NBA TV and NBA on TNT Quotage From Opening Night

You had the Miami Heat pulling a stinker for most of the game against the Celtics. You have the Lakers playing rather sluggishly on the night the team got its championship rings. And you have a pretty eventful night for TNT. We have quotage.

Notes from NBA TV Season Preview Coverage & Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Tuesday, October 26, 2010
TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues Thursday, October 28 at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive doubleheader featuring the Washington Wizards @ Orlando Magic followed by the Phoenix Suns @ Utah Jazz.
CLIP OF THE NIGHT:
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NBA GameTime Season Preview
Matt Winer, Kevin McHale, Chris Webber, Dennis Scott, Rick Kamla, Steve Smith, Marc Fein and Mike Brown
Former Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown joined the NBA TV crew in studio
Brown on the end of his tenure as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers: “It came to a quick end. I was a little shocked at how quickly it ended. I thought we had a great team and I thought if we kept adding pieces, we could have gone for another run the following year and the year after that. But that is how life goes in the NBA.”    
Brown on LeBron’s nationally televised “Decision”: “I did not watch but my young son did. I was a little surprised that he did leave. But again it is his choice. I think that people have more of problem about how he went about it instead of the actual leaving. As a former head coach, I agree with that.  Everyone has a right to leave if they want to just like we (coaches) have a right to cut someone if we want to. But from the outside looking in, it could have been handled better.” 
Brown on the public letter from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert stating LeBron quit on his team: “I didn’t think anyone quit on our team. I thought that all of our guys tried to get it done, including myself, but we all came up short. That is the tough thing about this business and how it went down. But after it happened, you wanted the same opportunity with the same group of guys. No one played good basketball in the last two or three games in the Celtics series. You wish you could have the same opportunity if you could try it again but obviously that is not going to happen.” 
Kevin McHale on the focus for Lakers in the first half of the season: “Watching Kobe (Bryant) and him getting healthy and getting back. Hopefully they will monitor his minutes a little bit and keep him down, which means Pau Gasol will get to shine.” 
Chris Webber on what could keep the Lakers from winning the Western Conference: “Themselves; maybe bad chemistry or not getting along with each other. But we haven’t seen that in any of the years that (head coach) Phil Jackson has been coaching. That’s why I fully expect them to get back to the Finals.” 
Brown on Steve Blake and Matt Barnes joining the roster for the Lakers: “That is a great fit. The Lakers have added toughness in Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. So now you have two veterans that have been in the Playoffs and had good coaching.  And now you bring them to a team that has won championships. To me, I don’t think there is any better formula.” 
Webber on the Dallas Mavericks this season: “I think they are going to be good. They are going to be right where they are every year. I don’t think they are going to compete against the Lakers but they are going to be good.” 
Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony joined NBA TV via arena link 
Anthony on being on starting the season with the Denver Nuggets: “My feelings are still the same about this team. This is my team. Despite all the rumors and all the talk that has happened during the off-season, at the end of the day, I’m suiting up tomorrow night against the Utah Jazz in a Denver Nuggets uniform.” 
Anthony on the reason he didn’t accept the contract extension: “I just wanted to keep my options open. I didn’t say I was signing, I just said I wanted to keep my options open and here I am today traded to every team that is out there.” 
Anthony on his plans to stay in Denver: “Right now, my focus is just on playing basketball with the Denver Nuggets. As far as the business part of it, I’m going to let it handle itself. I don’t like to get into that in-depth to much. I just want to get my season started right there with the Denver Nuggets.” 
Anthony on addressing his teammates about the situation: “As far as my teammates go, from day one I sat down with them and laid it out there for them so we are on the same page. As far as myself personally, nothing can distract me on the court. So as far as rumors and stuff being said in the media, that can’t distract me.” 
Anthony on what the Nuggets need to do this year to excel: “We have to get healthy. Every man we have has been affected by injuries. Last season, us losing (coach) George (Karl) was a big loss. I think it drained us mentally. Now, it is exciting that (Coach) George is back. I think that experience against Utah last year brought us together as a whole.” 
Steve Smith on Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy: “Adjust your game to win, not for individual stats but to win.” 
Smith on what the Portland Trail Blazers need to do this season: “For them they have to find their identity again.  Right now they are going three or four different ways. They have to listen to (head coach) Nate McMillan and buckle down defensively.” 
Webber on the San Antonio Spurs: “They have great players and a great system. (Head coach) Gregg Popovich has had time to build this system. As long as you have Tim (Duncan) as the anchor and the system of inside out, you see they have a winning recipe for success.” 
