Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, January 22, 2009

TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. ET with the exclusive announcement of the 2009 NBA All-Star reserves, followed at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers @ Orlando Magic followed by the San Antonio Spurs @ Phoenix Suns.

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Grand Nubian, here’s the link to the show.

Game 1:  Boston Celtics (90) @ Orlando Magic (80)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Craig Sager reporting

Collins on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo being one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA: “When you play against a team (that shoots) a lot of three’s, there are a lot of long rebounds.  That’s why your guards have to come back (and rebound).  (Rajon) Rondo is one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA and when he gets those rebounds he can push it into automatic fast breaks.  (Celtics head coach) Doc Rivers has talked to his team about getting those long rebounds and getting to loose basketballs.”

Collins on the importance of Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and Magic point guard Jameer Nelson to their respective teams: “When (Rajon Rondo) plays well, the Celtics are almost unbeatable.  You know what you’re going to get from the other three guys (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen), great defense every night.  Jameer Nelson’s numbers say the same thing for the Orlando Magic, when he is terrific, they don’t lose.”

Collins on what Celtics Kevin Garnett brings to the team: “Every day in practice, (Kevin Garnett) brings energy, toughness and leadership.  When you have a guy like that bringing it, then you better bring it as well.”

Collins on why Magic guard J.J. Redick needs to remain patient with his lack of playing time: “J.J. (Redick) always has to stay ready, there could be an injury or something could happen and his coach will call on him and if he plays well, his coach will trust him.  That’s what’s happening now; J.J. is playing well and getting minutes.  You have to talk to young players, they cannot get discouraged or disappointed.  They’ve got to keep working and then take advantage of their opportunities.”

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****


Johnson, Smith, Webber and Payton

Smith on what he thinks makes a player an NBA All-Star: “You can’t only be a scorer on a bad team or a great statistical guy on a bad team.  You’ve got to be a good statistical guy, you’ve got to be on a good team, you’ve got to be a leader and you’ve got to be able to elevate (your game).  All of those things make an All-Star.”

Webber on why players on bad teams should be considered for the All-Star team: “(When I played) I never got to hire a coach, I never got to draft any players and no matter how good your team is, everyone gave that (great) effort.  I had a great GM and owners in Sacramento.  There were times when I didn’t (have a great GM or owners), that didn’t matter.  We always throw players away that play on bad teams.  It’s an organization that makes great teams, not one player.”

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Collins on the top Eastern Conference teams playing well against the West: “This is the first year in nine that the East has had a better record against the West, so maybe the balance of power is shifting at the top for the East.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy after the third quarter.

Van Gundy on the problems that the Celtics defense is causing the Magic: “We can’t get good shots against them, we’ve really struggled.  No matter what we run we cannot get good shots. Their defense has locked us up.  They are doing a good job, they are staying home forcing the guy with the ball to make the play at the rim.  We have not been able to finish, we can’t get any ball movement, it’s all one-on-one stuff.”

Harlan on the defense of Celtics forward Glen Davis: “(Glen Davis) would make a great NFL left tackle, getting low under the pads, that’s what they call him on that offensive line.”

Collins on Magic center Dwight Howard being out of rhythm during the game:  “It’s one of those nights that Dwight Howard has been a half step behind most every play, it seems like he’s been in the wrong spot most of the night and he can’t get anything going. Interestingly enough, he was caught in traffic before the game and was about a half hour late getting to the game.  Guys get out of their schedules, these guys are creatures of habit, you get out of your normal schedule and the normal way you warm up.  We heard him in the locker room before talking about the traffic before the game.”

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Game 2:  Washington Wizards (97) @ L.A. Lakers (117)

Announcers: Dick Stockton, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello with Cheryl Miller reporting

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Wizards coach Ed Tapscott during the game.

Tapscott on how the Wizards will try to combat the size advantage the Lakers have over them: “There is an old saying, ‘the strong take from the weak, the smart take from the strong.’ We’ve got to be smarter than them if they are stronger than us, so better execution is going to be the key for us.”

Miller: “So Coach, size does matter?”

Tapscott:  “It does on occasion, yes it does.”

Miller on the Wizards trying to outsmart the Lakers:  “If (coach Ed Tapscott) thinks they are going to outsmart the Lakers with no Gilbert Arenas, no Brendan Haywood and no DeShawn Stephenson, then I have some land down south that I want to sell Ed Tapscott because there is no way that is going to happen.”

Miller on his belief that players should not be selected to the NBA All-Star team if they are on a team with a bad record:  “No disrespect to a lot of those guys, but I’ve never been a big fan of rewarding guys when their teams are in second to last or third to last in a conference, even if that takes guys such as (Cavaliers guard) Mo Williams or (Magic guard) Jameer Nelson making the squad.  You could talk about (center) Andrew Bynum making it for the Lakers.  They do have the best record in the league, why can’t they have three representatives?”

Miller on which players he thinks deserved to be voted NBA All-Star starters: “In the West, I would have liked to have seen (Mavericks forward) Dirk (Nowitzki) make it, I think he’s having an MVP year.  If you look at his numbers they are very close to the year he won the MVP.  And I like the big fella (Suns center) Shaq (O’Neal), I know he’s not playing back-to-backs, but Shaq is putting up some pretty big numbers. I know Yao (Ming) is voted in and I think Dirk should make it over (Suns forward) Amar’e (Stoudemire).”

