Notes from TNT’s NBA Playoffs Coverage – Sunday, April 20, 2014: LaMarcus Aldridge goes off in Blazers win; Wiz and Spurs also win


LaMarcus Aldridge last night: 46 points, 18 boards, 2 dimes, 2 blocks.

TNT’s NBA coverage of the playoffs continues Monday, April 21, with doubleheader action featuring the Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder at 8 p.m. ET and the Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m.

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Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs 
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller (analyst) with Jaime Maggio (reporter)


Miller on Dallas defending Tony Parker: “I think he [Devin Harris] has the only shot, defensively, of keeping Tony Parker in front of him.”


Miller on what Dallas needs to do to beat San Antonio: “They [Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis] are going to have to be special if they want to advance in this series.”


Miller on Ellis’s improvement: “We always knew he could attack the basket. I think he’s become a better outside shooter.”


Harlan on San Antonio’s Tim Duncan returning to the game after bumping his knee: “You’re almost 38, you’ve been through this before, you’re playing in your 212th playoff game, you’ve seen a lot.”


Miller on Duncan: “He really dominated the paint. Whether it was the taller [Samuel] Dalembert trying to guard him down low, he used his quickness…[he] came in at the seven-minute mark and things changed…a fantastic scoring afternoon for Tim Duncan.”

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

Barkley on Devin Harris of the Dallas Mavericks: “I [once] picked Devin Harris as my Rookie of the Year and he played pretty good, but he’s been inconsistent throughout his career…he’s playing fantastic today.”


Barkley on the Indiana Pacers: “You guys [Indiana] talk all that noise all year – ‘We want home court’ – and then you come out last night and play like dogs…I was disappointed because I’m an Indiana fan for all the things you stand for…but to come out and play like that, come on man, you’re better than that. You’re embarrassing coach [Frank] Vogel and the great Larry Bird.”


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Washington Wizards (102) at Chicago Bulls (93)
Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Steve Kerr (analyst) with Tracy Wolfson (reporter)


Kerr on the Chicago Bulls’ ability to play through adversity: “This is what we’ve come to expect from the Bulls and [head coach] Tom Thibodeau. They battle through every bit of adversity. They defend so well and are so well coached that they hang in every single game.”


Kerr on Wizards center Nene: “He gives the team a totally different look. When you add a big with the ability to put the ball on the floor, make a play and get to the rim, all of the sudden you have a really well-balanced offense.”

Kerr on the Chicago Bulls defense: “They’re like a football team that has a hard time catching up if they get down a couple of touchdowns. [Those sort of teams] can control the game early and rely on their defense and their kicking…same thing with Chicago. Their numbers show offensive woes, so they have to establish the tone early in the game on offense. When they do that, and they get a little bit of a lead, their defense carries them.”


Kerr on the explosiveness of the Wizards: “How about the explosiveness of this offense? All it takes is one look, and [Wizards point guard John] Wall is shot out of the cannon. This is exactly why [Bulls head coach] Tom Thibodeau said the key to this series is pace. If Washington gets out in front, the Bulls can’t keep up.”


Kerr on the inexperience of Washington: “A lot of the talk coming into this series was about the inexperience of Washington. If you look at the roster, the inexperience is really in the backcourt with [Wizards point guard John] Wall and [Wizards guard Bradley] Beal. The rest of the roster has a nice mix of veterans. It’s going to be interesting to watch how [the Wizards] handle the pressure as the series unfolds.”

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Sprint Halftime Report
Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal Smith

Barkley on the casual first half play of the Wizards: “They’ve got to switch and realize this is the playoffs. They are very casual and take quick shots instead of playing with patience.”


Smith on Chicago’s second unit: “Their second unit is their best unit. When they go to the bench they are a different team. They have guys that can make things happen. The Bulls second unit tips the scale for Chicago.”
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Kerr on Bulls point guard D. J. Augustin: “When he arrived the Bulls were having such a difficult time scoring. They lost [Nuggets point guard] Nate Robinson from last year, [Spurs guard] Marco Belinelli left and [Bulls star point guard Derrick] Rose got hurt. They had no impact at the point guard spot. When D.J. Augustin comes in, it immediately changes the look of this team.”


Kerr on Wizards guard Bradley Beal: “He’s going to be a star. He’s just so smooth in the way he moves and in his skill set.”


Kerr on the key to the Bulls/Wizards series: “The battle on the boards will determine this series, because it also determines pace. When Chicago can get on the offensive glass, that’s how they score and that’s how they slow Washington down.”


Kerr on the 2014 NBA Playoffs: “Is it just me, or does this feel like the most wide open NBA playoffs we’ve had in a long time?”


Kerr on Wizards forward Trevor Ariza: “He really found a role playing off of [Wizards point guard] John Wall this season.”


Kerr on the bigs of Chicago and Washington: “We’ve got some of the best interior passing bigs in the NBA on both sides of this series.”


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Portland Trail Blazers (122) at Houston Rockets (120)

Joel Meyers (play-by-play) and Chris Webber (analyst) with Marty Snider (reporter)



Webber on Rockets guard Patrick Beverley: “There is no one in the league that guards the ball like Patrick Beverley. He can also really score; he’s a two-way player. [Beverley] is confident and his team feels so comfortable having him guard the man with the ball.”


Webber on Rockets forward Chandler Parsons: “Parsons reminds me of a [Spurs guard Manu] Ginobili or a [Heat guard] Dwyane Wade.  Of course he’s not the same player, but he’s the other guy on that team that can be a secondary ball handler. The more he is aggressive in getting to the hole, the better off this Houston Rocket team is.”


Webber on Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez: “The most underrated big man in the league is Robin Lopez.”


Webber on the physical play between the Rockets and Trail Blazers: “As a basketball fan, you have to love the physical play inside by [Rockets center Dwight] Howard and [Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus] Aldridge in this series.”


Webber on the Trail Blazers: “A lot of times in the playoffs it seems that it’s better to play your games on the road because you don’t have the pressure and nervousness of being home. You get to go out there as the underdogs [in an away game] and relish that role. That’s what Portland is doing against Houston. They are playing like they are entitled and deserve to get this win.”
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Sprint Halftime Report
Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal Smith


Barkley on the Trail Blazers strategy to contain Rockets star James Harden: “They’re going at Harden on offense. James Harden is not a very good defender, but Portland is making him play defense. You want to know how much energy he is going to have on the offensive end late in game and as the series progresses.”


O’Neal on Rockets center Dwight Howard: “He has to put up big numbers and dominate. There is no way anybody on this earth should be able to play him one on one, and the Trail Blazers have [center] Robin Lopez on him. Lopez is a good player; Howard is a great player.”


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Webber on Rockets forward Terrence Jones: “I think this man is going to be a future star in this league. He can finish with the best of them, he’s aggressive and he can space the floor.”


Webber on Patrick Beverley’s ability to hype up the Houston crowd: “When you’re in the playoffs, whether you’re an impact player or a player that gets the crowd hyped with your effort…you can make a difference.”


Webber on Rockets star James Harden: “There are certain guys in the league that you don’t want coming at you full speed — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant…and Harden. With his ball handling skills, he’s one of the best finishers the NBA has at the guard position.”


Webber on Patrick Beverley’s energy: “Beverley got this crowd engaged in the game. He was the catalyst for the Rockets’ comeback and is the reason they played at such a high level. There’s been a lot of talk about whether he fouls too hard or plays too tough, but I hope [the refs] let us see him [play]. He loves the physical contact.”


Webber on Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez: “Lopez holds a Portland record for offensive rebounds. Think about how many greats have played for Portland…it shows you how consistent and how much of an anchor he is for this team.”


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Inside the NBA presented by Kia
Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal Smith


Barkley on the Houston Rockets’ lack of perimeter defense: “The Rockets are not contenders because they can’t play perimeter defense. Guards would love to play against them.”


Smith on how this year’s Miami Heat compares to last year’s team: “They have the ability to win it all, but they are not as good. Last year’s team had more explosion in a lot of different areas. They are still good enough to win it, but not as good [as they were a year ago].”


Barkley on the Toronto/Brooklyn series: “The Toronto Raptors are going to beat the Brooklyn Nets. I also think Toronto has a much better chance of beating Miami than Brooklyn. I think they were very nervous [in Game 1], but are going to play better [throughout the series].”


Barkley on who will be the surprise team of this year’s playoffs: “The surprise team of the NBA playoffs is going to be the Washington Wizards.”


O’Neal on Chicago’s loss to Washington in Game 1: “The Bulls don’t panic. They’re going to go back and look at tape and say we need to do what we’re known for…make some stops, play defense and come out with more energy.”

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