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Mike Breen, ESPN Lead NBA Play-By-Play Broadcaster

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2023 5:41 pm

Mike Breen, ESPN Lead NBA Play-By-Play Broadcaster

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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June 2, 2023 5:41 pm

Mike Breen joined Zach to discuss his thoughts from Game 1 and preview the rest of the NBA Finals. 


Mike, appreciate the time. How you been? Good, Zach. How about yourself?

Well, I'm doing fantastic and really do appreciate you jumping on board with us. What was your biggest takeaway from last night, Mike? I think everybody that thought that there could be some rust for the Nuggets quickly found out that that wasn't the case, that the Nuggets did a great job of staying ready and staying in rhythm. I also think that the grueling seven game series that the Heat played with and then the Fly and come with the altitude did have an impact, but Denver was just too good last night.

Jokic is, he's just magnificent, but I would hesitate anyone or to have anyone, you know, make definitive proclamations after just one game. Don't overreact to one great win or one great loss. I'm very curious to see what Miami's going to do on Sunday. What type of effort do you think we'll see from this Miami Heat team coming up in game number two on Sunday evening? Well, their effort is never in question, never.

That's why they're here because they just play so hard, they're so competitive, but they've got to figure things out. I mean, Jokic was dominating the game in the first half and he took three shots, so you got to figure out, you know, what's the best way to defend him. Do you let him score and not make sure that everybody is getting involved? Do you double team him and make the others beat you?

Do you do a little bit of both? You know, Eric Spolstra is brilliant, just a brilliant coach and they'll figure something out. Now, Jokic might be just too good and too big because size is certainly a factor in the series, but the one thing you'll know is that Miami will come ready to play, play hard, play competitive.

Will it be enough? We'll have to see. I kind of feel like the way to play Joker, especially when Mike Breen, Denver is just a better team on paper and they're a deeper team in my opinion, is you just got to let him eat and get his points and try to stop everybody else. I know it's easier said than done, but it's such a difficult thing that Spolstra has to do in this series because you just look at the construction of this Denver team, it felt like multiple times throughout the game last night you were impressed with someone and then 10 minutes later you're impressed with somebody else. Yeah, the thing about it, Zach, though, is that, you know, you can say, we're going to go in and we're going to let him do all. He doesn't want to play that way. He's much more, he'd rather get the assist than score the bucket, but if the way for his team to win that night is to score, well then he's going to be aggressive scoring. But that's what's so brilliant about him is that his ability to adjust, his ability to read the defense, you know, he's seen every kind of regular defense, every kind of gimmick defense that can be thrown at him, his court vision is just off the charts.

So you might go in saying, okay, we're going to do this to Jokic and it just might not work because he has a way of figuring it out. The guy is, he's one of the most incredible players I've ever seen. Yeah, Mike, when you get ready to call a game for him and you've seen some of the biggest stars to ever play this game, just what do you feel? Because there are times it feels like Nikola Jokic does get disrespected.

I wouldn't say he gets disrespected. What I would say is sometimes, and most great players are like this after a while, you start to take for granted just how great they are every single night. So if he doesn't get a triple double, are you disappointed? If he doesn't, you know, have 30, 15 and 13, are you disappointed? No, because all his, his whole goal every night, and this is to me always where the great players stand above the other ones is that their goal is to win.

It's not to accumulate stats. Their goal is to win. And that's his plan going in every night. He doesn't have a plan.

All right, tonight I'm going to look to school. He sees what the defense gives him. That's what he reads because that's what gives his team the best chance to win. If you do get Tyler Herro in game two, and there's encouraging reports that he'll return either in game two or game three, it keeps on going back and forth. But what do you think he could realistically expect from Tyler Herro when he returns? Well, it's hard to tell, Zach, when you're out now, when was it?

The 16th of April. So, you know, it's a month and a half that he's been out. And the other problem is these other guys have played great. Now, certainly they didn't shoot well. Martin and Streuss and Robinson didn't shoot particularly well last night, but they've been playing great basketball. One of the reasons why the heater in the finals is because the way those guys have played, the way Martin now has fit into the starting lineup. So to bring in somebody who hasn't played in a month and a half, you know, you've got to be careful not to upset the chemistry that's going. But with that said, Herro is a really good player because he's not just a three-point shooter. He's also become adept at playmaking, taking the ball to the basket. But it's an interesting decision for Eric Spolsa. He's glad to have him back.

But how much do you plan? You know, he hasn't played in any of these playoffs except for the first game. So his conditioning is not going to be at the best possible situation. So it's a it's a little bit of a quandary for a head coach to figure that out.

Mike Breen here with us. It seems like each and every night when you watch the Heat and there's someone else that steps up, it seems like Highsmith is deserving himself a few more minutes, Mike. Yeah, you know, Zach, that's one of the first things we said when we left the arena that he played so well that it's going to give Eric Spolsa some pause, right?

Do I play him more? You know, certainly he's not the perimeter shooter or some of the other guys, but his defense is excellent. He's got really good defensive instincts.

