Tuesday Pop Review- NBA on TNT

[Sorry about going out of order, folks, I know I owe some posts from Friday and Monday, will be caught up by the end of the day!]

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Today is our Tuesday Pop Review, where we discuss a recent book, movie, television show, restaurant or anything else in the world of pop.  Last Thursday, with the Miami Heat’s epic comeback in the last three minutes of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to close the series, TNT’s coverage of NBA basketball for the 2010-11 season came to an end. 

Like we did after the end of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament, we want to use this space to compliment Turner Sports on a job very well done.  As most sports fans know, TNT shares rights to NBA games with Disney-owned ABC & ESPN.  TNT offers doubleheaders every Thursday during the regular season while ESPN delivers games on most Wednesday and Friday nights (except when they’re forcing Duke down our throats on almost every Wednesday of the NCAA regular season).  ABC chimes in with Sunday games starting about midway through the season.  In the early rounds of the playoffs,  TNT shows about 60% of the games, ESPN/ABC about 30%, and NBATV brings you just about any game involving teams like Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Memphis 😉  TNT and ESPN have exclusive coverage of the conference finals, with ABC having exclusive coverage of the Finals.

With the exception of extensive studio analysis in post-game shows, where ESPN’s analysts are generally superior, I find that Turner outclasses ESPN in every other way.  From the announcing tandems of Marv Albert with Steve Kerr plus Kevin Harlan with Reggie Miller to Ernie Johnson heading up the studio to the graphics and music, TNT just gets it right.  I do have mixed feelings about TNT studio personalities Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.  While funny and slightly informative in short bursts (like pre-game and halftime segments), during longer post-game segments I find Barkley to just be incompetent.  At times, he struggles to get out sentences (not terribly surprising as he is rumored to be a drinker during games) and usually creates his own agenda much to Ernie’s chagrin.  For example, after the Heat victory over Chicago setting up a 2006 rematch with the Dallas Mavericks, Chuck kept repeating the point of how great  a season Chicago and Western Conference runner-up Oklahoma City had (That’s great, Chuck.  How about your take on the FINALS?). 

With that said, again, TNT more than holds its own generally.  I am glad that basic cable has broken the barrier into showing key sporting events in order to give the oft-complacent networks some much-needed competition!


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