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NBA finals a ratings bonanza 06.22.10 at 1:10 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals,
Rivers on D&C: ‘Leaning’ one way about future 06.21.10 at 11:12 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show for his final weekly visit of the 2009-10 season. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

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.”

Read More: Celtics, Dennis & Callahan, Doc Rivers,
Lakers emphasize green not their color 06.20.10 at 11:20 pm ET
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After defeating the Celtics to win the 2010 NBA championship, Kobe Bryant admitted he had downplayed the significance of beating the Lakers’€™ storied rival during the finals series.

‘€œI was just lying to you guys,’€ he said after Game 7. ‘€œWhen you’re in the moment you have to suppress that because if you get caught up in the hype of it all, you don’t really play your best basketball.’€

Now that Bryant and the Lakers have won the trophy, there is no hiding his feelings.

The Lakers recently appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in celebration of their victory. When asked if he talks to or is friendly with any of the Celtics, Bryant quickly replied: ‘€œNo.’€

Derek Fisher added, ‘€œIt’€™s just different. If you’€™re a Laker, it’€™s really hard to like anything green. Period.’€

See the clip below at the 2:04 mark.

Read More: Celtics, Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lakers
Big Baby: Game 7 makes for long summer 06.18.10 at 7:50 am ET
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LOS ANGELES — Was the tank on empty? It was the same question asked after Game 7 against Orlando in 2009. And it’s a question that could linger with the Celtics all summer long after dropping the seventh and decisive game to the Lakers Thursday night at Staples Center.

The Celtics had built leads of 23-14 after one quarter, 40-34 at halftime and 57-53 going into the final period.

But the Celtics were outscored 30-22. And it’s the 30 points that most Celtics pointed to afterward as the real reason for the loss.

“Close is not enough,” summed up Glen Davis. “You’ve got to win it. This is the way it is. Someone else has to lose and it sucks. It’s how you look at it. It’s how you bounce back. I don’t know what’s going on with who’s coming back [next season]. But I’ll be ready when training camp comes around.”

Davis did acknowledge the play of one Laker in particular – Ron Artest. The forward burned the Celtics in Game 7 for 20 points, including a dagger of a 3 with just over a minute left that put the Lakers up six. He also ripped the ball from Davis’ own hands on a loose ball rebound with just under two minutes remaining and the Celtics down one possession.

“Artest was the difference in the game,” Davis said. “He wanted it. He took it from us.”

In the end, like everyone else in green, the next three months could be very difficult to stomach.

“It’s going to be a a long summer because of this. But, like I said, somebody has to lose and you have to take the approach in a positive way and look forward to next year.”

Read More: Celtics, Game 7, Glen Davis, Lakers
TA: Hard to come to grips at 7:24 am ET
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LOS ANGELES — No one took Thursday night’s loss harder than Tony Allen.

He was walking out of the Celtics dressing room and took a right-hand turn before bravely making a U-turn and agreeing to meet with reporters outside. He was the first Celtic player to try and express what had just happened.

Clearly heart-broken, he tried to come to grips with losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals, 83-79, as the Celtics fell short in their bid to win title No. 18. The Lakers won their 16th by rallying in the fourth quarter, outscoring Boston, 30-22.

“Definitely a tough one to swallow,” Allen began. “What I am going to say is I love this group of guys. It’s just a really emotional time for me. Just a tough one to swallow right here.”

Allen admitted that what makes this particularly hard to deal with is the uncertainty regarding veterans like Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace and head coach Doc Rivers.

“I definitely want to see this group back but who knows,” Allen continued. “It’s not that surprising. We fought hard to get here it’s just a real unfortunate Game 7 for us to lose.

“I definitely want to see Doc back. I don’t know. It’s tough right now.”

With those words, Allen became choked up and was excused by the group of reporters.

Read More: Celtics, Game 7, Lakers, NBA Finals
Ray: ‘One of the hardest feelings of my lifetime’ at 2:40 am ET
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LOS ANGELES — Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen called the Game 7 loss to the Lakers Thursday night “one of the hardest feelings” of his life after the Lakers rallied for an 83-79 win over the Celtics at Staples Center, the first time in five tries the Lakers have beaten Boston in a Game 7.

