Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, February 26, 2009: No Dimes for LeBron James

TNT NBA Thursdays continue on Thursday, March 5 at 8 p.m. ET featuring the Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Hornets followed by the Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Rockets forward Ron Artest on guarding Cavaliers forward LeBron James: “Right now I’m playing at about 260-265, so it’s not really a hard task to guard LeBron. And I guess vice versa, he has to guard me on the other end.  The only difference between LeBron is he’s just so much more athletic than what I am. He reminds me of a new and improved Ron Artest.”

Marv Albert: “A lot of humility there.”

Reggie Miller: “(Artest) truly believes he’s the best player in the league.  He’s gifted on the defensive end, but sometimes he says some things that make you scratch your head and right there, that is one of them.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley

Smith on the Rockets trading guard Rafer Alston to Orlando and starting Aaron Brooks: “Rafer Alston knows how to run a team and Aaron Brooks is learning how to run a team.  That’s why Orlando now has a shot to win the Eastern Conference because they now have a guy that knows how to run the show.  Aaron Brooks is a good player, but he’s in training.”

Barkley on Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks: “Aaron Brooks is a good player but he’s not as good a player as (former Rockets guard) Rafer Alston.  (The Rockets) know they aren’t going to win now, any success they have is icing on the cake.  Aaron Brooks is a good back-up (player), he’s not a starter.  He’s a score-first point guard.”

Barkley on the Cleveland Cavaliers style of play: “I don’t like the way (the Cavaliers) play.  I wish they would run the ball more and let LeBron (James) finish more.  When they play against really good teams, like the Celtics or Magic deep in the playoffs, I wish he (LeBron James) would finish more instead of setting other guys up.”

Barkley on long-time Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller who passed away earlier this week: “The thing I respect about (Larry Miller) was that he was a fan.  I feel bad; he was a great owner and a great fan.  The NBA is worse off without him.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

Game #1 Cleveland Cavaliers (74) @ Houston Rockets (93)

Announcers: Marv Albert, Mike Fratello and Reggie Miller; David Aldridge reporting

Fratello on Rockets forward Luis Scola: “Luis Scola is only given credit for one year of experience (in the NBA), he was a rookie last year.  He’s far from a rookie; he’s got all the international experience.  He’s a veteran guy who knows how to play.  He’s an excellent player.”

Miller on the Rockets lacking leadership on the floor with McGrady injured: “It’s almost by committee, (head coach Rick Adelman) mentioned Shane (Battier), Dikembe (Mutombo) also speaks his mind.  They need a guy on the floor who can lead right now and I don’t think the Rockets have that.”

Rockets forward Ron Artest on guarding Cavaliers forward LeBron James: “Right now I’m playing at about 260-265, so it’s not really a hard task to guard LeBron. And I guess vice versa, he has to guard me on the other end.  The only difference between LeBron is he’s just so much more athletic than what I am. He reminds me of a new and improved Ron Artest.”

Albert: “A lot of humility there.”

Miller: “(Artest) truly believes he’s the best player in the league.  He’s gifted on the defensive end, but sometimes he says some things that make you scratch your head and right there, that is one of them.”

Miller on the Rockets new roster: “The games will only get bigger for the Houston Rockets. Are (Aaron) Brooks and (Kyle) Lowry going to be able to handle (Ron) Artest and Yao Ming in the playoffs when the demands are going to be much higher?”

Miller on playing against former Pacers teammate Ron Artest in practice: “(Practicing against Ron Artest) depended on which Ron was going to show up.  He would have different moods.  For the most part, he really practiced hard, I’ll give him that.  But there were times when he came in and he wasn’t there all together and the team had to come together and draw him back.  He was intense, he worked hard and plays even harder.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

T-Mobile Halftime Report

Announcers: Johnson, Smith, Barkley

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade joined the studio crew.

Wade on Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra: “I had a relationship with Coach Spoelstra when he was the video coordinator and now he’s the head coach and we still have good communication.  I can go to him when I have something to say and he can come to me.  We have a great friendship.”

Wade on the young players on the Heat: “Early (in the season) we just wanted to see if we could get in the playoffs.  We drafted a 19-year-old Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers, who was 21 (years-old), and Daequan Cook, who was 20 (years-old).  We have a very young team and they play a lot of minutes for us.  We didn’t know what to expect but the guys have stepped up and played a great role.”

Barkley on Wade getting a ring for winning an Olympic gold medal in the 2008 Summer Games: “I played in the Olympics twice and won two gold medals and I didn’t get (a ring).”

Wade: ‘They gave them to the best team.”

Barkley: “First of all…they called you the Redeem Team.”

Smith: “What did they call you?”

