Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Tuesday, October 28, 2008: Greg Oden Goes Down ( Broadband League Pass Info Follows)

TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues Thursday, October 30 at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Houston Rockets @ Dallas Mavericks followed by the New Orleans Hornets @ Phoenix Suns.

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by

Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley

Smith on the experience of getting your NBA Championship ring: “For a lot of us, it was the first time that we’d seen (a championship) ring, so you’re comparing it and talking about it. More than anything else you look down and say, ‘This guy next to me did everything that he could physically possibly do to help me win this and his guy to my left (did everything he could do).’ It bonds you for life.”

Barkley on the Boston Celtics repeating another championship season: “I think it’s going to be very difficult for two reasons – one, you want to know if they have that same hunger, clearly they were on a mission last year. Secondly, they are going to miss James Posey.”

Smith: “Fighting complacency (is key to the Celtics’ repeating). It’s not your best players – Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have been All-Stars – they have seen a lot of success, they’ve gotten a lot of admiration, they’ve had a lot of press clippings. But your sixth, seventh and eighth man…those are the guys that are not used to that kind of stardom and all of sudden they get commercials…The complacency of your guys who have never been stars and are now stars (is what you have to be concerned about).”

Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand appeared on the show via satellite.

Brand on how he measures success this year with the 76ers: “A successful season for us is getting further than the first round because that’s what they did last year without me. We’re a young team, we’re growing. Of course the Boston Celtics are the measuring stick and an upper echelon team and that’s where we want to get to, but we have a lot of growing to do. They had three All-Stars players come after not making the playoffs and come with some hunger and some fervor to win, so we have to get that same intensity. And I think we can get it, it just might take some time.”

Brand on leaving the Clippers: “It’s still kind of surreal seeing those guys on the team and I’m not on the team. Free agency came and when I opted out my intentions were of course to be there but once we tried to make the deal happen it kind of turned the corner and my agent David Faulk and I had to look outside for some other offers. I think they’ll be fine out there with Baron and adding Camby and Al Thornton and Cuttino Mobley. Coach (Mike) Dunleavy is going to have those guys ready, but all that’s in the past and I’m ready with Coach (Maurice) Cheeks and my Sixers team to put that chapter behind me.”

Barkley on the Phoenix Suns: “I think the Phoenix Suns are going to be better than people realize. If Terry Porter gets them to play a little defense they are going to be better…It’s time for Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire to take their game to the next level.”

Barkley on the Houston Rockets: “(The Rockets) could be really good or it could blow up. Ron Artest is the big variable.”

Smith: “You know who people are sleeping on? Rafer Alston. He had his best pro year last year and they had a great stretch without Yao Ming and if Tracy McGrady goes down for six or seven games Ron Artest is the only guy I know who can get 20 points and stop a guy from getting 20. You can’t name me three guys who can do that.”

Barkley on the Philadelphia Sixers: “I think (the Sixers) are going to be a lot better (since they got) Elton Brand, but a lot of teams in the East got better, also. I think it’s going to be tough for him realistically to get past the first round of the playoffs.”

Johnson on the new faces in Milwaukee Bucks: “There’s a new team there in Milwaukee, with Richard Jefferson there now and Scott Skiles as the new coach.”

Barkley: “Yeah, but the same ugly results.”

TNT’s John Thompson interviewed Boston Celtics guard Paul Pierce.

Pierce on sacrificing for the betterment of the team: “I said hey, I’m going to take less shots if that’s going to make us a better team, so be it. I sacrificed a lot of things that I’ve done offensively and directed (it) towards the defense because that’s what this team is all about, the defense. It took a lot of sacrificing, I had to bite my tongue on a lot of things and had to hold back a lot of times. It was hard.”

Pierce on people expecting him to be a selfish player: “That’s what people expected me to do, since day one – the draft. I was the tenth pick and I’ve been out to prove people wrong and that’s pretty much what I’m all about. (People say) ‘Paul is not going to work. Kevin (Garnett), Ray (Allen), but Paul’s not going to do it.’ I hear it, I hear the whispers…but I knew what I could sacrifice.”

Smith on picking a repeat of last year’s NBA Finals: “The NBA Finals are going to be the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets. It was a throwback with the Finals last year (featuring the Lakers and the Celtics), we’ve got another throwback Finals again.”

Barkley: “I’m going to go with the Cleveland Cavaliers against the L.A. Lakers. I think LeBron James is on a mission. That’s why Paul Pierce was crying (during the ring ceremony), because he has to guard LeBron.”

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Game 1: Cleveland Cavaliers (85) @ Boston Celtics (90)

Announcers Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello; with Craig Sager reporting

Miller on Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James: “If I had any criticism of LeBron James’ game (it would be for him) to become a better jump shooter. I think he’s getting ready to turn the corner into that Michael Jordan area of dominating the league.”

Miller on Celtics guard Paul Pierce: “Everyone was worried that Paul Pierce’s emotions were going to take over, it’s good to see that he’s found his game in this first game for the Celtics.”

