On the May 10 edition of ESPN’s KIA NBA Countdown, analysts Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and Michael Wilbon provided insights on the NBA Playoffs and previewed ESPN’s Game 3 doubleheader: Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls at 8 p.m. ET followed by the San Antonio Spurs at the Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m. KIA NBA Countdown next airs on Saturday, May 11, at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Jalen Rose on the importance of Dwyane Wade:
The Bulls have done a very good job of actually containing Wade this entire season. And when the Miami Heat had the 27-game win streak snapped, that was upon Wade’s return. Jimmy Butler has done a very good job. They need Wade to perform like an All-NBA player. In order to get good shots for other role players, like a Shane Battier, like a Ray Allen, even like a Mario Chalmers, they are going to need Wade to be effective.
Magic Johnson on not rushing Derrick Rose back:
I want people to stop trying to make Derrick Rose play. The young man understands his body. He understands mentally and physically if he’s ready to play. If he’s not ready to play, you wait till next season and you come back strong. This young man means so much to the city of Chicago and also to his Chicago Bulls teammates, so let’s let him recover.
Bill Simmons on the lesson learned from Gilbert Arenas:
The last guy who came back too soon was Gilbert Arenas and that was when he got a nine figure contract from Washington. Came back too soon, surgery. Came back too soon, surgery. Three surgeries, never the same. That was it. I think his shadow hangs over all these guys who are thinking about coming back because for Derrick Rose, this is a 15-year career that he could be walking away from. He wants to win titles.
Michael Wilbon on the connection between Wade and Rose:
These guys are linked in a way. I remember the first time I ever heard about Derrick Rose was from Dwyane Wade, who was in a Miami uniform after the game. Of course, Chicagoans from the same neighborhood they grew up in. He said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to see this kid, Derrick Rose,’ who at the time was in high school and Dwyane Wade was forecasting greatness then and it’s ironic they come together. I wish they were playing against each other.
Johnson on LeBron’s impact:
We take it for granted – the play of LeBron James. I know how difficult it is to get 20 points and then still get 10 rebounds and 10 assists and this guy is doing it at a high level. Four MVPs and he’s going to lead this team tonight.
Rose on the Chicago Bulls’ performance:
I’m going to stop calling them the Bulls. I’m going to call them the Chicago Bears. That’s what has stood out to me. You go to Brooklyn, you win it in Game 7. You go to Miami, you win Game 1. You are beat up. You are playing without your MVP, Derrick Rose, no Deng, no Hinrich. They still find ways to advance and compete.
Johnson with advice for J.R. Smith
J.R. you cannot hang out before an afternoon game. That’s a no-no. He better be listening because right now he’s averaging 13 points, only shooting 26% from the field and then only 29% from the three-point line. If the Knicks have a chance to advance, they need J.R. Smith to play better. You have to know when to hang out and when not to. Right now, it’s the Playoffs.
Wilbon on the struggles of Tyson Chandler:
Six points and three rebounds. This is a guy who was a rebounding force for a team that won a championship. So the Knicks not only have issues with J.R. hanging out too late, Tyson’s going to have to come up with some more boards.
Rose on the Spurs defense:
I’m very happy to see the emergence of Curry and Klay Thompson in Game 2, but the Spurs pride themselves on being a team that obviously can score, but getting stops defensively. They have not been able to do so.
Johnson on Stephen Curry’s stardom:
Steph Curry was already a superstar but during the Playoffs he’s proven how much so. To me, he should have made the All-Star team this season. He can dribble, he can create space with that dribble and his jump shot is so beautiful and pure. He’s unbelievable.
Rose on Curry’s skillset:
In the era of athleticism, the lost art of the mid-range jump shot, the lost art of any shooting, Curry’s a knock down shooter and because of that, it is so beautiful to watch how he does it off the dribble, off the catch. He does it going towards the hoop. He’s a terrific player with a skillset that’s going to continue to transcend.
Wilbon on believing in the Warriors:
These guys are good but you have to see it in the Playoffs. Curry’s got a great tag team partner in Klay Thompson. But now, you have to look at Mark Jackson and say, okay. I give – because no one’s been able to prove otherwise. These guys are so prolific and they haven’t done it together yet. What happens if they do? It’s a remarkable thing to see those guys on fire as we’ve seen in the Playoffs.
Simmons on the Warriors-Spurs series:
When you look at what he’s done in these first two games, I don’t think it was a fluke. San Antonio basically put together four good minutes in that Game 1. Golden State dominated the rest of those games. I just think Golden State is better. I think they have a better team. I think it’s a better matchup for them. I think they are going to win it in six because I don’t think they can hide Parker anywhere defensively. I don’t think they can match up with Curry. I don’t think they can match up with Klay Thompson. Small ball is what’s going to win this series for the Warriors.
Johnson on keys to the Warriors-Spurs series:
I think the key for Golden State is can they continue to knock in these shots. At some point in a seven-game series, you do start missing these shots. Can they still pull out a game when it becomes a grind out game? When their shooters are missing some of these shots?