Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, February 13, 2014: Since they asked, who is on your NBA Mount Rushmore?

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I’m going  with Wilt Chamberlain (GOAT), Michael Jordan, Julius Erving (Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are the same dude and I can’t discount Doc’s ABA days. Sorry not sorry), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. I hear y’all saying Bill Russell was a better player than Wilt and honestly, y’all need to step away from the crack pipe. Wilt did it with less HOF players than Russell. That cannot be denied and just because writers throughout history want to dismiss Wilt simply because his prowess and confidence makes them insecure is certainly not Wilt’s fault. Ask any longtime NBA fan and he or she will tell you that Boston vs. Philly was labeled Wilt vs. the Celtics, not Wilt vs Russell. LeBron will certainly replace my childhood hero Dr. J. in my eyes soon enough and be seen and debated as the greatest basketball player of all time despite this idiotic mindset eliminating him from such thought. Because of his size, strength and undeniable talent, he absolutely belongs in any discussion of anything basketball regardless of how fans and media largely see and scrutinize him. He would do the same in any era regardless of how any league and any era views and plays defense. Further, chill with the Kevin Durant has locked up the MVP talk. We’re halfway into the season. He’s shooting 57% despite having the ball in his hands more than most of the league. Durant is putting in 31.5 points and carrying OKC though, but chill on the crown stuff until the season is much more clearer. Deal with it. Who do you have as your Mount Rushmore?

Some perspective. This was a year he didn’t win MVP and make sure you check out the games vs. Bill Russell. No diss to Russell, but more the perception of Wilt as a individual vs. what his teammates have consistently stated that he great he was to them. Listen to the interview I did with Bob Ryan as a reference point.

wiltchamberlain 1962

 

TNT’s coverage of NBA All-Star 2014 continues from New Orleans including the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, Feb. 14, at 9 p.m. ET; State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. and the 2014 NBA All-Star Game presented by Kia, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m.

 

TNT’s NBA regular season coverage continues Thursday, February 20, at 8 p.m. ET with doubleheader action featuring the Miami Heat @ Oklahoma City Thunder followed by the Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com – Live from New Orleans

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

 

O’Neal on the Brooklyn Nets: “When the season first started, I was on the Brooklyn bandwagon. You have an aging Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and they don’t have to be the man anymore when you put them with Joe Johnson and the rest of the team. On paper they looked good. I’m disappointed in how they started off. However, they are picking it up very nicely and I think they can get that sixth [playoff] spot if they continue to play well.”

 

Smith on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka deserving All-Star recognition: “The most underrated guy on [the Thunder] is Serge Ibaka. He should be [at the 2014 NBA All-Star Game] this weekend. He has turned solid play into great play over the last month with [point guard] Russell Westbrook out. He’s become the second scorer and the best defensive player at his position, other than [Bulls’] Joakim Noah. He has really stepped his game up and is not getting the credit he deserves.”

 

Smith on the struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers: “The Lakers are struggling. They were a .500 team at best without [Lakers guard] Kobe Bryant. They are also trying to figure out how far they are going to go and how much they are going to invest in this season.”

 

Smith on LeBron James naming his NBA version of Mount Rushmore – Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson & Oscar Robertson:  “Would you say Larry and Magic count as one person? They’re not separate because one could not live without the other. They needed each other.”

 

Smith on LeBron James claiming he will be one of the top four NBA players of all-time in his interview with NBA TV: “He’s not in the top four right now. It’s going to be hard for him to get to four. He’s going to have to do something I haven’t seen him do yet to win six championships and be on the Mount Rushmore of basketball.”

 

Cavaliers guard and All-Star starter Kyrie Irving joined the NBA on TNT crew in New Orleans.

 

Irving on the missing ingredient during the Cavaliers early struggles this season: “I feel like we were missing the fun in the game. Everyone was putting too much pressure on themselves and going out there and over thinking, including myself. We came in with a lot of expectations, but we’re still not down and out. We have to continue [our success] after the All-Star break.”

 

Irving on how he has worked with Cavaliers rookie Anthony Bennett: “Coming in as the number one pick there is automatic pressure on you and he was putting a little too much pressure on himself. In the locker room we tried to shelter him and cater to his needs. [His improvement] started with him putting in extra work and extra time and seeing those results out on the court. Now [Cavaliers head coach] Mike Brown trusts him and he is playing well. He’s been a big part of this four-game winning streak. The young fella’ is doing well.”
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Brooklyn Nets (76) at Chicago Bulls (92)
Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller (analysts) with Craig Sager (reporter)
Kerr on the Nets offense: “You can see what Brooklyn is doing offensively that is so different from what they were doing earlier in the year. They spread you out, have multiple shooters, are playing with energy and have a lot of guys that can play multiple positions defensively as well.”

 

Kerr on the recent improvement of the Brooklyn Nets: “They’re a totally different team under [head coach] Jason Kidd now. Ironically, it took an injury to their best player, [Nets center] Brook Lopez for the transformation to happen.”

 

Kerr on Nets guard Shaun Livingston: “He’s one of the great stories of the year. Everybody thought his career was over [after his 2007 knee injury]. There was talk about whether he would walk again. It was a horrifying knee injury. Livingston’s perseverance, the work he’s put in to find a niche here in Brooklyn and play at such a high level…It’s just an incredible story.”

 

Miller on Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard participating in five All-Star events: “You want to play Portland after the All-Star break, because you know Damian Lillard will be tired.”

 

Kerr on Bulls center Joakim Noah’s passion: “I love Noah, the way he plays and when he blows up sometimes. You want passion on your team. You want guys it matters to. I guarantee nobody cares more about winning than Noah. He sets the tone for this team with his emotion and his passion. Sometimes it is going to spill over and I think that’s ok.”

 

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Sprint Halftime Report
Johnson, O’Neal, Smith, Webber

O’Neal on Bulls power forward Taj Gibson: “I’m impressed with Taj. This kid plays hard every night. He can dunk the ball, shoot the jumper and play with aggression. Guess what? [The Bulls] don’t have their superstar [injured Derrick Rose], but they do have [head coach] Tom Thibodeau’s philosophy: come out and play hard every night.”

 

Smith on the effort of the Chicago Bulls: “You know you’ve got to bring your hard hat when you play the Chicago Bulls. Regardless of who’s on the floor, we’ve always seen that they’re going to play with a great deal of effort.”

 

Smith on the physicality of the Bulls: “I wouldn’t want to face the Chicago Bulls [in the playoffs]. They take something away from you in your legs and your physical stature when you play a series against them. Regardless how long it goes, they take something away from you.”

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Kerr on Joakim Noah: “Every time I watch Joakim Noah play — the range defensively, the versatility, the ability to guard anybody out there and still get back to the rim and protect the paint for Chicago; it’s amazing what he does.

 

Miller on facing the Bulls in the playoffs: “I wouldn’t want to see Chicago because you know defensively, each and every night, they’re going to bring it. They may struggle to score come playoff time, but defensively they’re going to play the same way every night.”

 

Miller on Joakim Noah: “I love everything he brings to this Bulls team. With the loss of [point guard Derrick] Rose for the season, [Noah] has been the one guy that’s been indispensable for them.”

 

Kerr on [Bulls power forward] Taj Gibson: “I want to pump up Taj Gibson for Sixth Man of the Year. We usually give to the scorers, the [Spurs guard Manu] Ginobilis and [Clippers guard] Jamal Crawfords, but Taj Gibson is the best sixth man in the league this year.”

 

Kerr on the state of the Eastern Conference: “The East is finally getting better, to the point where Indiana and Miami aren’t going to be able to just waltz through [to the Eastern Conference Finals].”
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Oklahoma City Thunder (107) at Los Angeles Lakers (103)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Mike Fratello (analyst) with Rebecca Haarlow (reporter)

Fratello on injured Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook: “He’s been a great teammate, particularly to Reggie Jackson. You always see [Westbrook] talking to Jackson during timeouts and meeting him outside of the huddle to give him advice.”

