Celtics Continue Upward Trend of Viewers for CSN

The Comcast SportsNet Game 5 telecast of the Celtics/Hawks first round playoff series earned a season high 7.7 rating and reached an estimated 354,000 households in New England. Game 5 achieved an 8.0 rating with men (25-54) and was the second most watched program by men trailing only American Idol. Celtics-Hawks Round 1 is averaging a 6.2 rating through the first five telecasts, up 82 percent over the regular season.

Here are some notes and quotes from TNT’s coverage of the game last night:

Announcers: Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello, Cheryl Miller reporting.

Fratello on the Celtics closely guarding Hawks guard Joe Johnson at the start of the game: “You see the extra attention that the Celtics are paying to Joe Johnson, last game the Celtics opened up with a 16-3 run, (with) Atlanta finishing the quarter on a 20-3 run. You hear over and over again, the NBA is a game of runs, there is some truth to that.”

TNT’s Inside Trax showed Hawks coach Mike Woodson giving a pre-game speech to the Hawks.

Woodson on the Hawks being 14 wins away from winning the NBA Championship: “Watching Phil Jackson talking about the Lakers and how he puts up every year 16 wins…we’re 14 wins away from winning the NBA. If that doesn’t drive you, there’s something crazy. And this supposed to be the best team in basketball. Let’s go try to get us some wins.”

Fratello on the skirmish between Hawks center Zaza Pachulia and Celtics forward Kevin Garnett: “It was maybe the biggest play of the game for the Atlanta Hawks because the message they sent was ‘we’re tired of getting beat up, we’re not going to let you push us around, we’re going to stand nose to nose’.”

TNT’s Inside Trax showed Celtics coach Doc Rivers talking to his team during a timeout.

Rivers talking to the Celtics huddle at a timeout: “Don’t get caught up in just your guy, you’re playing great, you’re playing great, you’re playing aggressive but it’s the little things with the team defense.”

Stockton on the positive feedback Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave in the huddle: “In Games #1 and #2 there were always things he didn’t like, but he’s saying they’re playing great.

Fratello: “A coach knows when to build a team up and when it’s time to tear it down a little and start over again. Doc Rivers, he’s trying to give them confidence again. He knows it’s a short series, there’s a lot of pressure on them he’s trying to get this team playing loose and understand that it starts with defense.”

Pierce on keeping the Hawks out of transition in the first half: “That’s the key, you’ve got to keep these young guys with a lot of energy out of transition because they can get to flying and get to jumping and get excited and get confident. So we took care of that part, got them in half court and we’re in business.”

Halftime

Kenny Smith on Celtics guard Sam Cassell playing more aggressively in Game #5 to prove himself: “I know he doesn’t want me to say this, but I’m going to bring it out. I talked to Sam today and he was a little disappointed that down the stretch (the Celtics) didn’t go to him. I told him ‘they didn’t bring you here for the first round, they brought you here for past the first round in those late playoff games against Detroit and everyone else.’ He was like, ‘I’m coming out aggressive today. Because I just want him to know what he has in here.’ (Sam Cassell) takes you to spots, it doesn’t matter how long you are, how quick you are, how good you are, how high you can jump, he runs the spots in the floor and he takes you to the spots.”

Charles Barkley on the Celtics needing Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to step up their game: “It’s time for Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to step up. They are terrific players, but neither one of them have had a breakout game, I see Paul is really being aggressive, but him and Ray Allen have got to step up. KG has been the man on that team all season, but those two guys are more accomplished offensively than Kevin Garnett, they need to step up especially at home.”

Barkley on the NBA issuing no suspensions for Celtics center Kendrick Perkins and Hawks forward Marvin Williams stepping onto the court during a skirmish in Game #4 against the Hawks: “I applaud the NBA for not suspending these guys, it’s a bull rule. You only suspend guys if they escalate the situation; they were wrong for suspending those guys for the Suns last year. It’s a stupid rule and they need to change the rule.”

Fratello on the leadership of Celtics forward Kevin Garnett: “It’s great when you have a leader that people will follow and they follow (Garnett) because he’s an unselfish basketball player, he’s a guy who has high energy night in and night out.”

Fratello on Celtics guard Sam Cassell getting open looks: “Most of Cassell’s looks have been way too easy, there’s no defender within three or four feet in front of him and he’s winding up getting shots that he’s knocking down like he’s in practice.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Celtics forward Kevin Garnett after the Celtics win over the Hawks.

Garnett on what they’ve learned in their two losses against Atlanta: “Composure, continuing to keep the intensity very high, you see the difference in intensity tonight. We’ve got to continue this pressure when we go to Atlanta.”

Garnett on playing Celtic basketball: “Celtic basketball is sharing the ball and sharing yourself on both sides of the court. Tonight defensively we were fine, offensively we can get better, but I’m sure Doc will have us watch tape.”