BY MATT OSTROW
The commentators for ESPN’s Timberwolves v. Clippers game were Dan Shulman on play-by-play and Hubie Brown on color commentary. Both did a great job framing a very exciting game between two up-and-coming teams. The duo also did a great job talking about most of the players on the floor, not just the story of Love v. Griffin. That could have been an overplayed storyline. The best part of the commentary was when Brown used his vast basketball knowledge to diagnose mismatches and point out what the teams should be doing.
Brown did a great job displaying his basketball expertise by saying what was a good play or call. He also told you what the mindset of the team or play was in a certain situation. For example, when point guard Luke Ridnour scored on a floater over DeAndre Jordan, Brown said: “Now that was beautiful, he was looking for the defense to rotate but they never rotated. That was a tough shot.” Brown also spoke about when players did something well or not. In a play where center Darko Millic guarded Griffin in the post and blocked him, Brown explained why it was such great defense and how Millic put himself into position to make that play. Also, every time a new player would come into the game Brown would talk about the new match-up or mismatch the player would cause on the court. Brown explained to the audience what each team should be looking to do while they were struggling from outside or had trouble getting easy looks at the basket.
Shulman did a good job with the play-by-play. He never got too side-tracked by side conversations and stories with Brown. Shulman worked well with Brown by setting him up well to speak on the strategy of the game.
The biggest story coming into the game was the all-star matchup between Griffin and Love. The broadcast did a good job showing statistical comparisons once and a while. While they are the two biggest stars on each team, the game was taken over, for the most part, by Mo Williams and Millic in the early going. ESPN did a good job showcasing the two players that were doing most of the scoring early in the game.
The biggest call came at the end of the game with 1.5 seconds on the clock and a tie game when Kevin Love hit a deep three-pointer to beat the buzzer. Shulman did a good job setting up the situation out of the time out and talked about the last time the Wolves had the lead and how they were down 15 at one point. Then, Brown did a great job talking about how the play broke down and the Clippers failed to switch on the screen, which caused the open shot. Overall, it was a great broadcast with good camera shots and good informative commentary for a great basketball game.