He is not afraid of the big moment. And I think there's a really good chance we'll see him play a lot of minutes again, just because he deserves it after where he played. He played spot minutes in the conference finals, didn't play a lot of minutes, but his minutes had a nice impact.

So that's another, you know, that's one of the untrafted guys that they just seem to keep turning out that provides some great stuff for them. Talking to the legendary Mike Breen, when you look back so far at this Miami run, Mike, it's all Butler and Spolsa, right? The guys that we talked about, Pat Riley as well. But to see what Miami's done this postseason, we know they've been to a finals before with Jimmy Butler. It's just unbelievable, Mike, what they continue to do in Miami. With the roster that you look at it, as you just said, with all the undrafted guys, no one could have predicted this before the start of the postseason. It's one of the most unlikely trips to the finals. And again, when you look back at their first play-in game is at home against Atlanta. They were down by 24. They made a bit of a comeback, but they still lost by, I think, 11 it was. So they lost the play-in game. And then in the next play-in game against Chicago that they had to win, they're trailing with under three minutes to go. So you're thinking during that, okay, maybe they survived this, but they're getting knocked out in the first round against Milwaukee. And then here they are in the final.

It's incredible. And it just goes to show you, yes, to win a title, you have to have talent, but the game is still a five-man game. And there's nothing more beautiful in my estimation than five players on the court working together to overcome sometimes talent on the other team, but talent that doesn't play as well together. I'm not saying super teams were bad, Mike Breen, because I don't believe that they were, but now we're in a league of dynamic duos where we truly don't know who's going to win this thing or who's going to get to the finals. Is that better for you as a broadcaster compared to the time of super teams? You know, they're both fun. This season, what has made this season so exciting for me is the unpredictable nature of it.

You just don't know. And even the elite teams were unpredictable. Denver's probably the most consistent team all season, but whether it's Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia in the East, Golden State, the Lakers, Memphis, Sacramento, it was unpredictable on how good they could be. Part of that is because on a lot of nights you didn't know who was available to play, but to me it made it exciting. But it's also fun when you have a super team.

Can anybody knock them off? The David Goliath story, that's always fun as well. So either one is good. I really like this change this year because of the fact that you have two teams that are so well connected and play so well together. On the way out with the legendary Mike Breen, I know you're on the call for the Western Conference Finals. After the game, a ton of speculation. Is that it for LeBron James? I fully believe he's coming back. Do you think that was the last game you called for LeBron?

No, no, no, no. I think he's going to play more. I hope he does because look at the numbers he put up this year.

He put up numbers this year in his 20th season that some Hall of Fame players didn't put up in their best season. He's one of the most remarkable athletes in the history of sports and I love watching him play and I hope I get the call a lot more games for him. So if we got an alert this offseason, you would be shocked if he ended up retiring and walking away?

I would. I think he still loves playing. He's still playing at a great level, so I would be surprised, yes, but I have no inside information on that. Mike Breen, before we let you run, how do you react to the whole John Moran situation?

Clearly we heard the comments of the Commissioner yesterday and everyone's expecting there to be a pretty lengthy and significant suspension. You know, my only hope there is that the young man figures out what's his best path and figures out just the right way for him going forward. He's a really talented player. He's clearly made some bad decisions.

Haven't we all made bad decisions when we were younger? So I just hope that this is the real wake-up call for him. The first one obviously wasn't, so let's hope this one is a wake-up call and he gets gets right back on the right path and gets back playing something that he plays so well and is one of the more dynamic players.

So I'm rooting for him to get back and get himself in order. Now I'll end you on a jovial note and I need a serious scouting report from you. EJ, who's on the other side of the glass, actually played on your basketball team with your son when Tim Capstraw was the head coach and you were the assistant coach. EJ told me that you gave it to the officials a little bit. How were you as an assistant coach back in the day, Mike Breen?

You know what? When I used to coach youth basketball and I have so much respect for officials, my only complaint to refs back then was I was afraid players would get hurt and if it started to get too rough I'd kind of say, all right guys let's start blowing a whistle a little bit more. But you know when you're repping youth basketball it's a no-win situation. I used to do it myself. It's not easy to do to try and maintain it but I have fond memories of coaching youth basketball. Were you like pop? Who was the you know, who was the coach that you were like? No, no, no.

I was more, I was a little more mild mannered than I'm being portrayed. Mike Breen, have a great call. Rest of the finals. Really do appreciate you carving out some time for us today. Okay Zach, you got it bud. Do you hear that? That is the sound of BMW performance without a single piston or cylinder. A generation of all electric vehicles designed and built like no other. The BMW iX, i7 and i4 revolutionize every drive into a thrilling opportunity to feel the pure rush of BMW 100% electric. But isn't that what you'd expect from the ultimate electric driving machine? Take advantage of exceptional lease and finance offers today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-02 18:25:40 / 2023-06-02 18:31:11 / 6

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