Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Playoffs – Monday, April 27, 2009: Denver Blows Out New Orleans by a Thousand!

(AP Photo/Bill Haber)

TNT’s “40 Games in 40 Nights” NBA Playoffs coverage continues on Tuesday, April 28th with the Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics (Game #5) at 7 p.m. ET followed by Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs (Game #5).

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Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Barkley on Hawks All-Star guard Joe Johnson struggling in the playoffs: “(Opponents) play better defense on you in the playoffs, so regular season (stats) don’t mean anything in the playoffs.  I like Joe Johnson and I think he’s a good player but he can’t be the best player on your team.  He’s a good player; he’s not a great player.”

Smith on Lakers center Andrew Bynum: “He wants to play and I think any competitive person would have that attitude.  If you are in the NBA and don’t have that attitude, I’d question it from the start.  Andrew Bynum has jumped into the season when the season is at its height.  He didn’t play the whole year and he doesn’t have his legs, the same timing and consistency.  I think it was fool’s gold down the stretch in the last five games when he played well.  He was playing against teams that didn’t have the same energy.”

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Game #1 Atlanta Hawks (81) @ Miami Heat (71) – Series tied 2-2

Announcers: Dick Stockton, Mike Fratello; and Cheryl Miller reporting

Fratello on the effectiveness of players-only meetings: “It’s rare that a players-only meeting has an effect.  They really need to have a presence that leads the meeting and says something that the players are going to listen to.  Often times, it ends up being lip service, a waste of time and they don’t do one thing about the major concerns that they are supposed to be doing.”

Fratello on Hawks guard Joe Johnson’s shooting struggles in the playoffs: “Joe Johnson’s shooting has gotten into his head.  His head is all messed up on his shooting.”

Fratello on the Hawks having tough players: “(Maurice) Evans and (Zaza) Pachulia have toughness, Flip Murray has the ability to get into the game mentally and has great concentration on his guy.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Hawks forward Maurice Evans following the first half

Evans on what the Hawks need to do to beat the Heat: “We have to understand what we did wrong and we have to do exactly what we did when we built up the lead.  We played team ball on the offensive and defensive end.  That’s what’s going to beat the Miami Heat.”

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T-Mobile Halftime Report

Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Smith on players keeping their composure when the game is on the line: “When the game gets frantic the best players get calmer and they have more composure.  That’s the difference between championship teams and teams that play championship teams.”

Smith on the Jazz needing to take Lakers center Andrew Bynum off of his game and making him a non-factor: “The only hope that the Utah Jazz have is that they’ve taken Andrew Bynum out of the series.  If they can continue to do that, the Lakers are so long and athletic and without Bynum they aren’t as long and athletic.”

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Fratello on Heat forward Michael Beasley struggling with his jump shot:  “Michael Beasley did not contribute much in Game #3.  (The Heat) are counting on him to come off the bench and provide a scoring punch.  He’s not hesitant at all to shoot; he’s got to take the ball to the basket more.  He’s not making his jumper.”

Fratello on Heat forward Jermaine O’Neal: “(Jermaine O’Neal) has a size advantage.  He’s got long arms, he brings the ball up high (to shoot) and elevates over the top of the defender.”

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Game #2:  Utah Jazz (96) @ Los Angeles Lakers (107) – Lakers win the series 4-1.

Announcers: Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Craig Sager reporting

Miller on Jazz center Mehmet Okur returning to the Jazz lineup: “That’s what’s been missing from the Jazz lineup, someone to spread the floor.  Especially when (point guard) Deron Williams gets into the paint.  Mehmet Okur is one of those players who can spread the defense.”

Miller on Jazz reserve guard C.J. Miles guarding Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: “No disrespect to C.J. Miles but with (Andrei) Kirilenko and Ronnie Brewer on the bench for the Jazz, Kobe Bryant understands that he can take C.J. Miles anytime he wants.”

Lakers guard Derek Fisher on Kobe Byrant having a pulse on how to play the game in order to have success as a team: “(Kobe Bryant) has the understanding of when he needs to do the Kobe Bryant thing. Tonight he’s going to make sure that we come out and send the right message and we start the game the way we need to in order to win this game. If that means scoring early and that’s what he feels then he’ll do that. If that means locking in defensively, if that means facilitating and getting Pau Gasol going, getting Andrew Bynum going, he’ll do that. It’s whatever we need him to do to win.”

Miller on Lakers reserve forward Josh Powell: “Josh Powell is one of those players who comes off the bench for the Lakers who is going to scrap, play hard and sometimes a little dirty.  He’ll get some offensive rebounds and set good screens.”

