As the NBA Finals are about to begin, we have two press releases from Turner Sports which runs both NBA TV and NBA.com. The first one is from NBA TV and earlier this week, there was a conference call involving the channel’s on-air staff for Finals coverage regarding the Lakers and Celtics.
Notes from the NBA TV 2010 NBA Finals Conference CallTuesday, June 1, 2010NBA TV and NBA.com will feature extensive coverage of the 2010 NBA Finals which gets underway on Thursday, June 3 with game highlights and full post-game press conferences throughout the best-of-seven series.Participants:Kevin McHale, NBA TV analystChris Webber, NBA TV analystMatt Winer, NBA TV hostBryan Perez, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBA DigitalMcHale on if you can take anything from the 2008 Celtics/Lakers Finals: “I think you take quite a bit (from 2008), it was two years ago and things have changed. (James) Posey, PJ Brown and Eddie House, those guys were three primary players coming off the bench for the Celtics team in the 2008 Championship. The Celtics are going to do the same thing on defense. They are going to overload to
(Bryant) and they are going to bring the weak-side defender over to the strong side. They are really going to get in there and disrupt (Bryant’s) ability and make him play against at least a player and a half when they completely come over to the double-team. The Lakers are going to have to get tough, get physical and be aggressive because I think that was the turning point in 2008. The Celtics seemed to be able to push them around a little bit. I think Pau Gasol and everyone else is looking at that. From what I can tell, everyone is excited. The Celtics wanted the Lakers and the Lakers wanted the Celtics. Everyone wanted this series so everyone should be happy.” KobeMcHale on the historic Celtics/Lakers rivalry: “For me, when you played, you were hoping you got to play against the Lakers. We felt we were the best team in the East (Conference). The thing about playing as a player, I knew we could play really well against them and lose and that was unusual for our team back then. If we played well, we thought we could win the game. With the Lakers, you could play very well and lose so there was that added thought that we were going to have to be on top of our game and running on all cylinders. We knew it was going to come down to a shot here or a shot there. This series will come down to a shot here or a shot there. It was fun and it was one of those times that you just loved playing. It was great basketball and both teams were just loaded with talent. At the time, you don’t look at the history of things, you’re just playing. You’re trying to make history. It’s different looking back now and looking at the names of the players who played in that (rivalry) and it’s a who’s who of who is in the Hall of Fame. It was a very special time and lots of fun.”McHale on if free agent-to-be LeBron James will shy away from signing with the Bulls because of Michael Jordan’s legacy with the team: “If (James) goes to the Bulls, he’s going to be able to play with a great, young player in Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah has great energy, I like Taj Gibson and they have a really nice nucleus of that team. You make new history all of the time. I don’t think it matters what Michael ( ) did (with the Bulls). We looked up to Bill Russell and Dave Cowens and the Championship-era guys that were before us. We were excited to make our own history. I think there is something to be said about adding on to a legendary-type franchise. If you can go in there and win Championships, everything will be fine. When you’re in LeBron James’ category, if you’re not winning Championships, they are going to look at you a lot differently as talented as that kid is.” JordanMcHale on if the pending free agency of LeBron James will overshadow the Finals: “When you are talking about Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, you’re talking about some of the best players in the NBA. Where LeBron is going to go is going to take care of itself. I don’t think it will overshadow the Finals at all. I think it’s another storyline that will be interesting but not as interesting as watching the games unfold and see the different strategies that the coaches are going to use. I just think it’s going to be a fantastic series.”Webber on the Celtics/Lakers Finals match-up: “I’m very excited about this series. It kind of brings back memories of my partner Kevin (McHale) and Magic (Johnson) and the Lakers. I’m really excited about the renewal of this rivalry. I’m really intrigued about Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant. I’m really going to pay attention to what goes on in the paint. I’ve played with or against everybody in this series. I really think that the paint is where the battle is going to be won with the veterans like K.G. (Kevin Garnett) and Rasheed (Wallace) against (Andrew) Bynum and ( ) Gasol who are the new guys on the block. I’m looking forward to the mental jabs that will be in the paper, going back and forth. I don’t know if there are any tricks that either team can use to out-wit the others. It’s going to be won on plays and I’m really looking forward to the series, I think it’s going to be some great basketball.” PauWebber on whether the New YorkKnicks are an appealing team to play for: “ always has the allure, playing in one of the best arenas ever, (in one of the) best cities on a world stage. But guys want to win. The fact of the matter is that they don’t have the framework right now with players to come in, so it may be an uphill battle. It’ll take more than one superstar to go there, I don’t know if I could see one superstar free agent going there by himself and taking it on even if there’s promises made about them getting the best talent there later. That would be a situation where you see two powerhouses go there at the same time. The worst thing as a free agent is to go to a team and start over. Most free agents have earned their spot as far as being sought after after playing well for four years and to have that go down the drain, losing is so exhausting in the