Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Playoffs – Saturday, April 24, 2010: Brandon Roy Goes New York Reminiscent; OKC Lowers the Boom on the Lakers

Kobe has seen it all in his years of being the player ushering his generation from Jordan to James. He’s guarded great players and premier players have tried their hand at defensing one of the most talented athletes to ever lace ‘em up. Yes, he’s played an amazing amount of games since the Olympics but Kobe would have it no other way. It would appear,  the last two games, that Kobe is actually struggling to shoot above and beyond the tremendous wingspan and savvy of Kevin Durant. Huh?

Yeah…

Somebody else on the Lakers better step up…

On the Portland/Suns front…Brandon Roy shook fear in conservative minds and hearts alike by playing a mere eight days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus tendon in his right knee.  The crazy thing is that this is a franchise littered with freakish career threatening (jury is still out on Greg Oden) injuries that span decades.

The Phoenix Suns have been a problem. They’ve blown out Portland the last two games of the best of seven series after the Trail Blazers won the first round opener. Steve Nash dropped 16 assists…

Jason Richardson went for 42.

Something had to give…

Brandon Roy basically held the franchise hostage by telling his coach he could go and Nate McMillian took a major risk in trusting his young star in a time where cooler heads had to prevail.

Victory…

TNT’s coverage of the 2010 NBA Playoffs continues on Sunday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. (ET) with the NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com, followed at 7 p.m. (ET) with a doubleheader featuring the Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs (Game #4) followed by the Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz (Game #4).

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Barkley on Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley: “I have to take my hat off to Michael Beasley. Actually, the starters played better last night than they have in any game in this series, but the Celtics were a better team.”

Barkley on the Charlotte Bobcats strategy to stop Dwight Howard: “I said it and Michael Jordan said it last week, if I was the Charlotte Bobcats I would stay at home on all those three point shooters and let Dwight Howard go one on one. I would make every guy use his six fouls and make him make free throws. You have to pick your poison.  The thing that is scary, when Dwight Howard has been out of the game, they still outplay the Charlotte Bobcats.”

Barkley on Coach Larry Brown’s comments about the Bobcats treating these (playoff) games like regular season games: “It is different when you are down 2-0. When you go home for that Game # 3, just like in Oklahoma City., they are going to come out like gangbusters today but it still comes down to can anyone step up? You’ve got to play, man. This is an uphill battle for Charlotte. If someone doesn’t have a career day, I’ll give Stephen Jackson 25, I’ll give Gerald Wallace 25, but somebody else on that team is going to have to step up.”

Barkley on Phoenix guard Jason Richardson’s importance to the Suns: “It is an interesting thing. He is the barometer for the Suns. He is the third guy. We know that Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire will play well but on most teams it is that third guy. Even if you look at OKC, that third guy that hasn’t stepped up has been Jeff Green. You need that third guy to get enough points.”

Barkley on Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler sitting out the entire second half: “One of our jobs is to question coaches and Rick Carlisle is a friend of mine but I did not agree with Caron Butler sitting on the bench the entire second half. He is too good a player. They made the trade; he was the centerpiece of that trade. You can not go a whole half without playing that guy.”

Smith on Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler getting an opportunity to play: “The one thing that I always say is that if you have to do enough to earn (your time) to be a starter. Meaning you put in the work prior to getting to the game, so once the game starts ‘I deserve the opportunity to get us home.’  There has to be a reason why he earned the right to be a starter and the right to possibly be a finisher.  You have to give that guy the opportunity.”

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Game 1: Orlando Magic (90) @ Charlotte Bobcats (86) –Orlando leads the series 3-0

Announcers: Matt Delvin and Kevin McHale with Cheryl Miller reporting

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson before the game

Nelson on what it will take for the Magic to win this game on the road: “A lot of defense. We made some adjustments on our defensive things and are trying to focus on that.”

Nelson on his advantages against Bobcats guard Raymond Felton: “I have to stay in attack mode for my team to be successful, whether that is for me to shoot the ball or for someone else to get that shot.”

McHale on the Bobcats lack of offense: “They have to openly attack Orlando and turn their defense into some offense. They have been fine defensively and have played really hard. Like Larry Brown said before the game, ‘we can’t play much harder; we just have to play smarter. We have to play with more of a sense of purpose.’”

McHale on the Bobcats style of play: “They need to play from the lead. They are a defensive team. They are like the Carolina Panthers; they will get you down 7-0 and grind you. It is hard for them to play from behind because they don’t have the quick attack offense. They need to get the lead and make Orlando play from behind.”

Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy on what he didn’t like during the first quarter: “Well we had too many turnovers namely, we had seven turnovers and our defense isn’t set. We said going into this series, the biggest thing for us to do is take care of  the ball, we didn’t do that in that quarter.”

Van Gundy on the Bobcats’ traps that are affecting the Magic’s shots: “Absolutely – we got seven turnovers. However, when we didn’t turn it over, we got wide open shots.”

McHale on the Bobcats playing at home: “A team is so much more comfortable coming home. The court is the same, everything is the same but it is the familiar surroundings that make you a little bit more comfortable and right now they are much more in tune to their game plan.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson not respecting the Bobcats’ point guards:  I hate to say this but he doesn’t respect those Charlotte point guards. The way he came out in Game #1, he feels like these guys can’t guard him and he’s going at them.”

