Stop the presses! Charles Barkley, TNT’s loud-mouthed NBA studio analyst, has admitted he is wrong. Barkley was among several NBA experts who snubbed the New Orleans Hornets and their second-best Western Conference record, predicting the seventh-seeded Dallas Mavericks would upset them in the first round of the playoffs. Wrong!
The Hornets handled the hapless Mavs in easy fashion, winning the series 4-1.
Give Barkley credit. Tuesday night on the network’s “NBA Tip-Off” pregame show, he admitted he was wrong.
“The New Orleans Hornets, I underrated them. Of all the series going into the playoffs I said the only thing that I’m pretty sure about is that the Mavericks will beat the Hornets and I was 100% wrong …I was wrong about on Denver, too, I thought they would have at least put on a fight, but they just quit like dogs. The reality is if you watch (the New Orleans/Dallas) series, the New Orleans Hornets have a better team.”
Later in the evening, Barkley picked the Hornets to beat the San Antonio Spurs in their Western Conference semifinal series.
“I’m not sleeping on the New Orleans Hornets (any) more. Chris Paul, David West, (Tyson) Chandler and Coach (Byron) Scott have made a believer out of me. The series is going to be a long series…my gut pick is the New Orleans Hornets.”
Other Barkley comments on the Hornets:
Center Tyson Chandler: “(He) is so active. To me, he is the best offensive rebounder in the NBA. … Every time Tyson Chandler gets a paycheck, he should take Chris Paul out to dinner.”
Guard Chris Paul: “A lot of guys try to make an impact on the game by scoring, (Chris Paul) is doing what a great leader should do. (He’s saying), ‘I can get mine, let me get these other guys going.’”
Coach Byron Scott: “For some reason we never talk about Byron Scott being one of the best coaches in the league. He won the coach of the year tonight, he took
As homage to Yankee Stadium, which hosts the 2008 ALL-STAR GAME in its final season, Fox has compiled what it considers to be Yankee Stadium’s 13 greatest baseball “moments.” During its Saturday baseball game of the week broadcasts, fans will be able to determine which one is No. 1. Each week, one of the 13 Yankee Stadium moments will be featured on-air, and viewers will be prompted to log on to http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb and cast a vote for their favorite. The top moment will be announced during MLB on Fox’s coverage of the 79th MLB All-Star Game on July 15.
The 13 greatest moments, as selected by MLB on FoX, are as follows (details of each moment are available at http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb):
Sept. 30, 1927: Babe Ruth’s 60th home run
July 4, 1939: Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech
Oct. 5, 1947: Al Gionfriddo’s catch of Joe DiMaggio’s drive to left field in World Series Game 6
May 30, 1956: Mickey Mantle’s home run off the right-field facade
Oct. 8, 1956: Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game
Oct. 1, 1961: Roger Maris’ 61st home run
Oct. 14, 1976: Chris Chambliss’ pennant-winning ALCS home run against Kansas City
Oct. 18, 1977: Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in Game 6 of the World Series
Aug. 6, 1979: Bobby Murcer’s seventh-inning homer and game-winning hit on the day of Yankee captain Thurman Munson’s funeral
July 24, 1983: George Brett’s “pine tar” home run and ensuing meltdown
Oct. 9, 1996: Jeffrey Maier’s interference of Derek Jeter’s fly ball in the ALCS vs. Baltimore
Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2001: President George W. Bush throwing out the first pitch before Game 3 and the Yankees come-from-behind victories in Games 4 and 5 of the World Series
Oct. 16, 2003: Aaron Boone’s walk-off home run in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox.
Is Dirk Nowitzki too soft? Yes, says TNT analysts Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley after New Orleans Hornets forward David West poked Nowitzki in the face during the opening game of the series Saturday night.
Magic: “I’m from the 80’s where something had to happen (if another player put his hands on you). Dirk (Nowitzki), you have to do something or a teammate has got to do something. You can’t let a man, not in the playoffs, put his hands up on your face.”
Barkley: “I love Dirk Nowitzki, he’s a great player, but (the Hornets) are saying to you, ‘We think you are soft,’ that’s what it means. You have to slap his hand down…and the Mavs have to say, ‘You can’t do that.’”
TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith announced their “Insider Awards,” honoring the best in the NBA this season, last week. New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott was their pick for Coach of the Year and Hornets guard Chris Paul was their selection as MVP, although Smith had co-MVPs and also honored Kobe Bryant. Hornets forward David West was Barkley’s pick for Most Improved Player.
Coach of the Year
Smith – Byron Scott (New Orleans Hornets): “When you have the best record in the West (Conference) this late in the season and you go from where you were last year (you deserve to be named Coach of the Year). (Byron Scott has) been to the NBA Finals twice (with New Jersey), (he’s) proven that he can coach and (he’s) done it with a talented team but not as talented as he did with New Jersey.”
Barkley – Byron Scott (New Orleans Hornets): “This is easy; I’ve got to go with Byron Scott (for Coach of the Year), (Celtics head coach) Doc Rivers is a close second. Then you’ve got two guys who are not going to win it in Maurice Cheeks in Philadelphia and Reggie Theus in Sacramento. There’s not a single person in this world that thought the New Orleans Hornets would have the best record in the West (Conference).”
Most Valuable Player
Barkley – Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets): “My MVP is Chris Paul for the same criteria that they have given Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki (the MVP Award in recent years). Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA but Chris Paul on the New Orleans Hornets with the best record in the West (Conference) where they have seven legit contenders.”
Smith – Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers): “I’m going to make a stand right now. Because I had Chris Paul as the MVP and I had a co-MVP because I couldn’t decide between the two. So put Kobe (Bryant) in there (as co-MVP). I want to see both guys do it all because I like them both. Tonight I will make a stand because the first half of the season, Kevin Garnett was the best player, Kobe Bryant was second. The second half of the season, Chris Paul was the best player, Kobe Bryant was second. So he’s been the second best player all year, his team has been consistent. I’m going with Kobe Bryant.”
Most Improved Player
Smith – Portland Trail Blazers: “I took a whole team (for the Most Improved award). Individually, there are certain guys that play well but (the TrailBlazers) improved the most over one season than any one (individual). Not just Brandon Roy, but there is a collection and a collage and a kaleidoscope of players that did well.”
Barkley – David West (New Orleans Hornets): “I took David West of the New Orleans Hornets who turned into an All-Star. He’s a terrific player who is still a young guy. He’s having a fantastic season on a team that right now has the best record in the NBA. The only other person who I thought had a chance was (Orlando Magic forward) Hedu Turkoglu.”
Defensive Player of the Year
Barkley – Bruce Bowen (San Antonio Spurs): “I’m going to go with Bruce Bowen on the best defensive team in the NBA. They’ve got the best coach in the NBA in Gregg Popovich.”
Smith – Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics): “I think (the defensive player of the year award) should go to Kevin Garnett. Overall, Kevin Garnett has changed the culture of the Boston Celtics. Last year, you could get lay-up after lay-up after jump shot after anything you wanted (against the Celtics). He’s a guy that will guard your point guard and he’s a guy that will guard your center. I think Kevin Garnett is the best defensive player in the NBA.
Sixth Man of the Year
Barkley – Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs): “(Manu Ginobili has) been the best player on the Spurs all season. Even with all (the Spurs) injuries, for them to have the best record in the West (Conference) is pretty remarkable.”
Smith – Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs): “I think overall, it’s hard to pick (Manu Ginobili) as Sixth Man of the Year because he plays so many starter minutes, most sixth-men only play 18-20 minutes a game, this guy is playing the bulk of the minutes so it’s kind of a disguise that he’s the sixth man. He just comes off the bench after three minutes of the first quarter.”
Rookie of the Year
Barkley – Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks): “Al Horford has been fantastic, this guy is going to be a double-double player for the next ten years. He’s got a great body like his dad (former NBA player Tito Horford). My Hawks are going to make the playoffs, he is a great addition. Great job, (Hawks GM) Billy Knight.”
Smith – Kevin Durant (Seattle SuperSonics): “(Kevin Durant) played on a terrible team, he gets a lot of shots but he does produce. His upside is still there, he’s going to get stronger and learn how to post-up a little bit more. He’s going to rebound better because he rebounded well in college. He’s the Rookie of the Year in my book, he’s the most talented and you can’t fault him because that team is terrible.”
No ‘Shining Moment’
I’ve heard several complaints about KWTV-9 not showing CBS’ annual “One Shining Moment” video after Monday night’s NCAA championship game. KWTV meterologist Gary England pre-empted the segment for weather coverage. Fortunately, like many videos these days, you can find it on YouTube. It’s a must for KU fans, providing an opportunity to relive Mario Chalmers’ dramatic 3-point shot that sent the game in overtime. Jim Nantz’s dramatic call to the end game also made the film: “A
Kansas comeback for the history book! Rock chalk championship!
Kansas takes the title!”
I give Gary and his crew credit for not interfering with the game telecast, but I think they should have carried the video. I’m hearing more complaints about weather guessers interrupting programming, particularly from sports fans. We’ve run a few letters on the Opinion page. Local TV is a competitive business and it seems the stations try to outdo each other with their weather coverage. It’s difficult for me to criticize the weathermen because it’s hard for me to guage the severity of the storms. I’d hate to complain that they get off the air when it’s a dangerous situation.
CBS college basketball analyst Billy Packer will be calling his 100th Final Four game on Saturday. He will broadcast the games with play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz. Earlier this week, Packer discussed Saturday night’s matchups: North Carolina vs. Kansas and
Memphis vs. UCLA.
Q: What separated the four No. 1 seeds from the rest of the field?
A: I have never witnessed a team of North Carolina’s ability have such fresh legs, and
Memphis was the same way. Bobby Knight had a great point when he said the key to preparing your team at this time of year is to keep them fresh and not overwork them at practice. It’s hard to bottle that emotion during the week, but when you have teams of such high abilities, that’s what can separate the team that is left standing Monday night.
Q: Could UCLA’s experience of playing in the previous two Final Fours pay off this year?
A: I don’t think that is a factor at all. You are talking about four real high-profile programs that are used to be playing in games of tremendous importance. You can even say it is a negative – a guy could say, “Oh my God, we have been here three years and don’t tell me we are not going to win it again.” But if you are letting that stuff bother you, then you are not going to win anyway.
Q: Does Kansas have the talent to slow down the North Carolina juggernaut?
A: What Kansas has going for them is tremendous balance. I said before the tournament Kansas and North Carolina were the two best teams because they both have guys that come off the bench and star. Sasha Kaun came off the bench and was the key man for Kansas against Davidson.