Follow Ups

A few follow-up thoughts on last night’s game…

Mike Breen is ridiculous. I have rarely seen such man-love from an announcer for a player as he unfailingly displays for Kobe Bryant. He’s approaching Tim McCarver/Derek Jeter “calm eyes” territory here. A routine drive and layup from Bryant elicits an over-the-top “WWW-hah-hah-hah-OOWWW – a SPECTACULAR drive from Kobe” from Breen – even as the Lakers are in the process of coughing up the 24 point lead.

Coming back from a commercial break at a key point of the game, ABC was determined to make get thoughts from Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson on camera before turning their attention to the game. The only problem was that the game had started, and Van Gundy could be seen pointing at the court, twice, in an effort to get the cameras focused on the game and not them.

Ray Allen has gotten some love on the radio and TV commentary, but I was surprised there were no feature stories on him in the papers this morning. He played all 48 minutes, and because the Celtics played a good chunk of the game without a true point guard his ball handling was crucial. He scored 19 points, had 9 rebounds and 3 steals. It was the latest and perhaps greatest effort in an immense series from Allen.

The Comcast SportsNet postgame was very good once again, with Gary Tanguay, Donny Marshall, Mike Gorman and Greg Dickerson all in Los Angeles, and Michael Felger, Tom Heinsohn and Ryen Russillo back here in studio. Even Felger could recognize a historic NBA performance when he saw it.

They’ve been solid all postseason and I’ve failed to give them a proper plug, but if you get a chance go over today and download the latest Celtics Stuff Live podcast from after last night’s game.

Bill Simmons also did a running diary of last night’s game.

I can watch this all day long:

 

Celtics Stun Lakers With Historic Comeback

Admit it. Your bed was calling you last night in the second or third quarter with the Lakers running out to a 20+ point lead, and appearing to hit everything. When Lamar Odom is wagging his tongue at you after made baskets, you know things aren’t going well.

But the Celtics never quit. They ended the third quarter on a 21-3 run to pull to within two points. The fourth quarter started, and you wondered if they would ever be able to get over the hump. Finally, an Eddie House jumper game them the lead, and they never looked back, pulling off a historic 97-91 win at the Staples Center to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. If you stayed in front of the TV the whole time, your dedication was rewarded.

Marc J. Spears thrilled with the win, but well aware that there is still work to do. Mark Murphy has the Celtics with a comeback that you had to see to believe. Kevin McNamara has this group of Celtics writing a new, exciting chapter in the storied franchise’s history last night. Dan Shaughnessy has the front page story in the Globe. Bill Doyle has the Celtics stealing one and moving one step closer to clinching. Jeff Howe has the Celtics now just a game away.

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press says that Red would’ve been proud of this one. Chad Finn had another live blog last night.

Bob Ryan, who has seen plenty in his 40-plus years watching the Celtics, says that he has finally seen it all after last night. Another old-timer, Steve Buckley immediately labels this one as one of the greatest games in Boston sports history. Bill Burt has these Celtics making some history of their own last night. Bill Reynolds says that last night was basketball magic at the Staples Center. Steve Bulpett has the Celtics overcoming their brutal start to register a historic comeback for the ages.

Gary Dzen has Paul Pierce speaking up at halftime and taking Kobe Bryant on defense for the second half. Frank Dell’Apa has James Posey spearheading the comeback with his leadership, not to mention his deadly three-point shooting. Bulpett has more on Posey and his big plays in crunch time last night. Jessica Camerato has the Finals where amazing happens.

Ryan has a look at Eddie House, who has always remained ready to play in these playoffs, even when the DNP’s were piling up. John Tomase also has a piece on House, who stayed ready and was money in the clutch. Christopher L. Gasper has a look at the key third quarter, which got things turned around for the Celtics. McNamara has Ray Allen’s crossover proving to be deadly for the Lakers.

Bulpett has Rivers plugging his assistant coaches for head coaching jobs around the league. Buckley has owner Wyc Grousbeck racking up the frequent flyer miles as he balances family commitments with the Celtics title run. Howe has Rivers embracing Boston’s basketball legends.

Shira Springer has NBA commissioner David Stern addressing the fallout of the Tim Donaghy scandal last night. Reynolds has Donaghy as the smoking gun in this scandal for Stern and the NBA. I continued to be amazed at the contrasting styles of Stern and Roger Goodell.

Spears’ Courtside chatter feature has Spike Lee rooting for the Lakers, and another Ainge joining the Celtics. Laura Crimaldi notes that Paul Pierce’s history with the green and white goes back a long time.