Barkley: “The Dream Team.”

Wade on the top teams in the Eastern Conference: “You still have to give it to Boston, they are very tough.  Even without K.G. (Kevin Garnett) they are still winning ballgames.  They have a defensive mindset that’s second to none.  Even though Cleveland is a very good team, I still think Boston is the team to beat in the East.  Orlando is the third best team in the East.  They are still coming of age and getting Rafer Alston is going to put them on a different level, but I still give it to Boston.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

Albert on guard Stephon Marbury signing with the Boston Celtics: “I think it could work out because it’s probably short-term, he’s playing for his next contract, fans in Boston will be behind him. I think they’ll be enthusiastic about it and if he’s in basketball shape, he can play.”

Miller: “I think Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge are thinking that (Marbury) was once one of the premiere point guards in the league.  When he’s coming in with the second unit, that will take the ball handling responsibilities off of Eddie House, who is primarily a shooter.  It could be a good move and you hope it doesn’t blow up in their face.  Let’s face it, every place he’s played, he’s been a disruption in the locker room.  As we know, the Celtics have a very strong locker room because of the Big Three (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen).”

Miller on the Cavaliers losing Ben Wallace for the season: “This is something that’s going to be tough to swallow because now they are going to have to rely on Anderson Varejao, who played pretty good with Zydrunas Ilgauskas out earlier in the year.  They’ll have to go to the rookie J.J. Hickson more often as well.”

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Rockets forward Yao Ming following the game

Yao Ming on the Rockets needing to win down the stretch without an injured Tracy McGrady: “This happened when I was out (injured) last year.  Time is running out and we know how tough the Western Conference is, we really need to make a run so we can survive our division.

****    ****    ****    ****

Game #2:  Phoenix Suns (106) @ Los Angeles Lakers (132)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins; Craig Sager reporting

Collins on Suns guard Leandro Barbosa: “(Barbosa) is playing so well right now, he’s got his confidence back.  He’s such a key player (for the Suns).  When they get (Steve) Nash back and they put Barbosa out there with Jason Richardson and Grant Hill, they can score quickly in that open floor.”

Collins on the Lakers defense slipping in recent games: “One of the things about the Lakers is their defense has been slipping a little bit.  A big part is because the offense has become so easy for them.”

Collins on the trust that Kobe Bryant has with Lakers teammate Derek Fisher: “I think the important thing (about Derek Fisher) is he’s been in that (Lakers) locker room and won three championships with Kobe Bryant.  I think there is a real trust factor there that Kobe knows that (Fisher) has the pulse of this team.”

Collins on the Lakers playing without injured center Andrew Bynum: “They played well and made it to the NBA Finals last year without Bynum.  But they feel that in order to win the championship, they’re going to need a healthy Bynum and a bigger presence on the front line to go with Pau Gasol.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Lakers forward Lamar Odom after the second quarter

Odom on the Lakers stressing defense this season: “We are striving for perfection.  To be a perfect team, you have to be the best defensive team in the league.  That’s what we’re trying to do.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

T-Mobile Halftime Report

Announcers: Johnson, Smith, Barkley

Barkley on the older Suns players not being able to play an up-tempo style: “There isn’t any way that Steve Nash and Shaquille O’Neal, at their ages, can play this (up-tempo) style.  Shaq has had a great year and he’s the only one on the Suns who has played well all year.  They are too old to get up and down the floor, they can’t sustain it, someone is going to get hurt.  They are too old to play that fast, they can’t play like that.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

Collins on the importance of defense to Lakers head coach Phil Jackson: “I don’t think (Phil Jackson) minds the pace of the game being up because the Lakers are creating it with their defense.  He’d like for them to rebound the ball and not give up second shots.”

Collins on the number of injuries this season compared to the number of trades last season: “Last year is was all about addition with all the trades, Pau Gasol, Kyle Korver, Jason Kidd, Ben Wallace and all the teams that were trying to strengthen themselves (through trades).  This year its about attrition, which team is going to be healthy at the right time and playing the best basketball.”

Collins on the leadership on the Lakers: “(The leadership) starts with the head coach (Phil Jackson) and the two leaders in the backcourt; Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher with the three championship rings.  Those are the guys that set the tone every day.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed injured Suns guard Steve Nash during the fourth quarter.

Nash on the Suns chances at making the playoffs: “I think we’re going to get in (to the playoffs).  It’s a real log-jam between the fifth and ninth spot and we have the potential to creep in or really move up (in the standings).  I think we have enough guys in this locker room to pull it together and get in.”

