Notes from NBA TV’s Fan Night – Tuesday, December 15, 2009 New Jersey Nets (89) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (99)

Voting is open on for next week’s Fan Night match-up that will air on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Fans can select between the following games:

Detroit Pistons @ Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers @ Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors @ Memphis Grizzles, Portland Trail Blazers @ Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks @ Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers @ Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks, Los Angles Clippers @ Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers.


HLN anchor Robin Meade joined the studio show to discuss “With All Due Respect,” which airs on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 10 p.m. (ET / PT) on HLN

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Ernie Johnson, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber

McHale on New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez being a bright spot: “Brook is a big guy and in our league he is a legitimate center and of legitimate size.  He can shoot the 17, 18 footer and can get in the post. He also has that little jump hook, which I really like.”

Webber on the Nets poor start: “When I came out my rookie year I went to a team that made the Playoffs and won 60 games, the next year I went to Washington and we won 13 games and that was depressing.  Character is built during these times.  It is just the fact that he is going though this right now and he comes to work every night. There are some guys on better teams that don’t bring their hard hats every night. There are some bright spots and (Lopez) is a bright spot. His offensive game is probably the best out of a lot of people we thought should have been drafted higher. He is definitely a bright spot for the New Jersey Nets.”

McHale on the Nets record if they were healthy: “I think they would have 4 or 5 more wins. They would be thrown in that next category of not playing well but having a young team that is building. I think they would have won a lot of games if everyone had been healthy.”

Webber on the Nets roster: “(Eduardo) Najera is not a good player right now. He needs to be on a good team that he can help out. Yi (Jianlian) needs to be around some veterans; (Brook) Lopez as well. I don’t think they would have won seven games.  I think they would have still been in the basement. Devin Harris is a great player and maybe he could have won those games but I am not going to say they would be good. I think this is about who they are right now.”

Webber on Charles Barkley’s comment about Boston and Orlando being the only two teams in the race for the Eastern Conference: “I could never discount LeBron James, just because he is an awesome athlete. I won’t say that this is just a two team race because anything can happen with injuries but there is a lot of distance between the two teams and everyone else.”

McHale on the Cleveland Cavaliers: “I think a big key to the Cleveland Cavaliers is Delonte West and I know he has a lot of problems and he is really trying to work them out but they need him back playing very well. They need Shaq to take it up another level. Shaq usually shoots around 60% but they need those two guys. They need to be the third and fourth option. Delonte West can post people up, he’s tough and he can make plays. He’s got a great assist-to-turnover ratio and can help other people get better. He can get (Anthony) Parker some shots, Mo Williams some shots and even LeBron (James) some shots. Without him in the line up, I hate to say it is a two man race but Chuck (Barkley) is not all that wrong.  I would say Boston, Orlando, and then Cleveland and Atlanta are nipping on their heels.”

HLN anchor Robin Meade joined the studio show to discuss “With All Due Respect,” which airs on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 10 p.m. (ET / PT) on HLN

Meade on Barkley, Kyle Petty and Dennis Eckersley talking about the “Real Housewives of Atlanta”: “All three of the guys fess up to watching the Housewives. You will love their answers.”

Meade on the show’s topics: “We talked about aggression in sports and violence. You name it. It was fun but it was heated as well.”

Meade on Brett Favre’s sports comebacks: “The topic wasn’t necessarily about whether they were glad for him (Brett Favre) it was about why it is almost human nature that when athletes come back people want them to fail. I have said all year long once you cry on national TV and say you are retiring, I don’t think you should come back.”

Meade on getting the panel to be real with their answers: “When I interview a Congressman or a Senator, it is right down the party line but since Charles (Barkley) opened his mouth first everyone saw that and said it was safe to be real.”

Meade on the overall show: “I think you will enjoy the show. It was really about things you’ve talked about all year and now three people that probably are going to say things you thought and didn’t want to say in front of people, they actually said it.”

Meade on LeBron James: “I like watching LeBron play in that a lot like Brett Favre; he still shows the joy of the game.  I like that emotion and when he pumps up the crowd.”

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T-Mobile Halftime Report

Johnson, McHale and Webber

Webber on the players feeding off the crowd’s energy: “Coming into the game I said one of the things Cleveland is going to have to do is play hard. I think this is a signature tagline for Cleveland maybe being lackadaisical and maybe not playing hard. Playing in Sacramento we had a great crowd and we could depend on them late in games because they would get loud on free throws, but we had to give them something.  When you see Lebron get a dunk, the crowd goes crazy, let a guy dive on the floor I bet everyone will start screaming.  I think you have to give the crowd something not to be lackadaisical.”

McHale: “Going into the game, you knew that New Jersey had two wins.  It wasn’t like you were surprised. You know it is going to be that type of game. You have to bring that energy, you have to come out and say ‘tonight I’m going to go at it.’ Larry Bird, the guy I played with, would challenge other players and it started that back and forth. He made it competitive. You have to go out there and make it competitive so that you give your best every night. This is surely not Cleveland’s best.”

Webber on Nets center Brook Lopez scoring 20 points in the first half: “Be happy in New Jersey; Merry Christmas, because he is a gift. This guy will be with you guys hopefully for a long time. He is young and good and he plays hard. It is not easy to battle against Shaq (O’Neal), (Anderson) Varejao and other veterans in there. Not only is he blocking shots but he is efficient in his scoring. He doesn’t have to take a lot of shots and he is driving it to the hole. That is what I’m really impressed about – him taking it to the hoop.

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NBA GameTime presented by Hyundai

Johnson, McHale and Webber

Webber on the disappointing performance of the Cavaliers in their game against the Nets, despite winning the game: “Maybe (the Cavs) were getting their rest for tomorrow. It puzzles me. We get a chance to watch a lot of teams on NBA TV, and the Lakers would not have looked like this against this team, the Celtics would not have looked like this. They pulled it out because New Jersey really let Cleveland off the hook. It starts with your guards on that (Cleveland) team, they need to make sure everyone gets involved. When they start taking those shots, you start leaving people out and then they are not interested in the game.”

Webber on Knicks guard Chris Duhon kissing his muscle after a big play: “Ernie, I’m sorry. You’re right about the dancing, you’re right about everything. I quit. Kissing the muscle and you haven’t even won eight games? You’re right, I take back everything I said.  This is a sorry lay-up. Cheryl Swoops is rolling over in her grave after this. Second, you don’t even have a muscle on your arm. He doesn’t have muscles, don’t do that. When’s the last time he did a push up?”

McHale on learning more about the Lakers team this year with several road games approaching: “If you’re a good team, you find out of more about yourself on the road. At home you’re supposed to win. We’re going to find out something about the Lakers as they are on a lot of road trips coming up.”

Webber: “If you notice something about primetime players when they are playing with one of the greatest of all time (in Kobe Bryant), when they hit the road they almost know that they are carrying the banner on their backs. They like the boos, they want to come out and prove who they are. You’re right, Kevin, you find out a lot about a team.”

McHale on Webber’s weekly Big Man Tribute, a weekly highlight reel of impressive plays the by the League’s centers: “Do you make sure to have one Birdman (Chris Andersen) at least on every big man play? Every week I see the Birdman.”

Webber: “Every time he plays in the game he’s getting a dunk or a crazy blocked shot. He’s Mr. Energy.”

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