TNT Notes November 20: Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James; Allen Iverson and Carmello Anthony Go Off

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Where’s Magic, Chuck, Kenny and Ernie?

Magic Johnson on Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning’s knee injury that he suffered Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks: “Alonzo (Mourning) has meant so much to the game of basketball, both on the court and off. Off the court he’s done more than anybody in the city of Miami, he is a guy who is relentless with what he wants to do for children in Miami. (On Wednesday night) I told him, ‘Now you start your life after basketball, continue on the path of giving back and you can start being a business man. This (injury) just sped up the process.’”

Barkley on Heat center Alonzo Mourning’s charity efforts: “Alonzo Mourning is a great player and a great guy. He’s a (former Georgetown coach) John Thompson disciple. Alonzo Mourning and (Rockets center) Dikembe Mutombo have done more for charity than probably any basketball players ever. Dikembe for building hospitals in Africa, Alonzo for building recreation centers in Miami where kids can hang out. I think John Thompson is one of the most underrated heroes of his time and (Mourning) is just a tree limb of that guy.”

Smith on Heat center Alonzo Mourning: “When you first meet (Alonzo Mourning) you don’t like him as an opponent because of his fierce competitive nature. Then when you meet him outside of basketball, (he becomes one of your) favorite people. For the people of Miami he is an institution right now.”

Barkley on the match-up of Lakers guard Kobe Bryant facing Cavaliers forward LeBron James: “This is what I call an ‘ego game.’ When Magic Johnson played against Larry Bird, it was a special game; when Michael Jordan played against Magic or Bird, it was a special game. When I played against Dominique (Wilkins) or Patrick Ewing I wanted to play better than that guy.”

Barkley on superstars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James: “These are the two best players (LeBron James and Kobe Bryant) in the NBA, no doubt about that. Kobe is superman, but LeBron is tugging on his cape.”

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Game 1: Los Angeles Lakers (90) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (94)
Announcers Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello with Cheryl Miller reporting

Miller on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and legendary Michael Jordan being the best guards in the NBA: “Is there more of a complete player in the NBA ever (in Kobe Bryant) than maybe Michael Jordan? Is it a 1-A, 1-B (ranking)? Arguably, they are the greatest shooting guards ever to play the game; it’s tough to pick (who is the best).”

Fratello: “Besides the fact that they both are capable of scoring huge numbers of points, it’s the competitive drive, it’s the sprit of these players to want to win all the time and then get their teams to follow along with them.”

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on teammate Andrew Bynum: “(Andrew Bynum) has been working extremely hard outside of some of things we request of him as a team. He’s been doing his own individual work and it seems to be working extremely well for him and I’m very pleased with it.”

Miller on Cavaliers guard Shannon Brown dismissing veteran Eric Snow on the bench: “You’ve got an extension of the head coach on the bench in Eric Snow. If I’m Shannon Brown, there is going to be a pink slip in my locker after the game for first not knowing what to do in wrapping up the big guy (on the court). And second, for not listening to a seasoned veteran like Eric Snow when he says, ‘Come here young fellow, let me talk to you.’ That ain’t supposed to happen on the bench. You’ve got an unbelievably well experienced guy in Eric Snow; you’re supposed to listen to everything he says over there.”

Miller on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant trusting in his teammates on the floor: “In years past, that would have been a shot by Kobe Bryant. That lets you know that (Kobe Bryant’s) bought into the system of ‘we.’ In years past it’s been somewhat of an ‘I,’ especially with Shaq (O’Neal) leaving, but it’s more of a ‘we’ now. He had a wide open 10-foot (shot), sees a wide open Andrew Bynum underneath (the basket) and he goes to Bynum (instead of shooting it).”

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Halftime
Ernie Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Magic Johnson

Ernie Johnson on the health issues of ESPN announcer Stuart Scott: “Our best to Stuart Scott of ESPN. A good friend of ours, he has some health issues right now, had surgery near his appendix that was cancerous and then they removed some more stuff and they think they got the cancer out. He’s going to have chemotherapy for six months. I talked to him the other day and we all know Stu, he’s upbeat guy. We wish him the best and we’re praying for him every day.”

Magic Johnson on the improvements of the Lakers: “(The Lakers) bench has been playing solid and Kobe (Bryant) is trusting his teammates. Tonight Lamar (Odom) and Kobe are playing well together. We’ve been waiting on Lamar to be consistent, he’ll show you one game with 30 points and then you think what happened to that Lamar three games later. The Lakers are as good as advertised; the Lakers needed a leader and they finally got a leader in Derek Fisher.”