Allen, in what could be his final game as a Celtic, finished with 13 points on 3-for-14 shooting.

“It’s disappointing,” Allen began. “This is probably one of the hardest feelings I’ve felt in my lifetime. We’re scratching and clawing, trying to do everything we could to pull this one out. That’s probably what hurt the most – just having the opportunity to win down the stretch. It didn’t go our way.”

And the mood in the locker room after what could be the final game together for these particular group of Celtics?

“Tears, just a lot of tears,” Allen said.

And would he return?

“It’s hard to think about playing,” he said. “You’ve got guys that are veteran players that come in and do their job every night. You know, we’re here for a reason. It’s tough to see it end this way.

“I’m extremely proud,” Allen continued. “We’re a group of guys that stay within ourselves and do what we’re capable of. We fought the good fight all the time. When people didn’t believe in us, we stayed true to ourselves and made sure we came in and did our jobs every day. We don’t win this final game, but we still have a lot to hold our heads high for.”

Read More: Celtics, Game 7, Lakers, NBA Finals
5 Things that Went Wrong in Game 7 at 12:07 am ET
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The Celtics lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday night, 83-79, falling short of their 18th championship. Here are five things that went wrong in the deciding game. (Click here for a recap of the Celtics’ loss.)

1. The Celtics gave it away - The Celtics were in control. They had the momentum and the confidence to get it done ‘€¦ before they let it all slip away. The Celtics led by 10 with seven minutes to go in the third quarter and had taken away the Lakers biggest weapon. But they began to miss shots and the Lakers were there to grab the rebounds. The C’€™s scored just three points in the final four minutes of the quarter and only led by four going into the final 12 minutes. The Lakers immediately got within two points seconds into the fourth, while the Celtics did not score for nearly three minutes. Bryant made three free throws to cut the Celtics advantage to one, and banked another two minutes later to give the Lakers the lead. Bryant scored four consecutive points to pull the Lakers ahead by four with 5:22 left, and they never looked back. The Celtics played catch up for the rest of the game as Bryant, Ron Artest, and Pau Gasol made critical baskets.

2. Kobe Bryant - The Celtics have battled past superstars the entire postseason, each time prevailing with team basketball. But after defeating Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard, they could not overcome the individual performance of Kobe Bryant. The Celtics held Bryant to just eight points (3-14 FG) in 22 minutes in the first half. When Bryant began to find his rhythm, though, the C’€™s failed to find an answer. Bryant scored 15 points in the second half, including four straight to tie the game and give the Lakers the lead with less than six minutes left. He finished the night with 23 points. It wasn’€™t his best offensive performance, but he made the shots when it counted.

3. Rebounding – The Celtics have said the entire series that the team that wins the rebounding war wins the game. On Thursday, they won neither. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics, 53-40, including 23 offensive boards. This can’€™t be pinned on the injury of Kendrick Perkins, either. He alone doesn’€™t account for a 13-rebound differential. The Celtics had players capable of rebounding, but in the end, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant combined for 33 boards while only Paul Pierce rebounded in double-digits for the C’s. Kevin Garnett, who the Celtics desperately needed defensively, grabbed just three rebounds.

4. Ray Allen - His monumental 3-point performance is all but forgotten after Ray Allen’€™s offensive struggles continued through Game 7. Allen shot just 3-for-14 from the field and scored 13 points. While he deserves credit for playing tough D on Bryant, his lack of production at the basket hurt the Celtics in a situation where they needed everyone scoring at full potential.

5. They Played Lakers Ball - The Celtics dominated the first half by feeding off their fundamentals of tough defense and team basketball. In the second half, however, it became showtime for Bryant and the Lakers. The Celtics failed to put together productive offensive possessions, rushed shots, and attempted forced baskets. In the end, they were forced to put the Lakers at the line, where they were outscored 25-15. They C’s began the season by beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland with Celtics basketball, and ended it by losing to the Lakers in Los Angeles by falling victim to their opponent’s game.

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
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