Brown on the Houston Rockets: “I like this team, they have a ton of depth with the addition of (guard) Courtney Lee, and the addition of (center) Brad Miller and they can do a lot of things because they are extremely skilled. This team is primed to do big things this year as long as they can stay healthy.” 
McHale on Houston Rockets center Yao Ming being limited to 24 minutes of playing time a game: “Personally, I would start him and let him play six minutes and then save the 18 minutes for the second half because you have to try to win games. But that’s a tough position. I don’t know how you distribute those minutes because when a guy gets going you want him to play through his hot streak but you are already thinking about the clock. That throws you out of rhythm as a coach and a player.” 
Webber on the Celtics being better equipped this year: “I think they are much better equipped this year, especially with Shaq (O’Neal). Shaq is still one of the most dominant players in the game just because of the respect he deserves, meaning when you double team him. Also, Delonte West is one of the most versatile guards in this game to me. I think he can handle ball handling responsibilities. I really think this team is better and that they can take over the East again.” 
Brown on how to stop the new Miami trio: “You are going to have to stop them from getting easy baskets. A dunk or two from LeBron (James) or D-Wade will allow the crowd to get into the game and send them into the momentum that they need.” 
The TNT crew of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley join the NBA TV crew from Boston
Barkley on the Miami Heat trio being unselfish when it comes to scoring: “Realistically, Dwyane Wade is the only guy that wants to score all the time. LeBron, as great as he is, would prefer to pass the ball the majority of the time. Bosh understand his role, he is a third option.” 
Barkley’s response to LeBron’s Nike commercial based on his decision to go the Heat: “LeBron is trying too hard, Nike is trying too hard. LeBron should have just come out and said ‘I had a lot of great years in Cleveland and I wish I would have handled the Decision thing differently.’ That’s the only criticism that he has gotten. No one is mad. First of all he was a free agent so he could have done anything that he wanted. I said ‘punk’ and I was wrong to say that and I apologized. But that was silly to sit there and torture us for an hour. And another thing, he shouldn’t have disrespected the Cavaliers, he should have told them in advance.” 
Smith on the Miami Heat legacy: “This is going to be a championship team for the next six or seven years. This team is a dynasty in the making.” 
Craig Sager interviewed Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra prior to the game
Spoelstra on the anticipation of the NBA season: “We knew this team wouldn’t be built to go under the radar. We are expecting it and we are not running away from the expectations, the attention or the pressure. We feel that it is good, especially if it heightens your focus and commitment to each other.” 
Spoelstra on the expectations of the new Heat trio of Bosh, Wade and James: “We expect we can put it in our system and build some continuity together. We have had 13 practices together. The guys already know each other. We feel that they have played together enough. They are high IQ players and they can figure it out.” 
Spoelstra on the biggest challenges of the season: “We want to make sure we are peaking and getting better as the season goes on. We have already gone through a little bit of adversity but that is the nature of this business and what it has done for us is allowed us to focus and commit to each other. We are as healthy as we can get.” 
McHale on the additions to the Chicago Bulls this season: “I think they are very good. They have (Carlos) Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. I like Ronnie Brewer because of his defense; he can lock down and really defend. They are going to need those guys. I do like the way they are put together.” 
McHale on the New York Knicks being better this season with Amare Stoudemire: “I think they are better.  They were hoping to get LeBron James and Dwyane Wade; they end up with Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire. Amar’e Stoudemire is going to have to live without Steve Nash.” 
Webber on the changes to Stoudemire’s game as a NY Knick:  “I think this is going to change Amar’e’s game a little bit because he doesn’t have (Steve) Nash so he doesn’t get six points on easy dunks nor is someone setting it up later in the game for a easy last second shot. I think it is going to be a little bit of struggle and his field goal percentage will go down and they probably won’t make the playoffs.” 
Webber on Joe Johnson being a leader for the Atlanta Hawks: “I think Joe Jonson is a great player but he can not take this team to the next level by himself.”
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Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA – Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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TNT NBA Tip-off live at TD Garden in Boston
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith
Barkley on his weight loss: “We’ve got a serious obesity and diabetes problem in the black community and I was one of the fat asses just like them.  I decided to get in shape because that’s not good looking.” 
Smith on the start of one of the most anticipated NBA seasons: “This is the anticipation of the biggest opening night in NBA history.  This is the biggest night that I’ve been a part of or seen.  But the three guys (Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami) are either going to be the most dominant team in basketball over the next six years or this will be some type of Frankenstein experiment that didn’t go right because they couldn’t play together.  But this could be a dynasty in the making, starting tonight.” 