Fratello on the depth of Oklahoma City: “This team has to be one of the deepest teams in the league right now. Indiana has great depth, but Oklahoma City is really deep. Without Russell Westbrook they took [Thunder guard] Reggie Jackson and put him into the lineup. Now [Jackson] is getting so much experience, gaining so much confidence and the coaches are gaining confidence in him.”

 

Fratello on the eventual return of Russell Westbrook: “It’s going to require a mental and physical adjustment for a lot of players when Russell Westbrook comes back. When he moves into the lineup, there goes 30 minutes of playing time that guys are getting now that they aren’t going to get later on. They will have to accept their new role and responsibilities when he returns.”
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Sprint Halftime Report
Johnson, O’Neal, Smith, Webber

Smith on Lakers guard Kendall Marshall: “Just because you’re not playing doesn’t mean you can’t play. A lot of times you have to find the right team that fits your right skill set. [Lakers head coach] Mike D’Antoni’s system is perfect for Marshall’s skill set. This guy is a floor vision guy; he can see it. There are a lot of guys in the league sitting on a bench somewhere that could be a potential All-Star, but they’re just not in the right place.”
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Fratello on the building of the Thunder franchise: “This franchise has been an interesting process. It starts with [general manager] Sam Presti. They make pretty good decisions when they are selecting players. You build a franchise certain ways, and looking at the talent and evaluating them correctly is part of it. You have to get them there first. Once you make the choice on the players, you watch them and do an analysis. Did you make the right decision? At the end of that process there is the development of the players. When you look at this roster and see the number of players who have moved up a level in their game, it’s incredible. [Kevin] Durant and [Russell] Westbrook have both gotten way better, [Serge] Ibaka should be in All-Star consideration, [guard Jeremy] Lamb is coming along, [guard] Reggie Jackson who has moved his game up. It’s a great job by this organization.”

 

Fratello on the Thunder’s management of payroll: “The Thunder front office has managed their money well. They realize that Kevin Durant deserves a ton of money, Russell Westbrook deserves a lot and the rest of the guys have to be a little bit understanding. [Durant and Westbrook] carry them; they are [the Thunder’s] bread and butter and will lead them to a championship. The rest of the team may have to take a little bit less money, but be part of a winning organization.”

 

Fratello on Kevin Durant’s shooting: “Sometimes [as a player] you get caught watching Kevin Durant because you expect him to make the shot every time.”

 

Fratello on Serge Ibaka being left off the Western Conference All-Star team: “Sometimes you become the victim of your teammates. When you have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who everyone thinks of first, you forget about the other guys who are so important. Ibaka’s numbers and the fact that the Thunder have the best record in the NBA certainly warrant All-Star consideration.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia – Live from New Orleans
Johnson, O’Neal, Smith, Webber

Webber on the absence of the Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant: “The Lakers do have somebody to rely on, he’s just on the bench. They don’t have a superstar to end the game. It’s easy to end a game when you have [Kevin] Durant. Teams who don’t have a superstar don’t know where to go to end the game.”

 

O’Neal on Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni’s system:  “If you don’t have a superstar you have to rely on the system. The Lakers aren’t believing in that D’Antoni system. It’s a tough season for the Lakers right now.”

4 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, February 13, 2014: Since they asked, who is on your NBA Mount Rushmore?”

  1. Roland Geary says:

    I don’t need to listen to Bob Ryan. I stopped listening to anything that £%#*+€£ has to say after he called Antoine Walker a “punk” in a column.

  2. 7mackie7 says:

    Why you got five guys on Mount Rushmore?

  3. LOL touche, but there are five NBA spots. So put another brotha up on the wall. :)

  4. TC says:

    Yeah..was gonna say what 7mackie said! That Rushmore is a bit less competitive than the one in SD!

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