NBA. Yes, New York is a great place, but it’s going to take more than two stars going there and they are going to have to do a great selling job that they can win. That’s all guys want to hear about now because the money is pretty much even (anywhere).” New YorkWebber on whether the ChicagoBulls are a good fit for impending free agent LeBron James: “I’m not sure, I’m unlike everyone else who wants him to go to because I think that great players need a point guard who can shoot, i.e. Michael Jordan (with) Steve Kerr, B.J. Armstrong, (John) Paxson. There should not have to be a decision made about whose hands the ball is in late in the game. Derrick Rose is such a great player, like, say an Isiah Thomas, that he needs the ball in his hands in the fourth quarter. I feel for a player like that that has the ball in his hands all the time that it’s a waste to have a point guard that needs the ball in his hands. You need another shooter. (James) needs to think about that. The worst thing that could happen is to go and both players don’t fulfill their potential because they have the same playing style. That could become confusing if the coach doesn’t set out the rules right away. But I don’t have a feel on where he’s going.” ChicagoWebber on the comparison between ’s defense in 2008 and this year: “(The Celtics’ defense) is just about as good (as in 2008) and they have their defensive intensity back, but I don’t think their defense can be any better than when Kevin Garnett was much healthier. He was blocking shots, he was jumping, he could check the point guard if he wanted to, he was moving around that way. I don’t know if he can get back his quickness and his lateral movement. I don’t know that he can be better than a younger Kevin Garnett. But I will say, (Rajon) Rondo is a much better defender, (Kendrick) Perkins knows how to play position defense, he’s a better shot blocker. If anything, I don’t know if the defense is better, but I do know that it’s just as consistent and they rely on it now just as much as they did then. They don’t rely on their offense as much as their defense and that’s the one consistent thing between 2008 and now.” BostonMcHale on whether there is bad blood between the L.A.Lakers and Celtics: “I hope so, it makes for a fun series. I think there is some bad blood with the way that the ‘08 series ended, with everyone saying that the Celtics beat up the Lakers, they punked them and everything else. That really bothers you as a player, so I think that there is some bad blood. I think Pau Gasol has some bad blood, I think Boston wants another shot at them, I think all the Lakers do. The Celtics are puffing up their chest and saying, ‘bring it on.’ I think there’s some bad blood and it’s great for the game, that’s the way it should be.” KobeMcHale on the defense the Celtics played against the Magic and what the Lakers can learn from that game film: “Doc Rivers is a very good coach. Doc made the assessment that Dwight (Howard) couldn’t beat the Celtics one-on-one in the post, wasn’t going to double team him, wasn’t going to open up the three-point line. He was going to stay at home and let Perk (Kendrick Perkins), Rasheed Wallace, Big Baby (Glen Davis) and a little bit of KG (Kevin Garnett) handle him one-on-one. I thought that was a very, very good idea. But Doc Rivers looks at L.A.and says that can beat them. If you play Kobe head up he can beat you. So I think you’ll see him pull the trigger and bring an extra player, overload the strong side, always load the Kobe side of the ball. Wherever Kobe is, bring an extra defender over there, make him look at a few extra bodies. I’m not sure what the Lakers can learn from Kobe other than that the Celtics are tuned in defensively and when they call their defensive sets they are into it, they are rotating properly, they are out scrapping, they are fighting, they are going to play physical. But the one thing that Phil Jackson can show the Lakers and say, ‘hey look,’ was Kevin was hammering away on Dwight Howard’s arm, there was pushing and shoving, some fouls. Probably Phil is saying, ‘if we want to win a championship we’re going to have to man up and get physical.’” OrlandoMcHale on his assessment of the additions of Rasheed Wallace to the Celtics and Ron Artest to the Lakers: “Especially with Rasheed (Wallace) I didn’t know if he’s a good fit at all, but in the playoffs he’s played better. I would tell you that the jury was out a little with (Ron) Artest, is (Trevor) Ariza better, is it going to work? Both those guys have stepped up and played better. At the end of the day, the improvement is going to be in the taste of the pudding, who wins a championship? I thought they were both pretty bold moves. I anticipated Rasheed fitting in and having more of an impact with than what’s happened. But he’s had some playoff games where he seems really engaged and playing well. It seems to me that Ron has never quite grasped the entire concept of the triangle, when to move and when to play off the ball and when to be aggressive. He’s starting to get a feel for that. After he made that game winner (in Game #5), I said he’ll have a great next game. It’s really odd and it’s really funny how the guy makes two hoops but what happens when he makes the game winner, the next game he comes out on fire. It’s such a game of momentum and such a game of confidence and such a game of mojo, he found it, but can he bring that and can he stop Paul Pierce?” BostonWebber on the impact of Celtics guard Rajon Rondo: “(Rajon) Rondo has gone from in 2008 saying they’re lucky to have won with Rondo to this year that if Rondo doesn’t play well they won’t win. He is the most important part of that team and that we need to refer to the Big Three as the Big Four now because of his impact. Any time you have a guy who causes matchup problems, where he can get a rebound and push it with his speed and quickness, Doc allows him to have freedom. Any point guard that a coach trusts with freedom, that’s something special. You see how they can run plays right out of their fast break, so he can push the ball in the fast break and has the presence of mind to come back out and make great decisions.”
