Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, January 21, 2010: All Star Game Starters Announced

What are your thoughts on Allen Iverson’s election as a starter? Who deserves to start if not Chuck? Does his career merit celebration as others have been afforded in the past? Where does he sit in history without the last few years factoring in?

TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. ET with a special one hour pre-game show featuring the exclusive announcement of the 2010 All-Star reserves followed by a doubleheader with the Boston Celtics @ Orlando Magic and the Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns.

CLIPS OF THE DAY

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber

Eastern Conference All-Star Starters

F – Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)

F – LeBron James – (Cleveland Cavaliers)

C – Dwight Howard – (Orlando Magic)

G – Dwyane Wade – (Miami Heat)

G – Allen Iverson – (Philadelphia 76ers)

All-Star starter and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard joined the studio crew via satellite

Howard on what he’s looking forward to most with All-Star Weekend: “I’m looking forward to interacting with the fans and having fun.  Being around the guys is a great experience.  As a player, you look forward to going every year.”

Howard on the Magic having a ‘hangover’ from their 2009 Finals appearance: “I don’t think that a lot of us have gotten over the fact that we lost in the Finals.  Getting to the Finals is one thing but then playing and losing takes a lot out of you mentally and physically.  A lot of the guys are still thinking about losing in the Finals.  It was a tough experience for myself and it took me a while to recover from playing in the Finals.”

Howard on if he is going to start demanding the ball more: “I need to (start demanding the ball).  I need to but I’m all about team.  I just want what’s best for the team.  I need to demand the ball more, that’s what I need to do.  I want to win so badly.  Whatever it takes to take for us to get to the next level, I’ll do that.”

Smith on Allen Iverson’s NBA All-Star selection: “I agree that the fans should have a vote.  I think one of the biggest compliments (as a player) is to have the fans recognize what you do as a player.  But the greatest compliment of all is when your peers vote for you.  To me, that the NBA doesn’t allow it’s players to have a vote in the All-Star process, is a bigger travesty than the fans (getting to vote).  The coaches and fans vote but game recognizes game.  I think the players should have a vote.  If you want the fans to vote, they should be voting for the wild card, for the guys that they want to see in after the players and coaches have voted.”

Barkley on Allen Iverson starting in the All-Star Game: “I think (Allen Iverson) should decline to play in the game.  In fairness, Allen started in the West (Conference with Memphis) and now starts in the East (Conference with Philadelphia).  That’s not fair.  If he was still having a great individual year, that would be totally different.  The Sixers have not played well and he has not played well.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed All-Star starter and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James prior to the game

James on playing against Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: “It’s great (to play against Bryant).  (We’re) two of the best competitors in the game today and one thing we try to do is lead our teams to victory every day no matter what the stakes are.  No matter who we are going against, no matter if it’s on TNT or anywhere else.  We just try to win ballgames and that’s why I love going against him.”

James on not participating in the 2010 Sprite Slam Dunk: “I think the NBA has already picked the four guys that they want to be in it.  I know my teammate had a great idea but we’ll see how far that’ll go.”

Sager: “How Shaq wanted to (have a charity dunk contest and) give money to Haiti?  Do you think that could happen?”

James: “(Shaq) is my guy.  He’s great when it comes to having great marketing plans.”

Western Conference All-Star Starters

F – Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets)

F – Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)

C – Amar’e Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns)

G – Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)

G – Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns)

Smith on Rockets guard Aaron Brooks: “(The Rockets) are not the team (that they are) without Aaron Brooks.  If Aaron Brooks get hurt, they can’t contend.  He is the glue that makes it happen.”

Smith on New York Knicks center David Lee: “(David Lee) deserves to be a center (on the All-Star team).  He is the second best center in the East (Conference) this year.”

Webber on Atlanta Hawks reserve guard Jamal Crawford being a crucial piece to his team: “I think (Jamal Crawford) is the spark on the (Hawks) this year.  (He’s made some) game-winning shots.  I think the whole team has changed because now you have someone that comes off the bench.  When you look at their big games against the Lakers or other teams and Joe (Johnson) hasn’t been able to get it off in the first half.  Who do they go to?  He’s the savior of this team.”

