TNT Continues Coverage Of Lakers-Rockets Series Tonight; Celtics-Raptors Series Finale To Air Friday On TNT

Courtesy: TNT/Turner Sports/NBA

TNT continues its coverage of the NBA playoffs tonight.

The network’s coverage will center on the semifinal matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets.  Los Angeles leads the Western Conference series two games to one.

Coverage is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET on TNT’s NBA pre-game show TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader.  TNT’s broadcast team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal will discuss the game and what to expect in the other Western conference semi-final, that of the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.  The Clippers lead that series three games to one.

The quartet will also wrap up the Lakers-Rockets game following it conclusion on Inside The NBA presented by Kia.

In related news, TNT will carry a double-header schedule Friday beginning with coverage of Game Seven in the Boston Celtics-Toronto Raptors Eastern Conference semi-finals series.  Johnson, Smith, Barkley and O’Neal will open the evening’s coverage at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader.

After that game, TNT will turn its attention back to the Western Conference with coverage of Game Five in the Lakers-Rockets series.

All three games will simulcast online through and the Watch TNT App.  Coverage is sponsored by AT&T, Quicken Loans, and Apple Music.  Audiences can log in by using the username and password provided by their TV service provider.

More information on TNT’s NBA coverage is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:









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NBA Postseason Coverage Continues This Weekend On ESPN’s Networks

Courtesy: ESPN

The NBA postseason continues this weekend on the ESPN family of networks.

ESPN leads the way tonight with coverage of Game 1 between the The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers.  Coverage is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET.

Mark Jones will anchor tonight’s broadcast.  He will be joined by analyst Mark Jackson for additional commentary.  Reporter Cassidy Hubbarth will provide the latest in-game news.

Houston comes into this latest round of the postseason after winning its previous series four games to three over the Oklahoma City Thunder.The Rockets finished off that series Wednesday after defeating the Thunder 104-102.

The Lakers meanwhile have had a little more downtime after taking their first-round series against the Portland Trailblazers Saturday in game five.  The Lakers won that game 131-122.

While the added rest can potentially benefit the Lakers coming into tonight’s second-round opener against Houston, the Rockets’ momentum is potentially just as beneficial for Houston.

The ESPN networks’ coverage of the semifinals continues Sunday with two games on ABC.  The Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat at up first at 3:30 p.m. as they continue their best-of-seven series.  Miami leads the Eastern Conference matchup two games to none.  The series’ third game will take place tonight on TNT.

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson will call Sunday afternoon’s game.  Reporter Malika Andrews will have all of that game’s latest headlines.

The Lakers and Rockets continue their series in the second game on the day on ABC’s schedule.  Coverage of the game is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. ET.  Breen, Van Gundy, and Jackson will anchor the broadcast. Hubbarth will have all of the game’s latest news.

NBA Countdown presented by Draft Kings will precede each of ABC’s games, with the afternoon broadcast scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET and even coverage at 8 p.m. ET.  Maria Taylor will anchor the pre-game (and halftime) broadcasts.  Analysts Paul Pierce, Jalen Rose, Stephen A. Smith, and Jay Williams will join her for additional commentary.

More information the ESPN networks’ NBA’s postseason coverage is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:






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NBA TV To Feature Western Conference Double-Header Broadcast Schedule Tuesday

Courtesy: Turner Sports

NBA TV’s Center Court will feature a Western Conference double-header schedule Tuesday night.

The Rockets and Grizzlies open the evening’s coverage at 8 p.m. ET.  Houston (26-12) sit in fourth in the West while Memphis (18-22) sits eighth in the West. Tuesday night’s opening game is rounding out to be an interesting game.  The statistics in the game favor the visiting Rockets, despite Memphis being on a five-game winning streak.

Houston is 15-8 in conference play and 12-8 on the road.  Memphis meanwhile, is 10-12 at home. By comparison, the Grizzlies have struggled just as much on the road this season, going 8-10 so far while Houston has gone 14-4 on the road.  Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games, so this matchup could go either way in the bigger picture.

The second of the evening’s games will pit the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors against one another starting at 10:30 p.m. ET.  The last-place Warriors (9-32) will play host to the Mavs (24-15), who sit sixth in the conference.

Golden State is 6-13 at home so far this season while the Mavericks are 12-5 on the road versus their 12-10 home record.  The Warriors come into Tuesday night’s in the midst of an eight-game losing skid, while the Mavs are on a hgih after winning their most recent game.

Dallas is 5-5 in its last 10 games.  Golden State, by comparison, is 2-8 in its last 10 games.

Brian Anderson will have the call on the Houston/Memphis game.  He will be joined by analyst Greg Anthony for additional commentary.  Reporter Dennis Scott will be in Memphis for even more headlines.

Casey Stern will anchor NBA TV’s studio coverage of both games throughout the evening.  Stern will be joined by Isiah Thomas, Candace Parker and Grant Hill for additional commentary.

More information on Tuesday’s broadcast schedule is available along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:






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ESPN Updates Its NBA On ESPN Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has added another matchup to its broadcast schedule for the NBA’s 207 – 2018 season.

The Rockets and Bucks will play live Jan. 18 on ESPN as part of the network’s double header schedule. The game takes the place of the previously scheduled Hawks/Pistons game which was in that slot.

The Warriors and Thunder follow that game with coverage scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m.

ESPN will lead into the night’s action with its NBA pre-game show, NBA Countdown charged by Mountain Dew.  The program is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET.

More information on ESPN’s NBA coverage is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:










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Cavs, Bulls Lead Off ESPN’s Special Friday Double Header NBA Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls will face off Friday and ESPN will have full coverage of the game including exclusive broadcasts of NBA Countdown, The Jump and SportsCenter.  It all leads up to the 1-2 showdown in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division.