Miami Heat forward LeBron James on the importance of building team chemistry: “(Chemistry) is something that you know isn’t going to be 110%  (right away).  We need to work every day to continue to get better through our practices and our games.  We haven’t had much practice time together or game time together.  As the season goes on and the practices go on we’ll continue to have camaraderie.  We’ll make it the best as the season goes on.” 
Barkley on the Heat’s team depth: “The big question isn’t with the Big Three, it’s with the guys on the bench.  Is there bench good enough and is their team big enough?  That’s a legitimate question because all three of those guys are great players but they’ve got a really small team.” 
Barkley on how LeBron James should admit that he mishandled his move to Miami: “Nobody dislikes LeBron except for the people in Cleveland.  He’s the best player, in my opinion, in the NBA.  He’s a good guy but that ‘Decision’ thing was silly and he should not have done it.  I wish LeBron would say, ‘you know what, I wish I would’ve handled the whole summer differently.  I should’ve told the Cleveland Cavaliers in advance out of respect and I shouldn’t have done that silly Decision thing.’  That’s the only thing that people are mad about.  Nobody cares that he went to Miami and I wish him the best.  But at some point, he’s got to say that he wishes he did things differently and move forward.” 
LeBron on his new Nike commercial: “I think the mindset was behind everything that went on over the summer and my life to this point.  I just wanted to get the message out there to let everyone know how I was feeling at the time and how I’m still feeling to this day.  Hopefully, for the most part, I hope everyone enjoys it.” 
Smith on dealing with a break-up between player and franchise:  “There’s no way to handle a break-up correctly.  Anytime you feel that you have a great relationship with someone, something or some franchise and then they leave you.  The person that is the star of that organization.  That break-up is not going to be good.” 
Boston Celtics guard Paul Pierce on the Celtics adding center Shaquille O’Neal in the off-season: “(O’Neal) a great leader.  He’s been to the championship and been around the block a few times.  He keeps our locker room really loose.  He has great experience and the biggest difference I see is how Kevin (Garnett) has responded.  Kevin is a lot looser this year.  He’s receptive to Shaq, they have dialogue every day on the court.  It’s been great (with) those two feeding off of each other.  Hearing them in the locker room talk about the days when (Garnett) was in Minnesota and Shaq was with the Lakers and their battles.  He’s brought a great presence to this team and a lot of excitement.” 
Barkley on the Utah Jazz challenging the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference: “(The Jazz are) the greatest threat to the Lakers in the West.  They’ve got the best point guard in the NBA in Deron Williams.  (Al Jefferson) to me has been the most underrated player in the NBA.” 
NBA TV’s studio team of Matt Winer, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber joined the pre-game show
Webber on Jazz forward Al Jefferson: “I love Al Jefferson.  He reminds me of a young Moses Malone.  He (also) reminds me of Karl Malone.  He can score inside better than (Carlos) Boozer could in this offense.  He can also go outside and hit that mid-range jumper.” 
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Heat forward Chris Bosh prior to the game
Bosh on if the Heat’s pre-season was what he expected: “It’s been more than what I expected.  Even when Dwyane was out (with injury) we got a lot of teams’ best and a lot of people came out to watch us play.  It’s been a lot of fun but we haven’t lost sight of what we’re trying to do and that’s build a championship team.  We know it’s a long process and we’ve been doing a good job of building so far.” 
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Game 1:  Miami Heat (80) @ Boston Celtics (88)
Announcers: Marv Albert, Mike Fratello and Steve Kerr with Craig Sager reporting
Kerr on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo: “(Rondo is) so crafty as a player.  He can find so many different ways to score.  Not a jump shooter but can really get into the lane and score from a lot of different angles.” 
Kerr on the atmosphere of Opening Night: “This feels like a playoff game.  The atmosphere is incredible.” 
Kerr on Rajon Rondo being the best player on the Celtics: “With so much talk about the Big Three for Boston, I think arguably Rondo is their best player.  Especially on the offensive end.” 
Fratello on the biggest challenge for Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra: “This is going to be one of the biggest obstacles for Erik Spoelstra is to take guys like (Dwyane) Wade, (LeBron) James and (Chris) Bosh, who pounded the ball because either their team wasn’t good enough and they had to do it or just the nature of what they ran (on offense).  Now they are trying to share the basketball and how do you solve that problem?” 
Fratello on the Boston Celtics: “Don’t underestimate the pride that the Celtics have in their half-court defense.” 