Smith: “Is he the coffee or is he the sugar?  Is he the sweetener to the coffee that was already there?  To me, he’s the thing that makes it taste good.  But he’s not the coffee…Joe Johnson is the coffee.”

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Game 1:  Los Angeles Lakers (87) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (93)

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

Fratello on Kobe Bryant’s style of play: “Sometimes (Kobe Bryant) takes the challenge on (himself) so much, he feels he has to do it (all) rather than share the wealth with his teammates.”

Miller on the difference in personality between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant: “I don’t know what’s going on on the inside of LeBron but he’s still been care-free and loose.  He’s kept his teammates very loose.  Kobe is a different breed; he’s a lot like Michael Jordan.  He takes everything very personally.”

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on being the youngest player to reach 25,000 points: “It’s more of a testament to good fortune of being healthy and not having to deal with any serious injuries.  I’ve had nagging injuries and things like that but nothing serious has kept me out for a long period of time.”

Miller on Kobe Bryant’s ability to play through injuries: “Kobe plays hurt, injured, sprained ankles, dislocated fingers, bad wrists and back spasms.  Night in and night out, he’s a favorite on (Lakers trainer) Gary Vitti’s trainer’s table.  But he always finds a way to suit up, to lace up, come out and perform.  That’s why I have the utmost respect for him.  I like guys who can play hurt.  If you can play hurt, you can get through anything out there (on the court).”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Western Conference All-Star starter and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant following the second quarter

Bryant on the Lakers to losing the Cavaliers on Christmas Day: “(The Cavaliers) executed much better than we did.  We really weren’t prepared physically for what they were going to bring to the table.  They got us back on our heels and it was hard to get back into the situation.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Webber

Smith on the different playing styles of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant: “What’s interesting to me is how different they are in how they get things done.  LeBron James is in full attack mode.  He’s a running back, a runaway train and he takes contact.  Kobe Bryant, even in the post, will not go through you.  He’ll go around you or behind you.  His offensive game is to go over you or around you.”

Webber on players getting excited to play in big games: “It’s more than a game to the players.  You can tell by how Kobe came out aggressive after warm-ups.  Everyone knows that we want to see ‘The King’ against Kobe and both of these stars take a little umbrage with that and want to show the people.  It’s more than a game even if it’s being pumped up because you get to test yourself against the best.”

Webber on how valuable Kevin Garnett is to the Celtics: “The ‘Big Ticket’ has played well this year despite his injuries.  His absence from the Celtics shows you how valuable he is to that team.”

Smith on Denver Nuggets guard Carmelo Anthony: “I would pay to see him play.  He’s on that list where I would actually buy a ticket (to see play).”

Barkley: “I would pay to see him play on one end.”

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Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal on his role with the team: “I consider myself to be a high-level role player.  I started that when I was playing with Mr. (Dwyane) Wade in Miami.  He was the go-to guy and I was the ‘other’ guy.  Here, whenever Mr. (LeBron) James gets off the ball, my job is to make him look good.  I’m fine with that, everyone is fine with that.”

Fratello on LeBron James being guarded by Ron Artest: “(LeBron James) isn’t even phased by Ron Artest.  Ron Artest doesn’t bother him.  LeBron is big enough and strong enough to hold his ground and do whatever he wants”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Eastern Conference All-Star starter and Cavaliers forward LeBron James following the game

James on the importance of sweeping the season series with the Lakers: “You don’t want to look too far into it.  They are a really good team.  They’re the best team we have in our league today, they’re the defending champions.  You take the win and you use it as a measuring stick.  You don’t want to look too far into it saying that ‘you swept the Lakers’ or ‘you swept the defending champions.’  We look at it as another game and we’ve got to move on to the next.”

James on the importance of winning the game at home: “I think protecting home court is very important especially when you get down the road in March and April when you’re trying to solidify home-court advantage in the playoffs.  When it’s a TNT game and the bright lights are on, that’s when I like to shine and for our team to play well.”