The Jump will air at a special time of 3 p.m. EST on ESPN2 live inside the United Center.  Rachel Nichols will anchor the broadcast.  She will be joined by analayst Tracy McGrady and Brian Windhorst for additional commentary on the one-hour edition of the program.

NBA Countdown begins at 7 p.m. EST and will also broadcast live from the United Center.  Michelle Beadle will anchor the hour-long broadcast as it leads up to the 8 p.m. tip-off for the Cavaliers – Bulls matchup at 8p.m. EST.  Beadle will be joined by analysts Jalen Rose, Chauncey Billups and Tracy McGrady for additional commentary.

Mike Breen will have the call for Friday night’s game between the Eastern Division-leading Cavaliers and the Bulls, who are right behind them.  Breen will be joined by analyst Mark Jackson for additional commentary.  Reporter and Chicago native Cassidy Hubbarth will be on hand for all of the latest in-game news and interviews.

As an additional bonus for fans, ESPN3 will carry a live stream of the teams’ pre-game, on-court workouts and drills beginning at 7:15 p.m. EST.  SportsCenter will be live on site throughout the day for even more coverage.  That coverage includes live updates and post-game updates.

The Cavs and Bulls are just first game scheduled for the night.  The Nuggets will host the Rockets at 10:30 p.m. EST in an inter-divisional matchup in the Western Conference.  Ryan Ruocco will anchor the broadcast.  He will be joined by analyst Doug Collins for additional commentary.

Both games and additional coverage is available online via WatchESPN and the ESPN app.  More information on ESPN’s NBA coverage is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:










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NBA TV To Offer Extensive Coverage Of NBA Summer League Play

Courtesy:  Turner Sports

Courtesy: Turner Sports

The 2015 – 2016 NBA season is officially over.  But that doesn’t mean that the basketball action is over.  NBA TV is going to have plenty of NBA action this summer beginning with coverage of the NBA Summer League.

NBA TV announced this week that it will offer basketball fans extensive coverage of all three of the NBA’s summer leagues this summer.  In all, it will present a total of 60 games in 14 days from all three leagues.  It all kicks off this Saturday, July 2nd with 24 games in the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League.  Those games will be played at Amway Center, practice facility of the Orlando Magic.  They will be played between July 2nd and July 8th.  Six other games will be broadcast from The Utah Jazz Summer League presented by America First Credit Union and Siegfried and Jensen in association with the Utah Sports Commission.  Along with all of that coverage, NBA TV will also present 30 games from the Samsung Summer League 2016 from Las Vegas.  Those games will be presented from July 8th – 15th.  The top 10 selections in the 2016 NBA Draft are expected to take part in the games at the Thomas & Mack Center and COX Pavilion.

The Orlando Summer League opens its play July 2nd with 10 team in action on the hard court.  Up first will be the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks at 9am ET.  The Thunder picked up 1st Round draft pick Domantas Sabonis from the Orlando Magic in this year’s draft.  Speaking of the Magic, Orlando has a pair of split squad games on the same day at 11am ET (against the Charlotte Hornets) and 1pm ET (against the Indiana Pacers).  Up next on the day’s schedule are the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons at 3pm ET.  The Pistons drafted Henry Ellenson 18th overall in this year’s draft.  The Heat and Clippers follow at 5pm ET.  That is just part of the day’s schedule.  More information on the day’s schedule is available online via NBA TV’s official website.

Day 2 for the Orlando Summer League will feature a key matchup between the Clippers and Thunder at 5pm ET.  The Clippers picked up Brice Johnson in the first round of this year’s draft.  Before that, the Pacers and Hornets tip off at 1pm ET.  The Knicks and Heat follow at 3pm ET.

Moving on to the Utah Jazz Summer League, NBA TV launches coverage of that league July 4th with a showdown between the 76ers and Celtics.  It will be the teams’ first meeting in the summer league schedule.  Coverage of that game begins July 4th at 7pm ET.  It is the first of a double-header schedule for the league’s opening day.  The Jazz and Spurs follow in a 9pm ET matchup.  The Spurs drafted Dejounte Murray 29th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.  Philadelphia and Boston were just as busy in the draft.  Philadelphia picked up Ben Simmons with the #1 pick.  They also drafted Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (24th overall) and Furkam Korkmaz (26th overall).  Boston meanwhile drafted Jaylen Brown 3rd overall), Guerschon Yabusele (16th overall), and Ante Zizic (23rd overall).

Over in the Samsung Summer League, the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers open play there when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks July 8th at 6pm ET.  The Bucks drafted Thon Maker in the #10 spot in this year’s draft.  The Hawks and Rockets tip off at 8pm ET with the Raptors and Kings rounding out the day’s coverage at 10:30pm ET.  The Hawks were busy in their own right in this year’s draft, picking up Taurean Prince 12th overall via trade and DeAndre Bembry 21st overall.  The Raptors picked up Jakob Peltl 9th overall.  The Kings were quite busy in this year’s draft.  Sacramento acquired Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labassiere in a trade with the Suns.  The team also picked up Malachi Richardson in a trade with the Hornets.

The Suns open their summer play July 9th at 4pm ET against the Portland Trailblazers.  Phoenix picked up two players in last week’s draft action.  The team took Dragan Bender 4th overall and Marquese Chriss 8th overall via a trade with Sacramento.  The Bulls and Celtics follow in their first summer league showdown at 6pm.  Chicago drafted Denzel Valentine 14th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.

The Lakers and Warriors round out this year’s NBA TV summer league coverage on Monday, July 16th at 10:30pm ET.  The Lakers drafted Brandon Ingram 2nd overall in this year’s draft. The Warriors meanwhile drafted Damien Jones 30th overall.

Those that won’t be near a television throughout NBA TV’s extensive coverage of the league’s summer play can always catch the action online.  That is thanks to the league’s NBA app. It will offer live scoring, video, top stories, game alerts and more. will have its own coverage with the Summer League Hub presented by Samsung.  It will have daily updates, game trackers, video recaps, schedules, stats, bracket pages, and NBA style content.  More information on NBA TV’s coverage of the NBA’s summer league play is available online now at:








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Cavs, Warriors Take The Spotlight In ESPN Networks’ NBA Coverage This Week


Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN and the ESPN networks have another busy week of basketball ahead of them this week.

Officials with ESPN announced today the networks’ NBA broadcast schedule.  This week’s schedule kicks off tonight with a cross conference showdown between the Rockets and the Cavaliers.  LeBron James and the Cavaliers play host tonight to James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the Quicken Loans Arena.  The game will air live on ESPN Radio with Marc Kestecher on the call.  He will be joined by Jon Barry for additional commentary.  Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm ET.  Cleveland has already clinched the Central Division in the East, and also sits atop the conference, three games ahead of second place Toronto.  A win tonight for Cleveland will hold that lead while a loss will allow the Raptors to close that gap just a little bit more.  Tonight’s game means just as much for Houston.  That is because the Rockets currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference’s playoff ladder.  A win could potentially keep them in the hunt for the seventh spot on the ladder.  That spot is currently held by the Jazz.

After taking a couple of days off, the action picks back up Friday with a double-header.  Up first Friday night is yet another matchup with huge playoff implications as the Cavs are on the road against the Hawks.  Atlanta currently sits third in the East eight games back from Cleveland.  It is sure to be an even matchup for both teams.  Atlanta is 24 – 13 at home so far this season while Cleveland is 22 – 15 on the road.  Mark Jones will have the call for the game.  He will be joined by Hall of Famer and analyst Hubie Brown for additional commentary.  Reporter Chris Broussard will be courtside for all of the game’s latest headlines interviews, and more.  The game will air live at 8pm ET on ESPN.

Friday’s second game will see Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors host Isiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics as the Warriors’ quest for history continues.  Boston currently sits fifth in the East while Golden State leads the West.  The Warriors have also already clinched the Pacific division in the West.  Mike Tirico will have the call for the game, which is scheduled for a 10:30pm ET tipoff on ESPN.  He will be joined by Jon Barry for additional commentary.  Reporter J.A. Adande will be courtside throughout the game for all of the game’s latest headlines and interviews.

Before the first ball goes in the air Friday night Sage Steel, Jalen Rose, and Chauncey Billups will have a preview of the night’s games on NBA Countdown charged by Mountain Dew at 7:30pm ET on ESPN.

Oklahoma City and Houston round out the week’s NBA coverage across the ESPN networks.  The Thunder and Rockets will face off live Sunday afternoon on NBA Sunday Showcase presented by BBVA.  The game will air live on ABC and ESPN Radio beginning at 3:30pm ET.  Mike Breen will have the call for Sunday afternoon’s game.  He will be joined by Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson for additional commentary.  Reporter Lisa Salters will be courtside for al of the latest in-game news and interviews.  Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry will cover the game for ESPN Radio.  Sage Steel, Jalen Rose, and Chauncey Billups will preview Sunday’s game on NBA Countdown presented by Straight Talk Wireless.

More information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of the NBA is available online along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:







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ESPN Opens Its 2015 NBA Regular Season Coverage Wednesday Night

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The day is officially here. The 2015 – 2016 NBA regular season gets under way tonight. And beginning Wednesday, October 28th, ESPN joins in with full coverage that will take audiences straight through this weekend.

ESPN begins its coverage of the 2015 – 2016 NBA regular season Wednesday night with a Western Conference double-header. First up for the night is a matchup between the Thunder and Spurs live from Oklahoma City beginning at 8pm ET. Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers follow at 10pm ET as they host Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Coverage of that game begins at 10pm ET. Mike Tirico will have the call for that game. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Mark Jackson and reporter J.A. Adande. the T-Wolves will be playing with heavy hearts but a real purpose Wednesday night following the death of coach Flip Saunders Sunday at the age of 60. Over the course of seventeen seasons in the NBA, Saunders accrued a record of 654 – 592. This includes his time coaching in Detroit and Washington.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s double-header, ESPN will air a special one-hour edition of NBA Countdown beginning at 7pm ET. Sage Steele will anchor the broadcast and will be joined at the desk by analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins. As an added bonus, ESPN will broadcast rapper Missy Elliot’s new single ‘WTF (Where They From)’ during its broadcast of NBA Countdown. The song features famed performer/producer Pharrell Williams.

ESPN’s NBA coverage won’t be limited to just ESPN as it joins in all the basketball celebrations. Over on ESPN2 NBA Coast to Coast–ESPN’s NBA whiparound show–will have coverage of all of the action around the league from 8pm – 11pm ET. Cassidy Hubarth will anchor and will be joined by Ryen Rusillo, analysts Tim Legler and P.J. Carlesimo, and ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard. On Thursday morning, Cassidy Hubarth and P.J. Carlesimo will have even more coverage on NBA Tonight at 1:30am. That broadcast will be on ESPN2 as well.

After things wind down Thursday morning, ESPN will continue its NBA coverage Friday night with yet another double-header. First up Friday is an Eastern Conference matchup that sees LeBron James and the Cavs hosting James’ former teammate Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat at 7pm ET. Mike Breen will have the call for that game. He will be joined in the booth by Doris Burke for additional commentary. Stephen A. Smith will also be on hand for a special edition of SportsCenter on the Road beginning at 6pm ET. In the night’s second game, James Harden and the Houston Rockets renew their rivalry with the Golden State Warriors when the defending NBA Champions come to town. Tipoff for that game is set for 9:30pm ET. Ryan Ruocco will have the call for the game. He will be joined in the booth by Jeff Van Gundy and Chris Broussard for additional commentary. Both games will be live on ESPN. NBA Tonight will follow live at 2am ET with Cassidy Hubarth and Antonio Davis for a full wrap up of the night’s games and highlights on ESPN2. For those that prefer it, the full schedule for this week’s NBA coverage is included below.

More information on ESPN’s coverage of the NBA is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:



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Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson Talk NBA Finals & More

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson talked to the media yesterday about today’s start of the NBA Finals. The duo discussed not only this year’s finals matchup between the Spurs and Heat, but also the impact of another championship on either team and the role of the Eastern Conference on the Heat’s place in the NBA Finals this year among much more. The following is the complete transcript from the conversation that the pair had with members of the media in anticipation of tonight’s opening game of the 2014 NBA Finals.  Game one tips off tonight at 9pm ET on ABC.  The game will be preceded by NBA Countdown at 8:30pm ET.

Q. Could you have thought that the Heat could have gotten back here without contributions from their two new guys Michael Beasley and Greg Oden? As you know they’ve gotten very little from either during this run. 


JACKSON:  I would say to that answer, yes, they certainly anticipated both of those guys playing some sort of role.  But at the end of the day, they brought back the nucleus, and when you bring back the big three in James and Wade and Bosh, and you bring back the same mentality, and obviously some of the guys off the bench that have proven, that are champions.  Erik Spoelstra has done an outstanding job.  I would say, yes, because at the end of the day they’re built defensively, and they’re built with some special talent that puts them in position to, in spite of who they rotate as far as role players, be in the mix year in and year out.


VAN GUNDY:  I concur with Mark.  I think there are a couple factors.  I think we have to change the big three moniker to the big four because I think Spoelstra definitely belongs in there.  They have four guys who could be going to the Hall of Fame as players, Ray Allen and Bosh and Wade and James.  But Spoelstra is absolutely vital and instrumental to their success and he’s going to be there as well.  You add to that the weakened state of the Eastern Conference. They really weren’t tested.  Throw out the playoffs and so they’re here once again.


You know, Beasley in particular I thought might find his way onto the court, but Rashard Lewis has given good minutes.  At times Battier has given them good minutes, but he hasn’t been able to find his way consistently on the floor.


Q. I was wondering if either of you have any interest in the Lakers head coaching position, and if they’ve reached out to you about it? 


VAN GUNDY:  I found that it’s in everybody’s best interest never to comment on jobs.  I don’t think it does the team any good or the individual coach.  If teams ever want to state what their plans are before they’ve named a coach, that’s up to them, but I think it’s best that I don’t get involved with that.


JACKSON:  I totally agree.  Obviously, it’s an incredible job, and I’m sure they’ll pick an outstanding coach to lead them forward.


Q. Could you look into your crystal balls and speculate on what might happen if the Spurs either win or don’t win this or the same question with the Heat.  How does the outcome impact how these things might be made up next year? 


JACKSON:  I’m tired of looking in the crystal ball when it comes to the Spurs.  Not just me, but we’ve all been wrong for quite a while now.  We had them dead a couple years ago.  We had them dead after The Finals last year.  Truth be told, they’re going to be relevant and be around for the foreseeable future because they’re playing the right way, led by an incredible coach, an all-time great coach – not just in basketball but in sports in general – a bunch of Hall of Famers, and they just find ways to win ballgames.  So they’ll be around.


I think when you talk about the Heat, I think it depends on those guys and the decision they’re going to make after the season.  When you talk about Pat Riley and that organization, when you talk about Erik Spoelstra, I’m sure they’re going to, whatever the decisions are by the players, find a way to regroup, come back, and be just as strong, if not stronger.


VAN GUNDY:  Yeah, I can’t envision going to four straight Finals and any of the better three players deciding that they’re better served someplace else.  The Eastern Conference is definitely the place to be right now if you’re a great player because the road is just a lot easier to navigate.  So I can’t see them willingly changing their path.  And San Antonio, I think the Kawhi Leonard-George Hill trade got them back to where they are now.  They’re a little small at that position.  Now not only did they have the courage to make that trade, then they picked the right guy, and he has performed fantastically over his short career, and along with the depth they’ve added, and the great, great coaching, they’ve been able to surround their three best players with terrific players, and it’s going to be fun to watch.


Q. I know the word legacy gets thrown around a lot.  But how do you view a third championship for LeBron James on an historical plane if the Heat end up winning the series?


VAN GUNDY:  I think it would be a terrific accomplishment.  Winning a championship is hard, being in The Finals is hard, but a lot about how much you win is who you play with and who you play against at any particular time in your career.  So I don’t look at his career in Miami as being any more successful than his time in Cleveland.  He’s just surrounded with better players, weaker conference.  I think this guy is an all-time great.  I think one of his greatest accomplishments is taking a very average to below-average Cleveland Cavaliers team to The Finals, I think, it was in 2007.  I think he won 66 games with a starting lineup in Cleveland that I’m not sure would have won 36 games without him.


So to me, both places have been ultra-successful. I don’t think a guy’s greatness is directly tied to his number of championships won because a lot of it comes down to circumstance.


