Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, January 28, 2010: All Star Game Reserves Announced

TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Miami Heat @ Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I’m happy for him. It’s well-deserved. Long line of guys from Alabama who are just studs.”

TNT’s Charles Barkley on Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace.

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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 Reserves

Rajon Rondo – Boston Celtics

Joe Johnson – Atlanta Hawks

Chris Bosh – Toronto Raptors

Paul Pierce – Boston Celtics

Gerald Wallace – Charlotte Bobcats

Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls

Al Horford – Atlanta Hawks

Barkley on Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo: “Well deserved.  He’s been the best player on the Celtics all season.”

Barkley on Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace: “I’m happy for him.  It’s well-deserved.  Long line of guys from Alabama who are just studs.”

Atlanta Hawks center and Eastern Conference All-Star Al Horford joined the TNT crew in the studio

Horford on being selected for the All-Star team by NBA coaches: “It means a lot.  It’s really a great honor.  When you think about all the great players that had an opportunity (to become an All-Star) and have been playing this year.  We have a lot of talent in the East (Conference).  For (the coaches) to consider me to be an All-Star player is a great honor.  I’m so excited.”

Horford on the success that the Hawks are enjoying this season: “We have a really great team.  Josh (Smith) has really been doing so much for our team all year long.  He’s playing as (well) as anyone.  Jamal (Crawford) coming off the bench has been such an impact for us.  The reason we’ve been playing so well this season has a lot to do with (Crawford).”

Horford on Hawks head coach Mike Woodson’s shaved eyebrows: “I don’t know what he’s doing.  I think his barber was (trimming) one (eyebrow) and accidently cut one so he had to clean it all out.”

Smith on Mike Woodson’s shaved eyebrows: “I don’t know if he’s frowning, if he’s sad, happy or mean.”

Barkley: “We do know one thing…he’s ugly.”

Western Conference All-Star Reserves

Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks

Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder

Brandon Roy – Portland Trail Blazers

Chris Paul – New Orleans Hornets

Deron Williams – Utah Jazz

Pau Gasol – Los Angeles Lakers

Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies

Barkley on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant: “Kevin Durant can score on anybody.”

Webber on Memphis Grizzlies center Zach Randolph: “He’s passing the ball more now and he’s actually being a good teammate.  He’s being rewarded for that.”

Barkley on Rockets guard Aaron Brooks and Clipper center Chris Kaman not making the All-Star Team: “Aaron Brooks should have made it and Chris Kaman is the best center in the West (Conference).  Amar’e Stoudemire is starting at center, but he’s really not a center.  We always reward teams for winning and we did not (do that) in this situation.”

Barkley on New York Knicks center David Lee not making the All-Star team: “David Lee should have made (the All-Star team).  If they would’ve taken David Lee over anybody else, there wouldn’t have been any gripes.  (Lee) has been ballin’ and he’s on a terrible team.  He gets a double-double every night.”

Barkley on Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah: “No disrespect to Derrick Rose but the most consistent player (on the Bulls) all year has been Joakim Noah.”

Smith: “I disagree.  Derrick Rose is the engine that makes that team go.  Without him, they aren’t even a playoff contender.”

Oklahoma City Thunder guard and Western Conference All-Star Kevin Durant joined the studio crew via phone

Durant on what has improved most with his game since last season: “I’m playing defense better.  I’m able to pass the ball better than I did last year.  I’ve been more of a leader and the guys look up to me.  If I come in every day and work hard, they are going to follow (my lead).  I’m excited to be (at the All-Star Game) and learn from these guys.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Eastern Conference All-Star and Celtics guard Rajon Rondo

Rondo on his improvement as a player: “It’s the hard work.  The coaches have been on me since day one and I give them a lot of credit.  Also, my teammates every day in practice; they are on me and they push me.  (They) show me how to be consistent and a leader on the court.”

Smith on the suspensions to Wizards players Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton: “It was expected.  The only time that you’re supposed to bring a gun to the workplace is if you’re a police officer or a crook, otherwise you’re supposed to keep it at home.  It’s unfortunate but the one thing that’s fortunate about it is now he can move on.  I think now Gilbert has to move on and (Javaris) Crittenton has to move on, realize their mistake and suffer the consequences.  Then come back next year with a vengeance as a player.  Not as an entertainer, not as a blogger, not as a gun-totter but as a basketball player.”

