Notes from NBA TV’s Fan Night – Tuesday, November 24, 2009 Oklahoma City Thunder (104) @ Utah Jazz (94)

(AP Photo/George Frey)

Voting is open on NBA.com for next week’s Fan Night match-up that will air on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Fans can select between the following games:

Boston Celtics @ Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns @ New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors @ Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat @ Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Hornets @ L.A. Lakers

CLIP OF THE DAY (click on link below to watch)

NBA TV analysts Chris Webber and Kevin McHale on the Houston Rockets

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AutoTrader.com Pre-Game Show

Ernie Johnson, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber

Webber on the Utah Jazz fans: “It is very tough to play (in Utah). You really have to have poise to play there. They are very loud. They get on you. They know the game and they know your history. I think their fans read the game notes because they know how to push all your buttons.”

McHale on the Thunder’s improvement: “They are starting to defend better. That is the key to that team.  They have to be able to stop people. Young guys in our league, they are trying to establish their career on the offensive end saying ‘I want to score the ball,’ and defense comes second. They are playing good on the defensive end and that is what is going to have to carry them through.”

Webber on the lack of cohesiveness on the Jazz: “I think it is two things. One, they haven’t had a chance to jell from last year and they probably haven’t been healthy in two years. Two, whenever it is not team first, that one point a game always matters, that one rebound a game, that one shot selection and if that seeps into the locker room you can see why this doesn’t look like the chemistry of old Utah teams. We can definitely say that this chemistry is not the same of old Utah teams.”

McHale on Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko: “(Kirilenko) is shooting the ball well, he’s defending now, and he’s rebounding. He’s blocking shots and getting steals. He is playing really nicely for them now and I think that is why you are going to see Utah turn the corner.”

The Fan Night crew interviewed Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant on Arena Link.

Durant on becoming a veteran: “I didn’t know what to expect on that first night playing against A.I. (Allen Iverson) and Carmelo (Anthony) for the first time (as a rookie). Year two and year three I was calmer and knew what I needed to do for my team to win. Each year, I got more comfortable.”

Durant on his goals for the season: “I have one goal and that is to get better. Every game, every shoot-around, every practice just to go hard and get better and I think everyone on our team has that mindset. So if we continue to think like that, I think the sky is the limit for us.”

Durant on being a free agent next year: “I would like to stay with Oklahoma City for my whole career. I love playing here and playing with my teammates and I will leave it at that.”

Durant on the Thunder’s improvement: “I think defensively we have gotten a lot better. We know the concepts and we help each other out. We play hard on both ends and that is the key to winning. We all like playing basketball with each other. We just go out there and have fun. I think that is the key to why we have a better record this year than we did last year and we just have to continue to get better each game.”

Durant on the adrenaline from taking a game-winning shot: “Kids dream about taking that last shot and winning. Everybody thinks that every time you get that last shot you are going to make it. Those times when I don’t make it are going to make me a better player and give me the confidence to take that shot next time and make it. My teammates trust in me that if I’m in that position again they will give me the ball and hopefully I will make it.”

McHale on the New Jersey Nets’ tough season: “I have watched (the Nets_ play and they have been fighting.  I think they will win their share of games when they get healthy, but right now it is tough times.”

Webber on the outlook for the Nets’ season: “I feel for those guys. But if we are really going to be honest, unless they go on a 10-game winning streak very soon, their season is over. Maybe if you hypnotize the guys and make them think they are winning, but it is not a good feeling to be in that locker room. Hopefully fingers don’t start pointing. They are working hard, but it is an unfortunate situation.”

Webber on the Houston Rockets’ surprising start:  “(The Rockets) have been showing that offense is your best defense. If they can get easy buckets they can stay in the game. They don’t have Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming and those are two of the best players in the NBA that are out, so scoring is tough.”

McHale on Houston Rockets guard Tracy McGrady returning to the game: “I would hold (Tracy) McGrady out as long as I can and just let him practice.  The team is playing well. They have something good going on there and the players are feeling positive about themselves. There is no reason to bring him back until he is 100%. I mean lots of practices and a lot of time on the floor. I don’t think bringing him back at 75% saying that he is going to play himself into game shape is going to work.”

Webber on Tracy McGrady: “As a player, thinking about him he has to be one of the best players out of 400. So if you really look at him, out of 400 players, his mentality is probably on ‘go’ more than most. He has the alpha male attitude and he believes that he can come back. I believe in him but at that same time it is a difficult balance. It is about your team first and not you. I just remember there was never a time when I was more depressed than sitting behind that bench hurt and I know he is probably going through that. At the end of the day he is one of our great players and hopefully he preserves himself so we can watch him for the rest of his career.”

Webber on the passing of his former owner, Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin: “We actually did our first deal with a handshake. You have to remember he asked me to come from Golden State, a team that was winning.  He helped the infrastructure of D.C. He gave jobs in D.C.  As a man and an entrepreneur, he did a lot for the city. My prayers are with his family.”

McHale on Pollin’s impact on Washington, D.C.:  “When (Pollin) changed the team from the Bullets to the Wizards and moved the team to an area heavily populated with crime, it showed he cared. I remember reading that thinking, ‘wow.’ He was proactive and I really admired that.”

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T-Mobile Halftime Report

Johnson, McHale and Webber

McHale on the Thunder’s shooting percentage: “(Jazz coach) Jerry Sloan is going to say that’s got to come down but some of the shots (the Thunder) have made have been contested shots. They have made some tough contested shots, but Utah has to really make some tough defensive stands. The first team that makes some defensive stands is going to get some separation in this game.”

Webber on the Raptors’ team chemistry: “Toronto needs to get their chemistry going because they haven’t been playing as well as they could. It is good to see Hedo (Turkoglu) getting involved with (Chris) Bosh and the other guys. They are working on getting their chemistry together.”

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NBA GameTime presented by Hyundai

Johnson, McHale and Webber

McHale on impact of tonight’s win for the Thunder in Utah: “That was a huge win for Oklahoma City. I don’t even think they know how hard it is to win in that place.”

NBA TV interviewed Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jeff Green via Arena Link.

Green on tonight’s win against the Jazz: “It was real tough to play in this building with the crowd that they have and the guys that have on that team with (Carlos) Boozer and (Deron) Williams. It was a great win for us.”

Green on his overall performance: “I’m feeling good. Three years in playing the four position, I’m getting accustomed to it. I had to put on a little muscle to battle those big guys but it is coming along well. It is putting our team in good position with match-ups on the offense end and it is working for us.”

Green on the impact that veterans have on the team: “We have a lot of veterans that are in good position. They are leading by example, coming in everyday to practice ready to work and they are teaching us a lot of things that young guys don’t know about the NBA game. Their impact on us is really big and that is why we are changing things around and winning by a lot closer games than we would have won last year.”

Webber on the impact of late Wizards owner Abe Pollin on Wizards forward Antawn Jamison: “This shows you that if you think basketball is just about paychecks and cars, and not about family and camaraderie, than you are an idiot. It is about having someone over you that believes in you through the tough times.  It is about winning at the end of the day, but it is also about those people around you that cultivate your character while you are in the midst of the storm.  I think that is why we saw that in (Antawn) Jamison’s face and heard that in his voice.”

One Response to “Notes from NBA TV’s Fan Night – Tuesday, November 24, 2009 Oklahoma City Thunder (104) @ Utah Jazz (94)”

  1. Great piece! Mad love-mad respect for what you guys do!

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