Notes from NBA TV’s Fan Night presented by Sprint – Tuesday, December 17, 2013: Durant and Westbrook power Thunder past Nuggets

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Oklahoma City is off to a 20-4 start.

NBA Fan Night presented by Sprint will return Tuesday, Dec. 31, with voting conducted from Tuesday, Dec. 24, at 8 a.m. ET through Thursday, Dec. 26, at midnight. Potential voting matchups for the Dec. 31 telecast will be announced at a later time.

 

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AutoTrader.com Pregame Show

Ernie Johnson, Chris Webber and Greg Anthony

 

Pre-Game Interview with Denver Nuggets Coach Brian Shaw

 

Shaw on finding a primary scorer: “I think it’s something that we’re going to have to do by committee. I think a lot of times it’s harder for teams to game plan against a committee when you’re getting contributions from everywhere. Our bench has been real strong for us all season long, producing points. Actually, they’ve been pretty good defensively as well. I see Wilson Chandler being able to be more aggressive offensively, and score somewhere in between the 15 to 18-point range for us on a nightly basis, hopefully to go along with what Ty (Lawson) is doing.”

 

Shaw on how he’s prepared to be coach of the Denver Nuggets: “I feel like I was prepared for this by the best of the best, my whole journey until I got to this point. When Phil Jackson hired me as an assistant coach, he told me that he was going to train me to be a head coach, and that’s exactly what he did. He allowed me to have a lot of input. He always told me to think out loud, that he trusted my instincts and what I saw out there on the floor as a player, and he wanted me to bring that over on the coaching side as well.”

 

Webber on Serge Ibaka: “There are a lot of guys that get a lot more publicity, commercials, pub, than Ibaka, but there are few guys that have the skillset and that have approved every year as he has. And you make improvement in the offseason. That’s when you work out, then you try it in the offseason, then you get confidence and you work it into the game. From his 15-footer that’s gotten better, to even now, off the 15-footer he can pump fake, take one dribble and drive. After that you say, ‘Wow.’ Or nights I’m not hitting it, I may have to learn to pass; he’s become a better passer. You know defensively and rebounding he’s going to be there. But name another guy you’ve seen that type of improvement from, besides maybe a Roy Hibbert, who you’ve seen get better in the post.”

 

Johnson on Oklahoma City defensively: “I always like to look at field goal percentage against; they’re No. 2 in the league. So, they’re making life difficult for teams, even if the games may be high scoring, you’re not going to shoot a high percentage against these guys.”

 

Anthony on the Brooklyn Nets: “I think they’re going to be a decent team. When you look at it on paper, with all the injuries, they still have talent; they still have a lot of good basketball players. I just don’t know that they’re going to be a team that can beat either Indiana or Miami in a seven-game series.”

 

Webber on Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks’ late game breakdown against Washington: “I saw Coach Woodson took responsibility, and he should [for the timeout]… I’ve seen a million games where coaches have not called a timeout… and having been the player who’s supposed to be responsible for trying to make that shot at the end, I put that on ‘Melo. You knew coach didn’t call a timeout, you know how many he has. If you don’t, okay, I’ve been there. But when you’re going to try and score like ‘Melo is right there, at five seconds he pauses and looks around and stops. You never see ‘Melo do it.”

 

Anthony on Nate Robinson: “Nate can defend it; he plays with a lot of passion and energy. He’s an unbelievable athlete, obviously as well. Remember, this was a guy that was one of the best high school football players in the country coming out, [and] decided to go with basketball…to his credit, everywhere he’s gone, that team’s been better because of him.”

 

Anthony on Kobe Bryant’s return: “He’s still finding his way. Keep in mind, think about how Derrick Rose looked when he came back; who’s a lot younger, a lot more athletic at this stage of his career.”

 

Webber on what he would be concerned about with Oklahoma City: “OKC is one of the best teams in the league, you try and nitpick and try to figure something out. I would say that I have two concerns. One, what do they do with the power forward position when teams go small… I haven’t been able to see them really adjust to that well. And then, they have two players who are so good that, I want to see who’s going to be that third cog.”

 

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Webber and Anthony

 

Anthony on Kevin Durant: “He’s not a volume scorer. He’s an efficient scorer. He picks his spots, he’s going to shoot a high percentage, he’s going to make his free throws, he’s going to mix in a few threes. And because he’s so efficient, he’s not ball dominant, it allows everybody else on the floor to get into a rhythm offensively. They’re not just standing around watching him. He’s quick with the attack when he goes.”

 

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NBA GameTime presented by Kia

Johnson, Webber and Anthony

 

Anthony on Kevin Durant as a scorer: “There’s always this talk about who the best scorer in the NBA is. And as great as some of the other guys are, I just don’t think that there’s anybody that does it as easily as, and in so many ways, as does Kevin Durant.”

 

Webber on what he likes about the Portland Trail Blazers: “The thing I like about Portland, you see other teams make trades trying to make quick fixes or young teams not playing that well. You have two young stars on this team, and even though the bench might not be as productive as you’d like it… I love the fact that it just seems it’s the perfect template, the perfect environment to have a young superstar as a point guard and LaMarcus Aldridge on the other side. All the other parts are interchangeable, but right now you’ve set the discipline, the style of play and the way you want to go forward. To me that’s the best part of the Portland Trailblazer team, having that hope for the future.”

 

Post-Game Interview with Kevin Durant

 

Durant on nurturing younger players and being a leader: “First of all it’s fun. You have young guys who listen, that want to get better, and they’re teaching me a lot as well. Every day is fun, just bouncing ideas off each other. In the games, we’re just trying to play for each other.”

 

Durant on the growing respect for Reggie Jackson and others after Russell Westbrook was injured: “It’s hard to step in and fill those shoes Russell [Westbrook] left when he got hurt in the playoffs last season. Reggie [Jackson] did it with so much class and grace, he was able to come out and gain some experience playing at the highest level of basketball in the playoffs. It’s helped him this year, he’s coming off the bench and giving us a great spark every single game. His confidence is sky high. I think that time when Russell was out helped our whole team a lot. Even though it was tough to go through, we had to go through it in order for us to grow.”

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