Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, November 26, 2009: Orlando Gives Atlanta its First Home Loss
(AP Photo/Gregory Smith)
TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues Thursday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Boston Celtics @ San Antonio Spurs followed by the Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls.
CLIPS OF THE DAY
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Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith
Barkley on Magic center Dwight Howard’s lack of offensive improvement: “Dwight Howard is not playing well. What kills me is that he hasn’t gotten better offensively. The last the few years he’s been one of the most talented players in the NBA, but his offensive game has not gotten better. Forget about Vince Carter and Brandon Bass, he’s the baby Shaquille O’Neal and he’s the guy who has to take that team to the next level. What’s going to happen is teams are going to stop doubling him and giving those guys wide open threes. He’s got to make the free throws, he’s got to dominate and he’s still not making shots. He hasn’t gotten better offensively. He’s about 50 percent of where he could be. He could be one of the most dominate big guys ever, but he has not gotten better offensively.”
Smith on why the Hawks could have a better regular season record than the Boston Celtics: “(The Hawks) are the third best team. They have a better team in the regular season than Boston in terms of getting more wins. Boston won’t go after the long records. The Atlanta Hawks have a young team and the energy to consistently get a better record. The Boston Celtics look at them and say, ‘we’ll take a three seed, we’ll come in, we can win the road, we have experience, we have toughness, we have everything to win a championship.’ So they are not as concerned to be a top seed as the Atlanta Hawks should be.”
Barkley on the rumors that Allen Iverson is going to retire: “Allen Iverson is not going to retire. I’ll bet Kenny‘s life on it. I guarantee it. We’re not in the business of breaking news, but I’m breaking a news story. I haven’t talked to Allen Iverson, but Allen Iverson he is not – is not – retiring.”
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Game 1: Orlando Magic (93) @ Atlanta Hawks (76)
Announcers: Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello with David Aldridge reporting
Sager reports on Hawks coach Mike Woodson’s Thanksgiving turkey ban for his players: “After today’s shoot-around, (Hawks coach Mike) Woodson told his players they were not allowed to eat any turkey. He said turkey contains an ingredient called L-tryptophan and makes you drowsy so he banned turkey for the Hawks on Thanksgiving. Yes, turkey does have this amino acid called L-tryptophan, but so does chicken and so does pork and so do eggs and so does cheese. But you’d have to eat a whole lot of it and doctors tell me you would have to eat it on an empty stomach to have an adverse effect. Just in case, I polled some of the Hawks and first of all, Joe Smith said he’s been in the league for 15 years and has had a dozen coaches and no one has ever told him not to eat turkey. Joe Johnson said dressing was his main course. And Josh Smith, whose mother Paulette is here, who cooked their Thanksgiving dinner, said, ‘listen Josh, you let Mike Woodson coach you on the basketball court, but you let me feed you at home.’ And yes, she gave him his turkey.”
Fratello on Sager’s attire: “Craig, Woodson also told his team don’t look at your sports jacket tonight so their eyesight doesn’t get hurt.”
Fratello on Hawks forward Josh Smith refraining from shooting three-pointers this year: “Last year, people were complaining that (Josh Smith) stopped behind the three-point line all the time and wanted to settle for threes. Thus far, after fourteen games, he has taken one three-point attempt and that was at the end of a quarter when he just hoisted one up to try to get in the basket from over halfcourt. He’s listened to the advice and they are trying to keep him in the paint, trying to keep him closer to the basket where he’s most effective.”
Hawks forward Josh Smith on his maturation as a player: “I’m just coming into it totally different, I have a different mindset. I’m older, I’m still young and I still have a lot to learn. I’m taking heat from a lot of veterans that have played the game and that are still playing the game and kind of bottle it all up in one and applying it to my game and it’s helping out.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy after the first quarter.
Van Gundy on receiving a technical foul in the first quarter: “I wasn’t upset at any of the calls. I went to ask him a question and he teed me for being out of the box. Mark has a personal thing with me. He made the call, that’s all that was.”
Van Gundy on Orlando’s biggest problem in the first quarter: “We are shooting bad shots, the ball is not shooting inside out.”
