Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, October 29, 2009 Carmelo Anthony Goes Alex English

TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues Thursday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive doubleheader featuring the Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers followed by the San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz.

(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

CLIP OF THE DAY

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TNT NBA studio analyst Charles Barkley guesses which team five current players are on in the latest edition of “Who He Play For” on Inside the NBA

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Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Kevin McHale

Spurs forward Richard Jefferson on what it means to be on a title-contending team: “I was very fortunate, I remember all the guys (on the Nets) – Jason Kidd, Lucious Harris – me and Jason Collins, we didn’t know how lucky were to come in the league and go right to the NBA Finals (in 2002 & 2003). Coming off the Final Four I thought I was kind of charmed.  Low and behold seven seasons later, not out of the second round…now to be here at this time in my career where I really fully understand to be on a team like this, it’s a lot of fun.”

McHale on the addition of Spurs forward Richard Jefferson: “It’s going to energize the whole team, (Jefferson) gives them that athletic wing that can take it to the hole, he can finish. I like (Antonio) McDyess to make shots. I just think it will energize the whole team. I pick them to come out of the Western Conference. I love (head coach) Gregg Popovich and I think McDyess is going to be big for them all year long.”

Barkley on the excitement of having a chance to win an NBA title: “People talk about how much money you make, but there are very few times when you have a legit chance to win an NBA Championship. It’s great for (Richard Jefferson), it’s great for (Antonio) McDyess. The Spurs are right there with the Lakers in the West. To be on a team that has a legit shot has got to be a great jolt of energy for Richard Jefferson.”

Smith on what might prevent the Spurs from contending in the West: “I’ll be the anti-Spur. The question has never been if they have enough talent. To me, they have to stay healthy for the full season. That’s been the question for the last two years and they haven’t answered it. The Lakers are youthful, those batteries get charged a lot quicker. Tim Duncan can get hurt, (Manu) Ginobili can get hurt and all of a sudden you don’t have the same team. Is it going to be the same team on October 29 that is in April? If it’s not and Roger Mason is starting and George Hill is starting, than this is not a team that is going to contend with the Lakers.”

Barkley on the recent book excerpt from former NBA official Tim Donaghy that asserts officials play favorites amongst players: “Our officials are great. But the notion that they give the stars special treatment, they do it in every sport. The notion that certain officials don’t like certain guys, knock me over with a big old feather.”

McHale recounting his first NBA game where he was exposed to the ‘star treatment’ by NBA officials: “There has always been star treatment. I was in the NBA for my first game and I go up to do what I think is a good block and they blow the whistle. They yell, ‘foul on No. 32.’ I said, ’32? You mean 33? Larry (Bird) is the one who fouled him.’ He said, ‘you want Larry to have three or you to have one?’ I said, ‘my foul!’ They’ve always done that.”

Smith on not believing everything written by former NBA referee Tim Donaghy “I’m from LeFrak City, Queens, which is a nice neighborhood, however, there are guys who do underhanded things in Queens. Our rule of thumb was you can’t believe a guy from prison half the time and what he says and what he’s trying do to get out of prison. Any guy who exposes himself that way, you always took it with a grain of salt. We didn’t take that kindly in our neighborhood. You do the crime, do the time. Stop pulling people down with you.”

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Game 1:  San Antonio Spurs (85) @ Chicago Bulls (92)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Cheryl Miller reporting

Collins on how the Spurs are attempting to return to championship basketball: “You are used to seeing San Antonio play with two bigs, David Robinson and Tim Duncan, but that position has morphed into a shooter now (with) Robert Horry later on in his career. We’re seeing that international style and it changed the Spurs defense last year to ninth, the lowest it’s been since Tim Duncan has been there. So what they’re trying to is they are trying to add more speed, quickness and score easier. But they want to get back to that championship defense that has won them four championships.”

Collins on the Bulls’ defense: “If you can’t guard the ball, you can’t defend in this league. If you get broken down off the dribble, guys get in the paint, it just breaks down your whole defense. That’s what Luol (Deng) plays, he’s a slasher, he’s a cutter, getting off the paint, great off-the-ball movement and finding open areas.”

