Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Playoffs – Saturday, May 30, 2009: The Leviathan Does it Like Shaq and Close Out LeBron and the Cavs

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Like I said on fb last night. Shaq just had twins. Who is Able? Finals preview Wednesday. When your big man goes for 40 and 14, you are winning more than not. I’ve been hard on Dwight all year long but now it is time to give him props because he stepped up and took it. Nothing was given to him and the Magic must be congratulated. As far as LeBron, you could see him losing trust in his teammates during the series. His team noticed his change in temperament and subsequently began to press. LeBron became entitled and his team was hell bent on pleasing him. Not a good combination when you are trying to win a championship. I understand why he left the court because he was disgusted…totally disgusted…but not congratulating the Magic is foul. It’s not about you bruh, it’s about your Olympic comrade doing the damn thing right in your face. In his home, not yours. I mentioned the match up problems the Magic present and like a true champion, they capitalized and the entire franchise grew up. The Cavs need an overhaul of their front line. Expect Chris Bosh’s name to come up eleventy million times. Hold ya head LeBron, you will be king, but not yet.

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by

Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu before the game

Turkoglu on his strategy in defending LeBron James: “I just try to make his job harder.  Make him take tougher shots and send him to the free throw line.  Hopefully, I’ll try to do my best.”

Smith on the Cavaliers needing to have a big game to win Game #6: “Making the correct play and every play actually counting, I don’t know if (LeBron James) and his teammates can do that if necessary.  So they have to get to a point where it’s not necessary for him to do that.  You’re banking on the fact that you are going to hit a shot with seven seconds or less on the shot clock every single time and if you count on that as a constant guide to winning an NBA Championship, you will not have a great night.”

Smith on the importance of Game #6 for both teams involved: “I always call this the hump game because this is the type of game that you don’t want to get to over-excited for because if you’re Cleveland, you still (might) have a Game #7.  So don’t use up all of your emotion.  If you’re Orlando, you can’t put everything into this game and then lose and go to Game #7.  I always felt that the best team usually wins Game #6.  I didn’t think that the energy or excitement of the arena had anything to do with Game #6.”

TNT’s John Thompson interviewed Cavaliers guard Mo Williams in another edition of “Thompson’s Timeout”

Williams on the Cavaliers standing around and watching LeBron James play at times: “There are times when it falls into that but I think it happens to every team with a great player.  They do so many great things and you don’t want to not go to them enough.  You never say, ‘I might have gone to him too much’, you want to live with that one.  You don’t want to live with not going to him enough.”

Williams on reading LeBron James’ actions during a game: “His actions speak louder than his words sometimes.  You can tell when he’s in that mode where he is just attacking the rim.  Then you can tell sometimes when he is baiting his man (guarding him) to draw the double-team to get a wide-open shot for a teammate.  So you can sense that playing with him more so than not.”

Williams on the sincerity of LeBron James: “He’s real.  What you see is what you get.  There’s no faking when he comes in.  If he’s acting a certain way towards you it’s genuine.  You’ll be around a lot of people who have power and you can tell sometimes that the things they do and say is not genuine.  You can feel it.  But with LeBron, you can feel the sincerity that he has as a person and for his teammates.”

Williams on the Cavaliers mindset going into Game #6: “I think this series (vs. Orlando) has put us in a place we didn’t think we were going to be.  It’s going to be tough to beat this team three times.  It’s like the NCAA tournament for us right now, ‘win or go home’ and we know we’re going into Game #6 with the mindset of ‘let’s get this win by any means no matter what.'”

Barkley on who LeBron James should guard in Game #6: “It’s a waste of time putting him on Rafer Alston or Courtney Lee.  He has to take (either Hedo Turkoglu or Rashard Lewis) out of the game.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Cavaliers LeBron James before the game

James on his mindset going into Game #6: “That’s why we’re here.  We’re going to everything and anything we can to send the (series) back to Cleveland on Monday.  It’s time for war.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

Orlando Magic (103) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (90) – The Magic win the series 4-2.

Announcers: Marv Albert and Reggie Miller; with Craig Sager reporting

Miller on how Magic center Dwight Howard needs to play smart: “How the officials officiate Dwight Howard is going to be key in this game.  He can’t be dumb and pick up silly fouls especially on LeBron James who is going to be attacking him in that pick-and-roll situation.  He’s going to have to learn that’s sometimes it’s ok to give up an occasional (basket), you can’t block and contest everything.”

