ESPN KIA NBA Countdown Analysts Preview NBA Western Conference Finals Game 1


ESPN KIA NBA Countdown Analysts Preview NBA Western Conference Finals Game 1

On the May 19 edition of ESPN’s KIA NBA Countdown on ABC, analysts Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and Michael Wilbon previewed Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals – Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs – airing at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN Radio. KIA NBA Countdown emanated on site at the AT&T Center in San Antonio and will continue to air on site throughout the Western Conference Finals on ESPN and The Finals on ABC. The Countdown quartet also provided insights on the future of the New York Knicks.

The next edition of KIA NBA Countdown is Tuesday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. leading into ESPN’s coverage of the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery at 8:30 p.m., followed by Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals at 9 p.m.

Spurs-Grizzlies series predictions

Magic Johnson: Memphis in 6 | Jalen Rose: Memphis in 6 | Bill Simmons: Memphis in 6 | Michael Wilbon: Spurs in 7

Simmons on Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard Mike Conley, Jr.

“If he can play Tony Parker to a draw I think the rest of the Memphis team can beat [the Spurs].”

Johnson on Conley

“He’s never going to score as many points as Tony because Tony needs to score a lot of points for the Spurs to win. He just needs to play his game to win…and also get his team involved.”

Wilbon on the Grizzlies’ advantage over the Spurs

One of the things the Spurs staff is concerned about is the physical nature of the Memphis Grizzlies. Their size and their strength. The precision of their execution. All positive things we used to say about the Spurs.

Johnson on how the Spurs will win

If Tony Parker can establish a faster pace, the Spurs have an opportunity to win this series. It’s all about establishing a pace… the Spurs need to have 30 to 35 point quarters to win this series. If they’re in the 20’s each quarter, they’re playing into Memphis’ hands, who want to slow this thing down.

Rose on New York Knicks’ future

The Knicks have issues in the NBA Eastern Conference called the Miami Heat with LeBron James and the Chicago Bulls with Derrick Rose. We know they’re not better than those two teams. They don’t get points in paint, they don’t make each other better and they don’t compete defensively for long periods of time. All things you need to do to win in the playoffs.”

Wilbon on Knicks’ future

“When you have that high level of veteran players on your team, you’re thinking about now, not about the future.”

Simmons on Knicks’ future

I just look long term – what is the window of this team? The way Chandler played in the NBA Playoffs, I think it’d be hard to move Amar’e. The window of this team was this year. This was the best chance they had to make The Finals and they couldn’t get out of the second round.


Ben Cafardo

I lead communications strategy and execution for ESPN’s NBA, MLB, FIBA and Little League World Series properties. I’m also a proud consumer of all things ESPN.
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