Posts Tagged ‘Steve Smith’

Hang time podcast (episode 156): the playoffs … and ‘are you kidding me?’ featuring Steve Smith and Stu Jackson

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS —  With the start of the NBA playoffs just days away and the end of yet another marathon regular season almost in the books, it’s time to drag out those old predictions from October and November and … ah, never mind that. It’s time to refocus and take another look at the immediate (playoff) future for all 16 teams involved.

We already know who earned golden tickets to the postseason and who did not. The only thing left to sort out on the final night of the season is the seeding for most of those playoff bound teams.

All of our picks are alive for the NBA’s second season (despite his connections to the franchise, Rick Fox did NOT pick the Lakers to win it all this season), so we’re doing well in that regard.

What comes next, however, is anyone’s guess. The playoffs bring a certain air of predictability that intrigues this time of year. And we’re no different in that regard.

So we’re chopping up the playoff debates on each side of the conference divide on Episode 156 of the Webby-honored Hang Time Podcast: The Playoffs … And “Are You Kidding Me?” Featuring Steve Smith and Stu Jackson. Smitty is filling in for Reggie Miller as we debate the Kevin Durant-LeBron James MVP race and the notion that it’s time to make significant changes to the Draft lottery system.

We also crowned the regular season winner of “Braggin Rights” (that’s right, the champ is here!

Dive in for more on Episode 156 of the Hang Time Podcast, The Playoffs … And “Are You Kidding Me?” Featuring Steve Smith and Stu Jackson …

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best sound designer/engineer in the business,  Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Morning Shootaround — Feb. 12


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played Feb. 11

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Motivated LeBron backs up Rushmore talk | Latest loss strikes a nerve with Lakers | Bennett’s big night lifts Cavs | No comeback for Rose, Noah problem for Bulls

No. 1: Fired up LeBron fuels Mount Rushmore talk himself – Agree or disagree all you want with LeBron James and his assertion that he’ll be on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore when his career ends, you have to like what all of the chatter is doing for his game and the Heat’s season. The Heat might not be on their way to another 27-game win streak, but James has found the motivation needed to overcome the rough patches of this season. LeBron is feeling his words right about now, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com writes, he’s walking the walk and backing up all of his own talk:

James’ seasonal slogan might just as well be what he said Tuesday, “I’m feeling good right now.”

He has the occasional frustration with a wayward loss, such as over the past weekend in Utah when he played a dud game. He’ll get a little irked when it’s mentioned that Kevin Durant may have closed the gap on him for best player on the planet status. But, generally, James has been skipping on air since he stood on top of the podium after Game 7 in Miami last June holding both gold trophies with that “what can you say now” grin across his face.

The mindset will eventually be challenged but not for awhile. Until then, James will be feeling quite good about himself.

That was at the root of why he was willing to declare in a recent interview with NBA TV that, “I’m going to be one of the top four that’s ever played this game, for sure. And if they don’t want me to have one of those top four spots, they’d better find another spot on that mountain. Somebody’s gotta get bumped.”

When James listed what he felt was the current NBA Mount Rushmore, he named Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson. It is hard to decide which would create more conversation, James’ statement or his choices of the peer group.

Feeling so good about himself and put at ease by interviewer Steve Smith, James continued by claiming that he’d been cheated in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting the past two years.

“To be honest, I feel I’ve been snubbed two years in a row [on the award], and I’m serious,” James said. “And that’s one selfish thing about me … I feel like I should have won it.”

Yes, that is James insisting that he’s not getting enough credit for something. He’s just letting it all go. In the golden era of his career, he clearly figures, why shouldn’t he? He fears no reprisal and, at least now, isn’t too worried about any opponent.

“We’ll play anybody, it doesn’t matter,” James said as he was basking in the win. “It doesn’t matter who it is. We’re not running from anyone.”



