HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — For NBA fans like us, there’s nothing better than League Pass. Having the ability to watch every game every night (and then again the next day) is heaven.
Of course, with local broadcasts, you get local broadcasters, which can be good and bad. It can be good, because these guys know their teams better than most national broadcasters. It can be bad, because these guys love their teams more than most national broadcasters. And they’re usually not afraid to show that love.
This season, we’re highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly of League Pass here on the Hang Time Blog. So here are five things from the last two weeks that made us laugh, made us smarter, or made us shake our heads.
- Air Check archive: Volume 1
No. 5 – Floppy play.
Game: Houston @ Minnesota, Jan. 23
NBA broadcasters spend a lot of time talking about the players, but not enough time talking about the plays they run. Here, coming back from a timeout, Wolves color analyst Jim Peterson diagrams a “floppy” side pick-and-roll play that the Wolves ran, resulting in a layup for Darko Milicic. I love it when an NBA broadcast makes you smarter …
No. 4 – A forgettable teammate.
Game: Memphis @ Phoenix, Jan. 29
Suns color analyst Eddie Johnson, who’s always an entertaining listen, has jokes. This one’s about how bad a shooter Tony Allen is. Unfortunately, play-by-play man Tom Leander ruins the fun …
“Thunder” Dan Majerle is Johnson’s former teammate with the Suns and current Suns assistant. So yeah, Johnson probably should have remembered him.
No. 3 – Know the odds.
Game: Chicago @ Miami, Jan. 29
Derrick Rose picked up his second foul just 4:36 into Sunday’s game in Miami. So Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau took Rose out. Smart move, right? Not quite. Rose has averaged 1.5 fouls per game in his four seasons, so even with two early fouls, the chances of him fouling out of a game are slim to none. And by subbing so early, Thibodeau is intentionally limiting his best player’s minutes to avoid the possibility that Rose’s minutes are later limited by fouling out, which he probably won’t do.
Thibodeau eventually saw the err of his ways and put Rose back in with 4:42 left in the first quarter. Later in the period, ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy explains why taking Rose out so early was pretty pointless.
Rose finished the game with just three fouls, by the way.
No. 2 – No Tommy Points for the refs (or the replay).
Game: Cleveland @ Boston, Jan. 29
Tommy Heinsohn is the homer of all homers. Here, he dramatically calls for the officials to be fired for not calling a foul when Alonzo Gee pokes the ball away from Brandon Bass and Anderson Varejao dives on the floor for the loose ball. And as the replay shows nothing close to a foul, Heinsohn doesn’t say a word, leaving play-by-play man Mike Gorman to retract the homerism …
No. 1 – The NBA, it’s pun-tastic!
Game: Milwaukee @ Philadelphia, Jan. 16
Malik Rose is a broadcasting rookie, but he may already be one of the better color analysts in the league. And clearly, he’s not afraid to try something new, as we heard when Spencer Hawes hit his first 3-pointer of the season …
If you hear anything on a broadcast that deserves mention in this space next time, send us an e-mail, with the details (game, quarter, clock time).