Miller on Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mo Williams: “(Mo Williams) was on a team in Milwaukee that didn’t have to play defense, they were mostly concentrated on playing offense. Coming (to Cleveland) is going to be somewhat of an adjustment because Mike Brown is a defense-oriented coach.”

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Johnson, Smith and Barkley

Barkley on the Cavaliers: “I like Cleveland, they’re my pick to win the East, but I don’t like Mo Williams and Delonte West starting together. They’re too small and Mo Williams is a point guard who shoots a lot, they need to have another shooter in the game, like a (Aleksandar) Pavolvic or a (Wally) Szczerbiak, they’ll have a faster tempo…it will also widen the floor for LeBron (James).”

Smith on Trail Blazers center Greg Oden saying the season opener is no different than the preseason: “You can’t treat the preseason like the regular season, it’s a totally different animal…I remember every year bring so excited the first night, especially on the road. I would go by and knock on all the rookie doors (in the hotel) and say, ‘This is the first day of your life because now you’ve arrived.’ It’s a different game the first game of the regular season.”

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Miller on the Celtics/Cavaliers match-up: “There is no love lost between these two teams. Anytime you’re locked in a series with a team and it goes seven (games), ‘chippiness’ always comes to the surface…Paul Pierce has always relished going against the face of the NBA right now, LeBron James.”

Miller on guarding Cavaliers forward LeBron James: “I’ve been on that island before, guarding LeBron James, and he’s much better now than he was his rookie year when I was going against him. When you give him options to go either baseline or middle, he is too tough to guard.”

Miller on Celtics forward Paul Pierce: “I always thought that Paul Pierce was going to the Hall (of Fame), but now he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer with a championship.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Celtics coach Doc Rivers during the fourth quarter.

Doc Rivers on what the ring ceremony means to him: “It meant a lot, it is emotional. For me, it’s 24 years that I’ve been in this league and we’ve been chasing that. Paul Pierce, the same thing and all the fans, too. It’s emotional, but now we gotta play.”

Fratello on Doc Rivers: “You have to be happy for a guy like Doc Rivers. (During the 2006-07 season the Celtics) had just 24 wins and the pain and suffering of that season, the last year of his contract coming up last year. What do they do? They turn it around (and) wind up with 66 wins and he gets rewarded this summer with a three year contract. Great job by Doc Rivers.”

Miller on the pressure shooting of Cavaliers forward LeBron James: “If (LeBron James) is going to take that next step, he’s got to improve his jump shot and as much as he gets fouled he needs to go to the free throw line and make pressure free throws.”

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Game 2: Portland Trail Blazers (76) @ LA Lakers (96)

Announcers Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins; with Cheryl Miller reporting

Collins on Portland Trail Blazers guard Steve Blake: “(Steve Blake) is a winner, he was a big pickup for Portland a couple of years ago. He stepped in last year and started 78 games. He gives them a real calming presence, (he’s a) good defender and he does not turn the ball over.”

Collins on Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez: “Rudy Fernandez is a high energy, electric player who loves to drive the ball to the basket, tries to dunk on you, he can shoot the three…Fernandez is a terrific young player and you better keep your body on him because he’ll go to the offensive boards and look to try and dunk offensive rebounds.”

Collins on LA Lakers forward Lamar Odom coming off the bench: “(Lamar Odom) can be an anchor for the second unit. The way he can handle the ball and the fact that he’s so versatile and can play multiple positions.”

Collins on Trail Blazers center Greg Oden: “When you see Greg Oden, or you see an interview, you see a big guy, well spoken who seems kind of quiet and all. But really what it belies is he is a really big time competitor. You don’t see that off the court, but he’s won everywhere he’s gone, whether it was high school or in college…The struggles of Portland last year, (Portland is) hoping that as the year goes on Greg Oden will have a positive affect in all these areas, that’s going to help Portland win more ballgames and get into that elite in the Western Conference and help them be a playoff team.”

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Johnson, Smith and Barkley

Smith on the Lakers: “(The Lakers) have set the tone and the tone is that they’re loaded. They really have every position covered, twice.”

Barkley on Lamar Odom coming off the bench: “I think that’s a really good coaching move by Coach Jackson (to bring Lamar Odom off the bench). If you put (Andrew) Bynum, (Pau) Gasol and (Lamar) Odom together they wouldn’t be a good transition defensive team, they’d be slow. They’re smaller now, but they’re faster and when you have Bynum and Gasol you’re big enough to compete the other teams and bringing Odom on the bench is going to make your bench stronger.”

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Collins on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: “To me the most fundamentally sound player I’ve ever saw play the game I had the joy of coaching was Michael Jordan. And I think you can say that about Kobe Bryant. He’s the most fundamentally sound player in the game today.”

Collins on Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy missing his first nine shots: “You know what I love about Brandon Roy? You never know if the guy was 10 for 10 (or zero for nine) right now because he never changes expression. I think that’s such a great quality to have as a leader. You don’t see that he’s flustered, you don’t see that he’s rattled. He’s missed his first nine shots, he’s struggled all night long, but he’s never given that indication to his teammates. That’s what you want in a leader. You want a guy when things are going badly they’ll look at him and still feel that they’ve got a chance to win.”

