TNT Notes Jan. 3: The Portland Trailblazers Are For Real

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The Portland/Chicago game was great. Portland is the truth. What was Ben Gordon thinking on that last turnover before Jack’s 3 point play? As far as Seattle, they have to somehow get consistency or they’ll be in a position to draft Michael Beasley. That might be a good thing for Oklahoma City😉

Barkley on the Chicago Bulls struggles this season: “Ben Gordon takes a lot of tough shots and (Kirk) Hinrich is a short guy. I don’t think it was fair that (former Bulls head coach) Scott Skiles got fired. I don’t ever say if guys should get hired and fired, that’s not my job. My job is to analyze the game. The person that didn’t trade for Kevin Garnett last year should get fired. You have a chance to get Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol, you (have) to make that trade. That’s the person who made a bad decision. (The Bulls have) an outside chance (at making the playoffs). I’m going to make a prediction tonight…the Chicago Bulls will make the playoffs.”

Smith on Scottie Pippen’s critical comments of the Chicago Bulls: “He didn’t really say things that people have not said (before). The backcourt for the Bulls is too small. Yes, Ben Gordon is in the last year of his contract and it looked like he was pressing early in the season. All the things that he said were said in a brutal, Charles Barkley-type way.”

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Game 1: Portland Trail Blazers (115) @ Chicago Bulls (109) (2OT)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins; with Craig Sager reporting

Collins on Chicago Bulls center Ben Wallace connecting with his team: “For the first time, I see his energy and a connection to his team. I never felt that he really connected to the Chicago team. I never really felt that emotion and all that passion and energy that I saw with Detroit.”

Collins on Chicago Bulls forward Joe Smith: “Joe Smith has been terrific tonight. He’s been everywhere – on the boards, making shots, he’s had a couple of blocked shots, this is a guy who’s played four games in five nights and struggled a bit with a sore knee.

Collins on bad offense leading to bad defense: “When you don’t shoot well, number one it deflates you. Number two, the game is continually going so you’re in transition which is the easiest place for a team to score. When you score, you take the ball out of bounds and you can get back and get your defense set. So bad offense leads to bad defense.”

Collins on the Bulls’ head coaching change: “There’s such diverse personalities (between former Chicago head coach Scott Skiles and interim coach Jimmy Boylin). Jimmy Boylin is a little more quiet and laid back, Scott Skiles, when he was here, was what (the Bulls) needed. Intense and competitive, he built a heck of a team here and he won’t be around to see the finishing touches, but he did a darn good job when he was here.”

Craig Sager interviewed Chicago Bulls forward Joe Smith during halftime.

Smith on proving critics wrong: “I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff from critics and stuff like that and tonight I just wanted to come out here and try to help the team. Get more wins, it’s all about winning games. We’re hearing that we’re out of it and that we won’t make the playoffs, so as a team we come out and try to win as many games as we can.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on predicting that the Trail Blazers will not make the playoffs despite their 13-game winning streak: “I’m ruling them out because they don’t get any easy baskets, they are a team full of jump shooters. Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan are doing a fantastic job and they have a bright future, but you can’t get to the playoffs just shooting jumpers. They are going to be streaky because all jump shooters are streaky.”

Smith: “I disagree. I think they are a playoff team, but I don’t think they are a contender.”

Smith on the Bulls playing well for the new interim head coach: “When there’s a new coach, you have a honeymoon period. When you have a new coach guys play harder and play a little bit better because they try to impress (the new coach). It’s like putting on a new suit and then all of sudden that suit isn’t new anymore.”

Smith on the Denver Nuggets: “Denver is a great, talented team, but not a great team. They beat people off of talent more than their execution.”

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Collins on the benefits of bringing Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon off the bench: “You can pick and choose when you want to put (Ben Gordon) in the game and a couple of scenarios can happen. (Gordon) can go in and maybe the other guy on the other team is getting a little tired or when the other team goes to the bench (he) can be playing against a second line player, so there are some benefits to coming off the bench, but it is an adjustment. You have to be a guy that can come in and be ready to go. It would have been a struggle for me to be a bench player.”

Collins on the better game closer – Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy or Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon: “Brandon Roy creates more opportunities for his teammates. Ben Gordon is going to do it with his shooting, Brandon Roy is going to do it in multiple ways.”

Collins on Chicago trying to reclaim their toughness: “(Chicago reclaiming their toughness) starts with Ben Wallace and tonight he’s played a very tough game…and a very tough cover of (LaMarcus) Aldridge who tries to drag him away from the floor.”

Collins on the tenacity of the Trail Blazers: “If Portland wins this game, I’ll be very impressed because this is an easy game when you’re down 14 (points) to say, ‘Hey, it’s been going great for us, let’s go home.’ They did not do that.”

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Game 2: Seattle SuperSonics (96) @ Phoenix Suns (104)

Announcers: Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello; with David Aldridge reporting

Miller on Sonics forward Jeff Green double-teaming Phoenix center Boris Diaw: “That’s a rookie mistake on (Jeff) Green. Doesn’t he look at the box score? Boris Diaw hasn’t played in a year and a half, why would anyone need to double him?!”

Miller on Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash: “I’m convinced Steve Nash has eyes on all sides of his head…if you’re open, Steve is going to find you.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Smith on the young Seattle team: “The problem with teams like this is they can’t sustain the effort. They can play well for one quarter, two quarters or even three quarters, but when it comes down to it they can’t sustain the effort. That’s the reason that they are a losing basketball team, or young basketball team. The experience gives you the ability to sustain the effort.”

Barkley on the Suns’ inconsistencies: “Nobody ever says, ‘Play hard on offense’ – that’s a given. The hardest part of the game is defense and that’s why the Suns are inconsistent…Everybody gets excited on offense, everybody wants to shoot…You’re going to get good shots against the Suns, but they are what I call ‘leakers.’ They are trying to get all of that (on a) fastbreak so you can hammer them on the offensive board. Those are their two biggest weaknesses.”

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Miller on Phoenix Suns guard Raja Bell: “I (played against) a much younger Raja Bell when he was with the Philadelphia 76ers on that team that went to the Finals with Allen Iverson and Eric Snow. He wasn’t as crafty as he is now. He understands the game much better now than when I played against him. He’s given all these guys fits – Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Tracy McGrady.”

Albert on how Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy compares to Hall of Famer Walt Frazier: “(Brandon) Roy says he likes to play at a slow pace. He reminds me of Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the Hall of Famer from the (New York) Knicks. There are a lot of similar moves that you see with Brandon Roy with the way he handles the ball and the way he takes his shot. He’s never in a rush.”

Fratello on the strength of Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy: “There’s one thing that separates (Brandon) Roy from the rest of the young players that are very talented and that’s the strength that he has. He has the strength in his body to move a defender off him and get space. That will come in time (for Kevin Durant) but Brandon Roy has it now.”

Fratello on Sonics guard Luke Ridnour: “This team is best when (Luke) Ridnour is the starting point guard on it because not only can he lead a fast break and make good decisions, but he can make a three-point shot, he drives you crazy on pick and rolls and he gets your defense scrambling all over the place.”

Miller on Phoenix Suns GM and former TNT NBA game announcer Steve Kerr: “(Steve Kerr) needs to cut his hair. It looks like he’s sporting a half-mullet.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley

Barkley on Suns center Amare Stoudemire being the key to the Suns season: “I’ve always said the key to the Suns winning the whole thing is Amare Stoudemire, and it’s not his offense, it’s his defensive rebounding. When he plays against the bigger centers in the league he gets into foul trouble. (Lakers center) Andrew Bynum and (Spurs center) Tim Duncan have had season highs, (Timberwolves center) Al Jefferson beat him up a little bit. It’s always going to come down to (Stoudemire) against Tim Duncan, (Nuggets center) Marcus Camby and (Jazz forward) Carlos Boozer, those guys (he’ll face) deep in the playoffs. He’s got to stay out of foul trouble because he’s really the only big guy (the Suns) have.”

Barkley on the strong performance by Bulls center Joe Smith: “If Joe Smith is going to be their best big man, the Bulls are in trouble.

TNT’s Craig Sager spoke to Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy after their victory over the Bulls.

Roy on Barkley’s prediction that the Trail Blazers can’t make the NBA Playoffs: “I don’t think we’ve convinced him yet. He’s a great guy, but we’re going to do our best to prove him wrong. Every Thursday he wants to talk about us, we’re going to try to win.”

