Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game from Los Angeles – Sunday, February 20, 2011: Kobe LA Shows and Proves; LeBron Goes Oscar

Kobe put the league and sports world on notice that he ain’t done yet…

I had a 5 hour conversation last night with someone from my childhood and missed the game live. What I did see out the corner of my eye was that Beans was not having any talk that he is done and represented his home court just as any of the greats would have and have done in garnering his 4th MVP award (37 points and 14 boards…10 offensive). I caught the replay later and thoroughly enjoyed the game. It was competitive, the teams played defense when they had to, the spurt of dunks that are happenstance in these affairs was just enough for the fans to enjoy, Blake Griffin got some burn. Kevin Durant and Amar’e Stoudemire played excellent and LeBron made a visible statement the league better recognize in recording only the second Oscar (29 points, 12 rips and 10 dimes) since Michael Jordan did so in 1997.

I, for one, had no thoughts of where Carmelo Anthony was headed watching the game (Kobe thinks so too). Just enjoy the game. Change the narrative because like I said in the Deacon Jones post below, why should we care less until something actually happens? The NBA put on a nice show this weekend and should be applauded for having the best All Star spectacle sports has to offer. TNT set a viewing record for Saturday night (stats below). The game wasn’t some dunk fest with no defensive mind to speak of and those critical of the game just didn’t watch it. Don’t front.

This is gonna be a great second half of the NBA season and one we should all look forward to. There was a hilarious post game press conference moment and if I find video I will post it here later. Writers present, you know exactly what I speak of (C’mon dude. Really? You get clowned here) and if you have it. Send. Send. Send.

If you think the Lakers are done simply because they are 8-8 their last 16, watch what happens as the season wears on. It’s money time and Kobe will no longer be on coast so deal with it that the Lake show will be there in the end. Trust that they’ll do what they need to do both in the front office and on the floor to get it done.

TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. ET with a special one-hour trade deadline edition of NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com. An exclusive doubleheader follows the pre-game show, with the first game featuring the Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls followed by the Boston Celtics @ Denver Nuggets.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kevin McHale, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Western Conference All-Stars and UCLA alumni Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

Love on how it felt to make the All-Star team: “It was great.  A lot of people asked if it was different since I was Yao’s (Ming) injury replacement.  I said no, it’s all the same, I still made it here.  It feels great to be back in L.A., it’s almost like a homecoming for Russell (Westbrook) and myself.”

Westbrook on making the All-Star team: “It’s a blessing to represent the (Oklahoma City Thunder) organization.  I’m thankful to be here and want to go out and have some fun.”

McHale on Spurs forward Tim Duncan being named to the All-Star team by San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich: “This is a career achievement award; (Duncan) has been great year after year.  Team success sometimes gets you in (to the All-Star Game) and (the Spurs) have the best record in the league.”

Barkley on Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant: “(Durant) is instant offense.  Carmelo Anthony is the best scorer in the NBA and (Durant) is second.  He’s got a bright future, he’s fun to watch and he’d better not get my boy (Thunder head coach) Scott Brooks fired so he’d better play well.”

Smith on Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose: “(Rose) has transformed the point guard position with his athleticism and getting to the rim and being able to shoot the outside shot.  He gets to the paint better than any basketball player alive.”

Barkley on Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard: “(Howard) is the most underrated player in the NBA.  What I mean by that is as long as he’s on your team; you’re going to be a contender every year.  I love to watch him play.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Eastern Conference All-Star Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic) prior to the game

Howard on putting differences aside with rivals to team up during the All-Star Game: “This is the one time that we’re together and it’s not about us right now.  We want to do whatever we can do to have as much fun as possible.  We understand that June is the time to get serious.  But now we’re going to have fun and enjoy ourselves.”

McHale on if there was anyone he didn’t want to talk to when they were teammates on an All-Star team: “Yes, Bill Laimbeer and I still don’t want to talk to him.”

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Eastern Conference All-Stars LeBron James (Miami Heat) and Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)

James on what it was like to play in his first All-Star Game in 2004: “It was a great experience and I was definitely nervous to be a part of it.  The fans vote you in so they must like what you do.  So I have to go out there and perform and not look bad.”

Rose on how his teammates with the Bulls helped make him an All-Star: “It’s my teammates who give me the confidence to go out there and play.  They trust me to take shots or make plays.  Without them, I wouldn’t be here.  I just try to bring excitement and the fans love it.  I’m happy about that.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Western Conference All-Stars Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers) and Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers)

Bryant on having the share L.A. with Griffin: “He can have it.  I enjoy watching him just like everyone else.  It’s been entertaining.”