JACKSON:  I totally agree.  I look at LeBron James, and he’s an all-time great basketball player.  I said it, and it’s documented that my opinion is he’s one of the best forwards that ever played the game.  I really am not a guy to look and see championships to find your greatness.  Because I, like Jeff, agree the fact is who you play with and who you play against. At the end of the day, the guy has played at an incredible level for a long time, and it does not seem the end is near anytime soon.


Q. Mark, can you comprehend what Jason Kidd and maybe Derek Fisher is pondering going straight from a playing career to a coach?  Would you have been able to do that a few years ago after you retired?  And are you sure – are you convinced you want to coach again, or are you good where you’re at?  What is your state right now, now that you’ve signed with ESPN? 


JACKSON:  Well, I do look forward to coaching one day if it presents itself again.  Right now I’m having a blast being back with my crew.  I’m fortunate and thrilled to death to be back.  If the opportunity presents itself, I look forward to coaching again.  If I end my career the way it ended and I continue to call games, I’m fine with that, just to clear that up also.  I’m having the time of my life calling these games and being back with this incredible group.


To answer the first part of the question, I believe I would have been able to do it. Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity.  But as far as players today, obviously Jason Kidd had success and continued to get better.  I think his future is extremely bright.  So I believe that the point is picking the right person. So I believe you can do it and you can be successful.  It’s important to make sure that you pick the right person.  I don’t think just anybody can do it, but the right person can be successful.


Q. Jeff, you’ve alluded to the weakened state of the Eastern Conference a couple times now.  I’m curious if either of you think that might affect the Heat’s standing when you look at that team and what they’ve accomplished among some of the all-time greats?  You know the Bulls dynasty very well.  Where does the Heat as a team and what they’ve accomplished kind of rank with some of the all-time great teams? 


VAN GUNDY:  I hate to compare because ultimately people will read into it that you’re diminishing one at the expense of the other.  I would just say the Bulls teams back in their heyday had to go through some monster teams to win it all, some really incredible teams.  I think it’s hard to compare teams from different eras.  But to me, Jordan’s Bulls could compete against any of the great teams that were ever put up.  I think they were that good, and they had to go through some great other teams to win those championships.


JACKSON:  For me watching Jordan’s Bulls, and obviously the Celtics with Bird and McHale and Parish, and those guys, D.J., watching Ainge and the great Showtime Lakers, those were incredible teams.  I look at this Heat team, and I, like Jeff, don’t diminish what they’ve been able to do.  Obviously, the competition is not the same as far as the teams that they’ve faced but you go through who you have to go through.  They’ve done it; they’ve done it with class, and at an incredible level, so I don’t think it diminishes their accomplishments at all.


Q. I saw a story on the website that refers to the 1994 NBA Finals 20 years ago as being sort of a forgotten Finals.  I presume part of that is because of the O.J. Chase, and part of it may be because of other factors.  Do you agree with that thinking that the Rockets Knicks series has been lost to history for circumstances that have nothing to do with basketball? 


VAN GUNDY:  Well, for me, it’s not lost on me.  I think about that, maybe not every day, but most days.  I’ve talked about this to Mark a lot because, to me, you’ll never convince me that those Knicks teams from when Pat Riley came to when he left to go to Miami – even though they didn’t accomplish winning a championship – that the players there weren’t champions, because they gave championship energy and effort and enthusiasm every day.  Unfortunately, they came up a few plays short.


But when you’re talking about Olajuwon in his prime, he’s as great to me as anybody that’s ever played.  Ewing didn’t match up a lot with Olajuwon in that series because we played him single coverage, and they doubled Ewing on every catch.  But it was still having two great, great competitors, players, humble people going at each other in that series.


I don’t remember anybody talking about O.J. in our locker room and those circumstances.  I think the nation was captivated by that.  I think the teams were locked in very much to that series.  It was hard fought.  Houston got home court.  They beat us both times in the regular season, and that gave them the advantage to have home court, and they made a couple more plays than we did, and I’m not bitter.


Q. Do you have any regrets about your stint with the Warriors?  Jeff, how does it feel having Mark back in the booth with you guys?  Obviously, it cuts into your time.


JACKSON:  Well, listen, there are no regrets.  I think about the three years there.  I think about the opportunity that was presented to me by the ownership, by management.  I think about the relationship with incredible players and what they were able to accomplish in three years and where that organization was and where it is today – you got a lot to be proud of.  Ownership, management, players, fans – it’s in a great place.  There are absolutely no regrets.


VAN GUNDY:  Before I get to what you were asking me, I would say the unfortunate thing when change comes about whether it’s players or coaches in the NBA, is more focus is given to how things ended than what was accomplished during their time together.  I think it speaks volumes that everybody wants to talk about how it ended between Mark and Golden State instead of taking a look at and examining Mark’s impact there in that he came into a team that, minus minor blips of success had been historically bad for two decades.  And he came in there and remade them.  Who would have thought Golden State would become an elite defensive team?


Defense in this league is about coaching and the ability to protect the basket, and I was utterly amazed how quickly Mark transformed them from a porous defense into an elite defense, and taking them to 47, 51 wins.  They hadn’t won 45-plus games in back-to-back years in forever.


So my focus when I look at that is what was accomplished versus how it ended.  Now, to get to your question about less air time, basketball fans in America are applauding the three-man booth so they don’t have to listen to my inane rants.  And believe me, no one is upset, myself included, that I do less talking.


Q. I know both of you have said that you don’t want to discuss any team’s interest in you or your interest in any job openings, and I definitely respect that.  But I did want to ask you, there’s been a groundswell from a vocal segment of Knicks fans that Phil Jackson reach out to you guys for the Knicks coaching vacancy, I just wanted to know if you had gotten wind of that at all, and how you react to that?