Miller on remaining aggressive of defense: “You can’t worry about picking up fouls.  If it’s in your nature to be aggressive defensively, then you have to play that way.”

Miller on LeBron James’ unselfishness: “What LeBron (James) will find out as he matures and gets older is that there are going to be so many defenses that are designed against him.  I like that he trusts in his teammates and he is willing to pass the ball in order for them to knock down a shot.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown after the first quarter

Brown on looking for some help from the referees in stopping Dwight Howard: “One of the things we have to watch is Magic center Dwight (Howard) is a beast down there.  He’s doing a heck of a job getting rebounds and deep post position and we’re not doing a good job of keeping him off the glass.  I’m trying get help anyway I can and I’m telling them to watch his feet, he’s hopping a little bit down there.”

Miller on Magic forward Rashard Lewis: “(Rashard Lewis) is a guy who gets off to slow starts but knows how to finish in the second and fourth quarters.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed injured Magic point guard Jameer Nelson during the second quarter

Nelson on the Magic dealing with adversity: “We’ve handled adversity well since I came to Orlando and I know it’s going to continue. (Magic GM) Otis (Smith) has done a great job of bringing Rafer (Alston) in and everyone else to put together this team.  We’ll see what we can do.”

Miller on the Cavaliers not containing Magic center Dwight Howard: “(Dwight Howard) is the number one player in the playoffs with points in the paint and dunks.  Tonight, the Cavs aren’t doing anything to wrap him up.  They are just letting him finish.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Magic center Dwight Howard after the second quarter

Howard on giving an all-out effort in Game #6: “I want it…I want it so bad.  I’m just trying to come out here and give it everything I’ve got so we can get a win.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

T-Mobile Halftime Report

Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Barkley on Magic center Dwight Howard: “It doesn’t matter what Rashard Lewis does, it’s more important for Dwight Howard.  Rashard Lewis is a scorer but Dwight Howard makes the guys around him better.  That’s no disrespect to Rashard Lewis but (Dwight Howard) gets those other three-point shooters involved.  That’s why it’s so important for (Howard) to be a beast.”

Smith on Cavaliers guard Mo Williams not being aggressive enough in Game #6: “(Mo Williams) is not being aggressive; he’s not looking to make plays. ‘d rather he be one for eleven, then I know that he’s trying to make things happen.  He has stayed on the perimeter and hasn’t cut to the middle.  I don’t think he has any paint on the bottom of his shoes.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

Miller on the Cavaliers defending against Dwight Howard: “How are you going to play (Dwight Howard), because he goes left and goes right.  If your (Cavaliers center) Zydrunas Ilgauskas, you’re going to have to wrap him up.”

Miller on the Magic shooting well from long-range: “One of the prerequisites to be on (the Magic) is to be able to stretch the floor.”

Miller on who deserves the credit for the Magic being able to contain LeBron James in Game #6: “You have to give a lot of credit to (Magic head coach) Stan Van Gundy for switching up his defensive philosophy on LeBron James.  Also (LeBron is averaging) 44 minutes a game in the Eastern Conference Finals and that is taxing.”

Miller on what he likes about Dwight Howard’s big Game #6: “What I like about it is even if a double-team is coming down (on Dwight Howard) is still accepting it and finding his teammates.  If it doesn’t come, he is going right at the body of Anderson Varejao, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace.”

Miller on how tough it is for the Cavaliers to come up short in the ECF: “What’s tough is you had the best record in the league and everyone had to come through you.  They got off to a great start (in the playoffs).  They swept Detroit and Atlanta and then things didn’t go as planned.  They ran into an Orlando team that is running on all cylinders.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Magic forward Rashard Lewis after the game

Lewis on going to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career: “It’s an unbelievable feeling.  I’ve never been this far in my career but the job isn’t done yet.  We’re hungry for more and we want it all.”

****    ****    ****    ****    *****

Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Announcers: Johnson, Barkley and Smith; joined by Reggie Miller

Barkley on the Magic being the better team in the ECF: “The best team won (the ECF).  You have to take your hat off for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they had a fantastic season.  But (the Magic) had too much fire power for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The didn’t have any answers for (Orlando’s) big three: Dwight Howard, (Hedo) Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.  Just too many weapons for (the Cavaliers).  Orlando just has a better team.”