VIDEO: LeBron James talks Mount Rushmore with Steve Smith

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No. 2: Latest loss strikes a nerve with Lakers – Steve Nash exiting a second straight game with a nerve issue is problem enough for the Los Angeles Lakers. But dropping yet another game on their home floor is perhaps even more troubling for the Lakers, a team quickly falling down the rabbit hole of this season. Tuesday night’s loss to the Utah Jazz marks the Lakers’ sixth straight home loss at Staples Center, once a fortress of solitude for the team … but no more. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times explains just how severely off track things are for Kobe Bryant‘s crew:

Home bitter home.

The Lakers used to consider Staples Center a haven of victories, a bedrock of five championship runs since the building opened in 1999.

Now they might as well play at a local park.

They lost to the lowly Utah Jazz on Tuesday, 96-79, falling to 8-15 at home and losing six consecutive games at home for the first time since 1992-93.

It’s the cherry on top of several scoops of problems.

Steve Nash left the game for good at halftime, felled again by the same nerve irritation in his back that sidelined him almost three months.

The nerve damage starts in the back and presents itself in his hamstring, making it feel as if it’s strained or pulled.

Whatever euphoria he felt last Friday — 19 points and five assists against Philadelphia on his 40th birthday — was almost absent after Tuesday’s game, though he tried to be upbeat.

“I think I need a little more time to get over the hump,” he told The Times.

He considered sitting out before tipoff but knew the Lakers were short-handed without six injured players.

Nash didn’t look quite right while he played, totaling two points and two assists in 17 minutes. He made one of four shots in his 10th game this season.

The Lakers are shrugging. They don’t know exactly what to do.

“I imagine it’s day to day. I don’t know anything else,” Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said of Nash’s status. “I haven’t really talked to him.”

Nash’s injury dented some mild excitement the Lakers felt before the game. They were expecting five of their six injured players back shortly after this weekend’s All-Star break.

The lone lingering one, though, was Kobe Bryant, who might be the last Lakers player to return, according to a person familiar with the situation.

He continues to have swelling and pain in his fractured left knee and figures to trail Pau GasolJordan FarmarJodie Meeks and maybe even Xavier Henry in getting back to the court.

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No. 3: A breakout night for rookie Bennett lifts Cavaliers – It’s taken a while, months basically, but Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Anthony Bennett has finally decided to join the party. Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 Draft had his breakout game in a win over the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night in Cleveland. It was a much-needed breakthrough for Bennett, whose season has been anything but spectacular up to this point. While Michael Carter-Williams, Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo have all moved past him in the Rookie of the Year race, Bennett is doing well to just ease his way into the public consciousness right now. Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer explains:

Rookie Anthony Bennett drilled a 3-pointer and threw his arms up into the air to celebrate late in the Cavaliers 109-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night at The Q.

“I was just having fun,” said Bennett, who registered his first double-double with career highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds in 29:45 as the Cavs avenged a 124-80 loss in Sacramento on Jan. 12 and improved to 19-33, winning three in a row for the first time since Dec. 7-13.

When was the last time he had fun on the basketball court?

“I don’t remember,” Bennett said. “Today?”

The timing was bittersweet as Bennett, whose selection as the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft has been widely criticized, and his slow start undoubtedly contributed to the firing of general manager Chris Grant last week.

“I’m sure Chris Grant is smiling at home, and deservedly so,” said Sacramento coach — and former Cavs assistant under Mike BrownMike Malone, whose team dropped to 17-35.

Bennett, who had shoulder surgery before the draft last summer and was unable to participate in summer league, has been coming early to practice and staying late, working to regain the form that made him a star last season at UNLV.

His teammates celebrated with him after Tuesday’s breakout game.

“He played a heck of a game tonight,” Kyrie Irving said. “It was awesome. I was a fan.”

Added Luol Deng, who led the Cavs with 22 points, “He’s going to get it. These kind of games are going to come more often.”

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No. 4: No return for Rose this season, Noah problem for the Bulls? — Hoops fans in Chicago have played this game before and lost, so there is no reason to dive in again this time. Derrick Rose, no matter how many times he hits the floor to shoot before the Bulls play, is not coming back this season. It is NOT happening … right? But if All-Star center Joakim Noah has his way, the dream of a Rose return is still alive. That said, if Noah keeps up his current ways (a triple-double Tuesday night in a win over the visiting Atlanta Hawks), it’ll be much easier for Bulls fans to stomach another season without Rose in uniform. Joe Cowley of the Sun Times delivers the details:

The door was closed — slammed shut months ago by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau when he said Derrick Rose was lost for the season after tearing his right meniscus Nov. 22 and undergoing surgery.

