On the April 28 edition of ESPN’s KIA NBA Countdown on ABC, analysts Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and Michael Wilbon provided insights on the NBA Playoffs and previewed ABC’s Game 4 doubleheader: New York Knicks against the Boston Celtics at 1 p.m. ET followed by the Miami Heat against the Milwaukee Bucks at 3:30 p.m.
Magic Johnson on believing in the New York Knicks:
I definitely believe in this Knicks team because you have two proven scorers in Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith but also I love their role players. I love how smart Jason Kidd is. I think you put Raymond Felton in that mix, they are playing solid defense and smart basketball.
Bill Simmons on the Boston Celtics’ struggles:
I loved what the Knicks did those first three games. I thought it was really impressive. It’s possible that the Celtics are just a bad basketball team because they literally have not played one good game in seven weeks.
Jalen Rose on LeBron and Carmelo:
Here’s the thing that gets lost in the Carmelo Anthony conversation. LeBron James is still in the Eastern Conference. He’s going for multiple championships potentially. He’s always been the guy – whether they get drafted in the same class or playing All-Star games together or playing in the Olympics together – he’s the guy who has kept Carmelo Anthony from being first.
Johnson on Carmelo hating the Heat:
The problem is this. Until the Knicks hate the Heat like the Bulls hate the Heat, they can’t beat them. Carmelo is going to have to have a dislike for LeBron and the Heat if he’s going to beat them. Isiah and I hated each other, that’s why we went at each other. It didn’t matter. You are going for a championship.
Michael Wilbon on the Knicks being challenged early:
The Knicks are facing at least the sternest test. They are facing a team with not just characters but character – a team that has some former champions. The Heat haven’t been tested. They are getting Milwaukee. They are not getting anything particular there. And the Lakers, we know they’ve got a summer league lineup out there with injury on top of injury. I think the Knicks are the most impressive of those teams right now so far in the postseason.
Johnson previewing the next round in the NBA postseason:
We have to remember, this is about eliminating the team in the least number of games possible. So all three teams are taking care of their business. The next round for all three is going to be difficult matchups, so they have to sweep these teams to get ready for a difficult matchup. Chicago-Miami, possible. The Knicks playing the Pacers, probably. Those are going to be tough series, so I’m impressed with what they are doing right now but the next round matchups are going to be tough for them.
Rose on a possible Knicks-Pacers second round matchup:
Knicks-Pacers is going to be a carbon copy of what we’ve seen from Grizzlies-Clippers. You’ve got one offensive team that will play defense and a defense-oriented team that finds way to play offense.
Johnson on the Los Angeles Lakers’ next steps:
The Lakers have nine potential free agents this summer. It’s up to the Lakers what they want to do with Metta World Peace. That’s nine guys. Next season, when you think about Kobe Bryant making $30 million, Gasol is on his last year at $19 million. The only guy past the 2014 season is really Steve Nash. So the Lakers can get back relatively quickly if Jim Buss can make smart decisions.
Wilbon on the Memphis Grizzlies:
Memphis is as good as the Clippers. You talk about teams you can’t separate. We knew this going in. It was a seven game series last year. If they had Rudy Gay or Wayne Ellington, then they’d be way up in the series. They are a better team than the Clippers if they keep a shooter.