Posted April 21, 2013

TNT’s Kevin Harlan loves Chris ‘The Birdman’ Andersen

2013 NBA playoffs, Ben Golliver, Chris Andersen, Kevin Harlan, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks

What kind of chaos would unfold if Kevin Harlan ever gets invited to an aviary?

The TNT play-by-play man couldn’t contain his excitement after a follow dunk by Heat center Chris “The Birdman” Andersen, unleashing the full range of his pipes and squeezing in bird reference after bird reference as play continued the other way.

With a little less than one minute remaining in the third quarter, and Miami up 77-66, LeBron James collapsed Milwaukee’s defense, kicking it out to Shane Battier in right corner. Battier launched a three, which rimmed off, but Andersen crashed the paint hard from the top of the key, collecting the offensive rebound with two hands before stuffing it down in one motion. The play brought the home crowd to its feet and prompted Harlan to take it to 11.

“Here comes the Birdman,” he said. “Flapping his wings and soaring for a sweet flush. When you’re aerodynamically designed with that hairdo, you can do those things. With that sweet Mohawk. It helps him fly.”

Andersen left Sunday night’s game to a standing ovation, finishing with 10 points (on four-for-four shooting), seven rebounds and one assist in 16 minutes. Miami went on to win 110-87 to take a 1-0 series lead over Milwaukee.

“Energy,” LeBron James said of Andersen’s contribution to the Heat in a post-game interview. “There’s a select few we have in our league with that type of motor. I think of Andersen Varejao, Joakim Noah and Kenneth Faried. I think Bird is one of those guys that has that same type of motor that can’t be matched. He brings us a lot of energy and effort plays, he flies above the rim and we’re so happy to have him.”

The Heat signed Andersen, known for his copious tattoos, spiky hair, offensive rebounding and rim-protecting, to a 10-day contract back in January. Andersen, who has averaged 4.9 points and 4.1 assists for the Heat this season, was selected by The Point Forward as the Heat’s X-factor for the 2013 playoffs.

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