NBA On TNT Western Conference Finals Notes: “It ain’t my fault his back is hurt. If you’ve got a bad back, go sit on the sidelines.”

Barkley on whether or not Spurs guard Manu Ginobili’s performance is crucial to the series: “It’s not about Manu (Ginobili), it’s about (the Spurs) bench. Even if (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Ginobili) have great games, it’s still not enough points to beat the Lakers. (The Spurs) have to hope that their role players: Robert Horry, Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen and (Ime) Udoka play well at home. We’ve seen that throughout the playoffs…role players play better at home.”

Miller on the key to the remainder of the Western Conference Finals: “(The series) really comes down to Tim Duncan. We can talk about (Manu) Ginobili and (Tony) Parker all we want but the Lakers still have, in a one-on-one situation, no one to guard Tim Duncan. If he can get it going like he did in Game 1, when they got out to a 20 point lead, I think that will be the key to victory for the Spurs.”

Smith on the Lakers’ mindset at this point in the series: “(The Lakers) are happy because their game plan is working to perfection. Overall, their second unit comes into the game and dominates; they don’t keep the lead, they increase the lead. Their bench has been superb and that has been the difference (in the series). (The Lakers’ bench) has more energy and more guys that can do things off the dribble which San Antonio doesn’t have.”

In the latest Timeout with Thompson segment, TNT’s Coach John Thompson interviewed Spurs guard Robert Horry and forward Bruce Bowen to discuss their roles with the Spurs.

Horry on his reputation for hitting clutch shots: “It’s crazy, I just happen to be at the right spot at the right time.”

Bowen on his responsibility to defend against Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in the Western Conference Finals: “It’s a great opportunity. I think you get a chance to show your talents as well. If that’s the avenue where you can get on the court, so be it.”

Bowen on whether or not he tries to play mind-games when guarding the top offensive players in the NBA: “I don’t think there is anything you can do to mentally harass those players. It’s just a matter of staying the course, sometimes they might start (the game) off hot and sometimes they don’t. You just have to stay the course more than anything else.”

Bowen on being known as a tough defender: “I’m here to do a job for my team and if I can’t do my job, then I’m not going to be on the floor. So I’m going to do my best to limit whoever it is I’m guarding. That means that there may be some bumpin’ and grindin’ going on…that’s part of the game.”

Horry on two controversial plays he has been involved in in recent years: “The Steve Nash thing (hard foul during the 2007 NBA playoffs), it was just a hard foul. He was coming down the court, we were (losing), you’re going to the free throw line so I’m going to put some punishment on you. Now everyone wants to talk about the David West thing (hard foul in the second round of the 2008 NBA playoffs), it ain’t my fault his back is hurt. If you’ve got a bad back, go sit on the sidelines.”

Horry on the difference between this season’s Lakers team and previous teams: “Since I played with Kobe, I can tell the difference is his feel for his teammates, his repoire with his teammates. He seems happy. I think he took it too serious when I played with him.”

Barkley on Bowen defending against Kobe Bryant: “(Bruce Bowen) can’t guard (Kobe Bryant), only God can.”

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Game #3: San Antonio Spurs (103) @ L.A. Lakers (84) – The Lakers lead the series 2-1.

Announcers Marv Albert and Doug Collins; with Craig Sager reporting

Collins on the Lakers’ success in the lane against the Spurs: “The Lakers are such a long, athletic team in the lane. They just cause so many problems for the Spurs’ front line.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Lakers head coach Phil Jackson after the first quarter.

Jackson on what upsets him: “You know what really bothers me? My tie matches your suit, (Craig Sager)…that bothers me tonight.”

Jackson on Spurs guard Manu Ginobili sparking the Spurs in the first quarter: “We knew that was going to happen down here, they were going to start feeling much more at ease on their home floor. Manu is a sparkplug for them.”

Collins on Spurs guard Ime Udoka defending Kobe Bryant: “There’s something when you get a certain defender on you and you know you can score anytime. Unfortunately, for (Ime) Udoka, when Kobe (Bryant) sees him and (Udoka) could be playing good defense, Kobe still feels like he can score on him at any time.”

Collins on what Manu Ginobili means to the Spurs: “(Manu Ginobili) is so important to (the Spurs) because he is such a fearless player. He is such a competitor. I have such great admiration for players that don’t make excuses. When you look at the Lakers and the Spurs, you see they are great teams but their two coaches don’t allow excuses.”

Lakers guard Derek Fisher on the Lakers defending Spurs guard Manu Ginobili: “At times, some of the things we have done defensively against him have made things difficult for him. I think at times he hasn’t looked aggressive in attacking the basket. But we haven’t given up many driving lanes and I think our defense have been pretty solid. I would like to think that it’s what we’re doing not how he’s feeling.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Spurs guard Manu Ginobili after the second quarter

Ginobili on what the Spurs learned from reviewing a video tape of their offensive plays: “(We learned) that we weren’t moving the ball the way we wanted. We were letting them put us back on our heels. We were more aggressive (in the first half of Game #3), we attacked the rim more and if we had an open shot…we let it fly.”

