New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul appeared on TNT’s “NBA Tip-off” pregame show Thursday night before TNT’s ugly 7 p.m. telecast, the Boston Celtics’ 104-59 victory over the hapless New York Knicks. Paul appeared with TNT regulars Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.
Here are some excerpts of Paul’s comments:
On the Hornets focusing on defense: “It’s all about defense every day in practice. The best teams in this league don’t have individual defenders, they play defense together and that’s what we have to do.”
On playing in New Orleans for the entire season after playing most of the past two seasons in Oklahoma City: “The fans are coming out and supporting us, and as long as we continue to go out and play as hard as we’re playing and continue to be successful, they will continue to come out. A lot of people in New Orleans aren’t sure if we’re back, so we’ve been out in the community trying to help out as much as possible and letting them know that we’re back for all 41 games. It’s helped out so much (being established in one city), in that we know we’re going to be there, we have more of a routine we know that all 41 games are going to be the same building and gives us an opportunity to get a home court advantage.”
On his playoff prediction: “We’re going to the playoffs this year.”
Barkley: “And I believe he’s right.”
Switzer likes Sooners’ chances in Big 12 championship: Fox Sports BCS studio analysts Barry Switzer and Charles Davis weighed in on the Big 12 championship game Saturday night that will heavily impact who heads to New Orleans for the BCS national championship game. Switzer likes his former team’s chances: “I think Oklahoma has better players overall,” said Switzer, who coached the Sooners to national championships in ’74, ’75 and ’85. “ Oklahoma is a consistent program. They are accustomed to this type of setting and have won championships.”
Davis thinks Missouri has the upper hand, primarily because of their big win last week against Kansas: “What will help Mizzou is that they were able to beat the Jayhawks in that type of atmosphere (last week)” said Davis. “It felt like a conference title game, or a BCS game and that should only help them against the Sooners, who in the past have been able to intimidate teams based on their history. Mizzou will not be cowed by the surroundings or by OU’s mystique.”
Remembering ‘The Play’: To commemorate the 25th anniversary of “The Play,” Versus (Cox 251) talked to several of the principals of one of the most controversial moments in sports history when Cal scored the winning touchdown to defeat Stanford, 25-20, while Stanford’s band was already on the field celebrating. The special, “The Play 25,” will air at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Among those interviewed are Stanford quarterback John Elway; Cal defensive back Kevin Moen, who scored the winning touchdown as he ran through the Stanford band; current Cal radio announcer Joe Starkey, who called the historic game 25 years ago and uttered the phrase “the band is out on the field”; and Gary Tyrrell, the trombone player for the Stanford band who was knocked down by Moen during the winning touchdown.
And from Dennis Miller: From his monologue on “Sports Unfiltered with Dennis Miller” on Versus: “Michael Vick spent Thanksgiving at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warshaw, Va. Prison officials say they’re not treating their celebrity inmate any differently, although they did allow him to the small joy of electrocuting the turkey.”