Barkley on Magic center Dwight Howard: “(Dwight Howard) is fantastic and he is only going to get better.  If he had any kind of offensive game around the basket, they’d have to change the rules.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers: “For (the Cavaliers) to have the best record in the NBA, that’s remarkable.  I’m not hating on Cleveland, it’s a good city, I love LeBron but that’s the fourth best team left in the playoffs.  Forget that regular season record.  The teams in the West (Conference) have more competition than teams in the East (Conference).  (LeBron) is the MVP and in my opinion, the best player in the world.”

Barkley on LeBron James performance in Game #6: “LeBron James retired tonight, I know he’s not going to say it.  He was not as explosive and aggressive like he’s been the entire playoffs.  (Magic guard) Mickael Pietrus deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Smith on the Los Angeles Lakers: “The Lakers are the best basketball team in the world.  From (players) one to twelve, they have the most skill and they know that.  Sometimes their complacency of knowing you’re the best and things do come easy for them.  They are so skilled in so many areas that they don’t have to depend on Kobe (Bryant) getting 40 (points).  They don’t have to depend on Pau Gasol or (Lamar) Odom coming off the bench.  When their attention is there, they are the best team in basketball.”

Barkley on the Lakers facing match-up problems against the Magic in the Finals: “It’s going to be tough on (Andrew) Bynum and (Pau) Gasol to guard one of (the Magic’s) forwards (Hedu Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis).  Orlando is a nightmare match-up for one of these teams.”

Miller on the NBA Finals being the Lakers to lose: “I think (the Finals) is the Lakers to lose.  They have all the talent and the experience of being in the Finals last year.  Did they learn anything from going against Boston (in the 2008 Finals)?  I understand Orlando presents some mismatches but Kobe Bryant is a different beast.  I think his championship experience, he’s won it before and he was disappointed last year.  I think he is hungry.  Having said that, the Orlando Magic have so many weapons that if you let that three point shooting go, (the Magic) can win.  Defense wins championships but this is a very lethal offensive team.”

The Inside the NBA crew made their predications for the NBA Finals

Miller: Lakers in six games – “I think it’s going to be a great series.  The Magic have fantastic shooters but I think the Lakers have the experience.”

Smith: Lakers in six games – “I think the Lakers are best team.  If Orlando can get into the pick-and-roll and be effective, that’s their hope.  But being able to shoot spot-up threes?  Those days are over.”

Barkley: Magic in seven games – “I think they are better than people give them credit for.  They beat the Lakers twice in the regular season and they are playing with some tremendous confidence.”

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

LeBron James, SF 45 8-20 2-8 7-11 1 6 7 7 0 1 3 4 -12 25
Anderson Varejao, C 33 7-12 0-0 0-1 1 7 8 0 0 0 0 5 -2 14
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, C 22 1-5 0-0 0-2 1 6 7 0 2 0 0 4 -6 2
Delonte West, SG 46 9-19 2-3 2-4 2 2 4 3 2 1 3 0 -9 22
Mo Williams, PG 39 6-12 3-4 2-2 0 3 3 5 0 0 1 4 -6 17
Ben Wallace, PF 14 2-3 0-0 0-2 3 0 3 1 0 1 1 0 -8 4
Daniel Gibson, PG 21 1-3 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 2 -16 3
Wally Szczerbiak, SG 14 1-5 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 -9 3
Sasha Pavlovic, SG 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 +3 0
Tarence Kinsey, SG 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
35-79 9-20 11-22 8 26 34 17 6 3 10 21 90
44.3% 45.0% 50.0% Team TO (pts off): 10 (8)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.
Hedo Turkoglu, SF 38 3-12 2-6 2-2 1 6 7 5 0 0 3 5 +1 10
Rashard Lewis, PF 41 6-13 3-7 3-3 1 7 8 2 2 1 3 2 +7 18
Dwight Howard, C 41 14-21 0-1 12-16 6 8 14 4 0 1 2 5 +13 40
Courtney Lee, SG 30 4-7 0-1 0-0 0 4 4 1 0 0 1 0 +15 8
Rafer Alston, PG 38 5-16 3-7 0-0 0 4 4 2 2 0 1 1 +6 13
Mickael Pietrus, SG 35 5-10 4-7 0-0 2 3 5 2 2 0 0 4 +13 14
Anthony Johnson, PG 11 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 3 0 0 2 1 +10 0
Marcin Gortat, C 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
37-80 12-29 17-21 11 36 47 19 6 2 12 20 103
46.3% 41.4% 81.0% Team TO (pts off): 12 (8)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.

