(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
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Game #1: Orlando Magic (93) @ Detroit Pistons (100) – The Pistons lead the series 2-0.
Announcers: Dick Stockton, Mike Fratello and Pam Oliver reporting
Fratello on Pistons center Rasheed Wallace getting off to a good start: “Rasheed’s ankle is better in case you were concerned.”
Fratello on four players that the Pistons are assigning to defend Magic center Dwight Howard: “In Game #1 four different players took their shots at guarding (Dwight) Howard. They start out with Jason Maxiell, who is much shorter but is very strong, then Rasheed Wallace comes over, on a substitution he’ll come off the bench and bring Antonio McDyess and even (Theo) Ratliff who was picked up late in the year and only played 13 games in the regular season, he’ll guard him. This is who they sent after Superman, this is Detroit’s version of kryptonite, the four guys who between them have 24 fouls to use up against Superman.”
TNT’s Pam Oliver interviewed Magic coach Stan Van Gundy after the first quarter.
Van Gundy on the first quarter performance of the Magic: “We made some defensive mistakes and coverages on pick and roll and then we had a bad foul at the end (of the first quarter). We’ve got to pick it up a little bit, but the game is being played a little more wide open and that’s a little more to our liking.”
Fratello on Magic guard Carlos Arroyo: “(Arroyo) is very clever with the basketball, he’s a smart player if you give him a screen, he really drives defenders crazy. He has the ability to score points, and as he continues to develop his game, the key thing for him is how well he defends the basketball.”
Fratello on Pistons coach Flip Saunders and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: “These are two outstanding coaches, Flip (Saunders) has done it at every level, the collegiate level and the CBA. Stan Van Gundy, in Miami he did an excellent job taking over for (Pat) Riley, and when (Van Gundy) decided to step down, Riley took back over while the season was in progress and they won the NBA Championship that season. Talk about two of the better coaches in the NBA.”
TNT’s Pam Oliver interviewed Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace following the second quarter
Wallace on how they are defending Magic center Dwight Howard: “It’s overall team defense. We threw a bunch of bodies at the big fella’ (Dwight Howard), trying to get him a little bit frustrated. That will limit the touches for the wing players, Rashard (Lewis) and (Hedo) Turkoglu.”
Wallace on playing in foul trouble: “We can’t give Dwight (Howard) easy dunks down there, that really gets him going. We have other bigs on our bench, we have Theo (Ratliff), (Antonio) McDyess and Jason (Maxiell) so I’m not worried about my fouls. I know how to play when I’m in foul trouble.”
Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Smith on the new wrinkles the Pistons have in the offense: “When (the Pistons) played in the regular season, I thought they were too perimeter-oriented. They would have Rasheed Wallace or Chauncey Billups step out (and shoot threes). But now they are attacking the rim, especially when Dwight Howard is out of the lineup.”
Barkley on how offensive players should stay low against Dwight Howard and take his legs away when posting up: “That was the secret to my game when I played. People would ask, ‘How do you post these big guys up?’ and it came down to my big ass against their little skinny legs. No matter how strong you are, if you (are posting-up a guy with) skinny legs, you have a better center of gravity. I would rather play against a guy who is seven feet tall than a guy who is six-five because its going to be my butt, which is huge, against their legs. Booties come in handy when you are trying to rebound and get post position. Dwight Howard has a tremendous upper body but you can’t push with your arms, you push with your legs.”
New Orleans forward David West on the Hornets team unity: “We don’t want to let each other down, we defend each other, we’re not going to let one of our guys get embarrassed by the other team’s best player. If Tyson (Chandler) is up against Tim Duncan, we’re not going to let Duncan tear Tyson up by himself; he’s got to go against myself and the rest of the guys, not only on the floor but the guys off the bench.”
TNT aired a ‘Miked Up’ segment featuring halftime talks by coaches Stan Van Gundy and Flip Saunders.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: “Great competition, this is what it’s about, that is the competitiveness we’ve got to have. Just relax, move the ball and play the way you’ve played all year.”
Pistons coach Flip Saunders: “I think you guys did a great job, you did a great job coming in, we’ve got to maintain. As far as what we’re doing, we did a great job taking away threes.”
Fratello on the attire of his TNT colleagues Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Craig Sager during Game #2 of the Spurs/Hornets game: “They are wearing asbestos suits (tonight) all of them, Sager, Marv, Reggie, just in case a fire breaks out again, they’ve got to watch themselves.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Pistons coach Flip Saunders after the third quarter.
Saunders on the Pistons third quarter performance: “We did a good job the first half, when a team goes 7 for 7 from the three, made their first seven threes in the half, some contested and some off penetration, we just need to keep them contained in the middle of the floor and try to contest their threes. We need our defense to pick up we’ve got to take away their threes, we’ve got to execute and make them play some defense down there.”
Fratello on increasing the use of instant replay: “I’ve been a big fan of using the replay a little bit more than we use it now in the NBA. I feel we have the technology why not get it right? People feel like it will hold the game up too long but if you give a coach one challenge or two challenges a game why not get it right?”
Game #2: San Antonio Spurs (84) @ New Orleans Hornets (102) – The Hornets lead the series 2-0.
Announcers: Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Craig Sager reporting
Miller on a match-up problem for the San Antonio Spurs: “This is the one headache match-up for head coach Gregg Popovich, he says when Bonzi Wells is at the three we are going to have to front him because he’s too strong for our small forwards. When the Hornets go small it will make the Spurs go small as well and adjust because he is that good down low.”