Fratello on which Eastern players should have been considered for the NBA All-Star starters:  “My Eastern guys I would have considered, I think Vince Carter should have been considered over AI (Allen Iverson) in that spot because Vince has done a heck of a job keeping the Nets right around the 500 mark.  Another guy who has come on gangbusters since his injury is Michael Redd, he has been terrific for Milwaukee and their surge lately. And Joe Johnson in Atlanta has got that team on the winning side, with a lot of injuries. AI would be the one I would question.”

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****


Johnson, Smith, Webber and Payton

Payton on Reggie Miller’s opinion of giving more All-Star consideration to players on winning teams:  “Tell Reggie (Miller) we should just play with the Lakers, Boston and those types of players, then you don’t think about these other teams. These guys on these other teams deserve the same kind of look that the guys on the good teams deserve.  They are still NBA basketball players, these guys do the same thing, they put their jerseys on just like everyone else and play basketball, but they don’t get recognized because they’re on a losing team.”

Smith on when a player on a bad team should be an All-Star: “There is an exception to every rule, there is a guy who is going to be in this league who’s going to be on bad teams and he should possibly be on the All-Star team.  There is going to be an exception, but as a collection, the collection of All-Stars should come from teams that win.  There will be an Al Jefferson possibly, there will be a Danny Granger possibly, but if you equate them equally with guys who win games.”

Smith on footage of Craig Sager dancing with a Magic performer on the sideline:  “Craig looks like he’s got a walkman on, he’s dancing to a different beat. He’s no Barack Obama.”

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver Terrell Owens during the game.

Owens on who he thinks will win each conference in the NBA: “In the West (Conference) I would have to go with the Lakers since I’m here.  The East (Conference) is very strong.  You’ve got Boston, who are the World Champions and you’ve got the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are playing very well with the leadership of LeBron (James).”

Owens on the speculation following him and the Cowboys since the end of the NFL season: “You know what, I’m going to be a Cowboy until I retire.  As far as the coaching changes, right now, I’m sure (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones is evaluating a lot of things and hopefully we can get people in place and get back at it and go for it.”

Owens on his relationship with Cowboys QB Tony Romo: “(Tony Romo is) my boy.  We’re good.  Obviously, there were some things said over the course of the season but that’s my boy.  We’re gonna’ try to get this thing back on track and bring a championship to Dallas.”

Owens on who he thinks will win the Super Bowl: “I talked to (Cardinals WR) Larry Fitzgerald before the Philly game a little bit via text messaging and I’m going to go with the NFC (in the Super Bowl).  I want the Arizona Cardinals to win and hopefully Kurt Warner can get that second Super Bowl Trophy.

Miller on Lakers forward Vladimir Radmanovic being late to shoot around and sitting for part of the game:  “When you come to shoot around with only five minutes left because you say your alarm clock didn’t go off, that’s a little spacey. He could say traffic was bad, I could go with that in L.A., but don’t say your alarm clock didn’t go off. Are you kidding me?”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Lakers forward Pau Gasol after the Lakers’ victory.

Gasol on the strong performance of Lakers center Andrew Bynum: “They are letting (Bynum) go to work, and that’s something he’s taking advantage of. He’s being aggressive and he’s putting up big numbers the last couple of nights and we want to be aggressive.  So it’s great for his confidence and great for our team.”

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Smith, Webber and Payton

Smith on the Lakers being the best team in the NBA: “The Lakers are just a smidgen better and I think there has been an overall (sense of) urgency from the Lakers that you normally don’t see from those guys.  They usually come on late in the second half.  There has been some urgency in the first half (of the season).”

Webber how President Obama inspires him to do more for the community: “I met Mr. Obama and he inspired me.  As soon as I met him, I wanted to do more.  I think (President Obama) is telling us is to lead.  We can do little things (that make a difference).  You don’t have to be a big corporation.  He is a grass-roots, ‘lets do it together’ type of guy and I hope he has inspired others as he has inspired me to make sure that I continue to give back (to the community).”

Smith on how he feels President Obama has united the country: “I was happy to see that (President Obama) united everyone, all races, colors, creeds and religions.  I would say most of the Nation feels united.  Regardless of if the recession ends and everyone starts to flourish, regardless of if things are poor and don’t turn around right away, we are in it together (as a country).  When you win a championship in basketball, it’s fun when it’s with your team.  If you’re going through hard times, it’s ok if you’re with your family and people who support you.  Right now, America feels like we are going through this together, it doesn’t feel separated anymore.”

Webber on how the country can unite to help President Obama: “If you look at (President Obama) and what kind of leader he is, he never gets out of sorts.  He got everyone to believe together and it’s the lessons that we learn in crisis that really helps us build our character.  I hope we remember that we are going through it together, there are no color barriers, and he is telling us to do it.  Let’s help him become the President he wants to be.”

Payton: “Man, you should become a speaker.  I like that.”

Webber: “You know what? (Viewers) can see that on NBA TV every Tuesday night.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Celtics forward Kevin Garnett after the Celtics’ victory.

Garnett on if it’s a challenge to play hard every night: “It’s not hard to work hard.  It’s not hard to bring effort every night.  That’s not hard for me to come out here and give everything I have.  That’s not hard at all.  That’s energy and effort.  A lot of things about basketball involve effort.  You can practice things, you can mold talent and you can work on skill but at the end of the day, it’s about effort and heart.”

2 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, January 22, 2009”

  1. michelle says:

    We are the Kings of the court. Boston silenced the young boys on Orlando with this game.

  2. michelle says:

    Don’t you just love Webb