Flagrant Fouls: None
Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None – TEAMS (def3sec): ORLANDO (1) – COACHES: CLEVELAND M. Brown (1)
Officials: Steve Javie , Bennett Salvatore , Derrick Stafford
Attendance: 17,461
Time of Game: 02:29

13 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Playoffs – Saturday, May 30, 2009: The Leviathan Does it Like Shaq and Close Out LeBron and the Cavs”

  1. awb says:

    Poor Barkley. He just can’t get over his dislike of Kobe.

    However, the Magic do offer matchup problems for the Lakers, but the front line of the Lakers is pretty daunting also. While Howard is a beast, he spent most of the Cavs series in foul trouble and you better believe Gasol can get him in foul trouble the same way if the reffing is constitent in sucking. They can match the Magic in size and I expect Mbenga to be activated for this series

  2. Not my place to judge the man, just as it’s not my place to judge anybody. Not my job.

    Lebron still a good guy who is the best player on earth. I look for the good in all these guys because if I look for the bad it’s just reflection of that same negativity in me. Our words are a looking glass into our inner mental state.

    He had a moment where he didn’t do the right thing and I’m sure that he will apologize.

    On to the series. Dwight dominant and pushing himself to the Top 3-4 status. It’ll be a different look against LA. Two strong big men, one of which will put him to the test defensively with his fluid offensive moves.

    It should be a really good series as long as the Magic keep hitting from downtown.

  3. Mizzo says:

    The Lakers front line are no match for Dwight Howard. Denver would have provided a more daunting challenge because of their muscle (yes, the Lakers offer versatility and the triangle is a totally different animal). Until late in the Denver series, the Lakers front line has been relatively soft. If Bynum plays as he has, Dwight is gonna murder them down low. Remember, the fouls go both ways.

  4. awb says:

    I thought people would recognize the “soft” lable as bogus after the Lakers have beaten two supposedly physically superior teams. Physicality is only worth anything if you are mentally tough to employ it and the Rockets and Nuggets proved they ain’t there yet in that regard. Kenyon Martin couldn’t physical himself the required height to deal with Gasol and nene fouled out three times. I’m still waiting on someone to define what soft or hard means in a basketball context because the so called tough teams keep losing

    The Cavs front line was definitely no match for Howard yet he still found himself in foul trouble almost throughout the whole series. No doubt Howard should be dominating but it very well might be another case of the lakers “softing” there way to another series win.

  5. Mizzo says:

    Houston and Denver were Los Angeles Lakers inferior. Had nothing to do with toughness. Those two squads are still tougher and more physical than LA.

    Neither team had the second best player of our generation.

    Mental toughness is a different thing. Advantage LA.

    Soft will rear its Hollywood head this series bruh. I wanna see bangas. Straight NBA 80’s flex. There’s nothing of the sort left in the NBA…but there is the Leviathan.

    He will show you what I mean when one of these so called LA “centers” tries to get down get down.

    When you have 6’8″ driving the lane almost unabated, your center will get in foul trouble, but despite Dwight sitting for minutes at a time, Orlando prevailed.

    I wanna see Shaq force from 7 foot centers, not this lanky 6’12” “versatility”. Yes, the game is changing, but I hope Howard brings that cold rock stuff back. Knee caps and all that. Busted Dikembe lips and Van Gundy ankle grabbing ish.

    Broad Street Bully type stuff. You know what I mean. Cat’s are breaking nails now and whining like chicks…some, not all ladies 🙂

    What am I supposed to teach my sons unless MEN start banging again?

    Don’t answer that, but you know what the context is.

    Until the Lakers win the championship, they will be labeled soft. Straight up.

    Win the damn thing and I’ll get on board. None of this paper champion bull ish.

    It’s over for that. I’m so sick of everyone proclaiming ANYONE a King where there is no throne.