Nash on Charles Barkley’s comments that the Suns are too old to play an up-tempo style of play: “I love Charles and I’m happy to have him back on the air, but we’re not geriatric yet.  I think we feel good.  We only have three guys who have played this style in the past.  We’ve opened it up and had some success against some good teams.  I think we have to get back to being comfortable at that (fast) pace again.  In that case, we’ll see our team succeed and age won’t be a factor.”

Collins on the passing of Chicago Bulls legends Johnny “Red” Kerr and Norm Van Lier: “I had the good fortune when I coached in Chicago for three years to be around Johnny.  He was always so positive and loved the Chicago Bulls.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.  It’s just a tough day with Norm Van Lier (passing earlier on Thursday) was one of the great competitors in the backcourt with Jerry Sloan on those great Chicago Bulls teams.  How fragile life is and we have to live every minute of it.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Lakers guard Kobe Bryant after the game

Bryant on if the Lakers view the Suns as a threat: “We look at everyone as a threat.  We have to in order to keep that edge.  In order to do that, we have to respect everyone.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley

Smith on whether he thinks the Suns will make the playoffs: “The Phoenix Suns will be watching from the fishing boats of Lake Havasu.”

Barkley: “I concur, there will be no playoffs for the Phoenix Suns this year.”

Barkley on the lack of defense played by the Phoenix Suns: “Just for the record (former Suns coach) Terry Porter got the shaft.  They brought him in to make the team play defense, but the players gave up, they did not want to play defense. As a player, players want to play like this. The great teams always play defense, but most players just want to run up and down the court. The Suns have played sissy ball for the last few years.  It’s fun to watch, it’s exciting, but they don’t have those types of players (who can play defense).”

Barkley on Rockets coach Rick Adelman deserving recognition: “You know who deserves some credit?  (Rockets coach) Rick Adelman because you look at what he’s done the last couple of years without his best player, going on a 20-some game winning streak last year and coming out this year.  His teams compete night in and night out.”

Barkley on the Rockets having a 17-6 record without guard Tracy McGrady: “That doesn’t mean they are better team.  That stat you showed about the little backup point guard’s numbers are better than Rafer Alston, he’s not a better player than Rafer and they are not a better team. There’s no way you’re going to tell me that a team is better without Tracy McGrady and Rafer Alston. Yao Ming has got to be their best player. We’ve been saying that for two or three years. Tracy McGrady is more of a role player, they need to get that ball inside to Yao Ming and he’ll get those three point shooters going, and Tracy, when he comes back he’s going to fit with that system.”

Smith on the Rockets’ decisive offense without guard Tracy McGrady in the line-up: “Without Tracy McGrady, they make the ball go through Yao Ming.  It’s a decisive offense. When Tracy McGrady is there, there is a little indecision.  But now they are decisive and when they play Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis and Minnesota there is no doubt (about their offense), so they beat those teams and get a 17-6 record. When he’s there what he can do is elevate them to a championship contending team. They can play better without him in the regular season, but he makes them a championship contender. (McGrady) has to figure out a way to play through Yao Ming to make them effective.  He’s not accustomed to playing through anyone but Tracy McGrady.”

Smith on the probable addition of guard Stephon Marbury to the Boston Celtics: “(The Celtics) have nothing to lose, they are right now 46-13, they are going to win an NBA title or have a great chance to win it whether (Stephon Marbury) is there or not.  He insures them in certain positions, he’s a great insurance policy, so if he doesn’t work out, so what?  They’re 46-13 and they won it last year without him.  If he does (work out) and he plays anywhere like he’s capable of playing they are a team to be reckoned with for more than this year. The last part of that is Step has no other options.  If you can’t play well with the Boston Celtics then you can’t play anywhere, you have to go overseas because this is a team that Doc Rivers has really meshed and made into a championship organization.”

Barkley on Stephon Marbury having no other options but to perform well with the Celtics; “With Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett leading that team they are not going to put up with any BS. (Stephon Marbury) has no other option, if he gives them any crap they are going to cut him, and they are going to be just as good. He’s a backup player, they probably only expect him to play 15 minutes a night. He understands that he’s at the end of his contract and he wants to play again.  He can say he wants to go overseas but he’s lying, everyone wants to play in the NBA.  He’s going to come in there, Kevin and Doc are going put their foot on his neck, he’s going to go in there and try to play well and get them a ring. If he gets a ring he will get the last laugh.”

Log onto TNT OverTime on NBA.com for a full replay of Inside the NBA and exclusive reports from TNT announcers.

2 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, February 26, 2009: No Dimes for LeBron James”

  1. MODI says:

    this Knick Phile game is U-G-L-Y

    I’ve said this before but somebody please explain to me how Samuel dalembert becomes an all-star evertime he faces the Knicks… and why isn’t he great vs. other teams

Leave a Reply