Archive for the 'Podcast' Category

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LAL – DEN Preview Pod With Post’s Hochman

Veteran NBA scribe Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post joined us to discuss the home-and-away series between the Lakers and Nuggets set to tip off on New Years Eve in Los Angeles and New Years Day in Denver.

Hochman took us through the Nuggets’ roster, debating just how deep they actually are (including the players currently on Chinese teams), discussed Denver’s 2-1 start to the season, looked at the specific matchup with the Lakers (why lighting-quick PG Ty Lawson could be the key) and more.

Take a listen:

Knicks Pod With New York Times’ Beck

Howard Beck of the New York Times, who used to cover the Lakers for the L.A. Daily News, is now on the Knicks and general NBA beat; he joined us after the Lakers completed shootaround at the team’s practice facility to discuss Thursday evening’s matchup.

Podcast: All About Phil

What was Phil Jackson like during his first championship run in Chicago? What characterized his interaction with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, or Kobe and Shaq? How did he play a critical role in MJ’s return from baseball? What was the 72-10 season like? How about Jackson’s transition to Los Angeles? Kobe and Shaq? Phil off the court? His legacy? What don’t people understand about Jackson?

To weigh in on such questions, we enlisted Chip Schaefer, the only person to literally be in the locker room with Jackson for each of his 11 championships. Schaefer, the head trainer with the Bulls from 1990-98, and a key member of Gary Vitti’s training staff in Los Angeles from 1999-present (currently, his title is Director of Athletic Performance/Player Development) Schaefer spent an hour with us on our Popcorn Machine podcast to relay many of his memories with Jackson.

For 20 NBA seasons, 13 ending up in the NBA Finals, Schaefer was often the first person to speak with Jackson at either the Bulls or Lakers’ facilities, and the topic of conversation could have been just about anything.

“The interesting thing, getting back to the point of there being so much more about Phil than just basketball, (is that) before you even touch on basketball you may walk in and there’s something in current events, politics or life in general that you might discuss for five minutes,” said Schaefer. “That’s one of the things that I found uniquely refreshing about him.”

There are plenty of personal memories of Jackson from many years as the coach’s trainer, as well as Schaefer’s reflections and observations of Jackson’s relationship with players like Jordan.

One story he tells is how Jackson reacted to Jordan’s abrupt retirement prior to the 1993-94 season, and how Jackson having Jordan’s best interest at heart (Schaefer said His Airness could sniff out B.S. in a second) helped create the environment in which Jordan could return to the team. When Jordan actually returned, Schaefer remembers the first conversation between the two, before most had arrived at the Bulls’ facility, when Jordan expressed his sorrow for Schaefer’s father having passed away shortly prior to that day.

To describe Jackson’s influence on players, Schaefer told an anecdote about how Jackson, fiery in his first few years in Chicago in particular, would get thrown out of at least a few games a season. Schaefer at some point asked former Bull John Paxson why the Bulls generally played so poorly when Jackson got tossed, as such an act can often spur better effort out of players.

“There’s just something about him, whether it’s the size, the voice, the command presence that he has,” Paxson told Schaefer, explaining that there was just a belief, a confidence that players picked up from Jackson that soothed or inspired during tough moments. Whatever “it” was, Schaefer said it grew and grew with each championship. Even so, Schaefer said the season that impressed him the most may have been 1994-95, when Jordan was playing baseball, and the Bulls still won 55 games.

Schaefer talks about how after the 1998 Bulls championship, he took a job with Oakley that board member Jordan helped set up, and subsequently what Jackson said to him on the phone to bring him onto his new Lakers staff. He described the differences between the first Lakers three-peat team and the current version that went to three straight Finals, remembered the Kobe-Shaq relationship more for success on the court than any personality differences off it, detailed the importance of Jackson empowering his assistant coaches in part so that the players didn’t drown out his voice as the season wore on, and more.

You can listen to the full interview by clicking here, or download the podcast from iTunes under “The Popcorn Machine on”

Lakers – Warriors Podcast Preview

To take a closer look at the Golden State Warriors heading into Wednesday evening’s contest in Oakland, we called up Warriors radio voice Tim Roye to talk about Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, why the Warriors — currently 5.5 games back of the eight spot — think they could sneak into the playoffs and how playing against the Lakers will be all about tempo.

To listen, click play below:

Lakers – Heat Preview Podcast’s NBA contributor Kevin Arnovitz has seen every minute of Miami Heat basketball this season, which will of course happen when you’re the Editor of the Heat Index.