VAN GUNDY:  When you spend 13 years with an organization like I did, which gave you your first chance of being in the NBA, your first chance of being with a championship-caliber team, and your first chance to be a head coach, you’ll always be a Knick.


So there are a few box scores I check every morning right when I get up.  It’s obviously wherever my brother is coaching, Chicago, Charlotte, Golden State, the Rockets and the Knicks.  Those are my guys and those are my teams.  I’m always going to have great, great feelings for the Knicks, hoping that they have great success and really appreciate whenever I am back in New York, how positive the fans were to me when I was just getting started.  So I’ll always be so appreciative of how they treated me.


JACKSON:  Obviously, you hear the talk, even if it’s the New York Post reporting my inner circle made a statement, and I have no clue because my wife and kids have not spoken to the Post, so just to counter that.  It’s an incredible job.  It’s an incredible opportunity.  And I’m sure that Phil Jackson will do an outstanding job of finding the right coach to get that organization and that team headed back in the right situation.


Q. You guys mentioned some of those old Bulls teams.  It’s been 30 years since that ’84 draft that Michael Jordan came in.  Just wanted your thoughts and memories on facing him, and particularly at this time of year how good he could be.


JACKSON:  He’s the best I’ve ever faced, and he’s the best I’ve ever seen.  Flat out, there were times when Jeff can recall he single handedly beat us with the Knicks when other guys were not ready at that particular time.  He propelled them to be great and propelled them to championship level.  Absolutely incredible, fierce competitor.  Invited a winning spirit, and did everything on the floor to attempt to tear the heart out and put daggers into his opposition, and you can see the impact that he’s had not just in that time, but even in watching players after him, how they attempted to duplicate or put some of the things in their game that he had mastered.  But those were great Bulls teams.  Like I said, there are times when he single handedly put them in position to win it all.


VAN GUNDY:  Yeah, we used to kiddingly refer to as the triangle with the 23 in the triangle because that’s what made it run.  I just went back and looked at his numbers.  I think sometimes with great players you forget the longer they’re out how great they were.  I mean, this guy played huge minutes with the Washington Wizards when he was 39, and averaged over 20 points a game.  Played all 82 games, I think, when he was 38, averaged 22.6.  Then the run he had with the Bulls, I mean, this is legendary stuff.


But if you don’t take a peak back every once in a while, you can start to forget just how great he was.  To me, his post-up game and the triangle, how he got into the post, out of the triangle, to me was the hardest part to guard.  We didn’t have big two guards at that time in New York, but we did have big point guards.  We had Mark, we had Doc Rivers, and we had Derek Harper.  Starts with a great competitor, add the two, but we had no answer for him in the post.  Defensively it wasn’t an every play mentality, but he had the ability, along with Pippen and Grant and Rodman to turn it up such that it was    they could make it very difficult for you to find good shots.


So Jordan to me, it’s like Mark said, I don’t like to compare eras because I didn’t see some of the guys play live.  But with my own two eyes I loved going into Chicago Stadium, the old Chicago Stadium, because you came out of that tunnel three and a half or whatever it was, and you knew it was on.  In a great atmosphere against the greatest to ever play during my time in the NBA.  You know, it was an honor to be on the same floor.


Q. It’s been mentioned the East is much weaker than the West this year.  Do you think either team has an advantage?  The Heat have had a fairly easy pass through the playoffs so far versus the Spurs who have been much more tested in the regular season and the playoffs.  Do you think it gives either team an advantage?


JACKSON:  I think that’s a great question.  I think the Spurs being battle tested this year certainly puts them in position.  But I don’t look at it as just this year.  I think both teams are prepared for this moment because of their history, not just the history of 82 games and a playoff round, but the history – playoffs, battle-tested, championship.  So I don’t think it plays a role in who gets the advantage.  Both teams are prepared, both teams are ready, both teams are extremely well coached, and I think it sets up for an outstanding NBA Finals.


VAN GUNDY:  I would agree.  I think so much of it depends on Parker’s health.  If he’s healthy, obviously, the Spurs have a great opportunity.  If he’s hobbled, I think Miami has a better opportunity.  I think both teams are missing some people who had a major impact on last year’s series.  Gary Neal had some great moments for San Antonio.  Mike Miller, obviously, had some great moments, had a great run for Miami.


I think both teams are ready, like Mark said.  I don’t think either team has an advantage in that way.  I just think it’s going to be close, hard-fought, a tip of the ball here, a missed free throw there or an injury that crops up or doesn’t heal right could be the difference in who wins it.


Q. Do you think the Heat will have a problem with the Spurs bench with the way Diaw and Ginobili have been playing in the playoffs this year? 


JACKSON:  I believe that the Spurs bench creates match-up problems every single night the way that they’ve played all season long, the way that you cannot identify one guy that comes in and impacts a basketball game.  They do a great job of understanding their roles, being prepared and playing within a system.  I think the difference this year is Ginobili’s fresh body, the way he’s playing.  Diaw is certainly playing at a high level.  I think Patty Mills gives them a guy that can continue to play pick and roll off the bench, Belinelli’s ability to shoot the basketball.


But I think the Heat also have guys that are playing at a high level coming in off the bench.  It was amazing to watch Ray Allen this late in his career still playing with fresh, young legs and a live body.  So I think it’s going to be a chess match as far as both benches in the level that they play.  They very well could, when you talk about the benches, decide who wins this series.


VAN GUNDY:  I love how both teams are constructed.  They surround their best players with shooting and passing so that their best players have enough room to operate.  You look at San Antonio, the floor is spread and they may have weaknesses in some areas, but their guys can shoot and pass.  Same with Miami coming off the bench.  I love Norris Cole, his competitive streak.  I love how Battier comes off and can hit timely threes.  Ray Allen, Mark spoke about, one of the great shooters that’s ever played.