Collins on Spurs rookie DeJuan Blair who fell to the 37th pick in the NBA Draft: “(DeJuan Blair) had two knees he was red flagged with. And some guys just outsmart themselves. If a guy is a good player, take him. If he can only play three or four years, you get three or four years. It’s amazing when you see the guys who went ahead of him. Yes, he’s undersized, but he has something you can’t teach, he goes and gets the basketball. When he goes up there he has a way of finding the ball.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich after the first quarter..

Popovich on the Spurs’ first quarter energy:: “I didn’t like our energy and I thought that our competitiveness defensively, it was pretty poor. We were just chasing guys around.”

Popovich on Spurs guard Manu Ginobili believing he’s not in top condition: “I think (Ginobili) is a little better than he thinks he is.”

Collins on Spurs forward Richard Jefferson’s slow offensive night: “(Jefferson) has gotten nothing easy. All of his shots tonight have been jump shots. That’s an area he’s going to have work on because there are so many drive and kicks you get and he’s going to have to learn to pump fake a little bit and remember to drive the ball to the basket. He does not want to become just a spot-up shooter. He can make some threes, but he needs to get to the foul line. That’s why (the Spurs) like him, he can create his own shot, get in the lane, and they are hoping his defense is going to be revitalized. He came in the league and could defend. Then he had some slippage. When you start playing on a bad team you get bad habits. They’d like to tighten up his offensive and defensive game and get him back to where he was with the Nets when they went to the Finals.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Bulls guard Derrick Rose at halftime.

Rose on how his ankle felt during the first half: “It felt good. I’m a little stiff, I’m like Linds (Lindsey Hunter), an old man out there.”

Rose on the Bulls coming together for the start of the season: “We’re young, we gelled together kind of quick and we’re just happy to be out there playing.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and McHale

McHale on how Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is reacting to the first half in the locker room: “(Coach Popovich) Pop’s ripping some tails in there right now, I can tell you. When he gets after you, he gets after you in a big way. He’s got their attention right now. I guarantee you they will not give up 19 second chance points in the second half, he’s into them pretty good right now.”

Barkley on the Chicago Bulls: “Watching Chicago play, they’ve got Derrick Rose and the rest of the pieces are trying to fit together. They need to find a big guy who can score consistently. I love (Joakim) Noah, but they’ve got to find a dominant player so he can do all the dirty work. They are like a team in limbo.”

Barkley on the San Antonio Spurs: “The Spurs are tying to win a championship and they are trying to get everybody involved. One of the problems when you’re an older team is it’s tough to play back-to-back games, especially when you travel. They were a little sluggish, a little lackadaisical. Even though you’re in great shape and you weigh the same you did five years ago, once you play seven or eight years in the playoffs you are an older team. Clearly Duncan, Parker and Ginobili are older players and the same for Richard Jefferson.”

Barkley on a replay of Bulls center Joakim Noah, son of French Open Champion Yannick Noah, shooting a jump shot: “That looked like a tennis player shooting a jump shot.”

Smith on Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony falling in the shadow of other members of his 2003 NBA Draft Class: “There are certain guys who fell off your radar a little. Because of Dwyane Wade and what he’s done and what LeBron (James) has done, he got moved back in that (draft) class. This is his year to move back up.”

Barkley on the Portland Trail Blazers’ offensive problem: “The biggest problem with the Trail Blazers is they’ve got to learn to score inside, all their best players are jump shooters. You’re not going to win with four damn points in the paint, you’re not going to win with two seven-foot guys getting four points.”

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Collins on the defense played by the Bulls: “(The Bulls) play defense where they go for steals and they go for blocked shots, but tonight they are not playing high risk defense. They are defending the ball, they are keeping it out of the paint, they’re rotating and they’re really helping each other out. As a result, the Spurs have looked one step slower and not made the extra pass and no one has really gotten it going except for (Tim) Duncan.”

Collins on a reverse move by Bulls guard Derrick Rose: “If (Rose’s) ankle is sore, I want one of those.”

Collins on the Bulls running a simple but effective offense: “The Bulls have really simplified their offense, they are just running two or three simple things and they are running it well. That’s what you do, don’t be the jack of all trades, be the master of something.  They are running good offense, albeit very, very simple.”

