NBA On TNT Western Conference Finals Notes: “I don’t think he’s a dirty player at all, he’s gotten a reputation that’s not merited”
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Uh…say what Kobe?
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on Spurs forward Bruce Bowen: “I love him as a basketball player. He doesn’t get his just due as a defensive player because he’s playing with Tim (Duncan). I really enjoy playing against him, I don’t think he’s a dirty player at all, he’s gotten a reputation that’s not merited. I think he’s a really smart defensive player and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Barkley on Cavaliers forward LeBron James not shutting down Celtics guard Paul Pierce in Game #7: “I was watching Game #7 with LeBron (James) against Paul Pierce. People try to compare LeBron, who’s a stud, but there’s no way Michael Jordan would let Paul Pierce get 45 (points).”
Barkley on the difference maker in the series between the Spurs and Lakers: “Kobe can dominate this series by dominating Manu Ginobili on the defensive end, that’s what I’m looking for. Kobe Bryant is the best player in the game, he’s going to get 25-35 points a game. I think for the Spurs, if he dominates Manu defensively that could be the difference in the series.”
Game #1: San Antonio Spurs (85) @ L.A. Lakers (89) – The Lakers lead the series 1-0.
Announcers Marv Albert and Doug Collins; with Craig Sager reporting
Collins on Spurs center Fabricio Oberto: “(Oberto) is a guy who brings all the intangibles, he’s a very good defensive player in tandem with Tim Duncan, he makes the open shots and he’s very smart out there and knows where to be.”
Collins on Lakers forward Vladimir Radmanovic: “You look at (Radmanovic) and go, ‘why not more often?’ Sometimes he’ll mesmerize you and sometimes you’ll look at him and say, ‘why can’t you be more consistent?.’”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after the first quarter.
Popovich on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant being contained in the first quarter: “He just hasn’t decided to bring it yet, he’s checking out the game.”
Collins on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant involving his teammates in the first quarter: “(Bryant) knows he can get his shot anytime he wants to, he knows how important it is that if you want to beat the San Antonio Spurs you’ve got to beat them as a team. They aren’t going to let one man beat them. He wanted for this team’s confidence to get off to a good start. When he comes back in he’ll be looking for his shot.”
Collins on the importance of Spurs guard Manu Ginobili to the Spurs: “(Ginobili) is so important to their team, I think he’s that lightening rod of this team. You know how well (Tony) Parker plays and (Tim) Duncan has that quiet efficiency, but when this guy is in his game he electrifies his team. The last couple of possessions he looks likes he’s laboring a little bit, he had a couple finishes at the basket that he normally finishes that he didn’t get down. Let’s see if he gets his second wind here.”
Collins on the impact of bench players: “Your bench really feeds off the home crowd, they come in the game and they are such an energy group of guys. Your bench can really help you at home, and your starters have to be the guys on the road that carry you through the tough times.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Spurs guard Tony Parker at halftime.
Parker on how the Spurs are trying to stop the Lakers: “Just try to be aggressive, try to speed it up. When you play half court against them it’s a little tough, I’m trying to push the ball and get some easy baskets for my teammates and so far we’re doing pretty good. Tim (Duncan) has been aggressive and we’ve been hurting them with that, so we’ll keep it going.”
Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Miller
Smith on the Spurs versus Lakers: “The Spurs are not the team of the future like the Lakers, they are the team right now.”
Barkley on the durability of the Spurs: “They are the Spurs. They are like cockroaches, they won’t die.”
Miller on the Spurs bench: “I applaud Pop (Gregg Popovich), he’s going deep in his bench with Jacque Vaughn, Brent Barry, Robert Horry, he’s trying to match the bench of the Lakers.”
Barkley: “The Lakers have a much better bench, they have a lot more energy. It’s great coaching by Pop, but the Lakers’ bench is going to win the series.”
TNT aired a segment of Inside Trax featuring Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Popovich telling Spurs forward Tim Duncan that Brent Barry is open: “He’s wide open from the three. It’s alright you can’t see the whole world the whole time, TD. That’s why I told him pull his pants down, then you’ll notice.”
Collins on the exchange between Gregg Popoovich and Tim Duncan: “What jumps out is that you have a great coach (in Popovich) and a superstar (in Tim Duncan) who have such a level of trust with each other that he continues to coach him. He did it in such a way that he made his point and then added humor. You can’t see it all all the time, but I think that’s the beauty of Gregg Popovich is that he has a little bit of sarcastic wit, and his team appreciates that. That’s how you win Championships. Phil Jackson does the same thing with his team; if you can’t coach your superstars you can’t win a championship in this league.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Lakers coach Phil Jackson after the third quarter.