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Game 1:  Boston Celtics (94) @ Orlando Magic (96)

Announcer: Marv Albert, Reggie Miller with Craig Sager reporting

Miller on the Celtics trusting center Kendrick Perkins more on the offensive end of the court: “I love the trust factor that (Celtics head coach) Doc Rivers and the rest of the Celtics have for Kendrick Perkins.  He used to be the (defensive) workhorse of the team.  (He) rebounds, blocks shots and sets picks.  Now they are going to him offensively and that’s the trust factor that this team has in him.”

Miller on Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace: “That’s what I like about Rasheed (Wallace’s) game.  He won’t settle for three’s and the mid-range game as well as the post-up.  He can be a dangerous player.”

Miller on the defensive play of Magic guard J.J. Redick: “I’m really surprised by how good of a defender J.J. Redick is.  He’s not great but he really moves his feet and uses his body.  He’s worked out for (head coach Stan) Van Gundy.”

Miller on Celtics forward Kevin Garnett: “It’s no secret, when Kevin Garnett is on the floor and in uniform for the Celtics. He gives them a much different look defensively.”

Magic guard Vince Carter on why he hasn’t returned to the Sprite Slam Dunk: “If I were to do it again at that point in time, I want to be healthy and 100%.  I had a few injuries but for what I want to do and try in the dunk contest, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Celtics guard Ray Allen following the second quarter

Allen on how he fits into the Celtics’ offense: “I think a lot of the time; our own worst enemy is ourselves if we don’t move the ball from the strong side to the weak side.  Most teams we play, they double me off of pick-and-rolls and I have to move the ball and get the quick pass.  As long as that keeps working, I’ll get my spots where I can get my shot working.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Webber

Smith on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo: “(Rajon Rondo is) the little big man.  Most guards like to play outside-in.  Rajon Rondo likes to play inside-out.  He gives (the Celtics) another post player.”

Webber on where Orlando fits into the race in the Eastern Conference: “I don’t think (Orlando) is in the two team race (in the Eastern Conference with Boston).  Cleveland is ahead of them because they don’t get the ball inside.”

Barkley on why Orlando is one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference: “I still think Orlando is going to be a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.  They only have to beat Cleveland and Boston because they’ve got the best bench (in the East) and they’ve got the most dominant big man in Dwight Howard.  They are going to be there at the end.”

amazing weekend party-wise.

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Miller on how to attack the Celtics defense: “You can’t keep the ball on one side against the Celtics.  Their defense is that good.  You have to move the ball from side to side against their defense and then take the ball off the dribble to be successful.”

Celtics guard Ray Allen on his role changing throughout his career: “I’ve been on teams where I’ve had to do a lot more on the floor and some teams where I had to do a lot more off the floor.  It just takes each individual player on any team in any sport to figure out what that coach or that player needs from you.  If you can make that coach look good or your teammates look great then you’re doing your job.”

Miller on how the Celtics defend Dwight Howard: “The reason why (Celtics center) Kendrick Perkins is so successful at pushing (Dwight Howard) around is that it allows the Celtics to play one-on-one defense on Dwight Howard.  They don’t have to double (team) him and when they don’t double-team him, you’re not unleashing all of those three-point threats.”

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Game 2:  Dallas Mavericks (106) @ Phoenix Suns (112)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Cheryl Miller reporting

Collins on the rising confidence of Suns reserve guard Goran Dragic: “Confidence is an amazing thing.  (Goran) Dragic is playing with great confidence.  His defense on the ball is very, very good.  He pressures the ball and gives them a chance to defend at the point of the ball much better.”

Suns point guard Steve Nash on his team losing confidence: “I think for little stretches that’s crept into our game.  We’ve got to get our swagger back, not think and just play.  (That’s when) good things will happen.  As much as anything, it’s a mentality.  In sports, you’ve got to have that mentality that you’re good and you’re going to win.”

Collins on Suns’ starting center Robin Lopez: “Robin Lopez has played very aggressive basketball and his numbers are up.  He makes them a different team and provides a physical presence.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Mavericks guard Jason Terry following the second quarter

Terry on how the Mavericks should be able to score against the Suns: “I thought we did a great job of getting stops and getting our hands on some balls.  We’re not getting the job done offensively.  We (have) to score on these guys.  They’re not very good defensively and we’ve got to make them pay.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Webber

Webber on Mavericks reserve guard Jason Terry: “I look at Jason Terry as a starter anyway.  He’s the commander off the bench.  Jason Kidd is the facilitator for this team and they need more scoring besides Dirk (Nowitzki) so it does make sense to put him in the starting lineup.”

