Notes from NBA TV’s Fan Night – Tuesday, February 23, 2010 Los Angles Lakers (99) @ Memphis Grizzlies (98): KOBE!!!

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Fan Night voting will continue on NBA.com from Tuesday, Feb. 23 (8 a.m. ET) – Thursday, Feb. 25 (Midnight ET) as fans select the match-up for Tuesday, Mar. 2 between three games: Boston Celtics @ Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors @ Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers @ Los Angeles Lakers

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AutoTrader.com Pre-Game Show

Ernie Johnson, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber

Webber on Kobe Bryant’s mentality coming back after missing 18 days: “I think it depends on your practice schedule. I’ve seen some Lakers practices and I know Coach (Phil) Jackson keeps them tight on the fundamentals. I think he is going to have to worry about a couple of things. The first break, he usually plays until the two minute mark in the first quarter but he will come out a little earlier but also I think his mentality. You question yourself, you get out of rhythm. ‘Do I come out and attack early?’ So I think it is physical, but also mental.”

McHale on the benefits of the Lakers going 4-1 in Bryant’s absence: “It gives them great confidence. You have to remember that one point loss was a loss to Boston. The closer wasn’t there for them – the Black Mamba gazelle. That is quite a combination…having 18 days off will really help Kobe down the stretch. The team playing well gives you a lot of confidence. I think it gives Bryant the confidence to defer to his teammates. He can come out now and just relax and get his feet wet. Had they been 0-5, I can tell you the Black Mamba would have been coming out and shooting every time he could.”

McHale on the Lakers getting home court advantage in the Playoffs: “I think that is huge for them. I think they want to get the best record overall. Back when I was with the Celtics that was a big thing. You wanted to play that seventh game on your home court and if possible in the Finals. I think they are looking at Cleveland and they have seen them stumble little bit. They want to bypass these guys, get the best record in the league and solidify themselves to get home court throughout the Playoffs.”

Webber on the Lakers defense: “Believe it or not, their defense has actually improved.  This is the Lakers team I have been waiting to see. All these other guys have stepped up. These guys have been getting into people defensively in those last five games.”

McHale: “Their defensive numbers are spectacular. In the back of their minds, I’m sure they are thinking we don’t have our closer with us so we better defend. Their defense has really stepped up.”

McHale on Lakers forward Ron Artest: “I have really been impressed with Artest. He is getting his defensive mojo up. He is starting to roughhouse a little more and play a little tougher.  He is getting ready for the Playoffs.”

McHale on the Grizzles struggling defensively: “I think they have put a lot of energy into this season. They have had to score a lot. They don’t play that well defensively so every night they have to score. I think they are just tired. They have to score to be effective. They can’t afford to come out and have an average scoring night. They have to put their numbers up so they need to get back on the train here and start scoring.”

Webber on what the Grizzles have to do to make the Playoffs: “They have to win 8 or 9 of their road games. Not having guys off the bench kind of skews the roles. Everyone has to do everything which can sometimes cause confusion. They are going to have to play the best basketball out of any of the teams in order to make the Playoffs in these last 27 games.”

NBA Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtics center Robert Parrish joined the NBA TV studio crew.

Parish on what he remembered about playing with Kevin McHale: “What I remember most about playing with Kevin is that he is very dependable. He came to play every night and that is what I respect about him. He was a true professional. You could always depend on him. He never took nights off – practices or games.”

Parish on if he thought teams would beat them before they took the court:  “Never. I always said we had teams beat even before we played. While we warmed up, most teams were watching us warm up. We had teams beat even before we had jump ball.”

Parish on what he attributes to his longevity in the league: “Well my last three years, someone was still interested (laughs). Seriously, I was blessed with good genes. I think the martial arts really helped me a lot. Before we ran any drills we stretched for an hour and a half. Especially when I got older and I lost a step or two, it really helped. I think it helped me from sustaining a major injury because of the flexibility. It paid big dividends for my career.”

McHale on former Celtics teammate Robert “The Chief” Parish: “He was a fun guy to play with. Always dependable. I always say what a blessing it was to play with a guy like him.”

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T-Mobile Halftime Report

Johnson, McHale and Webber

Webber on Thunder forward Kevin Durant: “That is one reason why they are good. It starts with Durant and his scoring and him passing the ball as well as taking on other aspects of his game like defense.  When you do that it is contagious, guys are waiting on you and they play together making the chemistry great in Oklahoma.”

Webber on Bryant’s performance during the first half: “One way I can tell a player is off his injury totally is by their explosiveness. He showed early in the game that there was no stiffness. Rest is great for a guy that plays 40 plus minutes like Kobe and especially after an injury.”

McHale: “To me he looked lively. His legs looked good. You take 18 games off and you are a baller like he is, you are excited to go out there.”

Webber: “We didn’t even talk about his finger getting a rest. We are talking about his ankle.”

McHale on the Lakers bench: “They are doing what they have to. They are coming out defending. You have Shannon Brown coming out making shots and Odom is a great bench player, but they have got to play well all the time. The only thing I look at with the Lakers that could cause them problems down the stretch and maybe in the Playoffs is that bench. Is it going to be able to step up and play? They have to start now getting a good rhythm.”

Webber: I think so. I think (the bench) has to earn the trust. Earn the trust of the coaches; earn the trust of Kobe and the other players. They played so well while Kobe was out. You know he is going to take over. Even if you come out aggressively and take control and then let him do his thing.  They can not win if this bench doesn’t come out right for the rest of year.”

McHale on what the Grizzles need to excel to the next step: “One thing Memphis has to do to take that next step to become a Playoff team every year in the NBA is to become better defensively.  They give up too many points and the other team always shoots a decent percentage against them.”

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NBA GameTime presented by Hyundai

Johnson, McHale and Webber

Webber on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant’s ability to close out games: “I used to think the Yankees had the best closer (in Mariano Rivera) for a long time but then (Kobe Bryant) comes in and shows you what he can do.  It’s amazing and the thing that’s great about it is that you know that he wants that moment.  (The Lakers) set the stage for a big shot maker to make a big shot.”

The Fan Night crew talked to Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant via ArenaLink

Bryant on missing games due to injury: “You know how much you love the game and when you can’t play (due to injury) you really realize how much you miss it.”

Bryant on taking time off to let his body heal: “At the start of this process with the injury, I couldn’t push off of (my ankle) at all.  I can’t play through that so I had to sit down.  The guys stepped up and played with a great sense of urgency.  Now we’re healthy for the home stretch and we’ll be on all cylinders.”

Bryant on the Lakers getting home court advantage in the playoffs: “For us it’s about winning as many games as we can.  Home court (advantage) would be great, but going on the road doesn’t frighten (us).  It would be great to have home court.”

Bryant, who said he felt like a gazelle going into his first game back from injury, on how he feels after the game: “I feel like a gazelle that has been running from a lion for the past 30 minutes.”

Webber on Cavaliers forward LeBron James’ court vision: “(LeBron James), Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the best guards in the game and they will find you if you’re open.”

Webb, I know how you feel fam. Game in 2000, KG vs. Shaq in LA. I bought this slick Lakers bucket hat to chill in my Jeep Wrangler…top down. I walked out of the stadium with it on and just couldn’t do it. Ended up giving it to my boy Sean Bishop when I returned home. That’s just how it is…

2 Responses to “Notes from NBA TV’s Fan Night – Tuesday, February 23, 2010 Los Angles Lakers (99) @ Memphis Grizzlies (98): KOBE!!!”

  1. Diallo says:

    Maaaaaan, C-Webb is a punk! lol

  2. Mizzo says:

    I knew you were coming.

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