You need to have a team that fits together well, and both teams played beautiful offense because they have Hall of Fame, first-option players surrounded by skilled, smart shooting at the other positions.  I think that’s why this Finals is going to be absolutely beautiful basketball viewing for the fans.


Q. I wondered if you guys thought LeBron James was a better player this season than he was last season? 


VAN GUNDY:  I think you would actually have to coach him and watch every possession to really know that.  I think he’s been great from probably his second year on in this league, and he’s had incremental, steady improvement.  But at this date, I think it would be miniscule improvements and Erik Spoelstra would have to be the one to decide if he’s taken a dip in certain areas or he’s upgraded other areas.  That would be hard for me to be perceptive enough to see.


JACKSON:  I totally agree with Jeff.  He’s in rare air, and if you look at how great he’s been throughout the course of his career, to me it’s tough to say if he’s better this year than last year.  I just know he’s still great and he’s still playing at a level that we’ve only seen a couple of people play at in the history of this game.


Q. People always make a big deal with the idea of coaching in New York, and it takes a certain type of guy.  You guys worked at other places too.  And Steve Kerr came close to getting the job, a guy that got close to getting the job, a guy with no connection to New York other than Phil Jackson, and same thing with Derek Fisher.  Do we make too much of it?  Is it a little different in New York with all the demands, whether it’s from within the organization, with the media? 


VAN GUNDY:  I don’t know if too much is made about it, but I do believe that New York, their fan base, the media coverage helps a coach coach his team well.  I think there is a misnomer that New York demands someone famous.  I mean, I just don’t believe that.  I think they embrace – New York embraces, to me, everybody that works hard, competes, shows confidence in what they do and fights for their team, whether it’s player, coach, management person, owner, whatever it is.


So I think this idea to be a star before you come in there to either play or coach is wrong.  I think New York fans have a patience to allow someone to develop and get better.  I’ve always thought that the thinking of them having to win right away, and they wouldn’t undertake a rebuilding plan, New York fans – I’ve always disagreed with that as well.  I think they’re bright and they understand where a team is at at any particular time.  But they do want to see progress, and they want to see effort, and they want to see a combative spirit on the floor.  If you do that, I think you’ll be appreciated.


JACKSON:  Obviously, Jeff can answer the question better from a head coaching aspect in New York City, but as a kid that grew up in New York City and with the Knicks, everybody’s not made for New York City, whether you’re in management, whether you’re playing, whether you’re coaching.  I can remember as a kid watching very good to great players play other places, be traded to the Knicks and not be the same player, whereas some propelled when they got the opportunity to put on a Knicks uniform.  It’s something about the fans.  It’s something about the pressure.  It’s something about the media.


So to be quite honest, everybody is not built for it.  It’s a different animal.  It’s a different monster.  It takes special personality and a person understanding the things that come into play to a tee.  I thought, obviously I’m biased, but I thought Jeff did an incredible job juggling all of them during his time as head coach of the Knicks, but everybody’s not capable or qualified to do just that.


Q. You had a nice debate going about the Greg Oden, Kevin Durant draft class, do you think we’ll see more of that during The Finals?  And do you think you’ll fill in for Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless on First Take


VAN GUNDY:  I can say that they broke the mold with those two guys, so there is no replacing those two.  But I would say this.  Mark and I agree on everything, basically, except what we don’t agree with which is about everything too.  I think we even agreed on that, but got bogged down in semantics.  I just, the idea that because everybody would have taken Oden first wouldn’t have made it the right selection.


Durant from his physical, to his great career, hey, you make mistakes in the Draft, and Oklahoma City was the beneficiary of a mistake by Portland.  You know, he’s proven out to be – I think he’s going to be one of the all-time, all-time greats.  I’m not sure what we were arguing about, but I remember Mark was wrong.


JACKSON:  Well, I will say that Stephen A. and Skip do an outstanding job, and they’re enjoyable to watch, but they do have substitutes so I think it would be a great opportunity.


What you see with Jeff and I, the thing I love about it is we don’t create the moment.  Sitting there talking with a mic, you get the same thing if you sat with us at a restaurant.  We’re going to grab different topics, we’re going to have different opinions, we’re going to honestly and respectfully agree or disagree, and it’s going to be entertaining.


So the thing I love about it is I was raised in a household that way, and Jeff is like family to me, so it’s something I truly enjoy doing.  I’m sure you’ll see – who knows what the topic will be, but you’ll certainly see plenty of that starting Game One.


Q. How useful a motivation is it to the Spurs to look back 12 months ago to what happened in The Finals?  As a coach, how would you channel that correctly to benefit the team? 


VAN GUNDY:  I think too much is made about last year and the motivation it provides for this year.  You don’t get to this point if you need some outside force to motivate you.  I also think Duncan’s quote about they’re going to,  I forget the exact words, but they’re going to do better and win this year, like that’s going to motivate LeBron James and Dwyane Wade like they were sitting there in the need of some motivation from the outside, external motivation.  I don’t think you need to channel anything.  I think both teams are ready.  Both teams are great, great teams.  I think the games and the script has yet to be written, but I think it’s going to be an interesting one.


JACKSON:  I believe your question was geared towards the Spurs, so that’s the way I’ll answer it.  But I believe that you don’t get caught up in what happened yesterday, meaning last year in The Finals, if you’re the Spurs.  They’ve already put together an incredible season post last year’s Finals experience.  So, my mindset would be don’t get caught up in yesterday and lose sight of the now.