Collins on the Spurs still having some kinks to work out as a team: “We look at that game last night (Wednesday) with New Orleans. You see how the Spurs played and we all expected them to come in tonight and this (team) to be a finished product. It’s going to be a work in progress when you put in this many new pieces for the Spurs, it’s going to take them a while. Nights when they are a little out of synch they will have to win with the defense, and right now their defense is letting them down in the second half.”

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Game 2:  Denver Nuggets (97) @ Portland Trail Blazers (94)

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

Fratello on the scoring ability of Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony: “I think (Carmelo Anthony) is one of the most natural scorers in the NBA. Scoring for him comes so easily. He knows how to score, he gets to the basket, gets to the free throw line and has extended his range. (He’s) so tough in the lane because of his strength.”

Miller on the Trail Blazers having two strong options at the center position: “What about the luxury that (Blazers coach) Nate McMillan has? In game one this year (Greg) Oden had 12 rebounds, but his backup, Joel Przybilla, who a lot of people think here in Portland think should be starting, had 10 rebounds. You’ve got 22 rebounds from your center position, so it’s a luxury that McMillan has. If the young fella (Oden) gets in foul trouble he can go to his veteran Joel Przybilla.”

Fratello on Trail Blazers guard Steve Blake having more impact against a defense than guard Andre Miller: “(Steve) Blake can stretch the defense more, he’s a better three-point shooter than (Andre) Miller is. The team is paying so much attention to Roy that Blake can drift to that open spot and make the defense play a little more from the perimeter than Miller can.”

Miller on Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla not taking a stand against Nuggets rookie guard Ty Lawson: “I wanted (Przybilla) to turn around and face (Ty) Lawson and take the charge in his chest instead of being Michael Jackson moon-walking. You’re 7-foot 1 big fella, stand in there and either block the shot or take a charge!”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Nuggets coach George Karl after the first quarter.

Karl on relying on forward Carmelo Anthony to win the game: “I need him to have a big game. I think we need a horse to ride and I think he’s our horse.”

Fratello on referring to Portland general manager Kevin Prichard as Mr. Prichard: “I call all GM’s ‘mister.’”

Miller: “Wow, you were sucking up to Charles (Barkley) last season. Now you’re sucking up to Mr. Prichard this season. You’re really anxious to get back in that hot seat, aren’t you?”

Fratello: “You have to show respect, Reg.”

Miller on Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony maturing: “This is the maturity we’ve all been waiting to see from ‘Melo (Anthony). It all stems from his stint on the Olympic team, hanging around Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. His first few years in the league he was only a one-way player offensively, but now he’s an MVP candidate. His numbers are down but his rebounds are going up and I’d like to see his assists go to four or five a game and then he will be a legitimate superstar and MVP candidate in this league.”

Miller on Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony’s strong first half performance: “George Karl understanding he needed a horse to ride tonight and Carmelo Anthony is Secretariat out here.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and McHale

Smith on the Nuggets not being big enough to beat the Trail Blazers: “The difference between Denver and Portland down the stretch is the size and length of the Nuggets. They got smaller without (Linas) Kleiza. I’m not sure they are going to be big enough to contend.”

Barkley on the Trail Blazers’ centers needing to increase their offensive production: “That is the problem with the Portland Trail Blazers. Denver is a small team, but because Portland’s big guys don’t score they can’t take advantage of it. You think if they take that many shots and they got the offensive rebounds they’d have more than a one-point lead. That’s always been my criticism of the Blazers, they’ve got a bunch of athletic guys on the wing, they’ve got the guards covered, but until they find a guy around the basket, to get them easy baskets instead of jump shots, they are going to struggle against better teams.”

Smith on the Blazers having 24 more shots than the Nuggets but only leading by one point: “(Portland) could get 48 more shots and only win by two.”

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Blazers guard Brandon Roy on having great performances when his team is on TNT: “I enjoy you guys coming. I think that the games that are on TNT are against big-time teams and I know in order to beat those teams I have to be really good. My goal is just to go out there and play well and play within myself, and I was fortunate to have some good games.”

Albert on Clippers forward Blake Griffin’s nickname from his teammates: “How about Blake Griffin’s nickname? His teammates call him ‘Amazing.’”