Fratello on Magic coach Stan Van Gundy’s technical foul for being outside of the coach’s box: “Both coaches are out of the box all night. Just to give someone a technical for being out of the box, you’re looking for a reason. But justice is fair; to talk to Mark Davis, he may have said that Stan had a few more things to stay and he wasn’t just outside of the box.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Hawks guard Joe Johnson after the first half.
Johnson on the Hawks’ strong first half and how they will approach the second half: “We just picked up the intensity. Trying to make the catches tough and give them one shot, no second chances. Staying on the shooters and trying to collapse on Dwight (Howard) whenever he gets to the paint; make the catches touch and just rebounding.”
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Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on former Hawks GM Billy Knight building a good team: “I know he’s not their GM anymore, but Billy Knight did a good job of drafting players and giving the Hawks a brighter future. (Current GM Rick Sund), he’s doing a good job with the draft picks, but most of these players were brought on during the Billy Knight era.”
Barkley on the maturation of Hawks forward Josh Smith: “Josh Smith is growing and maturing. He was shooting 100 threes last year and can’t throw a beach ball in the ocean. You’ve got to give him credit for growing and maturing and realizing he’s a defensive player and a rebounder. That’s what he’s good at. He might not ever be a great offensive player, but he’s a great rebounder and a great defensive player.”
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Fratello on the Atlanta Hawks sticking with head coach Mike Woodson during the team’s slow rebuilding: “I congratulate the ownership and front office of Atlanta for having the patience to watch this team grow and develop. The way it is right now, there is tremendous impatience right now, everybody wants to win today. This organization must have seen a lot of good things in Mike Woodson. They stayed with him through the tough times, added the pieces and had the patience. All of a sudden they have the best record in the Eastern Conference.”
22 35 30 “Jason Williams, tough one point loss, Williams worn out from all the minutes, but Anthony Johnson comes in and suddenly has 14 points…
Fratello on the Magic’s experience helping them to come back and beat the Hawks: “Stan Van Gundy has got to be very proud of the effort that his team put forth here after the tough loss last night and flying in late last night. Atlanta has had three days off since their last game to prepare for this game. Sometimes the veteran team, the team that has been to the NBA Finals has that grit and that something to fall back on because they’ve been there before and had to win big games to make it all the way to the Finals.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Magic center Dwight Howard and guard Anthony Johnson.
Howard on Magic guard Anthony Johnson making a big contribution to Orlando’s win: “(Anthony Johnson) played great tonight. He came in and brought energy and effort and made shots. He did a great job.”
Johnson on Magic center Dwight Howard stepping up in the second half: “(Howard) is a monster. At halftime, Coach (Van Gundy) challenged him to step up and be the best player on the court. In the second half he came out with a lot of energy and he did that.”
Howard on Magic coach Stan Van Gundy motivating them to play better in the second half: “In the first half we played without any energy. Coach (Van Gundy) got into us and made us come out the second half and play better. We did a better job. We were pissed off with our effort in the first half. We were not going to get embarrassed today so we came back and played better.”
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Game 2: Chicago Bulls (86) @ Utah Jazz (105)
Announcers: Marv Albert and Reggie Miller with Cheryl Miller reporting
Miller on the Bulls’ previous losses against the Lakers, Nuggets and Trail Blazers: “If I’m Vinny Del Negro and the Bulls, just because you got blown out by three upper-echelon teams in the West, that doesn’t mean you’re not doing things right.”
Miller on the Jazz injuries giving an opportunity for young players to gain experience: “That’s why I love Jerry Sloan, he is a no excuse coach. He understands that injuries are a part of the game and this gives a chance for young guys like Wes Matthews and Eric Maynor and rookies that usually wouldn’t play this early in the season, this gives them a chance to get some valuable court time experience.”
Miller on the aggressiveness between both the Bulls and Jazz that led to a jump ball: “This is one of those test your character games that Jerry Sloan wants, this is gritty, this is hard, this is dirty. Get on the floor and get your knees scuffed up, let’s play gentlemen.”