  6. […] if (typeof(Flux) == ‘object’) Flux.Utils.WidgetsLoader.createWidget(‘a45a918b3fc6434585496010c8166bb5’, {}); Flux.Utils.WidgetsLoader.createWidget( ‘CommunityMenu2’, {accessKey: ‘edd3b859-248a-4076-99fe-f514e83c6a4b’,textFont: ‘Arial’,textFontSize: ’14px’,normalBackgroundColor: ‘#000000’,normalTextColor: ‘#FF870F’,hoverBackgroundColor: ‘#000000’,hoverTextColor: ‘#FFFFFF’,borderStyle: ‘solid’,borderColor: ‘#000000′} ); « Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Playoffs – Saturday, May 30, 2009: The Leviathan Does it … […]

  7. awb says:

    Yes, the Lakers have the best player of this generation, but there were any number of people who said they would fail because of their perceived “softness”. Again I reiterate that mental toughness is all they need because all they have been banged and the results are telling. It is amusing to witness this phenomena at the beginning of each round. I suppose they will lose this one in 6 also

    I’m with you with the King crowning stuff. It was really annoying to see ESPN crown LBJ even though he hadn’t done anything yet. Cat still isn’t a top notch defender and not that good of a post up player and they are giving him the throne.

  8. Mizzo says:

    The Lakers have to win period. No more booty chatter.

  9. kos says:

    awb –
    co-sign on the “softness”. Also, toughness doesn’t put the ball in the basket.

    I think everyone that posts here remembers the old 80’s and 90’s playoff series where you would see hard fouls. A drive to the basket would mean a hard foul that would today would draw a flagrant foul and a suspension. Those days are over and aren’t going to return any time soon. Not under the New Stern Order, anyway.

    LeBron had a fabulous series against the Magic. However, ESPN, and all the pundits declaring him the best player in the game when he still doesn’t have a consistent jump shot, is only an adequate one-on-one defender, can’t post up Skip To My Lou consistently, and doesn’t even want to take the game winning shot most of the time? He still has time to work on all of these things, but he’s still not the “King” yet. I realize that ESPN has been on his nuts ever since he was in high school, but trying to gas the guy up before he’s to where they think he should be isn’t going to make it happen any sooner.

  10. TC says:

    Mizzo – yeah the Lakers have been inconsistent. My statement on this – as goes Andrew, so go the Lakers. If Andrew Bynum is doing what he can do – altering shots, making cats think twice about comin’ in the lane, even annoying Dwight Howard, this series could be over in 5. If not…..well…….yeah……Andrew played about 4 good defensive games vs. Denver. Like you said, Houston and Denver were more physical than the Lakers……it’s disappointing as a Laker fan who likes physical basketball…but when you have as much talent as the Lakers, as Kenny said, sometimes you put it in cruise. Hopefully this will not happen now. I don’t think it will. I’ve seen enough of #17 to know what he can do and I think he’ll answer the bell.

  11. Mizzo says:

    kos just because the league is headed that way doesn’t mean that a writer like myself has to agree with it. I’m more apt to have a compromise of sorts where a pg gets put on his ass early just to set a tone. The game becomes more gifted as a result in the waning moments.

    This is why I loved John Chaney so much. He always had an enforcer.

    The game now is a clown. Teams have no balance. I identify with Denver and Houston because they have the parts, but not the head. At least the potential is there for mental growth. It’s about how each of us played or choose to watch the game. I understand that.

    To me the Lakers are like men wearing ear rings. Soft. My Pop would kick my ass to this day if he saw me rockin’ a rock.

  12. awb says:

    I don’t think the Lakers need Bynum to beat Orlando (it would certainly help though). The Cavs didn’t need a dominant front line to get Howard in foul trouble and the Lakers front line is way better than the Cavs. I think the biggest issue for the Lakers is Lewis and maybe Pietrus.

    And the booty chatter is mostly coming from cats predicting the Lakers will lose. Just sayin’. I guess if folks predict it enough and it happens they can say “I told you so!”

  13. Mizzo says:

    Don’t forget Turk. He has a Sacramento shoulder chip.

    Bruh. What have they won? Win a championship and then let’s talk. I’ve already said this.

    I just want to see it happen. What’s wrong with that?