Miller: “That’s one of the dumbest nicknames I’ve heard in my entire life.”

Albert: “So you liked it?”

Miller on Nuggets rookie Ty Lawson needing to learn from veteran Chauncey Billups: “If I’m the rookie Ty Lawson I eat, sleep and breathe…and I go to Chauncey Billups each and every day to go over our individual game plans for each and every game because that’s how you’re going to learn to be a very efficient point guard in our league.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony after the game.

Anthony on beating the Trail Blazers after arriving in Portland late the previous night: “We knew we were a little fatigued from last night, getting in late. It was a gutsy win for us, we gutted this thing out. We got all the loose balls and all the rebounds when we needed them and we won the game.”

Anthony on his new and improved attitude this season: “It’s different, it’s me, my focus, my vision. I see something at the end of the tunnel and that’s that gold ball.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and McHale

Barkley on the versatility of Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony: “(Carmelo Anthony) is the best flat-out scorer in the NBA.  What I mean by that is he can shoot a jumper, he can post up.  He is the only player in the NBA who is fantastic at both of those things.  He’s a very good jump shooter and there are very few guys who can cover him on the floor and he can take them down to the box.  He’s a scoring machine.”

Smith: “I think this year he will be the MVP of the league.  He will have the best season because he is going to be demanded to do the most.”

McHale on what Nuggets rookie guard Ty Lawson brings to the team: “Ty Lawson pushes (the ball) up.  He breaks people down and gets to the rim and even if he misses, Nene and (Kenyon) Martin are coming in and flushing those (shots).  That really makes a big difference.  When you can draw the big (center) over to block a shot and then come in from behind, you get so many offensive rebounds.  I think Ty Lawson is really going to help (the Nuggets).”

McHale on the Bulls needing forward Luol Deng to bounce back this season: “(The Bulls) are going to need (Luol Deng).  Without (Ben) Gordon, they are going to need Deng to finish games.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers not changing their offense to fit LeBron James’ strengths: “I’m concerned because they haven’t changed their offense.  It’s the same thing I’ve been saying for the last three years.  Making LeBron (James) go one-on-five is just stupid.  LeBron should be finishing plays.  They should get the ball out and LeBron should run the floor more.  That would help him in a half-court (situation) to get easier baskets.  To walk the ball up and down the court and let LeBron be the facilitator is a bad offense.  It always shows deep in the playoffs.  He should get 10-12 points a game on dunks because he’s finishing.”

3 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, October 29, 2009 Carmelo Anthony Goes Alex English”

  1. TC says:

    Got to watch this game last night. Damn Carmelo….Alex English is such a good comparison. I think ‘melo came out of his mommy’s tummy looking for an open spot on the floor. He’s that much of a natural. It’s a thing of beauty watchin’ his offensive game. And Ty Lawson…..I say he’ll be a 6th man of the year within a couple years. Blazers have all kinds of depth, but Chauncy Billups is a talisman. I never wanna bet against him. He’s a champ. Any team he’s on, ya gotta watch out for. Nuggets are gonna be big trouble again this year.

  2. Temple3 says:

    I really like Carmelo’s offensive game, but the Lakers checked him out of the Big Scorers Hotel way before noon in the playoffs last year. It was like they ran him out of the hotel half nekkit! He shot 70% in Game 1 — and that was it. It was all downhill after that.

    I will be watching to see if his ability to be efficient has improved in the post-season. The addition of Ron Artest suggests that Denver is going to get bumped again in roughly the same manner. Mizzo — you’ve seen my chart on Chauncey in the playoffs — so you know he’s not the answer, either.

  3. TC says:

    That’s true Temple. There are certainly a few defenders who could probably slow him….but like great scorers, he’s gonna get his. But yeah, I think Ron Ron can definitely slow him. That said, if he’s out of his rhythm, and JR Smith is the Nuggets offense, it’s not enough to get past the Lakers. And as much as I like Chauncey, he realistically needs players to help him. I agree with you Temple that the Nuggets will probably get bounced similarly to last year. That said, it’s good to see a bit more fight out of them these last couple of years with Chauncey running the team. They might get beat but they’ll put up a fight.

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