NBA Digital Hits the Court with Multiplatform Coverage for The FinalsNBA TV’s All-Access Coverage to Be Led by Matt Winer, Kevin McHale, Chris Webber, Charles Barkley and Kenny SmithNBA.com Introduces “Super Highlights” Feature with Slow-Motion Replays, Multiple Camera Angles and Radio CallsNBA Mobile Delivers Interactive Companion for a Real-Time Courtside Viewing ExperienceNBA Digital announced its multiplatform coverage of The Finals for on-air, online, and mobile. Marking its 11th season of Finals coverage, NBA TV will present live pregame and postgame shows featuring its marquee lineup of on-air talent – who will be onsite throughout The Finals – and original programming, while NBA.com will debut its new “Super Highlights” feature. NBA Mobile will offer a live game companion with access to real-time player and team performance stats and highlights.Throughout The Finals, NBA TV’s arsenal of hosts, analysts, and reporters will be onsite providing comprehensive coverage and in-depth analysis of the teams and players. The studio team of Matt Winer, Chris Webber, Steve Smith and Brent Barry will be at the helm with the Pregame Show and NBA GameTime, the network’s postgame show, for Game 1, with Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Kevin McHale joining the team for games 2, 6* and 7* (*if necessary). Winer also will team up with TNT’s Emmy® Award-winning studio team of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith for Games 3, 4, and 5* (*if necessary) and in Boston, where he won three NBA championships, Kevin McHale will join Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith for Game 3.NBA TV’s Finals team will also include host Rick Kamla and analysts Steve Smith and Brent Barry, as well as NBA.com’s award-winning reporters providing instant analysis of the action.NBA TV, NBA.com, and NBA Mobile’s coverage of The Finals will also include:
- Super Highlights: NBA.com will provide fans with extended “Super Highlights” the day after each game, including video playback in slow motion, multiple camera angles, and audio for radio-call rewinds.
- The Barkley Zone: NBA.com’s popular channel will be active throughout The Finals, including the popular “Ask Chuck” segment, during which Barkley answers questions submitted by fans.
- Special Finals Programming: NBA TV will present a lineup of original Finals programming, including One on One with Ahmad Rashad, a season-ending special featuring interviews with All-Stars Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Sounds of the Playoffs, an all-access pass featuring never-before-heard conversations between players and coaches in the locker room and in the huddle; Sounds of the Finals, a unique, in-depth insight into rival matchups; and live coverage of David Stern’s annual Finals press conference.
- Live Streaming Video Chats on NBA.com and Yahoo.com with Chris Webber and Kenny Smith.
- NBA Game Time Courtside: NBA Mobile’s live game companion providing fans with at-a-glance access to real-time player and team performances in addition to live scores, stats, plays, and video highlights enabled through a simple tap or swipe of the finger. Game Time Courtside is available for free and available for download through the Apple App store at www.itunes.com/appstore/ .
- The Ahmad Squad: Rashad provides an all-access pass to The Finals as he goes behind the scenes using his video camera to capture exclusive footage.
- All-Access Coverage on NBA.com: NBA.com will provide live streaming of the coaches’ pregame news conference, all postgame conferences, postgame live blogs for every game, and streaming video reports, analysis, highlights, and content from TNT and NBA TV announcers. The site also allows fans to vote on their choice for the Player of the Game.
- NBA TV Talent and NBA.com Writers on Twitter: From a last-second jumper to pivotal passes, NBA TV talent and NBA.com reporters will provide commentary on The Finals via Twitter, which will also be posted to a landing page on NBA.com that aggregates the tweets of the NBA’s best analysts, writers, and insiders.
That’s it for this post.