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.
1. A perfectly unintentional body check
Game: Toronto at Washington, March 31
As the weak-side guy on pick-and-roll coverage, you’re supposed to “chuck” the roll man, meaning that you should get into the paint and keep him from having a clear path to the basket. Rudy Gay goes a little too far here, body checking Jan Vesely like it was a Leafs-Caps game.
Gay is called for a Flagrant 1 foul on the play, a reasonable ruling which stands after review. And somehow, Matt Devlin and Leo Rautins feel like this was normal pick-and-roll defense.
Devlin: “There was no intent behind that.”
Rautins: “I think at times now things get a little carried away with whole idea of flagrant and intent and all that. That was just a hard foul.”
2. A run-of-the-mill assist of the year candidate
Game: Cleveland at New Orleans, April 7
Broadcast: New Orleans
If you’ve listened to Lakers games on League Pass the last two seasons, you know that new play-by-play man Bill Macdonald can get a little too excited when his team scores a basket (or just when Metta World Peace attempts a 3-pointer).
It’s a contrast to former Lakers play-by-play man Joel Meyers, who is now calling games for the Hornets. Here, Meyers calls this ridiculous, no-look, through-the-legs Kyrie Irving dime to Tristan Thompson like it was any old assist.
Personally, I’ll take the subdued Meyers over the hyper Macdonald. That pass probably called for a little more inflection, though.
3. All-Star sandwich
Game: Dallas at Denver, April 4
Scott Hastings is the King of Air Check.
Evan Fournier pushes Dirk Nowitzki in the back here, sending Nowitzki into a flying Kenneth Faried. Hastings, of course, immediately takes offense.
“I guarantee it’ll be here,” he says. “Dirk Nowitzki. Gotta protect him.”
The push is clear as day on the replay, but Hastings isn’t changing his tune.
“That’s a little bit of a Dirk flop and he gets rewarded, because he’s an All-Star.”
4. I can block shots like that
Game: Denver at Dallas, April 12
When JaVale McGee blocks a shot a couple of feet above the basket, Mavs broadcaster Jeff Wade goes into some pretty funny schtick about playing against 10 year olds on an 8-foot rim.