Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Thursday, January 26, 2012 “You ever been in a bar fight?”

Black Pharaoh is one of my favorite athletes. Passion bursts pipes…

Yeah…I have. Many. Bouncing and not. Sometimes things just happen. I would tell bar owners in the clubs and bars I bounced in when a fight would happen hours before it went down. It’s just a vibe…an aura. KG knows this. He knows when his team is down it’s time to start a bar fight…and his once in a generation head coach, Doc Rivers, in this case, is the bar owner.

TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 at 7 p.m. ET with a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com. Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith will have the exclusive announcement of the 2012 NBA All-Star starters.

Following the pre-game show, TNT’s doubleheader will feature the Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks (8 p.m. ET) followed by the Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET).

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

 

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

 

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard on Charles Barkley: “[Charles] has always had my back since day one and I appreciate it.”

 

Barkley on Magic center Dwight Howard and his impact: “Bill Russell is the greatest defensive center ever. Dwight Howard, I’m not going to put him in Bill Russell’s category. [But Howard] is a great defender and great rebounder.”

 

O’Neal on Dwight Howard and the nickname ‘Superman’: “The good thing about Dwight Howard is he listened and responded. The one thing you have to know about me is that I know what I’m doing.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Game 1: Boston Celtics (91) @ Orlando Magic (83)

 

Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Mike Fratello (analyst) with Craig Sager (reporter)

 

 

 

Fratello on Orlando forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis: “When it comes to team defense, ‘Big Baby’ Davis is an important part.”

 

 

 

Fratello on potential Eastern Conference playoff matchups: “In the East there are two teams who are clearly a step above the rest – Chicago and Miami. After that, who can’t beat anybody else in the Eastern Conference? If one of those teams [Orlando or Boston] end up with the wrong matchup in the first round [of the playoffs], watch out.”

 

 

 

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Halftime

 

Johnson, O’Neal, Smith and Barkley

 

 

 

Smith on the Boston Celtics’ sloppy first-half play resulting in the Magic holding a 21-point lead: “It’s mental effort that makes the difference, not always shots and rebounds.”

 

 

 

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Magic center Dwight Howard on trade rumors: “I’m not going to get traded any time [soon], so just play.”

 

 

 

Fratello on the Celtics’ surge in the second half and the Magic’s demise due to poor shot selection at the end of the 24-second clock: “Those are the shots the Magic have wound up with in the fourth quarter.”

 

 

 

Fratello on the Celtics defensive pressure that helped them close a 27-point deficit and win tonight’s game against the Magic: “You normally don’t see, in a NBA game, pressure take a toll [on a team] the way the Celtics did in the first game of this week [Monday vs. the Clippers] and the second half of tonight’s game.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Game 2: Memphis Grizzlies (91) @ L.A. Clippers (98)

 

Announcers: Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst), Reggie Miller (analyst) with Cheryl Miller (reporter)

 

 

 

Reggie Miller on Memphis Grizzlies Marc Gasol as the second best center in the league: “(Gasol is) much more well-rounded than [Los Angeles Lakers’] Andrew Bynum or [Utah Jazz’s] Al Jefferson. He can rebound, blocks shots, he’s got great hands and he can score.”

 

 

 

Kerr on the throwback uniforms and the night’s retro theme: “I wish some of the guys would’ve busted out the mutton chops and afros for tonight’s game.”

 

 

 

Reggie Miller on the Los Angeles Clippers offensive identity this season: “Eventually, they will be a good half-court team because of CP3 [Chris Paul] and Chauncey Billups. They’ll be an excellent half-court team.”

 

 

 

Kerr on the popularity of the Clippers in Los Angeles: “It’s fun. Let’s face it, the Clippers…they’ve been, probably, the worst franchise in the history of this league. You can’t sugarcoat it – 33 seasons here in L.A. and three winning seasons. Finally, we’re seeing some hope; actually, more than hope. We’re seeing tremendous talent from a team that is on the rise.”

 

 

 

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Halftime

 

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

 

 

O’Neal on Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay: “He’s leading his team and playing very well. When big Zach [Randolph] comes back they’re going to be a dangerous team.”

 

 

 

Barkley on Grizzlies forwards Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph: “That’s a really nice combination those two guys. If they can get on the same page, Memphis is a legit contender in the West.”

 

 

 

Smith on the Celtics head coach Doc Rivers: “I would love to play for Doc Rivers because he’s the kind of coach who’s with you in the trenches.”

 

 

 

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Kerr on Clippers point guard Chris Paul’s ability to score at the end of a game: “Chris Paul is a world-class game closer.”

 

 

 

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Clippers point guard Chris Paul following the game.

 

 

 

Chris Paul on what it will take to get to the next level despite blowing a big first-half lead: “We gotta get better defensively.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

 

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

 

 

 

Barkley on the Clippers weaknesses: “They aren’t the best team in their own building. Their half-court offense is not very good and I don’t like their bench as far as the ‘bigs’ go. There is such a drop-off [in size] after Blake [Griffin] and DeAndre [Jordan] come out of the game. They get really small.”

 

 

 

O’Neal on the Clippers: “They are a work in progress but they play with a lot of effort and energy. They can win a lot of games with that. Down the stretch, they will become a better half court team as they play more games. I think they are going to be fine.”

 

 

 

Barkley on the Dwight Howard trade rumors: “The Dwight Howard [trade rumors] are not going to go away because the trade deadline is looming [March 15]. [The Magic] are going to have to address that and answer that question every day.”

 

 

 

The TNT studio crew picked their biggest surprise of the season

 

 

 

O’Neal on Magic guard Ryan Anderson: “He’s a great role player and a very consistent shooter. He doesn’t try to do too much, he does what he does and gets the open shot. If I was a general manager, I would sign him up today.”

 

 

 

Smith on the Chicago Bulls: “They’ve had injuries to key players and through that time, they’ve had John Lucas, Jr. and Mike James holding the fort down. When you expect Rose, Noah and Boozer to lead the team, [head coach Tom] Thibodeau has done a great job to get them to say, ‘no excuses, we should still be the best team in the East’ and they are.”

 

 

 

Barkley on the Denver Nuggets and Grizzlies: “The Nuggets are one of the best teams in the West and the Grizzlies have played very well since losing Zach Randolph [to injury]. [Nuggets] head coach George Karl has proven that he is one of the best coaches in the league.”

 

 

 

The TNT studio crew picked their biggest disappointments of the season

 

 

 

Barkley on the level of play in the NBA: “I love basketball but we’ve got some bad basketball teams in the NBA.”

 

 

 

O’Neal on the Washington Wizards: “With all the ability and talent that [guard] John Wall has, he needs to do a better job leading the team. They make a lot of juvenile mistakes. [Forward] Andray Blatche is a good player but he needs to step up his game a little bit. I’m surprised and disappointed that they are the worst team in the league right now.”

 

 

 

Smith on the New York Knicks: “They made a big acquisition with [center] Tyson Chandler and now they have ‘stickum’ on the basketball. They have a lot of guys that hold the basketball. This is not a team I want to watch with [head coach Mike] D’Antoni and the way it’s constructed.”

 

 

 

 

 

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