Miller on the mentality of playing the last game of a long road trip: “You’re tired and it’s the last game of a long road trip and you know you’re traveling back to your home to sleep in your own bed. You can look at it one of two ways, let’s go out here and give it everything we have because we’re going to be home. Or it doesn’t matter, we can lose by 15 or 20 points, depending on what we were doing on the rest of the trip. But the good and great teams go after each and every game.”
TNT’s Cheryl Miller interview Jazz forward Carlos Boozer at halftime.
Boozer on the game being a ‘character builder’ as coined by Jazz coach Jerry Sloan: “(Sloan) means our toughness. We got beat by an up and coming, very good Oklahoma City Thunder team and showed some pride and came back and played good defense. That’s why we only gave up 40 points in the first half; for us, that’s a big mark for our team.”
Miller on Bulls center Joakim Noah: “I love Noah. I love the hustle that he brings. He’s finally gotten it. His rookie year he was a little aloof, coming off those championships from Florida. This is your starting center, you’re down by 14 points, on a three game skid of getting blown out by three of the top-tier teams in the West. I like it, it can be contagious.”
Miller on Allen Iverson’s possible retirement: “I don’t think it’s a final thing. If anything, (Iverson) got his name back in the news and all 30 teams are discussing it. There are so many teams I believe A.I. could potentially help out. Boston, if he was to compromise, that second unit, instant fire. What about where it all started? Back in Philadelphia. New York. What else do they have to lose?”
Albert: “They turned it down already.”
Miller: “You can’t tell me that he’s not better than Chris Duhon.”
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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Smith on the Utah Jazz: “(The Jazz) came out focused tonight. They obviously didn’t play well the other night (on NBA TV’s Fan Night). Their preparation from start to finish was very impressive. This Utah Jazz team is not mediocre, this looks like a team that went to the Western Conference Finals two years ago.”
Barkley on Allen Iverson retiring: “There is no way in the world (Iverson) is going to retire. But he’s going to have to make some changes. He needs to come off the bench, he’s going to have to be instant offense and realize that no team is going to start him and let him dribble around and be the dominant player. Those days are over.”
Smith on three reasons why it will be difficult for Allen Iverson to find a team:“There are three things that are really holding (Iverson) back. For him, it’s hard for him to accept being a guy who is not constructing or building the foundation of a team and he’s basically coming in as an interior designer. The second thing is that people are scared of him, honestly, because of his baggage. He represents what hip-hop culture was for every player and that comes with the tattoos, the cornrows, the entourage and the defiance. The last thing is 2010 -why would you build your team around Allen Iverson in 2009 if you’re a bad team and you’re waiting for (Dwyane) Wade, (Chris) Bosh, LeBron (James) and all of these guys because you’re supposed to be rebuilding so why would you start in 2009 with a 34-year old player?”
TNT continued its ‘TNT All-Decade NBA’ showcase to help determine the top performances, games and moments from throughout the 2000′s. TNT unveiled the nominees for ‘NBA Playoff Game’. A category’s nominees will be announced each week on Inside the NBA. Fans can vote for their top performance on NBA.com at: http://www.nba.com/alldecade
- 2000 West Finals: Game #7, Blazers @ Lakers
The Lakers erase a 15-point Blazers lead for the biggest Game #7, fourth quarter comeback in playoff history.
- 2002 West Finals: Game #7, Lakers @ Kings
The larger-than-life series between the Lakers and the Kings extends to overtime of the decisive game.
- 2005 NBA Finals: Game #5, Spurs @ Pistons
The previous two NBA champions are tied 2-2 in overtime when the game turns on Robert Horry’s late brilliance.
- 2006 West Semis: Game #7, Mavs @ Spurs
The visiting Mavs, in a rollercoaster game with a riveting regulation finish, oust the champion Spurs in overtime.
- 2008 East Semis: Game #7, Cavs @ Celtics
The duel of the decade as LeBron James and Paul Pierce reprise ‘Nique and Bird with the same end result: A Celtic victory.
- 2009 East First Round: Game #6, Celtics @ Bulls
The triple-overtime classic, not decided until the final shot, is the fourth overtime game of a breathtaking series.