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Dr. J rooting for ‘Eastern Conference,’ not Celtics 06.11.10 at 12:21 pm ET
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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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Legler on D&C: Nate’s energy priceless 06.11.10 at 9:44 am ET
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Tim Legler

Tim Legler

ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the NBA finals, following the Celtics’ Game 4 win Thursday night. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“Last night was the quintessential Celtics defense that we’ve come to know out of this team for the last three years.” Legler said, noting that the officials helped the C’s by letting them play.

Legler said Nate Robinson’s performance off the bench makes him wonder even more why the former Knick hasn’t seen more playing time. “I’ve kind of been scratching my head, going back about a month, as to why he wasn’t regularly in the rotation down the stretch of the season and in the postseason,” Legler said.

“One thing I love about Nate Robinson, he never thinks the stage is too big,” Legler added. “He believes every time he’s on the court he’s the best player on the floor. I have a lot of respect for guys that don’t care about the moment, that can come in — sit there for a month, the way he did in the Orlando series and come in and give you 13 points in an important game the way he did in that series — and then to come in last night on that stage. He just plays like, ‘I belong here. This is my game.’ … I just don’t think you can put a price tag on the energy that that guy provides.”

Legler, who stands by his prediction of Celtics in six, said if the C’s can finally put together a balanced offensive night, the Lakers will be in trouble. “I think offensively they’ve been so out of sync and so far from where they can be,” he said. “Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and [Rajon] Rondo — they haven’t come close to playing well on the same night yet. And once they do, the Lakers I just don’t think can beat this team.”

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NBA tabs Eddie F. Rush to referee Game 4 06.10.10 at 9:17 am ET
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Referee Eddie F. Rush talks over a call with Celtics coach Doc Rivers during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando. (AP)

Referee Eddie F. Rush talks over a call with Celtics coach Doc Rivers during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando. (AP)

The officials for Game 4 of the NBA finals were announced Thursday morning, and the trio includes a referee Celtics fans won’t be happy to see. Eddie F. Rush, who ejected Kendrick Perkins from the Eastern Conference finals Game 5 on a technical foul that later was rescinded by the league, will be on the floor along with Scott Foster and Greg Willard.

However, according to NBAstuffer.com, Celtics fans shouldn’t be too upset about Rush taking the floor in Boston. The site’s stats indicate that home teams have won nine of the 10 times Rush has officiated in the 2010 postseason. He calls fouls on the road team 55 percent of the time.

Rush officiated two games in the 2008 finals between the Celtics and Lakers: Games 1 and 5. Both were played in Boston, and both resulted in Celtics wins.

Greg Willard and Scott Foster have identical stats that are much more even. Home teams have won 64 percent of their games (both have reffed 11 times), and their foul calls are an almost even split: 51 percent on players on road teams, 49 percent on home teams.

Foster is the referee Tim Donaghy called 134 times in a seven-month stretch during the 2006-07 season, which raised suspicion as that was during the time Donaghy was gambling on games. Foster was not charged with any wrongdoing. He refereed two games in the 2008 NBA finals, Game 1 (a Celtics win) and Game 5 (a C’s road loss).

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Rappers push Celtics street anthem 06.08.10 at 4:25 pm ET
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Cambridge-based rap group N.B.S. (Natural Born Spitters) has released a Celtics street anthem titled “Who Are We (The Celtics)” that features highlights of the C’s run at Banner 18.

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Donaghy on D&C: Refs will be aggressive 06.08.10 at 11:11 am ET
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Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to talk about the NBA finals. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Donaghy was asked what we should expect from Dan Crawford, Bill Kennedy and Bennett Salvatore in Tuesday night’s Game 3. “I think it brings some aggressive refereeing to get some of these illegal screens and some of this matchup trouble cleaned up with some aggressive whistles,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a lot of illegal screens called, where Ray Allen was getting free in Los Angeles a lot, some of the the big guys setting some moving picks, I think you’re going to see those cleaned up early. And I also think you’re going to see a lot of fouls on Allen and [Derek] Fisher to get that matchup cleaned up early.”

Donaghy said Kobe Bryant’s prediction that he won’t get five fouls again is an accurate one. “I don’t think you’re going to see him in foul trouble again for a long, long time,” Donaghy said.

Asked whether the league wants to make sure there are no fights in this series, Donaghy said that’s clearly the officials’ strategy. “Absolutely,” he said. “Any time you’re involved in a fight in an NBA game, it causes an enormous amount of controvery and trouble. On the global stage of the NBA finals, you certainly don’t want players going at it. I think that’s why you’ve seen so many fouls recently and trying to get rid of the physical play to avoid that as much as possible.”

Donaghy did not offer a prediction on Tuesday’s game, but he said it’s obvious the NBA would prefer that the series does not end in Boston. “What’s good for the league is that this gets back to Los Angeles,” he said. “With that said, if Los Angeles can win one game out of these three, I think that’s what good for the league.

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Pierce to LA fans: ‘We ain’t coming back’ 06.07.10 at 6:35 am ET
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Lakers center Pau Gasol made some comments about Kevin Garnett over the weekend that some people tried to turn into inspiration for the Celtics. Now it’s Paul Pierce‘s turn for some locker room bulletin board material. During the closing seconds of the C’s Game 2 win Sunday night, as Pierce helped up teammate Kendrick Perkins, he appeared to say, “We ain’t coming back [to LA].” If the Celtics were to win (or, for that matter, lose) the next three games in Boston, the series would be over without the Lakers hosting another game.

It should be noted that after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando, Pierce made a similar proclamation, saying “See y’all next year,” as he walked to the locker room, after an interview with ESPN sideline reporter Doris Burke in which he said, “We’re coming home to close it out.” That proved to be inaccurate, as the Magic pushed the series to six games.

Here’s the clip of the Sunday night comment, which became a hot topic overnight on message boards across the country.

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Snoop Dogg bets Mark Wahlberg on Celtics-Lakers 06.04.10 at 1:09 pm ET
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Actor Mark Wahlberg, a Boston native, is a big Celtics fan (although probably not as big as his brother Donnie, who was a guest of The Big Show Thursday at the Staples Center). Mark accepted a bet from legendary rapper (and Los Angeles-area native) Snoop Dogg on the NBA finals. The loser will donate $20,000 to the winner’s favorite charity. Here’s Snoop Dogg talking about the bet.

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