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra following the first quarter
Spoelstra on the Heat’s offensive struggles early in the game: “Defensively, there are some good things going on.  Offensively…exhale…it’s going to get better than this.  We just need to settle down and get into our game.” 
Kerr on two factors that will motivate the Celtics this season: “I think there are two things that are really going to drive Boston and motivate them. One is the (NBA Finals) Game #7 loss to the Lakers.  Two is the construction of this Miami team to really give them a threat.  I thought Boston was bored last year toward the middle of the regular season.  I think they’ll be much more likely to be motivated and ready for everything that’s coming their way this year.” 
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Celtics guard Ray Allen following the second quarter
Allen on how the Celtics are playing defensively: “It’s tough out there because (the Heat have) so many penetrators and so many great shooters on the floor.  I think we’re just giving them so many different looks.  We’re making sure our feet aren’t planted, we’re moving them around and we have to take away the gaps.” 
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Halftime
Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on two issues that the Heat need to address: “The Miami Heat are going to have a good team but I’ve noticed two issues that they are going to have to address.  Number one, they don’t get any easy baskets except for on the fast break.  They don’t have anybody to give the ball to on the box and get them to move.  Chris Bosh is a terrific player but he is really a jump shooter.  Also, their substitution pattern, because their bench isn’t great and they are missing (injured reserve) Mike Miller they have to have two of those guys out there at the same time.  That’s going to be a hard decision for Erik Spoelstra with how to work that substitution pattern.” 
Barkley on Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal: “When you’re that big, you can always make a difference in the game.” 
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Kerr compares the Celtics to the Pittsburgh Steelers: “The Celtics are like the (Pittsburgh) Steelers.  They grind you out defensively, they’re efficient offensively and they just frustrate you at the other end.” 
Fratello on the Celtics missing guard Tony Allen this season: “One big area of concern for Boston matching up with this Celtics team was they lost probably their best wing defender in Tony Allen.  When you look at (Dwyane) Wade and LeBron (James) on the wings and who is going to guard them (for Boston).  That had to be a concern for them because Tony Allen gave them a great playoff series.” 
Fratello on Heat forward Udonis Haslem: “(Haslem) epitomizes what the Miami Heat are all about.  He’s been with them for several years and he’s one of the two guys (with Dwyane Wade) to be named co-captain.” 
Kerr on the Heat being a jump-shooting team: “In the half-court, (Miami) is going to be a jump-shooting team.  Bosh does not have a post game, LeBron does not have a post game yet and Wade is still finding his way.  Wade may have to make the biggest sacrifice in this whole experiment with these three guys together.” 
Heat forward LeBron James on who gets the last shot in a game for the Heat: “We have a multiple choice, there’s not one guy.  The best part about this situation is the defense can’t zone in on one guy that at the end of a game, they know who is getting the ball.  In our situation, we keep everyone off balance because we have so many options.” 
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo following the game
Rondo on if the Heat are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference: “I think we are.” 
 
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Game Break
Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on one weakness of the Heat: “The one weakness Miami has is they are just a jump-shooting team.  They have to play at a much faster pace.  As great as Dwyane and LeBron are, they aren’t great jump-shooters.” 
Barkley on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo: “Rajon Rondo is an amazing basketball player.  He is a guy who can’t shoot the ball but can still dominate a game.  That’s impressive.” 
 
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Game 2:  Houston Rockets (110) @ Los Angeles Lakers (112)
Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller with Cheryl Miller reporting
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on playing through injury: “It’s really about understanding what you can and can’t do and then working your way through those strengths and weaknesses.” 
Miller on the state of Rockets center Yao Ming’s game coming back from injury: “I think (Ming’s) offensive game is ahead of his defensive game.  Offensively, he can get any shot he wants.  Defensively is where he’s going to be a little slow.” 
Miller on Lakers rookie forward Derrick Caracter: “The Lakers are very high on this young player (Caracter).  He had an outstanding summer league.  He’s very aggressive on both ends (of the court), especially defensively, going after the boards (rebounds).” 
Miller on Rockets head coach Rick Adelman: “It really speaks volumes as to how some of (the Rockets’) young players have developed; Chase Budinger, Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin under (Adelman’s) tutelage.  He understands that he’s going to get the max out of his players.” 
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Halftime 
Winer, McHale and Webber
McHale on how the Rockets using Yao Ming in limited minutes affects the offense: “It’s interesting to see because when Yao (Ming) is in there, they are going to get Yao the ball.  It’s a little bit of a different offense.  When Yao comes out and Brad Miller comes in and replaces him, you are going to see different ball movement.” 
