This weekend, Las Vegas is the place to be if you’re a hoops fan. The first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament goes to its very own “finals” stage. Think of March Madness in the NCAA. The NBA’s new tournament is pretty much an “Elite Eight” journey to a finals winner. And our man Shaq is going to be a part of it.
In an interesting bit of cross-pollination, the TNT Inside the NBA team will get together with ESPN’s hoops coverage crew for joint coverage of the Vegas part of the action.
There’s a series of early-round games being held in NBA hometowns starting tonight and tomorrow. Then it’s on to Vegas for the tournament version of the final four, with a winner to be crowned in a single game Saturday night. Making the most of this headline-grabbing event, ESPN has announced a cool collab with TNT. Prior to the games, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal of TNT’s Inside the NBA will make their way to ESPN’s NBA Countdown to appear on that show. Should be a party!
The ESPN team of NBA coverage regulars is: Malika Andrews, Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon, Bob Myers, and Adrian Wojnarowski. Adding the Inside the NBA crew… wow!
Then later, the ESPN crew will appear on a special edition of Inside The NBA. Both programs will broadcast from outside the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas.
As for the broadcasts of the games themselves, the regular teams will handle the duties. For ESPN, that’s Mike Breen, Doris Burke, and Reggie Miller, with Lisa Salters doing the sideline reporting. For TNT, the team is Kevin Harlan, Candace Parker, and Doc Rivers commentating, with Allie LaForce as sideline reporter.
On the first night of the first round, the East game will feature the Indiana Pacers against the Boston Celtics. Out west, it’s the Sacramento Kings facing the New Orleans Pelicans.
Then tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, it’s the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks to start the night’s action, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers going up against the Phoenix Suns.
After those first-round games, the remaining four move out to Vegas for the last three games. Who you got? The final game will be Saturday night at 8:30 PM EST on ABC.
No matter how it plays out, it should be a ton of fun to see O’Neal and the the rest of the TNT crew playing alongside the ESPN regulars. Looking forward to see our man Shaq doing a little verbal sparring with Stephen A!