The bottom line is they have an opportunity, and they are back in position to win a championship.  That’s old news and let’s move forward.  They’ve done an incredible job, and I think that’s been their mindset the entire season, and that’s why they’re in this position again.


Q. What do you both feel are the main differences between last year’s Heat and Spurs teams and this year’s and what do you think will be different in the series? 


VAN GUNDY:  I think Ginobili and Wade’s health are better, Parker’s health is not as good.  Both are missing shooting that had an impact on the series.  Neal for San Antonio, Miller for the Heat.  And I think to me the Kawhi Leonard-LeBron James match-up becomes even more fascinating the second time around because we know where James is at.  We don’t know where Leonard is going to reach.  But when you look at his demeanor, his improving skillset, this guy has a chance to be very, very, very good.  I love watching him compete against James.  So that’s still to me the best part of this series.


JACKSON:  I agree with Jeff.  I think the health of Wade and Ginobili will play a huge factor.  They’re at a different place right now.  I think the difference is the role players of San Antonio.  They’ve enhanced, like I said earlier, difference is having a guy like Patty Mills who really was a third point guard last year, played a huge part and had a great year for them in his ability to play out of pick and rolls.  Going and getting Belinelli, another guy that can stretch the floor and play out the pick and roll.  Last year pretty much Ginobili was the impact player off the bench creating offense.  This year it’s other guys, and they’ve got live weapons all around the floor.


With the Heat, it’s just Wade is playing at a high-level right now, and it takes the pressure off of LeBron to pretty much carry them.  I think that’s a huge difference.

Audiences that might not be able to catch tonight’s game on ABC aren’t out of luck.  The game will also be available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3 and WatchESPN.


More information on the ESPN family of networks’ coverage of the 2014 NBA Finals is available online at and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ABC, ESPN Networks Carrying Seven Playoff Games This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

NBA fans have plenty of reason to be happy this weekend.  ABC and ESPN have seven games on tap this weekend.  Three of those games will air on ESPN Friday night beginning with a matchup between the Knicks and Celtics.  The Knicks will look to extend their two-game lead over Boston as the teams face off in game three of that series Friday night at 8pm.  It will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio affiliates across the country.  Fans can also catch the game online and via mobile access through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Heather Cox will have the call on ESPN.  Marc Kestecher and Dr. Jack Ramsey will call the game for ESPN Radio.  The game is scheduled to start at 8pm EST.      

The second of the night’s triple header sees the Spurs and Lakers face off in the third game of their series, too.  The Spurs are up two games to none in that best-of-seven series.  Injuries have plagued the Lakers, who are looking to get their footing again Friday night.  The game is scheduled to start at 10:30pm EST.  It will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.  Fans can also watch the game online and on mobile devices through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, and Chris Broussard will have the call on ESPN.  They will be joined by Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales for ESPN Deportes.

Also at 10:30, the Warriors will look to break the one-game time with the Nuggets when the teams head back to Oakland.  The Warriors come into Friday’s game with some momentum.  The team as a whole shot nearly sixty-five percent and made 14 of 25 three-point shots.  Four of the team’s players scored twenty points in game two Tuesday night.  The Warriors have also outrebounded the Nuggets 91 to 71 over the course of the series’ first two games.  The Nuggets are looking to regain some footing Friday night when they are hoping to get Kenneth Faried back in the lineup after having lost him in Game 1 to a sprained ankle.  Friday’s matchup will air on ESPN2 and can be viewed online and on mobile devices through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, and Holly Rowe will have all the action and news throughout the game.

The weekend showcase closes out with a Sunday doubleheader pitting the Knicks and Celtics against each other again for Game Four in the teams’ best-of-seven series first.  The game will air at 1pm on ABC and on ESPN Radio affiliates across the nation.  Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Heather Cox will be back to call the action again for the game, while Marc Kestecher and Dr. Jack Ramsay will have the call for ESPN Radio. 

The day’s second game tips off at 3:30pm EST.  The Bucks are hoping to dig out of a two game hole right now with game three tonight at 7pm.  Game four will be Sunday afternoon on ABC and ESPN Deportes.  Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, and Chris Broussard will be on hand for ESPN.  Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales will call all the action for ESPN Deportes.  It all starts with the Kia NBA Countdown at 12:30pm EST.  Hosts Magic Johnson, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, and Michael Wilbon will discuss the weekend’s previous games and their implications as the NBA post season rolls on, as well as Sunday’s games on tap.  Fans can catch the Countdown on ABC.

A full schedule of the weekend’s games is available below.

Date Time (ET) Game / Commentators Networks
Fri, Apr 26 8 p.m. New York Knicks at Boston Celtics (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Heather Cox

ESPN Radio: Marc Kestecher, Dr. Jack Ramsay

  10:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Chris Broussard

ESPN Deportes: Alvaro Martin, Carlos Morales

ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
  10:30 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, Holly Rowe

Sat, Apr 27 7 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Mark Jones, Doris Burke, Holly Rowe

  9:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets (Gm. 3)

ESPN: Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, Samantha Ponder

ESPN Radio: Kevin Calabro, Chris Mullin

ESPN Deportes: Alvaro Martin, Carlos Morales

ESPN, ESPN Radio, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
Sun, Apr 28 12:30 p.m. KIA NBA Countdown

Magic Johnson, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Michael Wilbon

  1 p.m. New York Knicks at Boston Celtics (Gm. 4)

ESPN: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Heather Cox

ESPN Radio: Marc Kestecher, Dr. Jack Ramsay

  3:30 p.m. Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks (Gm. 4)

ESPN: Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Chris Broussard

ESPN Deportes: Alvaro Martin, Carlos Morales

ABC, ESPN Deportes


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at