Barkley on TNT reporter Craig Sager’s practice of relaying Barkley’s criticism back to the players he criticizes: “I’m really starting to hate Craig Sager. We don’t need Benedict Arnold at the game, we’ve got a double agent for TNT now.”

Smith on his prediction that the Portland Trail Blazers are going to make the playoffs: “I think the Portland Trail Blazers are going to make the playoffs, they’ve turned the corner, they’ve figured out how to win games and tonight is evident they’ve learned how to win close games. What Nate McMillian has done- it sounds very simplistic- they play hard, they play smart and they play together. That’s the missing ingredient of chemistry, with young teams it’s very hard to get them to play together because they have ulterior motives. ‘Let me get a contract, let me get on a highlight film, let me prove to the world that I’m good.’ These (Portland) guys are sharing the ball, playing well and playing together and they are inexperienced in doing this, and that’s why I think they are going to make the playoffs.”

Barkley on legendary hip-hop artist Michael Bivins doing weekly features on TNT OverTime on NBA.com: “We couldn’t get Bobby Brown?”

Barkley on the Denver Nuggets being more talented on paper than in games: “Marcus Camby is the glue of the team, he’s the most consistent night in and night out. They’ve got the most talented starting line-up in the NBA, nobody can put guys out there like that. They’ve got AI (Allen Iverson), Carmelo (Anthony), Kenyon (Martin) and Marcus (Camby), but they are so inconsistent on defense and that’s they’re biggest problem. When you look at their team on paper you think they should have the best record in the West, Carmelo is a killer, AI is a killer, Marcus is one of the best rebounding centers and Kenyon Martin gives them so toughness, but it doesn’t all fit together.”

10 Responses to “TNT Notes Jan. 3: The Portland Trailblazers Are For Real”

  1. Isn’t this the first season for the nuggets, having all their starters healthy and playing?

  2. Even though I am a bulls fan I love the fact those SOBs are getting that @ss kicked. The problem isn’t just that fool paxson its Jerry Reinsdorf the owner. Him and paxson need to take a one way ticket to Mars.

    I wnet back home in chicago and the media will not lay any blame on that idiot reinsdorf. They keep giving him credit for those 6 rings. Sh$% a one armed monkey could have ran that team with Pippen and Jordan.

    Check out how scary this is………that ignorant cheap SOB of an onwer (dude that ownes the clippers) would have 6 rings if Jordan and Pippen played for him during MJ and pippens run.

  3. Why isn’t Pete Myers the coach?

  4. You know Brotha Mizzo I was asking the same thing when this all went down. Man the bulls organization has been ran like a flee market for the last 10 years.

  5. Reminds me of Philly.

  6. The bulls need Jerry Krause back. You see he got the White Sox a world series.

  7. Yeah brotha Mizzo. I have for years called chicago the medwest Philly when it comes to sports. Cheap owners who have no intent to win.

    Even though the bears have been ran decently the last 4 years. If you look before then….a few years prior they were ran the same way the neighborhood booster runs their business, when they are selling clothes out of the back of their house and car.

  8. That’s crazy. There’s so much potential there in every sport.

  9. Legendary hip hop artist Michael Bivins? New Edition and BBD were hip hop groups?

    I got to hang with Bivins for an hour or so in Philly a couple of years back when they were just back touring again with Murder MA$E Betha. Really good guy and someone who gets it outside of their profession and celebrity.

    I love cheering against this miserable Bulls team because everyone there is sour looking. It’ll take some time to shake out, but the mental damage done by Skiles is going to take a decent amount of time to correct and it requires a special person at the helm. Like how you look for someone almost too normal when you break up with a crazy chick.

    Bring Doug Collins back to the Bulls, but make him sign up for some Medical Kush to keep him even.

  10. The Bulls got a first hand look at what could have been last night as they went up against Portland’s talented LaMarcus Aldridge. Looks like that Aldrige-for-Tyrus Thomas swap isn’t working out too well for the Bulls.

    Aldridge is the offensive force in the post that the Bulls lack, while Thomas joins the ranks of Ben Wallace, Joe Smith and Joakim Noah as guys who provide energy but aren’t going to do much for you offensively in the post (Even though Joe Smith did get 31 last night).

    Getting rid of Tyson Chandler looks like another blunder as well.

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