Collins on Greg Oden, who left the game in the first half with a foot injury: “Let’s hope that it isn’t anything serious. (Greg Oden) has been so snake bitten. His freshman year at Ohio State he shot free throw shots left handed and then he gets the microfracture surgery, he’s just had such a tough run of luck. Let’s hope good things will happen for that guy because you feel the weight of the world and the pressure on him to perform in Portland.”

Collins on Lakers forward Luke Walton: “Phil Jackson knows that he can count on Luke Walton. He knows what he can do and that Luke is going to work hard and that’s he’s going to be there. Luke fits well in this system and believe me, he’ll be counted on by this team this year.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Kobe Bryant following the game.

Bryant on playing with consistency: “This is the type of thing that we talked about last year. We had a good defensive team last year but very inconsistent, this year the thing that we want to change is our consistency.”

Bryant on improving the offense: “We have a lot of depth and we have a lot of offensive fire power, so it’s my job to pick my spots and see where we were stagnant offensively and then try to pick it up.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Smith and Barkley

Barkley on the foot injury sustained by Trail Blazers center Greg Oden that kept him out of the second half of the game: “I feel bad, (Oden) is a great kid and he’s got great potential. The Portland fan base to me, I always thought they were the best fans in the NBA, they’ve always had fantastic fans up there and it will be good for the NBA for them to be good again.”

Smith on why the Lakers are the team to beat in the West: “The Lakers had the luxury of going to the Western Conference Finals (last season) and arguably their second best player (Andrew Bynum) wasn’t there. You have to say that they are head and shoulders above everyone else because they have the experience factor, they have the depth and I don’t think there is any other team that has a guy that in the last two and a half minutes that that is super clutch. There are other teams that have great players, or a Nick Van Exel (type) that hits clutch shots, but you don’t think of other teams in the West that have that assassin in that (final) two minute mark of the game that consistently hit shots down the stretch (like Kobe Bryant).”

Barkley on his top teams in the Western Conference: “Utah and New Orleans are right there with (the Lakers), they are the three best teams and the wild card is the Houston Rockets, but I think the jury is still out on Ron Artest as far as being a leader on that team, and whether Tracy (McGrady) and Yao (Ming) can stay healthy (is a factor). I think (the Rockets) are going to be intriguing to watch, but the Lakers, New Orleans and Utah are the three best teams in the West.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Celtics forward Paul Pierce after Boston’s season opening victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Pierce on the ring ceremony prior to the start of the season opener: “It was very difficult, I was on the sidelines just trying to get myself together, it was a very emotional night. I’m happy to get the ring and now we can move on from last year and concentrate on defending our title.”

Pierce on beating the Cavaliers in their home opener: “(LeBron James) is one of the best, we guard each other and I love playing against the great players, that’s what is all about and the fans, they like to watch it. It’s important for us to come and establish home court. That’s the question all year is if we are going to be hungry, tonight we want to set a tone against a team we know we are going to see down the road, throughout the regular season and possibly in the playoffs, so we are going to take it one game at a time and move forward.”

Smith on the biggest change Bulls guard Derrick Rose will have to adapt to in the NBA: “The toughest thing is a lack of knowledge, you don’t know your opponent. In college you don’t have to know your opponent because you’re quicker, you’re stronger, you’re faster and you’re better than them. When you come to the NBA you have to know guys and what they do well and what they don’t do well. The first guy I learned that from was John Stockton. I had never really seen him play, it was only his second game starting, and he comes on and he looks like a guy who sells insurance, he’s 5’11” or six feet at the most. I said there is no way this guy can stay in front of me and at the end of the night he had 20 points and 20 assists. You have to know your opponent, which you don’t have to know in college.”


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5 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Tuesday, October 28, 2008: Greg Oden Goes Down ( Broadband League Pass Info Follows)”

  1. Okori says:

    right now, somewhere in a dark room, there is one blazers fan…. in a room filled with Maurice Lucas posters, Clyde Drexler Jerseys, and a Jerome Kersey plush doll, who looks around at his beloved Blazers and then begins to weep softly. Because he knows: They have just drafted the evolutionary Sam Bowie, and Kevin Durant is already as good as advertised.

    Don’t worry, Blazers fan, you’re not alone. Every team has one guy they convinced themselves would be better than he actually was. What you hope happens is that you get yourself out of this.

  2. michelle says:

    NO C-WEBB!!!

    I’m soooooo sadddddd!!!!!

  3. MODI says:

    I just want to acknowledge that the Philly drought is officially over! Congrats… Let’s seeif the Eagles and Sixers get the memo…

  4. chris says:

    PHILLIES DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Mizzo says:

    Obviously it was the first game but Jermaine O’Neal is definitely back. He and Chris Bosh look unstoppable. Jason Kapono might lead the L in threes.