Smith on the questions surrounding Suns center Amar’e Stoudemire: “The future of Amar’e Stoudemire is very interesting.  The one thing that’s going to separate him (from other players) and the biggest question mark (with him) is if he is a franchise player?  Can he dominate the low post without a pick-and-roll?”

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Collins on why the Mavericks have struggled at home this season: “Sometimes guys get home and they get complacent.  They expect the crowd to energize them but they’ve got to bring their own energy.”

Collins compares Suns point guard Steve Nash to Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre: “(Steve Nash) will take chances with the ball.  Just like Brett Favre slinging that ball in the NFC Championship.”

Collins on Mavericks forward Shawn Marion: “Shawn (Marion) is a slasher and a cutter and a guy who will get on the boards but not really a guy that you’re going to post (up).”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Suns point guard Steve Nash following the game

Nash on the Suns winning on TNT for the first time in 19 games: “I’m not going to say anything derogatory about the network.  We hung in there.  We played pretty well but we scrapped.  We came up with some loose balls.  (We made) some defensive plays that we’ve been missing in crucial situations lately.  It was a big game for us.”

Nash on the importance of the Suns’ bench in their victory over the Mavericks: “The second unit was huge.  Goran (Dragic) has been playing great lately and the energy of the rest of the guys was fantastic.  They scrambled and talked on defense and held the momentum for us.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Webber

Barkley on a camera shot of Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell: “That’s my boy JaMarcus Russell. We need to get him on a diet because he’s going to be the quarterback for the Oakland Raiders next year. We’ve got to get about 30 pounds off him and then he’ll be ok.”

Barkley on the best shooters he’s ever seen: “Reggie Miller is the best shooter I’ve ever seen and Ray Allen is in the passenger seat. Steve Kerr is in the back.”

Barkley on Magic center Dwight Howard and Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki needing to play more aggressively against their defenders: “Let me say this about Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitzki – it drives me nuts – why they wrestle with guys trying to post up. Listen, in my day I told the defender, ‘you get where you want to, and then when you get there, you’re stuck there for the rest of the night.’  When they’re pushing you off the box and things like that, that’s absurd, no guy can push you off the box. You get where you want to and he’s going to front you or play behind you. Now once he gets in one of those positions you lock him up and you say, ‘throw the ball, this guy can’t come and get it.’ You sit there and watch Dwight Howard get pushed off the box because he doesn’t use his legs, it’s all about legs. You see the same thing with Dirk Nowitzki, he let Grant Hill push him off the box. I’m like, dude, that is so stupid, that is Basketball 101. You get to your position and you stay there. I’m going to lock your ass there.”

Webber: “I agree totally, they are so good on the post that all you have to do is hold your position just like you said. All the flopping and flailing and moving, you’re just fighting and wasting time. (Those players) need to watch tape of you and Karl Malone and other guys and just put your butt in it. Not everybody has a butt as big as ya’ll though.”

Webber on a new nickname for Thunder forward Kevin Durant: “Chuck, Steve Smith gave (Kevin Durant) this nickname and I want to know if you like it. ‘Baby Ice.’ Like the Ice Man, ‘Baby Ice.'”

“He can score anywhere, he’ll score at a funeral.”

TNT announced the nominees for its ‘TNT All-Decade Presented by esurance: Buzzer-Beaters: 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 Buzzer-Beaters Regular Season include:

  • Kobe Bryant: 2004 versus Trail Blazers
  • Dwight Howard: 2007 versus Spurs
  • Rasheed Wallace: 2007 versus Nuggets
  • Morris Peterson: 2007 versus Warriors
  • Devin Harris: 2007 versus 76ers
  • Dwyane Wade: 2009 versus Bulls

    ROOKIE TEAM ROSTER

    Player                             Team

    (F-C) DeJuan Blair        San Antonio

    (F) Omri Casspi            Sacramento

    (G) Stephen Curry         Golden State

    (G) Tyreke Evans          Sacramento

    (G)Jonny Flynn              Minnesota

    (F) Taj Gibson               Chicago

    (G) James Harden         Oklahoma City

    (G) Brandon Jennings    Milwaukee

    (F) Jonas Jerebko          Detroit

    SOPHOMORE TEAM ROSTER

    Player                             Team

    (F) Michael Beasley      Miami

    (C) Marc Gasol             Memphis

    (G-F) Danilo Gallinari    New York

    (G) Eric Gordon            L.A. Clippers

    (C) Brook Lopez           New Jersey

    (F-C) Kevin Love          Minnesota

    (G) O.J. Mayo              Memphis

    (G) Derrick Rose          Chicago

    (G) Russell Westbrook   Oklahoma City

    NBA TV’s Chris Webber on Sacramento Kings rookie forward Omri Casspi: “They said he couldn’t shoot. They said Omri Casspi couldn’t shot and I have seen him be the best shooter on the Sacramento Kings – him and Kevin Martin. I’m not surprised at his heart because I know he is tough. I’m not surprised at how smart he is because I know he has played the game a long time. I know he has played the game a long time. I didn’t know if he could shoot that well and he can.”