Jackson on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant being uninvolved in the first half of the game: “I thought Kobe went on vacation, I thought he want to Bermuda, to the Bermuda Triangle instead of the sideline triangle, but we got him back this quarter.”
Collins on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant’s dominating performance in the second half of the game: “How good is Kobe Bryant? To be able to, in the first half, just sort of go through the game and then turn a switch like this…what an amazing second half.”
Collins on a struggling Manu Ginobili: “This is when the Spurs really miss Manu Ginobili, for him to not play well tonight, normally they would put the ball in his hands and let him create an opportunity. He’s three of 12 tonight and has struggled with turnovers.”
Collins on Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s strategy for playing Kobe Bryant: “The energy has picked up for the Lakers. I think Phil (Jackson) made a very strategic move earlier in that third quarter. He went to (Sasha) Vujachic and (Jordon) Farmar and he put them out there with Kobe and what happened is that Kobe normally rests at the third period, but Phil has let him play the entire game, a strategic move by him.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Lakers guard Kobe Bryant at the end of the game.
Bryant on Coach Phil Jackson asserting that Bryant was ‘on vacation’ during the first half. “Sometimes Bermuda can be a little entertaining.”
Bryant on defending Spurs forward Tim Duncan: “We tried to give (Duncan) different looks, he’s such a phenomenal player that I don’t think you can give him a steady diet of the same thing, so we tried to mix it up.”
Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Reggie Miller
Smith on the Spurs inability to win the game: “The most important thing is that these are the types of games that (the Spurs) execute themselves into victory. They weren’t able to be do that against this Laker team who is on an upstart coming back. Normally they shut runs down, they execute and they win games.”
Miller on the difficulty of overcoming this type of loss for the Spurs: “If any team can bounce back from this it would be a great Pop and the Spurs defending Champions. But they had an emotional first round (against Phoenix), they are coming off a seven-game series against the young, athletic Hornets and you are up 20 (points) halfway through the third quarter (against the Lakers) and you end up losing. That could take an emotional toll, especially in the Conference Finals.”
Barkley on the Spurs loss of Game #1: “One thing we’ve proved in the playoffs is every game a different team has won at home as on the road. None of these losses are devastating. One loss is one loss.”
Smith on Spurs’ consistency: “The Spurs have proven they won’t panic, they know their personnel and they trust each other, they trust their system and they trust Pop. They ran into a guy who just caught fire and they really couldn’t stop him. The Spurs are going to be the same thing every single night.”
Barkley on Pistons guard Chauncey Billups coming back from injury to play in the Eastern Conference Finals: “No matter how much work you do on the side, the only way to get into basketball shape is to play the game. You can’t factor in the intensity and the adrenaline (rush) of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was a struggle for Chauncey (Billups in Game #1) is (the Pistons’) emotional and spiritual leader…”
Barkley: “I’ve had a rough week, lay off me right now.”
Miller on the Celtics not utilizing guard Ray Allen: “I don’t think they are running enough plays for (Ray Allen). I don’t know if (Celtics head coach) Doc Rivers and Ray need to get in a room together and Ray needs to go to Doc and say, ‘these are my three or four favorite plays, during the course of the game try to run these so I can get a rhythm.’ They are not going to beat Detroit if Ray doesn’t start knocking down shots.”
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TNT started its exclusive Western Conference Finals Game #1 coverage with a slam dunk, delivering a 4.1 US rating and 4,615,000 households. The game, which featured a come from behind 89-85 win for the #1 seeded Los Angeles Lakers over the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, delivered a 51% increase over TNT’s Eastern Conference Finals Game #1 last year between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons (2.7 US rating), and a 36% increase over the 2007 Western Conference Finals Game #1 match up between the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs on ABC.
- TNT’s coverage of Game #1 of the Western Conference beat ABC, NBC, CBS and the CW across all broadcast and cable outlets in A18-34, M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54.
- The game out-delivered all ABC, NBC and CW prime programs on P18-49 and P25-54.
- The game out-delivered all ABC and CW on Households and Total Viewers.
- The LA Lakers victory out-delivered Fox’s American Idol Finale from 8 – 9 pm PT in the LA market in ratings (17.9 vs. 13.2) and households (1,008,000 vs. 744,000).
- Game #1 of the Lakers/Spurs was the most watched Western Conference Finals game since the 2006 Game #6 of the Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns.