TNT NBA Notes November 6
Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley
Smith on New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd missing a game due to migraines contrary to reports that he skipped the game because he wants to be traded: “If there is one guy in the league I do believe, it would be Jason Kidd. He doesn’t have to miss a game to prove a point that he wants to be traded. He can tell the New York papers that he wants to be traded and it would be all over the country in five minutes.”
Barkley: “I’ve seen (the Nets) play and they give me migraines. I picked them to win the East (Conference). (The Nets), Miami and Chicago are the most disappointing teams in the NBA along with Dallas and Denver.”
Barkley on rumors of Jason Kidd’s trade demands: “I don’t have any problem with Jason Kidd wanting to be traded because New Jersey stinks. He is a Hall of Fame player; he’s the best point guard in the last ten years or so. He wants a chance to win.”
Smith what he sees when he watches the Denver Nuggets: “(When I watch the Nuggets play) I see parts that play well individually, but I don’t see a whole collective effort. I don’t see any synergy; I don’t see a unified, collective defensive effort. I don’t see ball movement or body movement, I see ball stoppers, guys that don’t move the ball, they just hold it.”
Barkley on Nuggets guard Allen Iverson needing to add more to the team than scoring: “I always worry about players who are one dimensional, they don’t bring anything to the game except (the fact that) they can score. (Allen Iverson) gets his assists because he dominates the ball. The most overrated stat in the NBA is steals. If you wan to take a lot of chances, you go for a lot of steals.”
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Game 1: Denver Nuggets (122) @ Dallas Mavericks (109)
Announcers Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello with Craig Sager reporting
Miller on the decline of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki’s stats: “Teams are going to play (Dirk Nowitzki) differently. His points are down, his shooting percentage is down, more importantly, what he is known for since he came into the league is his three-point shooting for his size, all these numbers are down. I think teams are playing him differently. I think (Spurs forward) Bruce Bowen put out the blueprint out on how to play him – you crowd him, you force him to his right, he likes to go left. I wonder if he is a little tired from playing for his club team in Germany. All these things factor in.”
Miller on Nuggets guard JR Smith being known as a “volume” shooter: “I never understood what a ‘volume’ shooter was. Does he shoot in the first quarter, the second quarter? A shooter’s a shooter.”
Craig Sager talked to Nuggets head coach George Karl following the first quarter.
George Karl on how his team has played through the first quarter: “You always want to rush and want to push the early tempo. I think AI and AC have got some good legs in their game right now and they’ve make good passing decisions. When we pass the ball, they usually play well.”
Miller on the Mavericks defensive struggles tonight: “Defensively, I’ve never seen the Mavs so bad, especially at the start of the game.”
Craig Sager talked to Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin following the first half.
Kenyon Martin on how happy he is to be playing again: “Just being on the court is enough. After all I went through last year only playing two games. Just being out here is enough.”
Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on the disappointing play of the Nuggets and Mavericks: “Both of these teams have to do something. They’re very stagnant; they’re just playing basketball, they’re not playing with any passion or emotion. They are going to win ‘X’ amount of games because they are talented. But as far as being an elite team that has a legit shot (at the championship), neither one of these teams (has what it takes).”
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Fratello on Carmelo Anthony: “(Carmelo Anthony) is so good around the glass. (He has) great hands and great timing, (he’s) strong, explosive.”
Craig Sager talked to Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson following the third quarter.
Avery Johnson on his team’s performance through three quarters: “We’ve got to stay with the same intensity. I thought our transition defense was a little bit better. I thought we took care of the ball a little bit. But we had a couple of guys fighting foul trouble. We need to get into the bonus first this quarter and give ourselves a chance to win.”
Avery on Dirk Nowitzki’s improved play: “He’s really into it offensively and defensively. He’s talking on defense; he’s mixing his game up tonight. He’s shooting the three and he’s taking the ball to the basket.”
Nuggets head coach George Karl wore a microphone during the game.
Karl in the team huddle during a timeout: “Our defense fell apart in the last six or seven minutes of that quarter. Everyone get back to playing defense more seriously.”
Karl in the team huddle during a timeout: “Let’s try to win the game with stops and not try to win the game with shots.”
Fratello on Avery Johnson and George Karl being the coaches to wear microphones during the game: “I’m proud of both coaches (Avery Johnson and George Karl) because they’re going along with the spirit of what this is all about. This is the cooperation between the league and the networks to give our viewers more access and an inside understanding of what actually takes place. It is a very touchy situation, so these two coaches are the pioneers.”
Miller on Denver’s scoring ability: “Offensively, (the Nuggets) are as good as anyone in the league. My question is going to be at the defensive end. A lot of times (teams) can’t trade baskets, especially in the playoffs. They’ve got to show over a consistent period of time against some of these good teams that they can play defense.”
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Game 2: Miami Heat (106) @ Portland Trail Blazers (112)
Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Cheryl Miller reporting
Collins on the difference with the Miami Heat this season compared to recent seasons: “Miami is a team that thrives on points in the paint. When they were the best team in the East (Conference) a couple of seasons ago, they were one of the best (inside teams). When they won the (NBA) Championship, they were number one in the league in points in the paint. They have dropped in those areas, and when (Dwyane) Wade and Shaq (O’Neal) are healthy, that’s where they have to thrive if they are going to be a winning team.”
Collins on Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy: “You can see flashes of (Brandon Roy), how smooth he is, he gets to wherever he wants to on the floor. And he doesn’t look like he’s doing it with a lot of speed or quickness. He’s a very deceptive player.”
Collins on the Heat’s early season struggles: “(The Heat need) to humble themselves and recognize that they are playing terrible basketball and what are (they) going to do to get out of it. They used to live with their competitive will and spirit and that has not been here this year. I think Udonis Haslem is really the only guy on this team that has played to his capabilities up to this point. Everyone else has been off to a slow start for whatever reason and everyone’s got to pick up their level of play.”
Cheryl Miller talked to Trail Blazers forward James Jones after the second quarter.
James Jones on coming back from injury: “I’ve been injured for a while. I’m finally getting a chance to get my rhythm back and get my wind back and when you’re a shooter, you need your legs and I finally got those back today.”
Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on what he would’ve done if he got hit in the face with the ball by Shaquille O’Neal like Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla: “You’ve got to kick him in the onions for that one.”
Barkley on Heat guard Dwyane Wade taking some of the blame for the Heat’s slow start: “Dwyane (Wade) is one of my favorite people, but I think Shaq (O’Neal) is getting too much blame for this situation. The Miami Heat don’t have a lot of really good players, but at this stage in Shaq’s career he shouldn’t have to carry this team. When Magic Johnson became Magic Johnson, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) was on the downside of his career. Everyone knows Shaq is on the downside (of his career), but to say that the Miami Heat are not good because of him is a little bit unfair. It’s time for everyone in Miami to stop saying that and also, it’s time for my son, Dwyane Wade, to start playing like a Kobe Bryant, a Kevin Garnett (or) an Allen Iverson in Philadelphia.”
Barkley on Heat head coach Pat Riley taking some of the blame: “Pat Riley can’t pass the buck either, (the success of the team is) his responsibility. He has not done a good job of putting players around Shaq (O’Neal), Alonzo (Mourning) and Dwyane (Wade), I think those three guys are going to be there. You think about the rest of that team, it’s not a very good team and that falls on Pat Riley.”
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Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan wore a microphone during the game.
Nate McMillan to his team in the locker room: “Expect them to come out aggressive fellas, expect them to come out aggressive. We’ve got to put the pressure on these guys and keep them in front of us. Offensively, we don’t get hesitant, we attack this team. Let’s go get this; we’ve got to take it. Right at the start we’ve got to be ready.”
Cheryl Miller talked to injured Trail Blazers rookie Greg Oden during the third quarter.
Greg Oden on the progress he’s made in rehab while coming back from injury: “I’m getting stronger and bigger and the knee’s feeling really good, I’m able to walk good. I actually got on the court and shot some shots stationary, but I’m feeling really good.”
Collins on the talent on the Trail Blazers roster: “There’s no question that there’s been incredible talent (that has gone) through Portland, and guys who have really made a lot of mistakes off the court and haven’t been very fan-friendly. This city did not want to hear their team called the ‘Jail Blazers,’ that does not go with Portland. You’ve got to give (Trail Blazers GM) Kevin Pritchard a lot of credit for the way he’s building this team along with (Trail Blazers owner) Paul Allen. They’ve made the decision to go with not only talented players, but players with high character.”
Cheryl Miller talked to Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan following the third quarter.
McMillan on what he sees from his team through three quarters: “What we need to do is make them move on the defensive end. They want to stand and crowd the paint and force us to shoot the ball over the top. They’ve gone to a smaller unit and we can still run our pick-and-rolls. We’ve got to get back and play some defense.”
Collins on how important Dwyane Wade is to the success of the Heat: “The big thing (in the success of the Heat) is going to be the health of Dwyane Wade; he’s the guy that makes the team go. Dwyane Wade has to get back to being the brilliant player that we’ve seen; he’s not there right now. You can feel and sense the frustration because he’s going to have to do what LeBron James did for Cleveland and what Kobe (Bryant) does for the Lakers. He’s going to have to make role players better than they are by themselves.”
Collins on Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy: “You know, when you don’t get to see guys in person a lot, you don’t really get a handle (on them). High definition (television) pictures are beautiful, but when you get in an arena you see who guys really are. This guy Brandon Roy is a terrific young player. You can see his leadership; you can see what he brings. I’m a big fan of his now; I think he’s going to be terrific.”
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Inside the NBA
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith
Barkley on the Miami Heat: “On the bright side, if your team sucks it might as well be in Miami.”
Barkley on the misplaced blame over the Heat’s tough season: “Honestly, Shaq (O’Neal) is on the downside of his career, but he is getting a little too much of the blame. (Miami) doesn’t have a lot of great players on that team. Dwyane Wade has got to take over and become Dwyane Wade who was MVP of the Finals (in 2006). Right now he’s not there, he’s not exploding around the basket, but I’ll give him a little time because he’s been out. This is Dwyane Wade’s team and I don’t like the way Shaq is getting all the blame right now.”
Smith on his outlook of the Miami Heat: “This current Miami Heat team will not make the playoffs; they have to change the team (with) a trade.”
Nuggets coach George Karl to his team on playing defense: “Our defense failed in the last six or seven minutes of the quarter; everyone has to get back to playing defense more seriously. Let’s try to win the game with stops and not try to win the game with shots.”
Smith on Karl’s defensive focus: “(George Karl) is having to say ‘defense’ continually to a team that doesn’t play defense.”
Barkley: “It’s not catching, Ernie. It’s like you and Rogaine, it’s not working.”
Barkley on the Dallas Mavericks: “Dallas is in trouble, they’ve got to make a trade or do something. They have reverted totally back to an offensive team. I was so disappointed the other night when they lost to San Antonio without Tim Duncan. They are just soft, the game always comes down to defense and rebounding, you aren’t going to beat the Spurs, Phoenix or Utah by outscoring them. Utah and San Antonio are the two best defensive teams and Phoenix is the best offensive team.”
Smith on the Dallas Mavericks shaping this season’s identity based on their first round playoff exit rather than their dominant regular season play: “I’m surprised that a team like Dallas took last season and looked at what happened in one round the playoffs and not at the regular season (and made adjustments). They didn’t take the momentum of the regular season at all, they didn’t say, ‘We are still the Dallas Mavericks, we are going to come back with the same team and the same way we (played) and we are going to beat you the way we did last year. We just ran into a train wreck last year (in the playoffs).’ To me, by the way they act and the way they changed their line-up, they believe they really are that team from the first round of the playoffs (and not that dominant regular season team) and that’s surprising.”
In the latest Timeout with Thompson segment, TNT’s Coach John Thompson interviewed Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis on returning to city where his career started and the tough season he’s had thus far.
Francis on receiving a DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision) for several games at the start of the Houston Rockets’ season: “DNP- I’ve never seen that, I’ve never heard of it. Our first game, I’m sitting on the side and to me it seemed unreal that I wasn’t out on the basketball court. Besides my mom passing, that was probably the toughest thing I’ve gone through in my life. When I saw it (in the box score), I thought I’ve got to frame it or something because that’s something that I never expected. It definitely hurt.”
Smith on the game of basketball humbling all players at some point: “One thing that basketball always does is it brings you to humility. There is a fine line between confidence, over-confidence and arrogance. Steve (Francis) at one time walked that line, and now he’s dealing with humility because the game always humbles every single player no matter if you’re the best in the world or the worst in the world. It’s going to humble you and how you deal with that humility makes you a good player after the fact.”
Barkley on Rockets guard Steve Francis overabundance of talent hiding his flaws: “I feel bad for Steve Francis because he’s a good kid. He’s the perfect example of a guy that has a ton of talent but hasn’t grown and learned how to play the game. Pat Riley has a phrase that I always use called ‘voluntary cooperation.’ Guys who have humungous talent want to do it their way, but at some point you have to say, ‘Let me try it the other way because it’s not working (my way).’ Steve has never learned how to play the point guard, he was just so talented he got by.”
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