    Webber on Sacramento Kings rookie guard Tyreke Evans: “Even in the pre-season I called that he would be rookie of the year. I think his only competition is Brandon Jennings who is a great player in his own right. I think that what makes him so good is that he is so big. To be that size and be a point guard and to be able to have the quickness to chase a Tony Parker, the quickness to stay with Chauncey Billups and to play on the West Coast and have size and be that quick is just amazing.  I think his biggest skill is getting to the basket. It is really hard to stop him.  He has handles. Handles that you wouldn’t say are the most exciting but handles that are the most efficient and effective and I think that is what makes him so good. And the fact that he has been a good leader.  We have won, Sacramento has won when they have had him at the helm leading and they have been playing really well great as of late and up until the break.”

    Webber on Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard Jonny Flynn: “Jonny Flynn is an excellent scorer. I have him on my fantasy team.  I have seen that he is inconsistent and also know the team wants him to be more of a leader and less of a scorer. As for him and most rookies, they have to figure out who they are. The point guard is probably the toughest position to come into this game and play especially has a rookie. Right now, he is doing a good job on figuring himself out. He is doing a good job scoring but he just needs to fill the other holes.

    Webber on Milwaukee Bucks rookie guard Brandon Jennings: The college season is only 30 games 33 at the most if you make the championship. 30 games in the NBA is not even drop in the hat. 30 games is about when you hit your wall.  I really haven’t seen him hit the wall as of yet but it is coming. It happens to every rookie that is every played. I think what makes him so good is that he has had a chance to play professional ball overseas. He has the pace of a veteran and he has the game of a veteran. He has played in these type situations before. So I think besides his skill his experience has done the best for him. I think what makes him so good.

    NBA TV’s Kevin McHale on Sacramento Kings rookie forward Omri Casspi: “One of my favorite guys is Omri Casspi. I was watching the film, he was about 17-years-old, it was about three or four years ago though. I was watching the Israeli national team play and I kept saying, ‘who is this kid?  He is in the middle of everything.’ I brought our scout in and I said, ‘Who’s this skinny guy with the real square shoulders and slight build?  He was in every run.’  I’ve followed him since then and I’ve loved him.  The thing that surprised me about Omri is his ability to shoot the ball.  He is shooting much better than I thought. He was shooting about 43-44% from the three-point line, and about 49% overall. I thought shooting would be his hang up.  I knew he would be able to defend. I knew he was scrappy; I loved him, but boy when he is making shots, he is stepping up and knocking down threes, and it’s amazing. The thing I probably liked about him the most was that whoever scored a few hoops in a row, this 17-year-old kid playing on the Israeli national team, and he would guard them. You can see he has a defensive mindset.  He’s begging coach Paul West to guard other team’s top players and I really like that.  He is one of my favorite rookies.”

    McHale on Golden State Warriors rookie guard Stephen Curry: “I like Stephen Curry a lot. I liked him coming out. He can make shots. He makes simple plays. He is not a spectacular showboat-type player. He makes simple plays and he makes shots. But he has a really high basketball IQ. The big rap on him was who he was going to guard. He really has done a nice job of keeping people in front of him and just being solid. I’m a big fan of Stephan Curry.”

    McHale on Sacramento Kings rookie guard Tyreke Evans: “Tyreke Evans has a really good body, a great feel for the game and he has those really extraordinary long arms. That really helps you. It helps him on defense and offense. He plays so much bigger than what he is. I think right now by far, I think he is Rookie of the Year. I don’t think it’s even close. He’s taking over games late. He is doing things veterans guys do. I thought he would have a harder time finishing in the NBA game with all that length. But he is going in there shooting over guys, under guys, using the board, and spinning the ball.  He is really fun to watch. They are winning games, more than people thought and he’s taking over the late game situations. (He is) so impressive for a rookie. (Brandon) Jennings started off hot but now, I think Evans is clearly the Rookie of the Year.  Evans is just so strong in the way he plays with such an aggressive game that I don’t see a fall off for Tyreke.

