Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, December 29, 2011: Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant Show Ya Right

Kobe seems to be taking this season very personally and doing whatever it takes

Kobe had 13 of his 28 in the third quarter to buoy the Lakers over the Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks 99-82. He looked great at times shooting, spinning, shaking and pattin’ down the defense in front of him. Kevin Durant on the other hand, went hero on the Mavericks with 1.4 seconds left after Vince Carter’s three looked to be the difference for Dallas.

Besides the game winning dagger in front of the world it seemed, Durant finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal and 6 assists in the 104-102 win.

TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive doubleheader featuring the Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks followed by the LA Lakers @ Portland Trailblazers.

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith

 

Smith on the discipline of being a point guard in the NBA:  “The point guard position is the toughest in the NBA because it’s the only position where you have to learn to say no even when guys are open.”

 

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Game 1:  Dallas Mavericks (102) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (104)

Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst), Mike Fratello (analyst) and David Aldridge (reporter)

 

Kerr on the fate of the Dallas Mavericks:  “I think (owner Mark) Cuban knows with (Jason) Kidd and (Dirk) Nowitzki aging, this is not a team you can go with as they currently stand.  By not signing (Tyson) Chandler, you open that cap room to go after your next star that will carry your franchise. It wasn’t going to be Chandler; he wasn’t that kind of player.”

 

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki on the Mavericks trades:  “As a player, we would have loved to have kept the team together. We understand we have been around a long time and the business is part of it. With the new CBA, (Dallas Mavericks owner Mark) Cuban felt that it was better for him to be in a position to have some cap room, really, for the first time in his owner career.”

 

Kerr on Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook: “The reason you play zone against Oklahoma City is to keep him out of the paint.”

 

Kerr on Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and job security:  “When coaches win a championship, they can just be themselves.  This business is so insecure in terms of how long you can keep your job. Once you establish yourself, you can coach the way you want to coach because you know you have that job security. I see Carlisle very comfortable in his own skin.”

 

Kerr on the Thunder’s run for a championship this year: “If Oklahoma City is going to win a title, and that’s their goal, their half court offense has to improve.”

 

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

O’Neal on Mavericks guard Delonte West: “He’s a beast. He’s the key. He’s crazy. He’s not scared of anything and he will fight. I love the kid to death.”

 

Barkley on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s championship potential this season: “They aren’t tough enough.yet.”

 

Smith on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s abilities: “This is a championship team.  They have versatility in certain areas and scoring is not a problem.”

 

 

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Game 2:  New York Knicks (82) @ L.A. Lakers (99)
Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst) and Craig Sager (reporter)

Miller on Lakers forward Josh McRoberts: “I like Josh McRoberts, he has great hands for a 6’10 guy. Throw an alley-oop or whatever, he can catch them.”

TNT reporter Craig Sager interviews New York Knicks guard Baron Davis during the second quarter
Davis on his reasons for joining the Knicks: “I have always wanted to play in New York because of the basketball energy and the opportunity to play at the Garden (Madison Square Garden) day-in and day-out.  That was really the deciding factor, as well as the ability to play with Melo (Carmelo Anthony) and Amar’e (Stoudemire).”

Miller on playing with Lakers forward (Ron Artest) Metta World Peace when they were both with the Indiana Pacers:  “I had him at his best and a lot of people will say at his worst.  It was a challenge at times, he was younger and a bit more bull-headed, but there was one thing you could never take away from Metta World Peace and that was his heart and desire to play.”

Miller on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and the maturity of his game over the years:  “At 33, because of his time in the gym and working on his shot and offensive repertoire – a couple of dribbles, making your opponent dance and a fade away. That’s the difference between Kobe Bryant at 33 and 23.”

Miller on how coaches and teams are adapting to a shortened season:  “Every coach is going to have to play 10 and 12 deep and everyone is going to get minutes.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith
Barkley on teams thinking they are better than their records show: “I hate when teams say they are better than their record.  No you are not better than your record. Your record is your record.”
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Miller on what he is seeing with older teams and how they are adjusting to shortened season: I’m seeing more injuries especially with some of the older teams like Boston (Celtics). When you have players that are 30 plus it is a little difficult for them to get their motors running.  Especially early, when you are playing so many games a week and a month.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviews Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant following the game
Bryant on the Lakers improved defense:  “We drill it (defense) every single day.  It’s non-stop.  Coach Brown holds everyone accountable for our defensive execution and it’s paying off.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith
Barkley on what the return of center Andrew Bynum will mean for the Lakers:  “He is a good player.  But they are still going to struggle with some of the same problems – they are slow on the perimeter.  The Lakers have always been bigger than everyone else; that was their strength.  They are not good enough to make up for their lack of bench and athletic ability on the perimeter. They are going to struggle with the elite teams.”

Smith on the Lakers’ biggest advantage: “The advantage they have always had that made them great from the Shaq days until now was size.  So now you have (Andrew) Bynum back and it makes them too big to guard and that is the most difficult thing.”

Smith on point guards controlling the tempo of the game:  “It doesn’t make you a great point guard if you score or get assists.  What makes you great is you can control the tempo of the game.  There is no one on the Knicks who can control the tempo of the game.”

Barkley on the New York Knicks this season: “The Knicks don’t have a good team. They have Carmelo Anthony, who is the best scorer in the NBA. I like his game a little bit better than (Kevin) Durant because he posts up more than Durant.”

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