Smith on the Lakers players improving enough for Bryant to trust them: “(The Lakers’) players got better, you can tell (Andrew) Bynum put the work in during the summertime, (Jordan) Farmar put the work in this summer, (Sasha) Vujacic, too. All these guys got better so you can trust them now. Last year and the year before (Kobe Bryant) gave them opportunities to be trustworthy and they would fail and now they are delivering on their trust.”

Smith on helping the Feed the Children charity feed more than 600 families in Atlanta: “Today was great, I felt like Steve Nash, sometimes you just assist people. It’s like Magic (Johnson) – they dunked it, I just threw the assist.”

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Miller on the body language of the Cleveland Cavaliers: “I don’t like the body language of the Cavs tonight, it’s almost like they are going through the motions. They got thumped last night to the second worst team in the Eastern Conference, some say the worst team (in the league), the New York Knicks. You think they would come out here 110 miles an hour and go crazy and I’m not really seeing that. I’m seeing little spurts, but I’m not seeing consistency.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Cavs forward LeBron James after the Cavs win over the Lakers.

James on the Cavs stepping up their defensive efforts: “Coach got on us. You want to respond when a coach gets on you and he got on us bad about our defensive efforts. We found a way to get some defensive stops in the end and we got a big win.”

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Game 2: Houston Rockets (111) @ Denver Nuggets (112)
Announcers Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Craig Sager reporting

Collins on the Houston Rockets bench not being as strong as expected: “I thought the Houston Rocket bench would be impactful with (Luis) Scola, Bonzi Wells and Luther Head when he comes off the bench. The bench has not been as effective as I thought it would be.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Nuggets guard Chucky Atkins at halftime.

Atkins on returning from injury and playing with his Nuggets teammates: “It feels good; I’ve been working hard to get back on the court. With Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, I’m going to get a lot of wide open shots. (Carmelo Anthony) is a great player and we expect him to take more of a leadership role, in order for us to be good he’s going to have to take more of leadership role and we’ll be fine.”

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Halftime
Ernie Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Magic Johnson

Barkley on Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony needing to expand his game: “(Carmelo Anthony) is a good player; he’s not a superstar player. If he’s not making shots, he can’t do anything else to help the team win and that’s when his flaws show. If Magic Johnson wasn’t making shots he was getting assist and rebounds; Michael Jordan was the best defender. (Anthony) is not a walking triple-double like LeBron (James) or Jason Kidd. That’s the one thing that disturbs me about young players who don’t do anything else, they just fill up one stat.”

Smith on the multiple ways for great players to impact games: “To be a great player – a superstar – you have to be able to dominate three categories in a game. We know the obvious, rebounds points and assists, but there are other areas people forget about like leadership, tempo and defense. Those are three other areas you can do it, three ways to impact the game and then you’re a superstar in my book.”

Magic Johnson on the Rockets needing to trade either center Yao Ming or guard Tracy McGrady: “(The Rockets have) got to trade (Yao Ming or Tracy McGrady), it’s not working out. We’ve seen it for all these years; they get eliminated from the first round (of the playoffs). I thought they were going to play well together, but it’s not working. Tonight the ball is moving more than it ever does watching a Houston game, and the same when Tracy McGrady was out, but the ball doesn’t move when they’re together…one of them has to go because it’s not working.”

Barkley on the demise of the Miami Heat: “You got a fork on you Ernie? Because Miami’s done.”

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Collins on the strengths of Rockets forward Shane Battier:
“(Shane Battier) is a champion, he’s a winner. You put him on your team and he’s going to defend, he’s going to make open shots. He’s not going to wow you with athletic ability, but he’s an incredibly smart player and he’ll make you play to your weaknesses.”

Collins on two ugly free throws by Rockets forward Chuck Hayes: “It’s like playing golf and seeing a guy shank a shot, you don’t even want to look at a shot like that.”

Harlan: “It looks like Charles (Barkley’s) backswing.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed injured Rockets guard Tracy McGrady during the game.

McGrady on the Rockets lack of identity as a team: “We don’t know our identity right now, we started off great at the beginning of the season and ever since we’ve been up and down. It’s been tough for us as a ball club to figure out what kind of team we are going to be. Are we going to be a running team, are we going to be a half court team? We don’t know.”

