Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, December 12, 2013: The Clippers are not championship contenders

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Paul Pierce and the Nets gave their former coach an unwanted holiday gift.
TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, December 19, at 8 p.m. ET with doubleheader action featuring the Chicago Bulls @ Oklahoma City Thunder followed by the San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m.

***CLIP OF THE NIGHT***

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TNT’s Inside the NBA Studio Team Competed in “Chariots of Backfire: The Tortoise and the Hairless” – a 100 Yard Dash

 

 

 

 

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com 

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

Webber on Nets guard Deron Williams: “Whether he’s been in shape or hurt, he has to play like an MVP candidate. He’s not having that type of season. He has to put this team on his back.”

 

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Los Angeles Clippers (93) at Brooklyn Nets (102)

Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst) with Craig Sager (reporter)

 

Miller on the Nets: “This team was built for the playoffs; the key is they have to put themselves in position to get there.”

 

Miller on the impact of Lopez and Williams: “[Kevin] Garnett and [Paul] Pierce are complementary pieces to this team. This team is only going to win and succeed if Lopez and Williams play at a high level.”

 

Miller on the pace of the game: “You do want to run in transition versus this Brooklyn Nets team…the second oldest team in the league…you want to try and make it a track meet.”

 

Miller on Deron Williams and Chris Paul playing on different levels: “Early on in their careers, especially when Deron Williams was in Utah, the consensus was Deron Williams was the best point guard. But if you look at the last couple of years and the injuries to Deron Williams, there’s no question that Chris Paul – by a wide margin –  is the best player [of the two] and best point guard in the league.”

 

Miller on Clippers forward Antwan Jamison: “I don’t care how old you get in this league…if you can score the basketball, teams are going to employ you. For Jamison to be the eleventh [or] twelfth man on this team, he still finds a way to get on the court because of his ability to score the basketball.”

 

Miller on the Eastern Conference standings: “There really is no race in the Eastern Conference. Really, the race is three through six. You don’t want to finish seventh or eighth. If you finish seventh or eighth, you are going against Indiana (Pacers) or Miami (Heat). For all of these teams, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto, New York… you want to get three through six.”

 

Miller on his confidence on teams in the Eastern Conference: “I don’t have any confidence with any of these teams except Indiana and Miami. That’s why three through six is so important because you will take your chance to go against those teams in the second round opposed to the first round.”

 

Miller on Brooklyn’s Jason Kidd and his transition to coaching: “He went right from the floor to the No. 1 seat. To step right in – a year removed from playing – is very difficult.”

 

Miller on Blake Griffin improving on the offensive end: “Everyone is talking about Blake Griffin, if this Clippers team is going to go to the next level; the evolution of his game is offensively.”

 

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith, Webber

 

Webber on the Clippers: “If you are a team with championship aspirations, you don’t play this way especially on the road.”

 

Webber on the Nets involving their bench players: “They are going to have to find a way to play their bench players. They have more energy when the bench guys are on the floor. If they don’t play with that energy and passion every day, they will be done.”

 

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Miller on Clippers forward Blake Griffin: “He’s a dunker, a slasher, but he has to become a better free throw shooter. Once he gets comfortable with that…that is where his game will mostly take off.”

 

Miller on the Clippers having a target on their back: “They have a target on their back because they have (other than Gregg Popovich) the next best coach in the league in Doc Rivers. They have one of the best point guards in the league in Chris Paul, one of the most dynamic young players in Blake Griffin and a center in Deandre Jordan who is having an unbelievable season for the Clippers.”

 

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Houston Rockets (104) at Portland Trail Blazers (111)

Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

 

Kerr on what the Rockets are lacking: “The thing that Houston misses is that they don’t have a defensive edge, a tough guy.”

 

Kerr on Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts: “He’s turned into a really good coach. Terry has brought a lot of the Dallas offense to Portland with him. It’s been impressive to watch. These pieces fit very well together in Portland and are always very well prepared by Stotts.”

 

Kerr on the progression of the Trail Blazers team dynamic: “This team was pretty confident coming into this year. Their starting five was pretty solid.  They added [Robin] Lopez which really solidified the defense. The improvement of the bench was the final piece to the puzzle.”

 

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith, Webber

 

Barkley on Trail Blazers Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews: “[Nicolas] Batum and [Wesley] Matthews play well. Batum is a walking threat. He can do it all but sometimes I think he gets lost in translation.”

 

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Kerr on the Houston Rockets progress: “A year ago, they were one of the worst defensive efforts. This year they are the middle of the pack. They have changed their strategy and are trying to play more and more like the teams in the league who play big.”

 

Kerr on Rockets guard Patrick Beverley: “He’s got an edge to him, he’s smart. He’s an excellent pesk… defensively.  He gives them something the other perimeter players don’t have, that sort of defensive toughness.”

 

Kerr on Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez getting adjusted with the right team: “For a lot of guys in this league, it is just about finding the right fit, the right teammates, the right coach and this is the right fit for Lopez.”

 

Kerr on the Trail Blazers:“This is a beautifully constructed team. These guys all complement each other. They understand their roles; really nice team that Portland has developed. I should add that Terry Stotts [right now] would be Coach of the Year. They weren’t expected to be great. No one thought they would do this. We knew they were going to be a potential Finals team after taking Miami to seven games last year.”

 

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith, Webber,

 

Smith on the Nets: “I think this is the team that is going to be the third seed.”

 

Barkley on the Washington Wizards: “The Washington Wizards might be the third best team in the Eastern Conference.  The Wizards are definitely going to make the playoffs. If Nene and [Marcin] Gortat can play big, they may be the third team — record wise — in the Eastern Conference.”

 

Webber on the Clippers moving forward: “I see Doc Rivers trying to will his heart into them but I don’t see that happening as fast as it should. They don’t play with a sense of urgency all the time.”

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