Air Check: Where Bismack Biyombo Is Top 5

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — 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.

The national guys aren’t perfect either. And if they’re not careful, they may be featured here, where we highlight the best and worst of NBA broadcasts.

We’ve got a Clippers and Nets theme this week, so let’s start with the Clippers and Nets…

1. They don’t call him the Czar of the Telestrator for nothin’

Game: Brooklyn @ L.A. Clippers, March 23
Broadcast: Brooklyn

This is a great use of the telestrator by … you guessed it … Mike Fratello.

Late in the game, the Clippers try to get Brook Lopez (and his slow feet) to defend Chris Paul in a pick and roll. But, as Fratello explains, the Nets switch assignments as Blake Griffin goes to set the pick, having the more mobile Reggie Evans hedge the screen.

It’s a pretty simple concept, but something that many viewers wouldn’t have picked up on when watching the play live. And all it takes is a quick explanation from Fratello to make us all a little smarter.

2. Another one-liner from JVG

Game: L.A. Lakers @ L.A. Clippers, April 7
Broadcast: ESPN

Jeff Van Gundy always bring the coach’s perspective…

Mike Breen on Jamal Crawford: “He’s had 16 head coaches in his career, 16 in his 13 years in the league.”

Van Gundy: “Are you saying he’s got a lot of people fired?”

Classic JVG.

3. Is Tommy Heinsohn calling Kings games now?

Game: L.A. Clippers @ Sacramento, March 19
Broadcast: Sacramento

Kings color man Jerry Reynolds doesn’t like this foul call, even though the replay shows that Pizza Guy Isaiah Thomas was all in Chris Paul‘s space and hit him on the arm as he rose for the shot.

“Are you kidding me?,” Reynolds says. “What a bail out.”

And then he hits us with the big one: “I guarantee you if that had of been Isaiah Thomas shooting the ball and Chris Paul defending, that would not have been called that way. That is my take on it and I’m tired of it.”

But good for play-by-play guy Grant Napear for calling Reynolds out for going a little to far: “Jerry Heinsohn working with us today.”

Reynolds: “I know. I get carried away every now and then. I can’t match up to my man Tommy Heinsohn, though. I can’t do it.”

Napear: “I don’t think anybody can.”

4. Rolls off the tongue

Game: Charlotte @ Brooklyn, April 6
Broadcast: Brooklyn

Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel have been working together for almost 20 years. So Spanarkel knows how much Eagle likes calling the game’s most unique names. (If you ever meet Eagle in person, just ask him about that forward who played for Stanford from 2002 to 2006.)

Bismack Biyombo is clearly among Eagle’s favorites.

Eagle: “High-low … Bi-YOM-bo!”

Spanarkel: “Top-5 name for you, possibly?”

Eagle: “I enjoy it. I can’t deny it.”

Foul called.

Spanarkel: “Who was that foul on?”

Eagle: “That’s Bi-YOM-bo.”


  1. Victor Manoel says:

    Who’s the forward who played in Stanford from 2002 to 2006?

  2. HonestGuy says:

    I love JVG, super smart and funny.

  3. joadsta says:

    ugh. Jeff Van Gundy is the worst announcer ever. He’s always spouting off a bunch of BS that is irrelevant to the game. An amazing play will happen and he won’t say anything about it because he’s too busy talking about something else.

    • A.J. says:

      That’s because unlike people like you that need to be weened, some plays speak for themselves.

  4. gates says:

    Ha! JVG one of the best commentators, not afraid to speak the truth either.