TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show is hands down the best in the business. Ernie Johnson has played the role of straight man with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith to rave reviews. Throw in the occasional appearances from the made for TV Chris Webber and Kevin McHale and you have a tasty recipe.
With the Cavaliers one of the two marquee draws in the NBA, we are fortunate enough to have many games on national TV. In fact, they are on a run where they have been on TNT’s Thursday night coverage six of out of the past seven weeks. Lucky for us we get to hear the views of some of the NBA’s finest studio analysts.
I have always been a huge Charles Barkley fan. I mean, who isn’t? He is blunt with his opinions and tells it how he sees it. He never bought into the Cavaliers last year, and I give him credit for seeing something we didn’t see in the Orlando series – the length of the Magic would kill the Cavs.
On the other side is his partner Smith, from time to time sound off with knee-jerk, head-scratching commentary. Keep in mind its no secret that every single offseason, “The Jet” calls around the league looking for a GM or an assistant GM position. The only offers he gets are as a scout. There is a reason for that.
So last night, after a disgusting first half by the Wine and Gold, Barkley and Kenny Smith had varying views of what was wrong with the Cavaliers on this evening. Barkley started by saying that Mike Brown’s offense was not taking advantage of Antawn Jamison’s abilities and for the Cavs to turn this one around, they have to play faster, especially without Shaquille O’Neal’s lumbering big body not weighing them down. Up and down teams have given the Celtics trouble all year long.
Then Kenny starts extolling the virtues of the hot-shooting Celtics; how the Cavaliers haven’t had an answer for Rajon Rondo all night (very true), and how Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace were killing them. Smith ends it by saying “see, this is why the Cavaliers cannot beat the Celtics in the playoffs.”
This just in Kenny….an NBA game is four quarters long. Its played in two halves, not one. Oh, and the Cavaliers have a little someone on their team named Lebron James. Not a wise move to count them out.
Was he serious with that? Talk about jumping to conclusions. The Cavaliers came out in the second half and outscored Boston by 28 points. They locked down the Celtic shooters, ran them up and down the floor, and we all laughed watching Ray Allen trying to stay with Lebron. Lebron, Mo Williams, and a small Cavs lineup essentially shoved it right in Kenny’s face.
I’d say that second half was a statement made that the Cavs are on their way to figuring it out, even with Shaq potentially on the shelf for a while. Meanwhile, the Celtics continue to look older and slower as the game went on.
So much for half-time analysis.