On Tuesday, center Joakim Noah wedged his size 18 foot into that door, keeping the dream alive for a small minority that believes in unicorns, dragons and quick Rose recoveries.

Asked if he thought Rose could play this postseason, Noah said, ‘‘That’s not my decision. That’s nobody’s decision. It’s all about how he feels. Regardless of what happens, we’re going to be supportive.’’

It went by many different names last year: ‘‘The Return,’’ the Rose watch, the story that wouldn’t die. But in the end, the Bulls never ruled Rose out for the season in his recovery from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, so hope stayed alive until the final minutes of a Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.

The consensus on ‘‘The Return II’’ has been that there wouldn’t be one. But Noah’s comments came on the same day Rose was going through shooting drills with reporters watching, and the story gained legs again — little ones.

‘‘He’s working really hard,’’ Noah said. ‘‘He’s always around the team, being a great leader, showing support to his teammates. Just watching him work every day, I think, is extra motivation for us to go out there and go harder.

‘‘He’s doing a lot more than shooting around. He’s in the gym nonstop, just working on his body getting better. That’s what it’s all about. He’s a big part of this team. He has that mentality of having no regrets. Just give it everything you got. If you can go, you can go. If you can’t, you did everything you could to make it.’’

Thibodeau said Rose was running on the treadmill, but when asked if that was a new development, he quickly said no.

‘‘Still nowhere close to practicing or anything like that,’’ he said, ‘‘but he’s doing well overall.’’


VIDEO: The Fan Night Top 10 delivers a dazzling array of highlights for your viewing pleasure

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Charlotte Bobcats, following the lead of the Phoenix Suns, are simply playing too well to tank … Portland forward Nic Batum can’t fight it anymore, gives up the kudos to Kevin Durant as the best (one-on-one player in the league) … The streak continues for Kyle Korver, thanks to his work in his old stomping grounds … The Miami Heat’s core group is doing the heavy lifting right now and might have to the rest of this season

ICYMI of the Night: NBA TV’s Steve Smith dives deep with LeBron James in this exclusive interview, and yes, there’s more to the interview than the Mount Rushmore talk …


VIDEO: LeBron James talks about what motivates him with NBA TV’s Steve Smith

The World Reacts To Kobe’s Injury





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The shocking news that Kobe Bryant‘s season came to an abrupt end with a probable torn left Achilles Friday night spread through the basketball world like an emotional tidal wave.

Pundits and fans, friends and foes alike, everyone is digesting the news that even if the Lakers make the playoffs, Bryant’s work this season is done. Reactions from around the basketball universe (and beyond):

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 105) Featuring Steve Smith and Bill Russell

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Before we could unpack from our trip to Houston for All-Star Weekend the news hit us all. Hall of Fame Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss lost his battle with cancer Monday.

It was a bittersweet start to the busiest week of the NBA season, what with Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline usually dominating the headlines and airwaves. And it should prove to be just as compelling as usual, with the rumors always outpacing the actual deals in terms of sizzle.

We did our best to squeeze all of that and more into Episode 105 of the Hang Time Podcast, which also features a guest appearance from recent Michigan Sports Hall of Fame inductee and NBA TV’s very own Steve Smith.

In addition to our chat with Smitty, we also got some quality time with the greatest winner in the history of the game, Bill Russell. The living legend and 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics (which should explain our penchant for referring to him as “The Lord of the Rings”), sat down for an interview during All-Star Weekend and shared some insights on the past, present and future of the game.

Do you agree with Michael Jordan‘s “five is better than one” choice of Kobe Bryant over LeBron James? What did Rick Fox say to Dwight Howard when they met face-to-face during All-Star Weekend? And where in the heck is Hawks forward Josh Smith headed, if anywhere, before Thursday’s deadline?

Check out all of that and more on Episode 105 of the Hang Time Podcast.

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business, Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Hang Time Podcast (Ep.101) Featuring NBA TV’s Steve Smith and Grantland’s Zach Lowe

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The remaining names on the All-Star teams for the Eastern and Western conferences will be revealed in a matter of hours (Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET on TNT), a moment in time that is sure to give the basketball world a brief respite from the seemingly non-stop conversation about the Los Angeles Lakers.

We don’t have that luxury here at headquarters, where somehow every conversation we have these days takes a finds a way to take some sort of U-turn to the Lakers.

How else to explain the connection between NBA TV’s Steve Smith and his yoga classes, Grantland‘s brilliant Zach Lowe and his own All-Star team, our weekly game of “Where the heck is Rick Fox?” and the Lakers all being rolled into Episode 101 of the Hang Time Podcast?

Sure, it sounds crazy. But you have to listen to Episode 101 of the Hang Time Podcast to connect all the dots!

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business, Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Quality Time With Stu Jackson

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We’ve heard from Metta World Peace, NBA Commissioner David Stern and just about everyone else regarding the nuts and bolts of the 7-game suspension handed down a couple of days ago for the elbow to the head of James Harden.

But we needed closure on this affair and we couldn’t get that without hearing from the NBA’s Dean of Discipline himself, the league’s Executive VP of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson.

He joined the Game Time crew of Steve Smith and Jared Greenberg tonight to clear up any loose ends regarding the suspension of World Peace, some details of the league’s concussion policy and some insights as to what’s ahead in the playoffs:



Blogtable: Trade Deadline

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

A month to the trade deadline: Which team in the East most likely will make a big move? In the West?

Steve Aschburner: With so much expected action in outright signings – J.R. Smith, Gilbert Arenas, Kenyon Martin already – I’m thinking fewer trades this year at the deadline. But that window between All-Star Weekend and the deadline cries out for a Dwight Howard deal, so Orlando rates as my East pick. If the team acquiring him is out West – Golden State? L.A. Lakers? – then I’m covered for a West prediction too. Otherwise, it’s Phoenix being good guys and moving Steve Nash to a contender.

Fran Blinebury: Despite their bold talk, I still think Orlando will have to trade Dwight Howard and all of his inconsistencies and insecurities.  He seems to be burning his bridge one match at a time.  In the West, the Lakers have to do something, anything, if they hope to be playing the Clippers, not watching them, after the first round of the playoffs.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Still going with the Magic. They can’t want this game of chicken with Dwight Howard. Unless Howard specifically gives them reason for optimism about a new contract, as opposed to him toning down the rumbles about wanting to leave, Orlando has to make the big move. In the West, it’s the Lakers. A decent-size trade exception, needing an infusion, unable to be patient – that’s a team wanting to make a move. (more…)

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 68)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The All-Star reserves have been announced. Some wrongs were made right (LaMarcus Aldridge) while other wrongs remain (Josh Smith).

But making the All-Star team as a reserve is a complex issue that required further examination, which leads us to Episode 68 of the Hang Time Podcast.

We enlisted the services of former Michigan State, 1998 NBA All-Star and current NBA TV analyst Steve Smith to help make sense of a process that often times makes none.  After all, Smitty played in just that one All-Star game during his stellar 14-year career, despite playing at an All-Star level for the bulk of his career.

But when you’re fighting for a berth at guard in the Eastern Conference with the likes of Reggie Miller, Penny Hardaway, Joe Dumars, Latrell Sprewell and others during the Michael Jordan era these sorts of things happen.

We also chatted All-Star reserves, Jeremy Lin and the overall state of the game with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, a Bay Area native and current resident. Spears lived in Boston when the Knicks’ point guard sensation (for the past three games at least) was running the show at Harvard, and even though he’d never heard of Lin back then and never saw the Crimson play, he’s “all-Lin” for the new face of the global game — who just happens to share Spears’ Bay Area roots.

For all that and so much more, including a look back at an iconic collection of young stars (below) before they hit the NBA, check out Episode 68 of the Hang Time Podcast

LISTEN HERE: 

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

1990-91 Playboy All-American Team

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 67)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – When we makes promises around here we do our very best to keep them, no matter how crazy they might be.

So when a lifelong Hawks fans asked that we spend a little time talking about one of the NBA’s more surprising teams this season, they are 9-2 since All-Star center Al Horford went down for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, we spoke up and said we would. And that’s indeed what we’ve done with Episode 67 of the Hang Time Podcast.

We went straight to the source, snagging a rare, in-studio sit-down with elusive Hawks Vice President of Public Relations Arthur Triche, who has spent 23 years working for the organization. A friend of the program since its inception, Triche dishes on this season’s team while also sharing some of his best memories of past teams, and highlighting some of his favorite former players — Dominique Wilkins, Doc Rivers, Grant LongMookie Blaylock, Steve Smith, Dikembe Mutombo, Ken NormanJR Rider, Rasheed Wallace, Obinna Ekezie, Peja Drobnjak, Christian Laettner and Boris Diaw all made his short list.

He is also the No. 1 ranked PR Tweeter in all of basketball (how many Twitter accounts does one man need?), has AAA insurance and is frightened of Hawks rookie big man Ivan “The Terrible” Johnson.

Triche also objected to this idea that best dunk of all time belongs to either Blake Griffin or LeBron James … you’ll have to forgive the “old man” on that one. Having lived through some of the best in-game and dunk contest slams Wilkins performed over the years, it’s hard to argue with him about this and so many other things.

For all that and so much more, check out Episode 67 of the Hang Time Podcast

LISTEN HERE: 

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Biggest Stars Shine On “Open Court”

– Official “Open Court” Release –

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Shaquille O’Neal needed just seven words to sum up the scene.

“You can’t do this anywhere else,” a smiling O’Neal said as he surveyed the set where he was just minutes earlier alongside his new teammates — on Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson, Reggie Miller, Steve Smith, Steve Kerr and Chris Webber — taping the first of NBA TV’s new six-part original series “Open Court.”

“This is why I came here,” said O’Neal, the recently retired superstar center and newest member of TNT’s studio team. “You get to be yourself around here. You see how easy it is to just dive right in and talk shop with the boys. It’s just like being around family. There’s going to be some laughing, some crying and if Kenny says one more word to me, there might be some fighting, too.”

O’Neal was joking, of course. But he was right. The laughter flowed on the custom-made set at NBA TV’s Atlanta studios. The series features some hilarious stories, opinions and spot-on commentary from the best collection of NBA analysts anyone could gather in one spot and it’s all moderated by the Emmy Award-winning Johnson, the best studio host in the business.

The debut episode will air Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET, following NBA TV’s GameTime which airs at 7 p.m. ET, with a new episode airing weekly on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

“This is like going to a reunion and telling stories with your boys and someone capturing it all on film,” Steve Smith said. “And it really is an embarrassment [of riches], to have all these guys in the same room with all this knowledge and history about not only the NBA but the game of basketball. We cross over a couple of generations, so we’ve got a few stories to tell.”

A few?

How about six hours worth? And that was just what was captured on the six episodes. There was plenty more where that came from; both Johnson and Miller served up repeated reminders to the rest of the crew to save all the good stuff for the show.

With Hall of Famers (Barkley), sure-fire future Hall of Famers (O’Neal and Miller for starters), NBA champions (Kerr, Kenny Smith, Steve Smith) and Dream Teamers there is a surplus of insight, colorful memories and gut-busting stories all delivered in a relaxed setting.

“I would have been mad if I wasn’t here,” Kenny Smith said. “This is too much fun. Look at the guys in this room. Think about all the things that have been accomplished, all of the things that we’ve seen and done. You put all of us in one room and turn us loose … that’s some serious gumbo.”

The six episodes will be titled:

• Open Court: Tallest Tales of the NBA
• Open Court: My Generation
• Open Court: Curious Tales of the NBA
• Open Court: Pressurized Tales of the NBA
• Open Court: Head Games and Fame
• Open Court: Curtain Calls and Loose Balls

A little sample of what you’ll see …

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