Webber on how players take care of each other in great offensive systems: “It’s great to know where players are going to take their shots.  In a great system, you don’t have guys dribbling (around), standing on an island or going one-on-one.  You know what guys’ timing is and you can help guys out by saying, ‘just in case he misses this shot, I’m going to be there.’” 
 
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Miller on Lakers forward Ron Artest accepting his role with the Lakers: “Not only have (the Lakers) accepted (Artest), if you’re Ron, you’ve got to be able to reduce your role and accept it.  He’s done an excellent job of understanding he’s not going to get as many shots or touches.  He’s here to play defense and do some of the dirty work and he’s accepted that.” 
TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed NBA Commissioner David Stern during the game
Stern on the busy 2010 off-season for the NBA: “It was a great summer and a lot of teams think they have improved themselves a lot.  There’s a team in Miami that made a couple of roster moves.  A lot of teams are gunning for the Heat now.” 
Stern on the league enforcing technical fouls against players that complain too much: “We wanted to clean up the notion that our players complain too much.  They’re the best players in the world.  They don’t complain in high school, they don’t complain in college and then when they come to the NBA, they get their Master’s (degree) in complaining.  Cut it out and let’s watch the world’s best game that’s appreciated by the world.” 
Stern on the status of a new collective bargaining agreement: “There’s a big gap that has to be bridged and we’re going to knock ourselves out to get there.  That’s all I can say.”
Cheryl Miller: “We’re not going to have a lockout?”
Stern: “We’re going to try as hard as we can short of that to get a deal done with our players and I know they feel the same way.” 
Miller on a team’s mindset when playing on the road: “When you’re the road team, you never want to have too fast of a pace.  You want to slow the ball down and not have too many turnovers.  Possessions are key, especially in an emotional game.” 
Miller on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant being the face of the franchise: “To be identified with one organization, I was very blessed to have 18 years with the Indiana Pacers.  Kobe Bryant has surpassed Magic Johnson as the face of the (Lakers) organization.  Magic Johnson was a fantastic player, probably my favorite player of all-time because I grew up in the Los Angeles area watching Magic Johnson.” 
TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Lakers center Pau Gasol following the game
Gasol on playing more minutes this season with center Andrew Bynum out with injury: “Apparently, I’m going to be playing a lot more minutes, a lot more than we were expecting at this time of the year.  I just try to play hard, get into a good rhythm out there and be a presence.” 
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Inside the NBA
Winer, McHale and Webber
The TNT crew of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley join the NBA TV crew from Boston
Barkley on the Miami Heat: “They will have a terrific team but (they were) clearly rusty tonight. They do have some issues. How are they going to get easy baskets? They are strictly (right now) a jump shooting team. They need to solve this point guard situation. They have to play a lot faster. Will the guys on the bench be able to step up? This is the stuff we knew a week ago. Is there bench good enough? LeBron is great, Dwayne is great, but they are not great jump shooters. Even when they get Mike Miller back, who is a terrific shooter, the game always comes down to the easy baskets. They need to find a way to get some.”
Smith on the Boston Celtics: “If you’re a Boston Celtics, you say ‘we are where we are, we are who we are, we are happy with this. We understand that we win with defense, teamwork and continuity.’ And they did that tonight.”
Webber on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo: “This is (Rajon) Rondo’s team. I think even the Big Three (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce) would say that. I think the Big Three groomed him two years ago. The way he goes out there and plays, he looks like an extension of (Celtics head coach) Doc Rivers.”
McHale on how the Miami Heat can improve their game: “(By) spacing and running and doing what they say they are going to do, run and be an aggressive team. With good spacing, you can really play. You can be as aggressive as you want but if you don’t have good spacing then you can’t play. You can be the best player in the world but you can’t play in a crowd. If you play in a crowd, you’re going to turn it over and you’re not going to make shots.”
Webber on the Miami Heat: “I’ve been waiting for Miami to draw a line in the sand on something. Just say ‘forget you world, we’re going to win.’ I like that fact that Lebron said ‘we got here because all of us were successful; we’re going to have to play our game and not tip-toe around each other.’ It’s going to be exciting to see those guys (compete) against another team like they used to.”
Webber on Celtics’ center Shaquille O’Neal’s performance: “There are two types of potential. One is the type of potential where you’re banking on somebody to come forward and other is when you’re scared of the potential this guy has already seen and don’t want to revisit. (Shaquille) revisited that domination. He can score inside, make a double team, and pocket passes. Shaq is very good at that. He can get you easy points and he can just beat up the other team. He just wears (them) down.”

That is it.

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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