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McHale on Bobcats performance throughout the series: “That is one thing about Charlotte throughout this entire series, they have played hard defensively.  They got after you, they attacked drivers. Larry Brown is proud of the effort his team gives on a nightly basis.”

McHale on Magic center Dwight Howard’s repetitive fouls: “You have to maintain your composure when you are out there. You already have three fouls. You are huge for your team on the defensive end. The game changes so much when you are out. You just have to be more disciplined than that.”

Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown on the Bobcats performance during third quarter: “We have to get control of Jameer (Nelson) and do a better job of that and we can’t have empty possessions. We had a chance to rebound and a chance to get back.  With that being said, this is the fourth (quarter) and we have to have an opportunity to execute better and win the game.”

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Game 2: Phoenix Suns (87) @ Portland Trail Blazers (96) –Series tied 2 – 2

Announcers: Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello with Craig Sager reporting

Fratello on what Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry wants to see from his team: “Alvin Gentry relies on (Steve) Nash and (Goran) Dragic to establish the pace and tempo. This is the #1 team in scoring, they must get shots up and he likes them to come sooner rather than later.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviews Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy at halftime

Roy on providing his team with an emotional lift by playing today: “I feel good. I’ve been shooting all week. Coach let me get some live practicing yesterday. I told him I was ready to go. I wanted to come out here and give them an emotional lift and also play some good minutes. Hopefully we can keep it up during the second half.”

Roy on what he’s expecting during the second half: “I’m just going to play on effort. I won’t do any treatment at halftime, my knee feels good. The biggest thing is getting my wind.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy being activated to play in today’s game: “I was surprised like everyone else. You just have to wonder what the Portland Trail Blazers are thinking. He is your franchise, he’s your best player, I’m not sure I would take that chance. Clearly he is a great player, terrific person; you have to admire his heart. As a player they ask you if you can go, you are always going to say ‘yes.’ But from a medical standpoint, I’m not sure you can have surgery and play basketball (eight days later). He might be alright but somewhere down the line whether it is this series or later in your career, you are going to have some side effects.”

Smith: “I was in a similar situation in college. Four days after surgery I actually played in an ACC basketball game. Played well, but felt like it had a lasting effect on my career. I don’t feel that you should have surgery. If you ask any player worth its weight they are going to want to play when the chips are on the line. Brandon Roy of course is  going to say yes and that he is ready and he is going to believe that he is ready. At this point, he thinks he is better than he is anyway. He thinks that he is bulletproof at 27, 26 years old. So of course he is going to say yes. Karma heads have to prevail and say are we really going to win an NBA championship? Does it really make a difference if he plays right now? If we are really that good let’s wait two weeks. If we get to the second round, game #3 you can play.”

Smith on the effect that Roy had on the Trail Blazers: “The momentary effect that, we won’t talk long-lasting, but when they bring (Jerryd) Bayless into the line up their bench is boasted. Now all of these guys aren’t the main attention so you get all of these guys that can come in and play well because this guy (Roy) is on the bench momentarily.”

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Fratello on how Phoenix Suns guard Jason Richardson’s game has developed: “I like the way his offensive game has grown and developed from this season compared to last season. When he first came over to Phoenix he thought it was just about shooting all three point shots.  Now he has a better game.”

Fratello on Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy’s scoring ability: “The big thing about Roy is that he is a scorer, we know that. But Nate Macmillan has also played him in the role of point guard, a facilitator. He may not be able to create his own shot or get his own shot but he can certainly make the pass to someone else that is open as a result of screening. He is a guy that you can put the ball in his hand and trust his decision making.”

Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate MacMillan on the difference in LaMarcus Aldridge’s Game # 3 performance vs. Game #1: “I think he is looking to be more aggressive. We are getting him the ball and playing off of him, our spacing has to be better but we have to continue to go through it.”

Nate McMillan on Brandon Roy playing a lot of minutes today: “We will see what happens, we are going to through Brandon (Roy), LaMarcus (Aldridge) and (Andre) Miller and make them play off of that.”

Fratello on Brandon Roy’s returning to normal playing form: “I’m wondering if Brandon Roy has a minute limitation from the doctors saying he can only go so many minutes. To me he looks very timid. I’m not sure if he is capable of getting a shot off on his own, facilitator yes. But I’m not sure he can go get you the shot. He’s the one that has hit all those game winners for Portland and I don’t think he is ready to do that now.”

Fratello on the two teams this season that far exceeded expectations: “I think there are two teams that way overachieved what everyone expected. Miami (Heat) is one with 47 wins and this one (Trail Blazers). These two teams are explosive and have done an outstanding job this season.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviews Portland Trail Blazers guards Andre Miller and Brandon Roy

Miller on how it felt to have teammate Brandon Roy back in the game: “It felt good, you know to have Brandon back in the lineup. Teams can’t double team me. He came in tonight and got us going quick.”

Roy on how he felt coming back from injury: “I felt good, nothing bothered me. I just wanted to come out and contribute, that’s what I told coach before the game. I wouldn’t feel right sitting in the back feeling as good as I do. I just wanted to help and take a little pressure off of Andre (Miller) and  (LaMarcus) Marcus (Aldridge) and we were able to get a big win.”

Roy on why he was able to come back: “The doctors said it was a pretty bad tear. The minute the surgery was over and I woke up in the recovery room I said my knee felt great. It has been feeling good all week, I’ve been working out and preparing for moment likes this. I am happy I was able to help my team and help these fans and we definitely have a Game #6 for sure now.”

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