Haywood at halftime.
Haywood on the difference in tonight’s game versus Game #2: “I think we’re feeding off the energy of this home crowd, we’re playing as a team, we’re not playing as individuals and we know that our backs are against the wall and we came out fighting tonight.”
Barkley on the Cavaliers playing well at home: “The Cavaliers, some of their guys can’t travel, they can only play in front of their family and friends. You see the same thing happening in the Orlando and Toronto games. Certain guys only feel comfortable playing at home when they see their family and people cheering for them.”
Barkley on role players vs. superstars: “Role players play as well and as hard as they can, but superstars have a chance of taking their game to another level.”
Fratello on music sensation Soulja Boy being in the crowd: “I guess when you have to write your name on your sunglasses to let people know…I feel like that is a problem. But his new song out, Soulja Girl is a major hit. I’ll be singing that on the road.”
Fratello on the importance of winning your home games: “You hold serve when you’re at home and you win your game, so Orlando did that in a very close game in Game #2. Now Toronto goes home and they’ve got to win both games there. Now you’re playing a three game series instead of a seven game series.”
Fratello on teams needing a break during the playoffs: “Sometimes you need to get a team away from the court. The smell of the gym is one thing, but you need a break sometimes and get away from one another and get some space.”
Fratello on Cleveland’s offensive deficiencies: “When you’re taking the ball out of the net as many times as Cleveland was tonight, because of all the easy scoring opportunities the Wizards have, it’s tough to get scores at the other end.”
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Game 2: Houston Rockets (94) @ Utah Jazz (92) -Utah leads the series 2-1.
Announcers Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Craig Sager reporting
Collins on injured Houston Rockets center Yao Ming: “You have to be hurting for (Yao Ming), you know how badly he wants to be out there right now with his teammates and how he could settle that game down. They could just throw the ball in the post let him play and really stabilize this team under pressure.”
Collins on the Utah Jazz coaching staff head coach Jerry Sloan and assistant coach Phil Johnson: “Phil Johnson and (Jerry Sloan) have been attached at the hip for the last 20 years and they may be the best one, two coaching in the NBA.”
Collins on Houston Rockets forward Luis Scola: “(Luis Scola has) worked very hard this entire series, he’s just really struggled to finishing shots. It’s not from lack of effort but it’s tough for him to play over bigger players.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Houston Rockets head coach Rick Adelman after the first quarter.
Adelman on what helped the Rockets build a four point lead after the first quarter: “We responded well. Rafer (Alston) came in and gave us a big lift, hit those three threes. We made shots, that’s what you have to do – they get a little run going you have to maintain your composure.”
Barkley on Jazz guard Deron Williams: “(Deron Williams) is a stud, he’s playing well. I feel bad for Houston because they just don’t have enough weapons…If I’m Utah, I jump on (Houston) like the Spurs did on the Suns the other night. Get the crowd into the game and then Houston will be resolved to the fact that they can’t win the series.”
Smith: “When Chris Paul looks behind him who does he see?”
Barkley: “Deron Williams.”
Smith: “When Kobe (Bryant) looks behind him who does he see?”
Barkley: “LeBron James.”
Barkley on Wizards forward Caron Butler: “(Caron Butler) is the guy (the Wizards) have to get going. To me, he’s their best player. No disrespect to Gilbert (Arenas), but (Butler’s) the guy who gets everybody else going.”
Sager on Houston Rockets forward Carl Landry losing a tooth in the second quarter: “Carl Landry is okay to play in the second half, kind of gap-toothed after losing his tooth in the first half. They sent a dentist to the locker room during halftime, however Carl Landry said, ‘Hey, it’s not as bad as everybody thinks. That is a bridge, a temporary tooth. My teammate Dikembe Mutombo knocked the permanent tooth out at practice a couple of weeks ago.’”
Collins on Rockets guard Rafer Alston: “I’m really impressed with Rafer Alston. He came out tonight, and when you’ve been out for awhile sometimes you’re a little rusty, he has not missed a beat tonight. He’s got fresh legs and he is playing very well.”
Collins on Jazz guard Deron Williams: “(Deron Williams) was brilliant in that Western Conference Final last year against San Antonio and he’s picked right up where he left off. I think that US National experience this summer was really beneficial for him playing with Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups. I expect big things out of him in Beijing. I think that he’s going to play a big role on that US National team.”
Collins on the blocked shot by Rockets forward Carl Landry with seconds to go in the fourth quarter: “(Carl Landry) is a young guy who was such a vital part of this team and that 22-game winning streak.”
Craig Sager interviewed Rockets guard Tracy McGrady following the Rockets’ win over the Jazz.
McGrady on what propelled the Rockets to win the game: “Our backs are against the wall, we’re down two losing two on our home court. We came into a hostile environment, but we’re a very confident group.”
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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley
Rockets guard Rafer Alston joined the TNT studio via satellite after the Rockets win over the Jazz.
Alston on how the wins in the Rockets’ 22-game winning streak stack up to the win against the Jazz: “None better than this one. So many people probably said we couldn’t come in here and win tonight and rightfully so, it’s a tough building to play in. The crowd is always alive in here and those guys thrive off the energy in this building, there’s a reason why it’s called EnergySolutions.”
Alston on what he learned from sitting out the first two games of the series: “The things I learned are, one, you have to play physical with a lot of energy and intensity for 48 minutes with this team, that’s what they do. And two, you have to minimize mistakes, not just the turnovers but defensive game plan mistakes. Understand what they are trying to run, who they are trying to go to and understand who you’re guarding. A lot of times we give up baskets to guys’ strengths, but if we can eliminate game plan mistakes I think we would have a better chance to win.”
Alston on Rockets coach Rick Adelman keeping the team’s confidence high: “Coach keeps our confidence up every day, he’s so calm and relaxed, he’s never ranting and raving, he’s calm in his demeanor and it allows us to go out and play the game. He’s been in these battles for a while in the Western Conference and that’s a guy you have to listen to, he’s been in tough wars.”
Smith on the impact of having Rockets guard Rafer Alston back in the lineup: “(Alston) puts people in their natural positions, your small forward doesn’t have to play power forward, your two guard doesn’t have to play point guard, everyone now went back to their natural positions so they felt comfortable even though they were in a hostile environment. (The Rockets) were the only team that brought their home game to the road. Usually the role players are a little uncomfortable on the road, they are the first playoff team that I’ve seen that those guys came to the road and actually played better than they did at home.”
Barkley on Rockets forward Tracy McGrady needing to come to terms with getting the blame for the team’s performance: “Tracy McGrady doesn’t understand when you’re a star that you’re going to get the blame. It ain’t right, it ain’t wrong, that’s the way it is. But the way (Adelman) phrased that, ‘he’s the guy who’s got to make plays for us down the stretch, whether it’s a basket or a pass.’ (McGrady) is a little sensitive, I’ve been through it, Kenny’s been through it, Patrick Ewing, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, every great player, that’s just the way it is. Is it fair? No, but you’re going to get the blame. No one’s going to blame Carl Landry, Shane Battier or Rafer Alston, they are going to blame Tracy.”
Smith on the Raptors consideration of changing its starting lineup against the Magic: “When you start sending messages that we need to change everything we’ve been going all year to beat this team and T.J. Ford had been a starter for two years, that sends a subliminal message that we might not be good enough. All you have to do it bring the guy in two minutes earlier in the rotation, and then you won’t send that message.”