NBA on TNT & NBA TV Analysts Look Ahead to Upcoming NBA Playoffs

A collection of NBA on TNT and NBA TV analysts – Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Isiah Thomas, Grant Hill, Greg Anthony, Brent Barry, Dennis Scott, Steve Smith and Mike Fratello – offer some thoughts on the upcoming NBA Playoffs. TNT will air more than 40 NBA Playoff games and is the exclusive home of the 2016 Western Conference Finals, while NBA TV will air up to nine originally produced first round games.

Charles Barkley on expectations for LaMarcus Aldridge in his first playoff run with the Spurs: “[LaMarcus Aldridge] has to play well. He has to be the second best player on that team for them to be successful.”

Kenny Smith on the sleeper team to watch in the East: “The Miami Heat. I think the versatility that they have can surprise you, and they can play a little bit up-tempo, play small ball. Then they have a rim protector. So, you know, you try to get to the rim with Hassan Whiteside, a guy who can block shots, he can have a monster game. All of a sudden, Dwyane Wade has two flashback games, and you’re knocked out of the playoffs if you play the Miami Heat, so they’re my surprise team.”

Shaquille O’Neal on why the Warriors are the favorites to win a second consecutive title: “Golden State, they’re playing fabulous basketball – nine losses on the season, Stephen Curry being the best shooter we’ve ever seen. The only way I see [Golden State] losing is if their one-two punch both have a couple of off games.  I hope that doesn’t happen, because Steph Curry is shooting lights out right now – half-court shots, runners from the top of the key – the only way I see them losing is if Curry and Klay Thompson have an off series.”

Reggie Miller on the Clippers’ tough first round series against Portland: “The Clippers will only be judged by their playoff success. If you are [Head Coach] Doc Rivers, this is a scary first round matchup. Terry Stotts has two guys in [Damian] Lillard and [C.J.] McCollum that can go out and create their own offense. [The Clippers] have the best floor general and leader in the game in Chris Paul. J.J. Reddick had an unbelievable season. They have the experience, but if I’m Doc Rivers it worries me. There was a stretch run that Lillard had where you were mentioning him in the same breath as Steph Curry. He had that type of run.”

Isiah Thomas on the challenge the Warriors face in trying to repeat: “Winning back-to-back titles is so difficult because there are no rest days. Your opponent is always at his best, which requires you to be at your best every single day.  It's a test of mental stamina, will and physical skill. Very few people or teams have won an NBA Championship, only a handful of those champions have won back-to-back.”

Grant Hill on what Kevin Durant and the Thunder need to do for their playoff run to be considered a success: “Outside of winning a championship, I think Oklahoma City needs to show well against the elite teams. [For them] ideally it would be beating San Antonio and beating Golden State, but even if they lost in the second round to San Antonio and they played well – they took it to seven games and they lost a hard-fought series – I think, considering the historic seasons that both Golden State and San Antonio had, that that would be a positive. That would be a good thing. It’d obviously be a disappointment, but I think it would be something that you would understand.”

Greg Anthony on whether the Raptors are a real threat to make it out of the first round this year: “I think in some respects, as a No. 2 seed, they’ve flown under the radar which I think fuels their fire.  The fact that they’ve had the disappointment of the last few years could set them up for some success.  I do think they’re a much improved team from where they were two years ago.  That backcourt is as good of a two-way backcourt as the league has.  I’m anxious and excited to see them finally get an opportunity to possibly get out of the first round.”

Brent Barry on the one thing that would prevent the Warriors from being able to repeat: “I just can't think of a scenario in professional basketball – at least one that I've lived through –in which a team that is this dominant and this complete on both ends of the floor doesn't end up doing what it has set out to do.  The only thing that will hold the Warriors back from completing the mission that they have set out for themselves is to not play like themselves.  In other words, turn the ball over.”

Dennis Scott on the Celtics’ chances in the Eastern Conference: “They just need to have trust in the process put in place by Head Coach Brad Stevens.  They are who they are – the team is the superstar, not any one individual.  When they play as a team, they are at their best.”

Steve Smith on the Heat’s playoff chances  playing without Chris Bosh: “Give them a lot of credit.  It starts at the top with [Owner] Micky Arison and [President] Pat Riley, continuing to put competitive teams on the floor.  If you start to look at this team and envision the Heat with Bosh added to this lineup, you could possibly see them in the Eastern Conference Finals and I don’t think it would surprise people if they beat the Cavaliers in a seven-game series with a healthy Bosh.  This team has done fantastic with the rookies [Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson] and Dwyane Wade and the way Erik Spoelstra has managed minutes and you take your hat off to them.”

Mike Fratello on the challenges Tyronn Lue will face in his first playoffs as a head coach, and what the Cavaliers can expect from a healthy Kevin Love: “Any time it’s your first time being a head coach in the playoffs, it’s a new experience and it’s something you have to go through before you can become a veteran and fall back on your experience.  Tyronn has been on the bench as an assistant numerous times but now the preparation and decisions fall to him, including how to practice and game plan.  He’ll be up for it.  Kevin has played well down the stretch and I think he’s a very important part to their team’s success.  They need him to rebound and he can stretch the defense, in addition to having an offensive game in the post.  I think he’ll be very important to their success.”

TNT will serve as the exclusive home to more NBA Playoff games than any network including first and second round action and the exclusive presentation of the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals. In addition to its full slate of NBA Playoff games, the network also features the iconic Inside the NBA studio team with host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and O’Neal, nightly throughout the playoffs.

About NBA TV
NBA TV– co-managed by Turner Sports and the NBA – will feature up to nine originally produced telecasts during the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The network will also provide comprehensive studio coverage via its NBA GameTime studio show throughout the entire playoffs, including on site at The Finals (including integration with the Inside the NBA team).

Visit the Turner Sports online pressroom for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR. Follow NBA on TNT on Twitter at @NBAonTNT.