|NBA finals a ratings bonanza||06.22.10 at 1:10 pm ET|
According to numbers released Tuesday by the Nielson Co., Game 7 of the NBA finals drew an audience of 28.2 million people, ranking it as the most-watched basketball game since Michael Jordan’s last championship-clinching win in 1998.
Not including the Olympics, Thursday’s game between the Celtics and Lakers was the most-watched show on network TV since the finale of the first “Survivor” season in August 2000.
|Rivers on D&C: ‘Leaning’ one way about future||06.21.10 at 11:12 am ET|
Rivers said he has not decided whether or not he will return to the Celtics next season. “I’m not going to say which way I’m leaning ‘ and I am one way ‘ but I could look you in the eye and tell you I haven’t decided,” he said.
Rivers said he did not discuss the matter with his family during Father’s Day Sunday. “We didn’t talk about it at all, really,” he said. “It’s still very difficult to get through Game 7, let alone talk about your future, to be honest.”
Rivers said the players have been encouraging him to return, which makes him feel great but embarrassed to be in the spotlight. That type of support is the main reason why he would consider returning. Said Rivers, “The only reason you stay is your love for the guys you coach … knowing that if you do leave, you’re not going to get that back.”
Rasheed Wallace, like Rivers, is considering leaving the game. Rivers said he expects we’ve seen the last of the controversial center. “I think you have,” he said. “It’s so emotional right after the game. But Rasheed told me before [Game 7]. He told me the the night before. He walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, listen, I’m going to give you everything I’ve got. I really believe this is my last game that I’m going to play.’ And he said this year was very difficult for him physically. He never felt like ‘ even the conditioning part of it hurt. He said he doesn’t think he wants to go through that again, and he wants to watch his kids. I do think it’s the last time we’ll see him in a Celtics uniform.”
Rivers said he’s watched some video of the fourth quarter of Game 7. “I’ve looked at some of it but I couldn’t watch it [all],” he said. “It’s still very difficult.”
The coach said one thing he might have done differently is to get Rondo some rest at the start of the fourth. “I think I should have given Rondo another blow,” Rivers said. “I thought he was tired. I thought he played that way in the fourth. And that was a tough one, because he was starting to play well at the end of the third, so it was tough to pull him out.”
Rivers also said he wished the team would have attacked the post more, although he noted that some post plays were called, and Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace both were tiring. “You could just feel that we were running out of gas,” he said.
Rivers also said the referees’ more frequent whistles down the stretch were an adjustment the Celtics did not handle well. “The whole fourth quarter, it was called tighter,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that after watching [the video]. That hurt us a lot. … It was just a free throw line parade. That’s the one line you can’t defend.”
Rivers also credited Ron Artest as the key to the Lakers’ comeback. “We didn’t defend him the way we should have defended him,” he said. “I thought Ron Artest was the difference in that game.”
|Celebrity fans take out ad honoring Celtics||06.21.10 at 10:24 am ET|
A group of celebrity fans took out a full-page ad in Monday’s Boston Globe honoring the Celtics. The ad paid tribute to the C’s victories over the Heat, Cavaliers and Magic, as well as their performance against the Lakers in the finals. The ad closed with: “You are our 2010 World Champions. Thank you!”
Names included at the bottom of the ad include television personality Maria Menounos, comedian Dane Cook, singer/actor Donnie Wahlberg and actors Eliza Dushku, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Ellen Pompeo and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, along with Patriots players Wes Welker and Vince Wilfork.
|Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Never seen Kobe this focused||06.17.10 at 7:56 am ET|
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and radio host Stephen A. Smith joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the NBA finals. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Smith said at least two of the Celtics’ top players must step up in Game 7, because he has no doubt Kobe Bryant will be at his best. “I have never seen him this focused,” Smith said of the Lakers star. “If he was this focused before Game 7, imagine how he’s going to be tonight.”
Talking about Rasheed Wallace, whose play becomes that much more important with the absence of injured starter Kendrick Perkins, Smith said: “As big as this game is, he is completely unfazed. … He’s not going to be nervous. At the same time, it’s a bad thing, because the urgency of the moment is not going to affect him. … Game 7 is not going to make him give you more.”
As for a prediction, Smith said that despite Bryant wanting it more than anyone else, “I picked the Boston Celtics to win this series, and I’m going to stick with it.” He also said to keep an eye on Nate Robinson, who could make a big impact with his outside shooting.
Smith also touched on Doc Rivers‘ future, saying: “He gave me indications the other day that he would probably come back,” based on his relationship with the players.
|Former Celtic Walker ordered to trial||06.14.10 at 1:39 pm ET|
Former Celtics forward Antoine Walker appeared in a Las Vegas court Monday and was ordered to face trial on felony bad check charges that he failed to repay almost $1 million in gambling debts to three Vegas casinos. The judge noted that Walker had yet to make any progress repaying some $770,000 he agreed to pay in restitution, court fees and penalties.
Walker filed for bankruptcy last month in Florida, and the Las Vegas prosecutor indicated that he is working with Walker’s lawyer on a deal that would avoid forcing Walker to serve jail time.
To read more, click here.
|Satch Sanders on D&H: Bench is C’s only edge||06.11.10 at 12:40 pm ET|
Sanders said Doc Rivers‘ use of his bench in Game 4 Thursday night reminded him of Red Auberbach’s strategy during the Celtics’ dynasty in the 1960s, of which Sanders was a key part.
“It was consistent with Auerbach to use that second unit when games were extremely tight or when we were losing,” said Sanders, who won eight NBA titles as a player and briefly coached the C’s in the late 1970s. “Basically, he’d change that whole group up, and we’d get back in many a game. … That’s a good role to play if you’ve got that kind of bench, and certainly Rivers has that kind of bench, and he’s clearly not afraid to use it.”
Sanders said that because the Celtics and Lakers starters match up so evenly, the bench should decide the series. “Boston has a much deeper bench,” he said. “That’s the only edge that they have.”
As for the referees, Sanders said complaining isn’t worth the players’ time and focus. “Forget about the referees,” he advised. “They have a job to do, but you’d better do yours.”
Sanders will be on hand Monday night at TD Garden for The Tradition, the New England Sports Museum’s annual event honoring area sports legends. He will be there to help present former teammate Jo Jo White with the basketball legacy award.
|Dr. J rooting for ‘Eastern Conference,’ not Celtics||06.11.10 at 12:21 pm ET|
Julius Erving, who won an NBA championship with the 76ers in 1983 and was involved in numerous battles against the Celtics, was in the stands at Thursday’s NBA finals Game 4 at TD Garden, sitting with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the winner of an online contest.
Erving said he is begrudgingly pulling for Boston to win, as he did when the Celtics and Lakers met three times in the 1980s.
“I am an Eastern Conference guy. I’m always pretty loyal, cheer for the conference,” Erving told The Associated Press, adding: “It’s hard to root for Boston. I root for the conference. Rooting for Boston, that’s asking a little much, especially in public.”
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