James on being defended by Lakers forward Ron Artest: “(Ron Artest) is a very good defender.  He has very quick, strong hands and quick feet.  If you allow him to pressure you and get under your skin, he can be really effective.  I take just as much pride on the defensive end as I do on the offensive end.  If he stops me on one end, I try to stop him on the other end.”

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Game 2:  Los Angeles Clippers (85) @ Denver Nuggets (105)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with David Aldridge reporting

Collins on Nuggets forward Nene not having a scoring mentality: “I don’t know if he has the personality to throw up 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds).  He has the capability to do that but I think he’s content on this team getting 14-15 points and doing what he does with this team.  He just does not have a scoring ego.”

Collins on the versatility of Carmelo Anthony: “Carmello Anthony has improved his defense.  He’s in great shape and he’s a combination of strength and speed.  Carmelo is a tough match-up. If you put a smaller guy on him, he uses his power.  If you put a bigger guy on him, he uses his speed.”

Western Conference All-Star starter and Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony on his team not playing well against teams with losing records: “We lose to Milwaukee and Sacramento and teams like that and we had a players meeting the other day and the main topic was that we’re not going to lose any more of those games.  We want to be a top team and get back to where we were last year.  We can’t be losing to those types of teams.”

Collins on Nuggets reserve guard Anthony Carter: “(Anthony Carter) will play a big role this year as well.  Once they get to the playoffs, his veteran experience will come to the forefront.  (Nuggets head coach) George Karl trusts him.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Webber

Barkley on the Lakers not getting enough players involved: “The Lakers didn’t do a good job of getting other players involved.  Pau Gasol was a non-factor.  (Andrew) Bynum was a non-factor.”

Webber: “Not only that but if there is a question about the Lakers, it’s their bench.  Their bench was also a non-factor (against the Cavaliers).  When you don’t have any other starters (contributing) or the bench, Kobe can’t do it by himself.”

Barkley on two problems he sees with the Lakers: “The Lakers are the best team in the NBA but there are two things that concern me.  Andrew Bynum can’t play with Pau Gasol.  When there’s no Gasol, Bynum plays well.  They also aren’t getting anything from Ron Artest.”

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Collins on Carmelo Anthony: “When Carmelo (Anthony) is hitting his mid-range shot, he is unguardable.  If you close on him, he gets to the free throw line.”

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Nuggets head coach George Karl following the third quarter

Karl on the Nuggets defense creating offense: “If we keep playing defense like we’ve been playing, we’ll be ok.  Our aggressiveness created our offense.  The best basketball is when your defense creates your offense.

Collins on the importance of Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups to his team: “Chauncey Billups delivers the ball to (Carmelo Anthony) in the right areas.  (Billups) gets him the ball where he can score.  (Billups) is a huge part of this team.  Execution under pressure, he’s their quarterback.”

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups following the game

Billups on the Nuggets needing to play with more consistency in the second half of the season: “In the West (Conference), everything is so tight so you always wonder about positioning.  When you’ve got a team that you’re supposed to beat, you beat them.  That’s what great teams do.  We’ve played well against the good teams and we’ve struggled a bit with the sub-par teams.  We’re trying to fix that in the second half (of the season).”

Billups on the improvement of teammate Carmelo Anthony: “He’s growing so much now.  He’s become a true leader.  If you look at his game, he’s always improving every year.  He got exactly what he deserved (with being voted to start the All-Star Game).”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Webber

Webber on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant not being warmed up enough for the end of the game against the Cavaliers: “(The Lakers) kept Kobe out a little too long in the fourth quarter and they didn’t let him get warmed up for the end of the game.”

Barkley on why he believes Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace should make the NBA All-Star team: “I would be very disappointed if Gerald Wallace didn’t make it. He’s the reason, no offense to Stephen Jackson, that Charlotte has got the best record since the New Year started.”

Smith on why he believes Celtics guard Rajon Rondo should be an All-Star in the East: “If (Celtics guard Rajon) Rondo doesn’t make it for the first time I would be disappointed because he’s shown he’s more than the glue to the Boston Celtics or just an admirable player.”

Smith on why Rockets guard Aaron Brooks needs to be an All-Star in the West: “Aaron Brooks deserves it. He’s created enough excitement to be on the team with his play, game winnings shots and big games. In terms of explosion in games that they’ve needed 40 points or 30 points, he’s been the guy who has exploded and pushed himself to be an All-Star.”

TNT will announced the nominees for its ‘TNT All-Decade Presented by esurance: Posterization: Regular Season category.  Fans can visit NBA.com’s ‘TNT All-Decade Presented by esurance’ page to view clips of all of the previously announced nominees and cast a vote on who they think should win.  Nominees for Posterization: Regular Season include:

  • Amar’e Stoudemire: 2002 versus Clippers, over Michael Olowokandi
  • Kobe Bryant: 2002 versus Nuggets, over Vincent Yarbrough
  • Kobe Bryant: 2003 versus Rockets, over Yao Ming
  • Vince Carter: 2005 versus Heat, over Alonzo Mourning
  • Ronnie Price: 2006 versus Jazz, over Carlos Boozer
  • Dywane Wade: 2009 versus Cavaliers, over Anderson Varejao

4 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, January 21, 2010: All Star Game Starters Announced”

  1. Tariq says:

    Listen, Allen Iverson is my favorite player, but I don’t think he should be an all-star this season. I’m not sure how all these great players were voted in late in their careers when they didn’t deserve it as a career tribute (I’m sure some did), but I’m not sure what the exact context for each individual player was. But I’m not sure this is why fans voted Iverson in. I think they voted him in for the same reason they voted Vince Carter in for a few seasons when he wasn’t playing at an all-star level: Iverson is a marquee name, and the casual fan is more likely to vote for him than, say, Rajon Rondo, regardless of performance.
    Also, if you want to make the argument that Iverson’s career achievements justify him getting into the all-star game based on his track record, then I would counter by saying that he ALREADY got in based on his career achievements when he wasn’t playing at an all-star level. I don’t think he should have been an all-star last season. He got in because he’s Allen Iverson. Obviously, his production wasn’t as low as this year, but it still wasn’t all-star level.

    Plus, when we talk about Iverson in this way, are we really saying that he’s officially done? That he can’t ever get back into all-star form? Do we really have to vote him in when he doesn’t deserve it at age 34 as a “tribute”?

  2. Tariq says:

    To answer your other questions:

    Who deserves to start?

    Rajon Rondo.

    Where does Iverson stand, historically?

    Obviously one of the best scorers to ever grace the hardwood. Definitely a Top 50 all-time player. I would rank him somewhere in the 30-40 range.

  3. Eric Daniels says:

    I have to say Allen Iverson does not deserve to be in the all-star game and for Lebron to chicken out of the “dunk contest” is not a surprise considering he carries the Cavs. Can we say that L.A. Lakers are soft again especially after the Cavs beat them twice, but the Cavs won’t get past the Celtics because when all is said and done the Celtics injuries notwithstanding are the most physical team in the NBA.

  4. mapoui says:

    the major league allstars games seems to be a fun thing with the people, the fans and its their right.

    they are the ones who pay and they vote in whom they like.

    thats it! to me it has nutten at all to do with statistical comparison. it does not matter if Rondo can play better than Iverson at this stage or not.

    Rondo is not Iverson whom the fans everwhere love and remember.

    even now approaching his prime Rondo isnt close to what Iverson was in his prime and they way he captured the hearts of the fans.

    things of endurance, strength and courage used to be named Iverson, as they used to be named Singletary in football, in honour of those two guys.

    as long as Iverson plays he will be voted to the allstar game.

    the stastical comparisons are for the coaches arent they, who get their chance to add alternates?

    let them pick Rondo.

    and please allow the fans do their thing. thats how they honor the game they love pay

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