    McHale on Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard Jonny Flynn: “(Jonny) Flynn, with this speed and strength, was able to start off the season playing really well. He is a great finisher at the hole.  He has great quickness against the basket. But they are making him shoot a lot of jump shots.  In basketball, as a young player, it is like a chess move. You come out with the first move, and everybody sees what you can do and now they see that and take it away and say, ‘ok, what is your second move?’  He has to be able to shoot a jump shot. Jonny is having a little bit of a difficult time with man-to-man defense in the NBA, but again he is a little spark plug a little bowling ball type player with the quickness.”

    McHale on Milwaukee Bucks rookie guard Brandon Jennings: “It is a tough battle for Brandon Jennings. He went an unusual route. He didn’t go to college.  He went over to Europe which was amazing to me that an 18- or 19-year-old can go to Europe. Thank goodness he had a support group with him. Over in Europe it is hard for a 25-year-old guy that has four or five years out of college to make the transition.  Brandon Jennings is very dynamic and has great quickness. He is shooting the ball better than I thought he could. Every once in a while he starts playing at that tempo that’s almost too fast. He is such a fast player. He gets some turnovers, he gets ahead of himself.  I know that Milwaukee is in a rebuilding mode and they would probably let him go.  I would like to see (Bucks head coach Scott) Skiles, make him take less shots and distribute more. I hate when I see rookies go 5 for 19. Leave the 5 for 19 for veterans.”

    McHale on New Jersey Nets rookie center Brook Lopez: “Brook was one of the those guys that spend a lot of time in the draft, analyzing. He knew he was big. He knew he had a nice touch. He has really played well; he’s been passing the ball well. On a nightly basis, I see him with some energy and some determination and passing the ball well. But he is still continuing to play hard and he is getting better. He is a great 17 or 18 foot jump shooter, and when he gets his shot down, he is really going to be a handful. I think he’s been passing the ball well. I think Brook has taken a step up. I admire his determination.”

    McHale on Minnesota Timberwolves sophomore center Kevin Love:  “(Kevin Love) is a world class rebounder. I have watched him quite a bit. When he gets enough games under his belt to qualify with league statistics, he is going to be the second or third rebounder. He is a phenomenal rebounder, great passing ability, needs to work on his post-game a little bit. He has to become like (Memphis Grizzlies center) Zach Randolph. When a team goes small in our league, everybody panics and every team goes small. That’s what Kevin Love has to work on. He has to become a Zach Randolph-type offensive player, so when teams go small, he can take them in the post, score on them, get fouls, and offensive rebounds. So his next transition is really working on the post. His jump shot has really improved so he really come on.”

    McHale on Memphis Grizzlies sophomore guard O.J. Mayo: “(O.J. Mayo) has really found his rhythm. I know last year in his rookie year, they were trying to get him to be more of a point guard, and move the ball past. O.J. Mayo can shoot lights-out, he can run, he gets assists, but he gets assist more in a two-guard fashion. He’s not a set-up guy. I think the fact that (Grizzlies guard Mike) Conley and (Grizzlies guard Jamaal) Tinsley have been able to play the point guard and allowed Mayo to his thing. Once you get O.J. Mayo running down the wing, (Rudy) Gay crashing the boards, he has really been valuable.  (Grizzlies head coach) Lionel Hollins has been great at saying, ‘This is what you really do well, and we’re going to ask you to do what you do well.’ That is what has help O.J. tremendously. He is never going to be a big assist guy. He is a great shooter, and now I think he is just out there trying out there and he’s working on his offense. I see him becoming a better passer now that they’re not expecting him to do all that stuff. He is more relaxed. He is playing very well.”

    McHale on Chicago Bulls sophomore guard Derrick Rose: “I think Derrick (Rose) got hurt, I saw him a couple of weeks ago and I started watching him more so I think he is getting his explosiveness back. When you’re a guy who plays on quickness and strength and you hurt your ankle as badly as you do and come back. Everyone is saying what’s wrong with Derrick Rose? Well, he was hurt and he wasn’t able to use his explosiveness.  His ability to get an edge on you and lower his shoulder and explode on you is amazing.  He has not had the same year he had last year, and that’s because he was injured. I see now the Derrick Rose of last year and he is getting better. His jump shot has improved. He is so quick and he is starting to make that jump shot now.  The sky is the limit for Derrick Rose. He is going to get better and better and better.”

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