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NBA / May 17, 2011 / 10:00 am

TNT’s Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr & Marv Albert Talk NBA Playoffs

NBA on TNT

As we mentioned in Smack, I got the chance to participate in a conference call yesterday with TNT and the voices of the Eastern Conference Finals: Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr and Marv Albert. They broke down the Chicago and Miami matchup for nearly 45 minutes, and TNT alerted me that Game 1 on Sunday night was actually the most watched NBA game of all-time in cable history. It finished with a 6.2 rating and over 11 million viewers. The amount of hype and anticipation for this series is clearly exceeding even our own lofty expectations.

The series continues on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. ET (8 p.m. pregame show) for Game 2 in Chicago. Here are some of the highlights from the conversation where the guys talk playoffs, the NBA Draft, the MJ money train and why they aren’t mad at Miami’s celebrating:

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On the atmosphere in Chicago:

Marv Albert: “Well, it’s one of the great atmospheres in all of sports in Chicago, being at the old Chicago Stadium or at the United Center in terms of excitement, the introductory music, the lineups, the sound. Reggie and Steve were ready to take the floor. I don’t know what they would’ve done (laughs). But they were ready to run out there. The broadcast point of view, particularly last night, everybody was so pumped up with the singing of the anthem. This goes back to the Michael Jordan days with the PA and the introduction of lineups. It really gets to you. There are not many places like this. For a broadcaster, it’s just perfect. For me, the sight of Benny the Bull does it. I’m ready.”

Steve Kerr: “It reminded me a lot of the old days for sure. Marv mentioned the opening starting lineups with the same music. The magic is back in that building.”

On the playoffs:

MV: “To me, it’s the most unusual season, in a good way, that the NBA has ever seen because of all the unexpected developments with teams that you did not think would reach the point that they did.”

On Chicago’s adjustments:

SK: “I don’t think there is anything (different) that Chicago has to do gameplan-wise. I think they have to be careful. It’s kind of a setup for Game 2. You have two days off and you are going to hear how great you are the whole time. Everybody is going to be beating up on Miami.”

“The whole Heat team – LeBron and Wade – just stewing in their hotel rooms for the next couple of days. They are going to come out on fire on Wednesday night. I think the Bulls have to be ready emotionally. They can’t be happy just getting that opening win.”

On Miami’s adjustments:

Reggie Miller: “Having a chance to follow the Heat in that second-round series and their matchup with Boston, you knew they had to bring maximum effort, which they did in five games. We didn’t see that in Game 1.”

On Miami’s frontcourt:

SK: “I think the biggest think is what’s Erik (Spoelstra) going to do with the frontcourt. He didn’t even activate (Erick) Dampier and (Zydrunas) Ilgauskas for the game. I think they combined to start 79 of the 90 games that they had played up until last night. That’s a pretty dramatic shift to all of a sudden say I’m not even going to dress those guys.”

Joel Anthony is probably a 20-25 minute-a-night guy. He’s never been more than that. So it’s a lot to ask of him. But that’s their best chance with Anthony on the floor.”

On the officiating:

RM: “I haven’t seen any major flaws in any of the officiating. The best thing that could’ve happened to the officials is the chance to go over to the monitors and review certain plays. We all know come playoff time throughout the history of the game, there has always been conspiracy theories and certain teams go further and the league wants this and ratings…whatever. Having a chance to be a player and then be on this side, there’s been a few questionable calls, but to me as a whole, I think the officiating has been great.”

SK: “The officiating always gets way better when you’re a television analyst than when you were a player or a coach (laughs). For the most part, the officiating has been really good. It’s the hardest game to officiate on Earth, so there’s always going to be bad calls. It’s just part of the game. There have only been a couple of controversies to me in the playoffs. One was in the Lakers/Dallas series when there was the substitution question between Steve Javie and Phil Jackson. There was confusion also in Atlanta and Chicago, Game 4 when Atlanta tied that series in terms of the timeout situation for Chicago. That was more a scorekeeper issue.”

On the Western Conference Finals (both Kerr and Miller believe Dallas will win):

RM: “I love the dynamics on both ends. You have a young, energetic and upstart team in Oklahoma City. You take Kendrick Perkins out of the mix and there’s not a lot of experience going deep in the playoffs. But you have the scoring champion in Kevin Durant and you have one of the top five point guards in Russell Westbrook, an up-and-coming power forward who reminds me of a young Hakeem Olajuwon on the defensive end, blocking shots, Serge Ibaka. You have a tough, rugged center with championship experience in Kendrick Perkins. But you’re going against a team that has future Hall of Famers in Dirk Nowitzki, who is arguably one of the top 10 or 15 players in the league, Hall of Famer point guard in Jason Kidd, who has been to two Finals and numerous Conference Final appearances, Jason Terry, a former Sixth Man of the Year, and a very well-coached (team), and one of my former coaches, Rick Carlisle.”

“You have contrasting styles. To me, which style is going to prevail?”

“Who’s going to guard Dirk? Is it going to be Serge Ibaka? Because if that’s the case, you are taking him away from the paint area where’s even been so successful and that’s where Dirk can operate out on the perimeter. So you are opening yourself up.”

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  • Detroit Dave

    Bulls can win the series but if it goes to Game 7, I’m picking the team with the best players on the court: MIAMI

  • Stephen Jackson

    I think Dirk is a Top 5 player…not a Top 10 to 15!

  • the truth

    Dirk is definitely top 5

  • sweetv0mit

    One point to mention too is Tom Thibs was an assistant coach in Boston when they were whuppin LeBrons Cavs so ima bet that’s a big part on how they’ve been able to “contain” him.

    Also, is it okay to compare the Celts last year and Bulls this year? I think they’re kinda similar, will match up well and its a pretty good argument. Pen it Dime!

  • OverPowered

    Reggie Miller sucks…I wish I could just mute him

  • BigStick

    @sweetv0mit hell yea that’s why Chicago was able to neutralize LeBron. What a coincidence to have on your side if you’re the Bulls. Little pieces like that are definitely in their favor for this series…don’t think we’ll see anymore blowouts, though.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    KD is about to find out who the real “best PF in the game” is.

  • Berlin

    @ 2 and 3:
    I agree, definitely top 5. I don’t know what Reggie has been smoking lately…