Today on the Grant Napear Show there was a lot going on with Josh Hamilton’s 4 home run game, the NBA Draft approaching and the NBA Playoffs in full swing. Grant took calls about people’s thoughts on the Sacramento Kings this season, the difficulty of hitting 4 home runs in one game, Kings draft scenarios, Andrew Bynum’s actions throughout the NBA playoffs this season. Grant interviewed Steve Holman, John Smoltz and Ken Berger.
Steve Holman, the television voice of the Atlanta Hawks came on with Grant to discuss the Hawks’s playoff series against the Boston. Al Horford came back for game 4, despite many people thinking he wouldn’t return until next season. Steve said Hoford seemed fine after playing 40-plus minutes in Tuesday night’s win. He also said that Horford worked hard to be back, and iced his injured shoulder after the game, but showed no other signs of injury.
Next, Grant and Steve talked about the Hawks and Celtics game 6 in Boston. Steve said that the Hawks need to play loose, and with the mindset that they can shock the world. He cited each team’s regular season record, and said that there’s no reason that the Hawks can’t take it to a game 7. Grant asked what the Hawks needed to do to win, and according to Steve, the Hawks just need shots to fall since all of the pressure is on Boston. Steve also said that the travel schedule and game schedule favors the younger Hawks. Steve elaborated on the rough schedule, and said it has been a grind on every team this year. He said that older teams have been affected by the condensed schedule, and the younger teams haven’t had the benefit of practicing and having a preseason. Steve called the 2011-2012 season “unprecedented” and said we may never see another season like it.
John Smoltz from MLB Network was on with Grant today and talked about Cole Hamels hitting Bryce Harper in the back, and then admitting it was on purpose. Smoltz said that he did not understand where Hamels got the idea that that was how a player was initiated into the league. He said he had never been told that that was the way a pitcher was supposed to do things. Grant asked Smoltz if there was a proper way to hit players, and if pitchers can hit a player in a certain spot on purpose. Smoltz said that baseball always takes care of itself. Guys usually settle things in their own way, and he doesn’t have a problem with that as long as the pitcher hits the batter below the shoulders. However he doesn’t agree when a pitcher hits a player for hitting multiple home runs off of him, or if the pitcher is unable to get him out.
Grant and Smoltz also talked about Bryce Harper, as well as the Boston Red Sox. Smoltz said that Harper will be special, as most people can tell since he’s already hitting third for a good Nationals team. He also discussed the Red Sox’s struggles and said that their collapse last season had nothing to do with the beer drinking and other clubhouse antics. He said that it came down to the players not making plays on the field.
Smoltz also discussed Mariano River and his torn ACL. Smoltz said that Rivera would be able to come back, and he expects him to come back. He said that Rivera is in great shape, and will be in great shape when he returns. Since it was his right leg that was hurt, he can still be effective as a pitcher. Smoltz said that the way Rivera pitches, he needs his left leg (his plant leg) to be healthy more than he needs his push off leg to be healthy. Finally, Smoltz talked about the difficulty of pitching with a lack of offense. He cited the Angels’ Ervin Santana getting zero runs in 5 of his starts this season. He also talked about Matt Cain and the Giants’ pitching staff. The Giants have 3 starters with losing records and an ERA under 3. However as a pitcher, he said you always have to be prepared to do your job, and that wins and losses really aren’t a good way to judge a pitcher.
Ken Berger from CBS sports joined Grant to talk about the NBA playoffs. First they discussed the Lakers and Nuggets series. The Nuggets won game 5 in LA to go back home to Denver, and Ken said it was because the Lakers gave Bynum no room to operate in the paint and Kobe Bryant had to take over. He said that that wasn’t a championship formula. Berger talked more about Bynum and said that he needs to get his maturity and focus under control before he fully realizes his talent. Whether this series gets to a game 7 depends on the Lakers’ ability to exploit their size advantage by hitting jump shots.
Ken also discussed the Oklahoma City Thunder and how they may do in the playoffs. He said that they have flaws in their games as far as late game execution. It becomes a one man show with Westbrook or Durant trying to do it all. The Thunder are also killed by an inability to grab rebounds and take care of the ball by not turning it over.
The Spurs were another topic of conversation after they dismantled the Utah Jazz in four games. Ken said that the Spurs have been impressive all season because Greg Popovich recognized a changing of the guard in San Antonio. It has become less about defense and rebounding and more about Tony Parker taking the ball and creating things on offense. Ken said the Spurs are more versatile and dangerous than they’ve ever been in the postseason.
Finally, Grant and Ken talked about a lackluster first round of the NBA Playoffs, Isaiah Thomas and Mike Woodson. Ken said he was disappointed and expected a more competitive first round. He said that he expected more from Dallas in their series against Oklahoma City, and didn’t expect so many key injuries to guys like Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose and Baron Davis. Ken said that Isaiah Thomas had a good first year and should’ve gotten more praise, but got overshadowed by Ricky Rubio and Kyrie Irving. If Thomas was on a winning team though, Ken said he would’ve had more recognition. Grant asked if Mike Woodson would be back as the Knicks’ head coach next year. Ken said that as of right now, it seems that Woodson will be back coaching in New York next year.