TNT NBA Notes on Knicks/Celtics

From TNT Sports – 

Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Sunday, December 25, 2011
TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues Tuesday, December 27  at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive doubleheader featuring the Boston Celtics  @ Miami Heat  followed by the
Utah Jazz @ LA Lakers
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Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith
Barkley on the opening game being a “must win” for the NY Knicks against the Celtics: “If they lose this game, it will be tough on them mentally.”
O’Neal predicting the Dallas Mavericks will be the top seed in the Western Conference: “(I choose) the Mavericks because they won it last year. Dirk Nowitzki finally knows how it feels to be at the next level and he wants to feel like that again.”
Smith on the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors making it to the Playoffs: “There are going to be two surprises in the West. This might be the year that (guard) Tyreke Evans becomes that big leader of that young team and they get in the Playoffs.”
Barkley predicting the top three teams in the Western Conference: “The(Memphis) Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder and the (Dallas) Mavericks are the three best teams in the West. These are three teams that I want to see.”
Barkley on the Memphis Grizzlies: “I want to see what Memphis can do. The key to that team is (forward) Rudy Gay. I want to see how he comes back and blends with those guys.”
Smith on Lamar Odom being an asset to the Dallas Mavericks: ” There is no other power forward that does the things he can do. He can actually play multiple positions. He’s going to help them tremendously.”
Smith on the Los Angeles Clippers being a contender in the West:  “There is no excuse for the Los Angeles Clippers anymore. They have every piece they need to be a contender. You gain three players (Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler) and all of a sudden you have your coach set and your team set. If you lose now, it is the Clipper curse.”
O’Neal on the Los Angeles Clippers: “The new name for the Clippers is “Lob City”. On the break they are very interesting to watch. DeAndre Jordan is not your average center. Their team is much grittier. If they don’t get it done this year, it is the Clipper curse.”
Barkley on predicting the top two teams in the Eastern Conference: “The (Miami) Heat and the (Chicago) Bulls are head and shoulders above everyone else. They are far-and-away the best two teams in the East.”
Smith on New York Knicks point guard Toney Douglas: “What makes a great point guard is not just scoring and assists. It is the ability to force the tempo of the game you want. I don’t know if Toney Douglas can do that. He’s really a two-guard converting to a point guard.”
O’Neal on the Boston Celtics dominating the Eastern Conference: “I see the Celtics coming out of the East. It is a shortened season and I played for (head coach) Doc Rivers. Doc Rivers does a good job of managing people’s bodies.  (Rajon) Rondo is going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder so I like the Celtics for the East.”
Smith on the Chicago Bulls being a defensive powerhouse: “Chicago (Bulls) is probably the favorite because they have everyone back and they added (guard) Rip Hamilton. Defensively they can stop you. You take that into account and the best defensive team in basketball might be the Chicago Bulls. This is a team -that in 66 games- can really separate themselves in the Eastern Conference better than anyone else.”
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Game 1:  Boston Celtics (104) @ New York Knicks (106)
Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst) with Craig Sager, reporting.
Kerr on Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo: “He has had a great run with Boston. He’s going to have to play extremely well for them to win it all this year.”
Kerr on the Boston Celtics: “They are probably the best in the NBA in terms of shutting down the opponent.”
Kerr on NBA teams adjusting to a 66-game schedule: “It will be interesting to see if there is a lot of sloppy play early in the season. All these teams only had two weeks of camp with only seven or eight players on the roster. I would expect teams will need a few weeks to get in the groove.”
Kerr on Knicks guard Iman Shumpert: “He brings athleticism, gets to the rim and creates plays. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
Kerr on the new-look Knicks being a contender in the 2011-12 NBA season: “You can see the Knicks are going to be pretty good. They have too much talent for this not to work. The question is how good. They can become a contender to win the title. I think the guy that will have a say in that is (guard) Baron Davis. He’s got so much to prove, he’s got so much potential. If Baron can come in and give the Knicks what he gave Golden State (Warriors) a few years ago, it could work and be something to watch.”
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Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith
Barkley on Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo: “Rondo is terrific. He is flat out terrific. He is a beautiful player to watch. He makes players around him better.”
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Kerr on the power of Celtics guard Rajon Rondo:  “There is really nobody like him. He’s so quick; he’s got such great arms and anticipation.  We see the type of pressure he puts on the defense, clearly a one-man fast break. When he’s engaged and in tune with his teammates, he’s a wrecking force out there.”
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TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony after the game

Anthony on the New York Knicks winning 106-104 against the Boston Celtics: “It wasn’t easy; we knew it was going to be a battle.  We stuck with it and we won the game tonight.”


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