Albert: “You say ‘dirty’ in a nice way.”

Miller: “In a very good way.”

Miller on Lakers forward Lamar Odom: “(Jazz forward) Matt Harpring cannot guard Lamar Odom down low.  What makes Odom so tough is when he gets into the open court, he’s able to finish with either hand and he’s able to lay the ball up in traffic.”

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T-Mobile Halftime Report

Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Smith on what makes the Lakers a great team: “Kobe Bryant can get anyone a shot on (the Lakers).  They’ve got two other guys who can get other players shots which no team has.  Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom can get other people shots.  When you have three guys on your team that can command a double-team, you’re going to be tough to beat.”

Barkley on Lakers forward Lamar Odom: “Lamar Odom is a good player but he couldn’t carry a team by himself.  He is the third best player on the Lakers and that makes him more effective and equally dangerous.”

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Miller on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: “Kobe Bryant is one of those players that can go around you, over you, under you and through you.”

Miller on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant getting inadvertently tripped and slowed up by referee Steve Javie during a fast break: “(Referee) Steve Javie might be the best defense for the Jazz tonight by getting in the way of Kobe Bryant.”

Miller on Lakers center Andrew Bynum continuing to get into playing shape: “These are important minutes for Andrew Bynum, who has really struggled with his (injured) knee and conditioning since coming back from injury.  If the Lakers move on to the second round to face the Houston Rockets with Yao (Ming) or the Portland Trail Blazers with Greg Oden or Joel Pryzbilla, he’s going to have to round into shape. These are big bodies in the second round.”

Miller on the upcoming off-season for the Utah Jazz: “Everyone is wondering if (potential free agents Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Mehmet Okur) are going to opt out of their contracts and you have six other free agents, Paul Milsap is a restricted free agent.  General manager Kevin O’Connor will have a long summer evaluating his team and players.”

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

Bryant on if the Jazz exposed the Lakers inability to hold onto big leads: “It’s going to be on us to try to correct some mistakes.  (We need to) keep hustling, you can’t stop playing hard because you have a big lead.  We have to play fundamentally sound, get back on defense and do the necessary things that got you that lead.”

Bryant on former Lakers player and long-time Jazz play-by-play announcer “Hot Rod” Hundley who called his final game: “He’s one of the greatest to ever (announce games).  It was a tremendous honor to have some of our games called by him.  I was fortunate enough to get my picture taken with him and I’ve got it hanging up in my office.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on the Lakers’ lack of defense that allowed the Jazz to keep the game close: “I’m concerned if I’m moving forward. The Lakers have unbelievable talent top to bottom, but they keep letting down defensively. (The Lakers have) so many good offensive players, the only way to blow 20-point leads to get down to two or three points is they are not playing defense consistently. As they go deeper in the playoffs and they play against better teams, it’s going to come back to bite them in the (butt) at some point.”

Smith on the strong performance of Jazz guard Ronnie Price who emerged as a strong backup for Deron Williams: “All year there hasn’t been a consistent backup for Deron Williams. When Jerry Sloan said he’s never seen a guy play that hard (as Ronnie Price did) for that short period of time, I would agree with him. That was one of the most impressive eight minutes for a guy who hasn’t played in a series, a guy that I haven’t seen. (Price) made a name for himself. He’s a free agent, they will sign him after this and he will become the backup point guard for Deron Williams. They can move Deron to the two guard because Deron is a very good shooter and can come off screens. You don’t always need to see him and you can play those two guys together.”

Barkley on whether he would re-sign Jazz forward Carlos Boozer: “No (I would not re-sign Carlos Boozer). If I give a guy $100 million he’s got to put me over the hump. (Kenny and I) both talk about wanting to be GM’s, I’d be better than you. I like Carlos Boozer, he’s a terrific player, but my rule of thumb is if I give a guy $80, $90 or $100 million, we’ve got say ‘we’ve got a shot to win the championship with this guy.’ They didn’t advance past the first round, so I’m not going to give him a raise.”

Barkley on the Hornets 58-point loss to the Nuggets in Game #4: “I always think it’s difficult to say someone’s quit, but (the Hornets) quit. You can’t get beat that bad and not quit.”

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers on whether he recognizes the exciting match-up between the Celtics and Bulls: “No, I don’t even see it. I hear it a lot, my brother, my mom, you guys, everybody is talking about it. All I see is 2-2, that’s it and I don’t like it.”

Celtics guard Ray Allen on the advantage the Celtics should have over the Bulls: “We like to think it’s our experience, but experience isn’t just talked about and put in play, experience is shown through the lack of mistakes down the stretch.”

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