Griffin on what it means to him to make the All-Star team: “It means the most.  To get to play with these guys is big for me.  It’s a level I’d hoped to be at.”

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NBA All-Star Game: East (143) vs. West (148)

Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller with Craig Sager and David Aldridge reporting

Kerr on if there should be concern with the Lakers’ recent struggles: “I think so but I don’t think we should be writing the obituary for the Lakers yet.  There seems to be widespread panic among Lakers fans.  I’ve read some letters to the editor…it’s just amazing what happens when a team that’s won two consecutive titles hits a little dry spell.”

Kerr on the Dallas Mavericks: “The Lakers should be scared of Dallas.  The Mavericks are really good this year.”

Kerr on Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh: “(Bosh has) been a rock for (the Heat).  I don’t know if you can say he’s been quiet when he’s here as an All-Star.  But when you play with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, I think it is kind of quiet.  Bosh has been there every single night.  You can pretty much count on 18 (points) and ten (rebounds) from Bosh.”

Miller on the Clippers’ Blake Griffin competing with the Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire: “Blake Griffin is going to give (Amar’e Stoudemire) a run for his money as power forwards being able to run the floor and finish in traffic.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed pop music sensation Justin Bieber during the game

Bieber on winning the MVP in the All-Star celebrity game: “I’ve never really played in a league and I went out there and had some fun.  I played well but I think (Scottie) Pippen should’ve got the MVP.  It was a fan-voting thing and my fans are crazy.  But it was a lot of fun.”

Kerr on Thunder guard Russell Westbrook “His athleticism is just awe-inspiring when you see it up close.  You can’t get a sense of his speed until you see him live and in-person.  He is absolutely explosive.”

Kerr on the Celtics winning the top seed in the Eastern Conference: “I think it’s critical in the East (Conference) for the Celtics to win that top seed.  They really want to win that top seed and let Chicago and Miami battle it out in round two (of the playoffs).”

Kerr on the Oklahoma City Thunder: “(The Thunder) have quietly crept up on the Lakers.  So many expectations for Oklahoma City before the season started, probably inflated to be frank.  After the playoff performance they had against the Lakers, people thought maybe they could win a championship.  They started off slowly but have picked it up lately.  I think they’re progressing at a natural pace to become one of the best teams in the league.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on Kobe Bryant trying to win his fourth All-Star Game MVP, tying Bob Pettit for most All-Star MVPs: “Knowing Kobe like we do, we knew he was going to go for that record.  That doesn’t surprise us at all.  If the West can hold on, he should win it.”

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TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Celtics guard Ray Allen during the third quarter

Allen on how the Celtics relying on each other as teammates: “We definitely need each other.  The coaching staff has been great for us this year.  I rely on (Rajon) Rondo, Paul (Pierce), K.G. (Kevin Garnett), ‘Big Baby’ (Glenn Davis), ‘Perk’ (Kendrick Perkins), Shaq (O’Neal), all the guys on the team.  All those guys got us here.”

Kerr on the Mavericks making a run at the NBA Finals: “With the Lakers struggling in the Western Conference, I think it’s right there for Dallas with maybe as good a shot to get to the Finals that they’ve ever had.  To me, this is their best team because of the presence of Tyson Chandler and what he’s meant to their defense.”

Kerr on the possibility of Carmelo Anthony joining Amar’e Stoudemire on the Knicks: “I don’t think (Anthony and Stoudemire fit together), I really don’t.  You’ve got two guys who need the ball.  Neither one is a great defender.  They are both catch-and-hold guys and in (Knicks head coach) Mike D’Antoni’s system, it’s all about spacing the floor and catching and shooting and moving the ball.  It would be exciting but I don’t think it would produce a champion.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, McHale, Smith and Webber

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Eastern Conference All-Star LeBron James (Miami Heat) following the game

James on the East Conference losing the All-Star Game: “Close but no cigar.  It is the All-Star Game and you’re competitive nature and pride takes over at some point.  We definitely wanted to win and the way we played tonight showed why the NBA and this weekend is the best sporting event in sports.”

