Fire Jon Barry February 7th Broadcast Breakdown (Blazers vs. Pacers)

Fire-Jon-Barry-Doge-MemeJon Barry was in rare form on this night, hitting on all of the things that he does that are super annoying, multiple times.

Doing this breakdown, I learned that Mike Tirico doesn’t like Jon Barry one bit. Mike Tirico, we here at FJB are on your side!

Aight, let’s get right down to it, like the FCC fining ESPN for Jon Barry’s on-air F-bomb.

Jon Barry is talking about the Blazers surprising run of success to start the season, and notes that he spent time asking the Blazers to admit they were surprised by how good they have been.

“I was trying to get some Blazer to tell me that they were shocked at where they were this year.”

So asking a bunch of dudes who are amongst the most competitive and confident people on the planet didn’t provide you with a good quotation to use during the broadcast about how they were shocked they were good? Super surprising that didn’t work out. That’s like asking Raylan Givens if he is surprised he was a successful Marshall.

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I love this next one. Cracks beginning to show in the veneer of the Jon Barry/Mike Tirico broadcast relationship. Tirico, talking about Ben McLemore in the dunk contest, says “I wonder if the ceiling can hold him” (referencing Macklemore’s The Ceiling Can’t Hold Us.) JB just steps all over the line, and, instead of just letting it go, Tirico cuts him off and calls him out . “You totally missed that line” he says. “I said we’ll see if the ceiling can hold McLemore,” and then “When I am working with you older guys (Jon Barry) I have to explain references.” Then Jon Barry drops a “Didn’t he play at the Seahawks thing the other day?” To prove that he knows who Macklemore is. Not often you hear a play-by-play guy call out the analyst for missing a joke.

Side note, Jon Barry said this about all star weekend: “It’s always a good watch! Kevin Hart is going to be there.” So I wasn’t far off when I suggested that JB probably loves Carlos Mencia.

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Was hoping we’d get to hear Jon Barry assess the Pacers addition of Clubhouse Cancer Andrew Bynum, and he didn’t disappoint. He gives Bynum a pass for what happened with the Cavs, as Mike Brown is the coach, and Luol Deng said the team is bad news. “We’ll give Bynum a pass for what went on down there. Can you imagine if this guy could give you 10 to 18 minutes off the bench? This team could really go to another level if he can play at the level he is capable of.” Awful odd not to mention what a total shitshow Bynum was with the 76ers, that his knees are turning to powder, and that he is, by almost every account, a gigantic pain to deal with in the locker room.  This would be like talking about JR Smith being a guy who can give you 20 night in and night out, without mentioning the headaches.

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One of the crucially annoying things that Jon Barry does is fake the enthusiasm. Solid clip of that here, with JB taking us into the break of a game which is legitimately great, matching up a top defensive team against a top offensive team, something even any casual fan of the NBA would enjoy, and Jon Barry again only musters up CBS NFL Pre-game show level false enthusiasm.  Going through the motions.

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Here we have a pick and roll with Dame and RoLo. Jon Barry was just talking about how effective the P&R had been with Dame and LMA, and then starts freaking out after the successful P&R, screaming a “COME ON NOW. COME ON. YOU CAN’T BE STUBBORN!” at Tirico. Tirico, emboldened by his successful earlier attack on JB about the Macklemore thing, points out how this P&R was totally different, as it was RoLo (not LMA), and there wasn’t as much space. Never have I liked Tirico more.  JB has no answer for that, just mumbles.

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To me, one of the weirder things about watching the NBA is the total lack of creativity out of offenses to end quarters. Usually we see the best player on offense ISO with the biggest wrinkle being he maybe gets a pick at the top of the key. Here we see the Pacers handing the ball off to each other at the top of the key a few times, which creates the timing for a nice back screen to allow West to flash open into the paint where Paul George delivers him the ball for a relatively uncontested look, which he nails. This is creative offensive basketball. It takes a few moments for Jon Barry to process what he sees, and he begins to babble about the “picket fence.” First of all, it was cool and notable to see a team like the Pacers create a nice open look with this play to end the quarter, which JB doesn’t mention. Second of all, the play had nothing to do with the picket fence. “Picket fence baby!” says Jon Barry to take us home.

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Tirico is reaching Popovichian levels of disdain for Jon Barry.  Jon Barry:  ”What did you tell me: Four of their starters are in the top 38 of the NBA for their minutes played?” Tirico says: “Thank you for confirming my research.”  Love ya Mike.

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Here we have an obvious flop by Lillard. D West is pissed about getting called for setting the screen here, the replay clearly shows that Lillard is barely touched but goes down hard. Jon Barry says deciding whether or not it should be a foul is “Not our job.” I know he is talking about his job isn’t to call the foul, and it’s good that he understands he isn’t a referee, like a child becoming self-aware, but it’s odd to hear an analyst talk about it not being his job to analyze whether or not something is a foul.  I’d think that falls under the job description.

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Mike Tirico hates Jon Barry, I am sure about it. McCollum scores.  Jon Barry takes this opportunity to make fun of CJ McCollum, mentioning that Terry Stotts said “Passing doesn’t come naturally to CJ” like a total dick, and then Tirico says “Well he was looking right at you when he said that.” Then we get some trademark false enthusiasm, then JB drops a “Great to be with you, Mike.” right as they are about to cut to commercial.

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It’s not often you hear former Portland Trailblazers GM Kevin Pritchard being praised right after someone is talking about how he drafted Greg Oden.  Jon Barry breaks the mold. I think he may have been talking about how Oden got injured or something? Not sure.  At any rate, weird to see someone praise the GM for a great job right after talking about talking about how he Ryan Leafed the Oden pick.
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Jon Barry, on the abysmal Portland defense: “Pretty impressed with Portland’s defense. The numbers might not bear it out, but…” And then he starts talking about Wes Matthews (who is admittedly the man). If Portland’s defense was even average, they would be a much, much better team. They can pull it together and be adequate from time to time, they have some solid individual defenders, but they are bad as a team, particularly when Mo Williams comes in and plays his unique brand of “activity but not achievement” defense.

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We wrap up with my favorite clip of the night. At the end of regulation we get some next-level JB commentary: “Not sure why hibbert is in here… I think I would add another 3 point shooter to stretch the defense.” So any relatively sane person might posit “perhaps the gigantic Roy Hibbert is in there for rebounding or to use his mountainous size to set a screen.” JB goes silent. Hibbert gets the ball (JB makes a joke about Hibbert shooting the 3, maybe a subtle nod to Kevin Hart?), gives it to George Hill who dumps it off to Paul George, who misses the 3, Hibbert gets the rebound, kicks it out to George Hill who knocks down the 3, tying the game up and sending it to OT. Jon Barry: “Offensive rebounds generally lead to open threes.” I would say they CAN lead to open threes. They do not generally lead to open threes by any stretch of the imagination. Then JB takes us home, matter-of-factly dropping the “That is why hibbert was in there, for the offensive rebound” Indeed.

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