Arnovitz joined us for a podcast to detail the Christmas Day contest between the Lakers and Heat, discussing both the matchup itself and offering his take on both how the Heat have played through this point of the season and what he expects going forward.

To listen to our conversation, just click below:

Lakers – Clippers: Podcast Preview

The Los Angeles Clippers are 5-17, a record reflective of their combination of youth and injuries in the young season, but things aren’t quite as bleak as they seem across town.

Veterans Chris Kaman and Baron Davis have already missed a combined 26 games, and new coach Vinny Del Negro is playing three rookies and two third-year players significant minutes, but the Clips have still managed to rebound from a 1-13 start to go 4-4 in their last eight games, beating San Antonio, New Orleans and Sacramento twice.

Meanwhile, leading Rookie of the Year candidate Blake Griffin has been hammer dunking his way onto SportsCenter on a nightly basis, averaging 20.2 points and 11.8 rebounds along the way, and guard Eric Gordon is seventh in the NBA in scoring with his 24.3 points per game.

For all the Clippers information you want to know heading into Wednesday’s Clips home game at STAPLES Center, we enlisted the voice of radio play-by-play man Brian Sieman:

Lakers – Nuggets Podcast Preview

D065013007.JPGTo take a closer look at the Nuggets heading into Thursday evening’s game in Denver, we enlisted the Denver Post’s Benjamin Hochman to provide some details.

The Nuggets come into the game angry off a bad loss in Indiana (144-113) in which the Pacers literally hit their first 20 shots of the third quarter before a buzzer-beating miss, while the Lakers boast an 8-0 record after a sloppy victory against Minnesota (99-94) on Tuesday.

Hochman offered an update on Carmelo Anthony, looked at Denver’s rather thin front line in the absence of Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen, told us how Chauncey Billups looks in person and described the solid play of UCLA product Arron Afflalo.

To listen, click here:

Phoenix: Western Conference Podcast Preview

60597121In last year’s Western Conference Finals, a gritty Phoenix Suns team pushed the Lakers to six games before ultimately falling to a vintage Kobe Bryant performance in the clincher.

Yet coming into 2010-11, questions abound in Phoenix after the departure of All-Star Amare Stoudemire, who left the Valley of the Sun as a free agent and signed a max contract with the New York Knicks. Also gone is backup big man Louis Amundson (Golden State), though starters Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Robin Lopez and Jason Richardson are back.

In to help are forwards Hedo Turkoglu (from Toronto), Hakim Warrick (Chicago) and Josh Childress (Atlanta via Greece), along with returning reserves Jared Dudley, Goran Dragic and Channing Frye.

To preview the coming Suns’ season, we dialed up voice of the Suns Tom Leander:

Dallas: Western Conference Podcast Preview

59220137Is Dallas the next-best team after the Lakers in the Western Conference, or just one of a few in the mix?

Sure, several of the Mavericks’ key players are getting up there in age, like Dirk Nowitzki (32), Jason Kidd (37), Jason Terry (33) and Shawn Marion (32). But they also have three players acquired either late last season or in the offseason, plus an exciting youngster that make Dallas more dangerous.

Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood came over in a trade with the Washington Wizards, while Tyson Chandler became a Maverick this past summer, giving Dallas what it hopes is a better answer to L.A.’s length. Meanwhile, second year guard Rodrigue Beaubois could end up making a major impact in the backcourt … at least once he gets healthy.

For a closer look at the Mavs, we dialed up TV play-by-play voice Mark Followill. You can listen to our conversation by clicking below:

Denver: Western Conference Podcast Preview

60109900Before the regular season begins, we’re going to take a close look at select Western Conference teams that could potentially trip up L.A.’s quest for a fourth straight trip to the Finals, utilizing beat writers and broadcasters in several NBA cities. First up, Denver.

Prior to last season, the Nuggets appeared to be L.A.’s biggest obstacle towards returning to the NBA Finals, particularly after an impressive performance in the 2009 Western Finals when Denver forced L.A. to six games.

But after a disappointing 2009-10 campaign in which the Nuggets endured head coach George Karl’s battle with cancer and ultimately a first round loss to Utah, things don’t appear so rosy heading into this season. Question marks abound in the Mile High City primarily due to the unsure nature of star Carmelo Anthony’s future with the Nuggets.

To offer some perspective on Anthony’ situation, discuss how it might affect a still-talented team and detail what else is going on with the Nuggets, the Denver Post’s Benjamin Hochman joined us for a podcast.

Click below to listen: