Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, December 19, 2013: Thunder top Bulls; Spurs nip Warriors



Yeah, the Warrior surely kicked a win away last night.

TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, December 26, at 8 p.m. ET with doubleheader action featuring the Memphis Grizzlies @ Houston Rockets followed by the Los Angeles Clippers @ Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m.


Inside the NBA’s Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson join Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” to discuss the “controversy” surrounding last week’s Chariots of Backfire race

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by

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

Barkley on Kobe Bryant’s recent knee injury: “Kobe Bryant shouldn’t play any more this year. [The Lakers] should shut him down. He is never going to be the same again. There is no way you can blow out your Achilles and come back and be a great player. He can be a good, solid player, but age has nothing to do with will power.”

Smith on Bryant: “When he left the game he was one of the premier ball handlers in the game. His ball handling ability allowed him to get to areas of the floor that his athleticism did not. When he came back, his ball handling wasn’t as sharp. What he’s missing now is more basketball practice time to get sharp again. That’s what’s going to hurt him more than anything.”

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Chicago Bulls (95) at Oklahoma City Thunder (107)

Marv Albert (play-by-play), Greg Anthony (analyst) with Craig Sager (reporter)

Anthony on Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook: “Russell Westbrook is relentless in everything he does on the basketball court. He’s the kind of guy who hates the other point guards in the league. He is focused on annihilating them, and he brings that kind of attitude to the court. It becomes contagious for their team.”

Anthony on Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha: “When you look at [the Thunder’s] starting five, one of the things that gives them such good rhythm offensively is they have two guys in Perkins and Sefolosha who don’t need the basketball to be affective. [Sefolosha] will knock down open shots and has a good basketball IQ offensively, but he understands his role is to go out and compete against the best offensive perimeter player of that opponent.”

Anthony on Kevin Durant: “He makes the game look so easy from an offensive standpoint…what a luxury to have if you’re a teammate of Kevin Durant.”

Anthony on Oklahoma City’s development of their young players: “Oklahoma City’s best players are so strong that it allows them to take the time to develop their guys. Their young players don’t come in with the pressure to perform and produce right away, so they can develop at their own rate. Credit [Thunder General Manager] Sam Presti, because he drafts players that fit the system and the Thunder’s style of play and not necessarily guys that are the most talented. That’s what they envisioned from [Thunder center] Steven Adams when they brought him in, a big, strong, physical guy who can consistently finish.”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith

O’Neal on which Chicago Bull needs to step up in Derrick Rose’s absence: “Usually when one or two of your guys goes down, the other guy has to step up. That guy has to be Carlos Boozer. He has to get more aggressive if the Bulls want to stay in the conversation.”

Barkley on the Chicago Bulls: “It’s hard to play when the season’s over already. The Bulls are not going to win. [Luol] Deng is a free agent, [Carlos] Boozer is a good player but he’s getting older and we don’t know how Derrick Rose is going to come back. They play hard, but the game is about talent. When you lose a MVP like Derrick Rose it’s very difficult to go out there every night and [feel like] you have a chance to win.”

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Anthony on the struggles of Carlos Boozer: “One of the reasons Carlos Boozer is struggling is he doesn’t have the same amount of space with which to operate. When you don’t have a guy like Derrick Rose out there it really makes it tough for you to get a rhythm when you’re playing in traffic.”

Anthony on Thunder head coach Scott Brooks: “We had a lot of wars against each other in college at Irvine. Scott was a really good basketball player, and has obviously turned out to be a really good coach when you think about how much this team has grown and you look at the development of Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka.”

Anthony on Durant: “He’s just unguardable. You typically don’t see guys that size with that kind of quickness and agility.”

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San Antonio Spurs (104) at Golden State Warriors (102)

Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

Miller on Warriors shooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson: “You talk about the presence of Andre Iguodala on the floor, it’s such a luxury if you’re [Warriors Head Coach] Mark Jackson to have Curry and Thompson being able to come off screens via [David] Lee and [Andrew] Bogut. They’re your two best shooters on the team and possibly the NBA.”

Miller on Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich’s management of minutes for his top players throughout the season: “Coach Popovich is good at looking at the big picture. The big picture is for this team to be healthy, playing and clicking on all cylinders come April, May and hopefully June. I understand exactly what he’s doing.

Miller on the Spurs since their loss to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals: “If you thought there was going to be a hangover after that Game 6 loss or Game 7, they’re really not focused in on what happened. You’re one free throw, one defensive rebound away from winning your fifth championship, but there’s no time to really hang your head. How about working harder to try and get back to that particular point?”

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Sprint Halftime Report

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith

O’Neal on Warriors forward David Lee: “This kid is just relentless. He needs to make the All-Star game again this year. He’s one of those superstars that you don’t have to call the play for. He just has all the intangibles. I love this kid. He reminds me of Chris Webber. This guy is a true, bona fide superstar. He just does the simple things and I love him for that.”

Miller on the Spurs without its big three: “Here’s the problem when you don’t have Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. You’re asking these guys that are role players and only play eight to ten minutes a game to be your closer in the last moments of a ball game. They have to be a little bit exhausted. They’re playing minutes they aren’t used to.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal, Smith

Barkley on the Warriors tendency to rely on shooting jumpers: “That Golden State team, they shoot way too many jumpers. They have to do a much better job of getting the job inside. I know the “Splash Brothers” are great shooters, but sometimes you have to be inside-outside, not just outside-outside.”

Barkley on the Warriors’ lack of defensive intensity: “Golden State plays pretty, they live by the jumper and when those jumpers go in it looks really good. But because they lack defensive intensity they’re not good at all. Everything looked good at the beginning of the season but this team is going to be up and down all season. They are going to make those jumpers but they’re not good enough defensively to be a contender.”

O’Neal on the youth of the Warriors: “They have to understand that as a young team you don’t get a lot of second chances, so you have to do everything right. You must beat the teams you’re supposed to beat, be above 500 on the road and be dominant at home. For [Head Coach] Mark Jackson to have to go at them and demand that players play a different way in the second half, it’s not going to work. If you look at the way Coach Popovich does it, he demands it from the beginning and they go out and do it.”

One Response to “Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, December 19, 2013: Thunder top Bulls; Spurs nip Warriors”

  1. D.N. says:

    so interesting! Gracias!