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Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Miller

Barkley on Spurs guard Manu Ginobili: “(Manu Ginobili has) been (the Spurs) best player all season. He’s fantastic and he’s fun to watch.”

Miller on what the Lakers need out of Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom: “The Lakers have been the most consistent road team throughout the playoffs, but Derek Fisher, who struggled in Game 1, is scoreless (in the first half of Game 3) and Lamar Odom, who I think has the size advantage against any of the Spurs’ defenders, those two guys have to be more aggressive for the Lakers. It just can’t be the ‘Kobe Bryant Show,’ the other guys who have been consistent all year have to be more consistent (in the playoffs) for the Lakers.”

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Collins on the importance of Spurs center Tim Duncan shooting free throws early in games: “It’s important for Tim Duncan to shoot free throws early because you know he is going to get fouled late in the game. He’s such a cerebral player and sometimes that affects him a little bit late in the game. He’ll think about those (free throws) that he missed earlier in the game.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich after the third quarter.

Popovich on Spurs guard Bruce Bowen defending against Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: “Luckily, it’s Bruce (Bowen) out there and not me. We depend on him to do the best job he can against a great player.”

Collins on Lakers guard Derek Fisher playing defense: “Derek Fisher has such strong hands. He reminds me of (former NBA player) Sarunas Marciulionis who used to play for the Golden State Warriors who had such strong, powerful, quick hands. If you put the ball down and expose it, (Fisher) will strip that ball.”

Collins on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: “(Kobe Bryant) is amazing. You are never out of the game when he is on your team.”

Collins on the key to a successful NBA playoff run: “One of the keys to success in the NBA playoffs is navigating the highs and lows. The emotional swings from game to game.”

Collins on who needs to step up on the Lakers team in Game 4: “(Lakers head coach) Phil Jackson is going to count on a bounce-back game from (Lamar) Odom and (Derek) Fisher. They are so important. Fisher brings the defense and Odom has the versatility and size. (Odom) has been a one-man zone and he can attack off the dribble. Those two guys are going to have to have big games for the Lakers to win Game 4.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Spurs guard Manu Ginobili at the end of the game

Ginobili on his strong performance in Game 3: “I am kind of surprised about the points I scored. I knew I was going to be more aggressive. I made five three’s in the first half so that really got me going and made me feel very confident.”

Ginobili on how important it is for the Spurs’ Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and himself to lead the team: “We know we are very important to this team. If all three of us play well and aggressively and get everybody involved and be leaders, we are a totally different team. I’m very proud of the comeback we had (in Game 3).”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Reggie Miller

Miller on the biggest factors leading to the Spurs victory in Game 3: “I think it was the inability of Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher to get it going for the Lakers. We were looking for Tim Duncan to have a big game, I know Manu (Ginobili) is probably going to get most of the credit for this 30 point performance, but (the Lakers) don’t have an answer for Tim Duncan when he plays like that.”

Smith on the importance of Tony Parker in Game 3 for the Spurs: “For as important as what (Manu Ginobili) did (in Game #3), I think it was more important what Tony Parker did because he sucked the (Lakers’) defense in which allowed those early three’s by Manu which enabled him to get going. (Tony Parker’s) ability to get into the lane is just as important as the 30 points that Manu got.”

Barkley on Spurs guard Manu Ginobili: “(Manu Ginobili) is the emotional leader of (the Spurs). He gets the crowd going in the game. He plays with such reckless abandon and that’s why he’s one of my favorite players. He’s not afraid to fail.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Lakers forward Lamar Odom following the game

Odom on taking the blame for the Lakers losing Game 3: “We were still right there. I put that totally on myself, I take the blame totally for this game. I don’t know what I shot from the field, I know it wasn’t good. Got to the free throw line and couldn’t make free throws. Turned the ball over as well as made a couple of plays that just aren’t good enough especially on the road with this type of intensity and atmosphere. Guys did what they had to do but I didn’t tonight. That’s why the margin of the (Spurs) victory was so big.”

Barkley on the Celtics winning Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons on the road in Detroit: “(For the Pistons) to come out that flat at home (in Game 3), they can’t blame anybody but themselves. I heard a couple of reporters tried to blame (Pistons head coach Flip Saunders, which is totally a joke. If you have to get guys motivated and you’re three games away from playing for the (NBA) Championship, that’s all on the players. Chauncey Billups has to play better and Rasheed Wallace has got to wake up and play. Realistically, Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey are the only two guys who have played well for Detroit.”

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