McHale on what he liked about the All-Star Game: “I liked that on the bench, LeBron James was really getting after his teammates saying, ‘we have to go out there and compete.’  I like the fact that there is competition in this All-Star Game.  The most impressive thing tonight was the energy that Kobe (Bryant) came out with.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Thunder forward Kevin Durant following the game

Durant on playing in the All-Star Game: “Playing with great players, I kind of get lost.  I was trying to find positions for me to get easy shots.  Chris Paul is an unbelievable point guard and has unbelievable vision.  Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook as well and I was able to make some shots.  It was better than the three-point contest last night, that’s for sure.”

McHale on the Spurs resting players down the stretch of the regular season: “San Antonio isn’t going to be caught in the Western Conference.  If I was Pop (head coach Gregg Popovich), I would really get after it the next 15 games or so and then start resting guys down the stretch and get them fresh for the playoffs.  I think San Antonio relies on how healthy they are and how fresh they are.  They are going to be tough to beat.”

Smith on the Eastern Conference race coming down to the Heat and the Celtics: “I think the Miami Heat will finish with the best record but the Boston Celtics still have the best team.  (The Celtics) are built more for the playoffs and Miami is built more for the regular season.  (The Heat) can take that long haul because they have three guys (Bosh, James and Wade) who can score well.  The Boston Celtics might not play as hard in certain games down the stretch in the season.”

2011 NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm on TNT is Most Watched Ever with 8.1 Million Total Viewers Tuning into the Event

TNT’s exclusive coverage of the 2011 NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm delivered 8.1 million total viewers, 5.1 million households and a 4.4 U.S. HH rating, based on Nielsen Fast Nationals. It was the most watched All-Star Saturday Night in the event’s 26 year history, experiencing tremendous growth over the previous record set in 2009.  The 2011 event saw increases of +23% in total viewers (6,554,000), +14% in households (4,466,000) and +13% in ratings (3.9 U.S. HH) over 2009.

Additional highlights from TNT’s coverage included:

  • 2011 NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm out-delivered the 2010 telecast by +49% in total viewers (8,090,000 vs. 5,441,000), +43% in households (5,100,000 vs. 3,563,000) and +42% U.S. HH rating (4.4 vs. 3.9).
  • The telecast also had double-digit growth in key adult and male demos over 2010, including:
    • A18-34 +23% (3,003,000 vs. 2,439,000)
    • A18-49 +19% (4,845,000 vs. 4,069,000)
    • A25-54 +22% (4,142,000 vs. 3,386,000)
    • M18-34 +17% (2,005,000 vs. 1,711,000)
    • M18-49 +22% (3,267,000 vs. 2,687,000)
    • M25-54 +28% (2,719,000 vs. 2,125,000)
  • The telecast peaked during 10:30-11 p.m. (ET) with nearly 10.4 million total viewers and 6.4 million households tuning in to see Blake Griffin’s winning dunk, which featured him dunking over a 2011 Kia Optima, the official vehicle of the NBA, with teammate Baron Davis assisting with a pass from inside the car.
  • The 2011 All-Star Saturday Night ranked as the most-watched NBA telecast on cable within the 2010-11 season to-date.

The highly anticipated Sprite Slam Dunk showcased Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers) winning on his home court, defeating runner-up JaVale McGee (Washington Wizards) as well as DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors) and Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder).  Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) took the title in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, while James Jones (Miami Heat) won the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout. Team Atlanta, with Steve Smith (former Atlanta Hawks player and current NBA TV analyst), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks) and Coco Miller (Atlanta Dream) hailed during the Haier Shooting Stars.

Heading into the 2011 NBA All-Star break, the 2010-11 NBA season on TNT is the most watched season in Turner’s 27 years of airing NBA coverage.  Through 38 games, the NBA on TNT is averaging a 1.5 U.S. rating (+26%, 1.2 U.S. rating), 2,377,000 total viewers (+30%, 1,832,000 total viewers) and 1,770,000 households (+27%, 1,390,000 households) over last year’s corresponding coverage.  In addition, this season is +26% on total viewers compared to Turner’s next best regular season audience from the 1995-96 season (total viewer average 2,377,000 vs. 1,885,000).

All Star Game performances…

I would be remiss to not mention the passing of Troy “Escalade” Jackson. He helped put the And-1 Tour on a global level. The younger brother of former NBA point and current ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, contributed greatly to the sport and will be solely missed on every level of the game. Thank you Troy.

One Response to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game from Los Angeles – Sunday, February 20, 2011: Kobe LA Shows and Proves; LeBron Goes Oscar”

  1. Julius says:

    There are no duller events in pro sports than All-Star games. Maybe if these guys actually competed against one another it’d be interesting, but they don’t.

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