McGrady on whether he’s panicking about the Rockets’ struggles: “It’s not a time to panic right now; we are struggling and searching for an identity. If things don’t get well real soon then I’ll hit the panic button, but right now I’m not going to do that.”

Collins on Rockets center Yao Ming being susceptible to injury, particularly after a busy off-season: “A big man like (Yao Ming is) going to wear down. He has such a commitment to the Chinese National team and playing for his country and this year with the Olympics. He needs to get off his feet and rest sometimes because that’s when he’s had some leg injuries. We’ve seen it especially with big men who take a lot of pounding (and continue to play in the off-season).”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Ernie Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Magic Johnson

Smith on Houston Rockets forward Chuck Hayes’ hiccup shot at the foul line:I would foul Chuck Hayes every time he came into the game.”

Barkley: “I would foul him if he was on the bench.”

Barkley on the let down of the New Jersey Nets: “New Jersey has been the biggest disappointment to me. I picked New Jersey to win the East, but they’ve been very disappointing.”

Smith: “I pick Miami. You can’t be in last place in the Eastern Conference.”

Denzel Washington, star of the new movie The Great Debaters, posed the following question to the studio crew to debate: “If you could have one player to start a franchise, whose last name wasn’t Jordan, who would you start with?” (Washington selected Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

Smith: “There really isn’t a wrong answer to the question.”
Barkley: “If someone said your name that would be a wrong answer.”

Barkley, Smith and Magic Johnson all selected Bill Russell; Ernie Johnson selected Magic Johnson.

Magic Johnson on the character of Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan: “What you see is what you get (with Jerry Sloan). You see a man who is tough as nails, he’s passionate about playing the game the right way, he’s passionate about (players) being a great teammate and he’s passionate about (players) not only being a great basketball player but a great man.”

Barkley: “Jerry Sloan represents everything that’s good about the game. It’s unfortunate that certain players and certain coaches never get to the mountain top (of winning a championship) and don’t get the credit that they deserve…The Hall of Fame needs to put him in while he’s still alive. There are certain people that deserve to move to the front of the line…they should put him in the Hall of Fame ASAP.”

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11 Responses to “TNT Notes November 20: Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James; Allen Iverson and Carmello Anthony Go Off”

  1. GrandNubian Says:

    Reggie Miller must be smoking crack or inhaling clorox. How can you ex-clude Oscar Robertson when talking about the best shooting guards ever?

  2. How could the rockets lose to the nuggets???

    So what………tracy was out. They have the best rookie in the NBA….scola.

    Well thats what the weed head bill walton said…..Scola is the best rookie in the NBA.

    LOL!!!…………weed is a he11 of a drug.

    Well it was good to see Yao dominate. He seems to have been playing soft this year when Mcgrady is out. The dude has to remember that he is 7’6″.

    Not 6’2″

  3. Yeah miller must be smoking crack not to mention oscar grandnubian.

  4. Not a big fan of TMac. He’s got all the tools LeBron and Kobe have. We know what he CAN do. that he isn’t consistent to me is a poor reflection on him.

  5. Here’s why I’ve grown to hate Magic. His jealousy of Kobe and his constant need for media attention absolutely knows no bounds. I’m so glad Kenny Smith called him out after his Kobe hate showed up yet again. I used to love the man, now I can’t stand the man.

  6. His Kobe hate? C’mon now, really? Seems a bit harsh.

  7. TC

    Oh absolutely. It’s not even debatable and it’s chronic and blatant.

  8. I agree with kevdog. I even stated this to Dwil. Magic sits and kisses the media’s butt. He kisses buss’s butt also.

    You know the same buss that told magic no you can’t buy 20% or 30% of the team. but I will let you have 5% of the team. For all the hard work you did for me when you were bouncing that orange ball.

    Magic never once got upset with the media for forcing him to come out publically that he had HIV. Yet dudes like rock hudson and liberace who had AIDS were alloud to die in peace before the media even mentioned that they had AIDS. Even though when they were on their death bed the media knew what they were dying from.

    Everytime Magic opens his mouth its like he is trying to sh$# on Kobe.

  9. O was a point

  10. Fair enough Kevdog-I don’t catch every show-wish I did; I actually prefer Kenny charles and Mag to the game a lot of the time. But fair enough.

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