Albert on TNT reporter Craig Sager’s positive report on Hornets mascot SuperHugo whose stunt with fire caused the organization to get fined by the NBA: “Craig, a one time mascot (at Northwestern), spinning it in the mascot’s favor.”
Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on the fine levied by the NBA against the Hornets mascot SuperHugo: “It was an accident. People overreact to everything.”
Barkley on the Hornets’ style of play: “Julian Wright is fun to watch, he is so involved in every play. I love to watch the Spurs play, but I’m really starting to get my appreciation for these Hornets.”
Miller on Hornets guard Chris Paul: “Is Chris Paul fast or quick? He’s a little combination of both, it’s not like he has Isiah Thomas jets, but it seems like he lulls you to sleep and then has bursts of quickness, I’ve never seen.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Hornets coach Byron Scott after the third quarter.
Scott on whether he’s surprised at how well the Hornets are playing against the defending Champion San Antonio Spurs: “No, not at all, this team has a lot of character we played hard and well all season long, I’m not surprised one bit that we’re playing this well.”
Miller on the selflessness of Hornets center Tyson Chandler: “You’ve got to have selfless players on your team, Tyson Chandler is one of the players. If you’re going to win a championship you’ve got to have guys that don’t command or demand the basketball and he’s one of those. He knows he’s out there to rebound, play great defense, block shots, and if you throw an alley oop one time or throw (him) a bone, he’ll greatly appreciate it.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Hornets guard Chris Paul after the game.
Paul on part of the reason for their success in the first two games against the Spurs: “It’s our home crowd, our fans are really coming out to support us and they motivate us, and we love to play here in front of our home crowd.”
Paul on being named alongside Lakers guard Kobe Bryant as an MVP candidate: “It’s an honor, there are a lot of great players in this league, just to be mentioned is something I feel very fortunate for, but if Kobe wins it he absolutely deserves it. (He) had an outstanding year, his team won the Western Conference, he’s unbelievable.”
Paul on Sager’s suit: “You look something like Hugo (the Hornet) tonight.”
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Inside the NBA
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith
Barkley on why he thinks the Hornets are going to win their second round series against the Spurs: “The reason I think New Orleans is going to win this series is because they are just a better team (than San Antonio). (Hornets head coach) Byron (Scott) is doing a great job, he’s not going to let (Tim) Duncan dominate, (the Hornets) are doubling him almost every single time. On the other side, David West is going to get his (shots), Peja (Stojakovic) is going to get his (shots), (Morris) Peterson is going to get his (shots) and they are going to get theirs because of Chris Paul and David West. (The Hornets) are so active defensively because of (Tyson) Chandler, he is everywhere (defensively). Julian Wright is so active. This is going to be very difficult (for the Spurs) because (the Hornets) are not going to let (Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili) beat them. There really isn’t anyone on San Antonio’s bench that New Orleans fears, that’s why I think (the Hornets) are going to win the series.”
Barkley on the Magic’s strength and weakness: “Shooting threes is (the Magic’s) strength and weakness. I always tell people, ‘Threes look good when they are going in.'”
Barkley on the clock not starting at the end of the Magic/Pistons Game #2 allowing the Pistons to make a three-point shot to take the lead with 4.6 seconds left in the third quarter: “(The Magic) just got cheated. It turned out to be a big play in the game, that’s what disappoints me the most. That’s just bad.”
Smith on the clock mishap at the end of the third quarter of the Magic/Pistons Game #2: “Momentum at the start of quarters and at the end of the quarters is big. (The Pistons) were able to end the quarter with a three giving them momentum. That’s big in the NBA. But normally, if you couldn’t tell when they started the clock…you’ve got to take it back out from the beginning (and start the play over). You still have the same 5.1 seconds to operate. How can you allow the basket, if you don’t know how much time actually went off? Plays will start over with inadvertent whistles, same way; this was an inadvertent clock that did not start. How can you continue to play?
Barkley: “You know what? I’m not used to saying this but, ‘Kenny…you’re right.’ They should’ve started the play over. If they didn’t know (the time), they should’ve started over because Orlando got screwed in that situation. I know (the Pistons) didn’t try to do it but they should’ve taken (the ball) out and started over.”
TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Boston Celtics’ guard Paul Pierce at Celtics practice prior to their second round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers
Pierce on what to expect in the series against the Cavaliers: “(It’s going to be a) tough, physical series with a lot of excitement. There are a lot of exciting players. (We’re) two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. You know what (Cavaliers guard) LeBron James is capable of and you know what the Boston Celtics are capable of. It’s going to be an exciting series.”
Pierce on what the Celtics learned in their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks: “Since it was our first playoff series (as a group), we learned that we need to keep our poise especially on the road. We demonstrated a lack of poise, especially late in games, when we had leads. But that’s something that we learned and we can take away from series one and hopefully take it to series two.”
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett on if playoff basketball is different from any other type of basketball: “I wish that everyone who watches basketball, loves it as much as I love it. To put a jersey on and really see and understand that pre-season is pre-season, playground is playground, regular season is regular season and playoffs are playoffs. It’s not cliché, it really is different. It’s really different.”
Barkley on how the Celtics will defend against LeBron James: “It’s going to be interesting because (LeBron James) is too big for Paul Pierce and they can’t afford to get Kevin Garnett into foul trouble. But the Cavaliers run that sorry offense when they give (the ball) to LeBron and let him go one-on-five. That’s not going to work against the Celtics. The only way they are going to be successful against the Celtics is to speed up the tempo of the game. LeBron should be finishing plays.”
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