Gasper’s notebook has a look at the injury to Kendrick Perkins, who was forced to leave the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. Murphy’s notebook has the Lakers using the Red Sox as a rallying cry after last night’s game. McNamara’s notebook has the Celtics glad for an extra day of rest this weekend. Doyle’s notebook has an update on Rajon Rondo’s ankle.

Lakers

Jeff Jacobs says that the Lakers are finished after this one. Shira Springer has the Lakers determined to stage a comeback of their own in this series. Tony Massarotti has the Lakers with no answers for this one, and Kobe Bryant ready to hit the bottle at the end. McNamara has Lamar Odom with a Rhode Island connection in his corner for this series.

Check out the coverage from LA in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register.

Springer’s notebook has Magic Johnson glad to have the Lakers and Celtics back on the biggest stage.

Red Sox

The Red Sox wrapped up the homestand with a 9-2 win over the Orioles. Mike Lowell had a grand slam, Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew hit home runs, and Jon Lester picked up his fifth win of the season.

Gordon Edes has the Sox having a blast at Fenway last night. Michael Silverman says that the Sox are likely reluctant to leave the comforts of home after this one. Joe McDonald says that the good times roll on at Fenway Park. Paul Doyle has Lowell leading the attack last night. Joe Haggerty has the Sox bats not letting the bullpen worry about this one. Paul Jarvey has the Sox having to leave the comfort of Fenway after this one.

Monique Walker has Lowell making the Orioles pay for intentionally walking Manny Ramirez to load the bases to face him. Karen Guregian has the Sox offense keeping pace without David Ortiz, but now facing a tougher test without the DH in interleague play. Sean McAdam says that after cleaning up at home, the Red Sox will now look to show some mettle on the road.

Guregian also has Kevin Youkilis going home to Cincinnati this weekend to face his hometown Reds for the first time. Alex Speier says that it will be a bittersweet homecoming for Youkilis. Mike Fine has Youkilis giving his blessing to ex-Red Sean Casey getting the start at first base tonight.

Amalie Benjamin has a look down at the minors, where Clay Buchholz is angling for a return to the show. Mike Szostak has Jed Lowrie thriving with the PawSox. Lenny Megliola has a number of observations from a night at the ballpark.

Edes’ notebook has Julio Lugo picking up his first RBI in 18 games last night. The Herald notebook has Jonathan Papelbon issuing a warning to the Tampa Bay Rays for the next time the teams face off. In the Projo notebook, Terry Francona is not a fan of interleague play. Doyle’s notebook has more on Francona’s distaste for the format. Bob Stern’s notebook has Casey happy to be visiting Cincinnati this weekend. Jarvey’s notebook has a number of items from last night.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has this weekend’s US Open set up for prime viewing with the West coast location.

David Scott has The Sporting News getting ready for a relaunch.

 

Approval Ratings – Tony Massarotti

Tony Massarotti, come on down…

Massarotti has been with the Herald since 1989, as he joined the paper fresh from Tufts University. He was the Massachusetts Winner of the 2001 National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Sportswriter of the Year award.

He’s been covering the Red Sox since 1994, but in recent years has moved into more of a general columnist role. With a few exceptions, his columns on sports outside of baseball usually tend to be on the negative side, and his recent column attacking Patriots fans alienated many readers.

He is highly visible on the Boston sports media scene, appearing on WEEI, Comcast SportsNet, NESN and WHDH TV.

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Tony Massarotti Approval Ratings
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We Interupt This NBA Finals…

…to bring you this link to the ESPN Ombudsman’s response to the network’s over-the-top coverage of Spygate.

Le Anne Schreiber pulls no punches in analyzing her employer’s coverage of the Patriots taping scandal. The column touches on many of the gripes that New England fans have had about the sensationalistic and speculative coverage dedicated to the episode.

Commenting on the statements made by Mark Schlereth and Cris Carter following the release of the tapes turned in by Matt Walsh, Schreiber notes:

For an hour and 15 minutes preceding the Goodell news conference, this SportsCenter Special was a runaway train of inflammatory speculation that had Schlereth and Carter placing asterisks on all the Patriots’ Super Bowl wins under Belichick.

Several times, Wingo tried to remind viewers this was simply the analysts’ personal opinion, but Schlereth resisted the notion that his opinion was debatable. Nothing short of a flashing red “Speculation” sign filling half the screen for a full 75 minutes would have had any chance of counteracting the effect Schlereth and Carter were having.

She has a quote from former Boston Globe sports editor Vince Doria on the incident:

When I described the Spygate Special to Vince Doria, ESPN senior vice president and director of news, as a runaway train of one-sided speculation, he said, “I can’t tell you your characterization is incorrect. That is just the nature of us sometime, in an unscripted, we-don’t-know-how-substantive-the-news-is-going-to-be, we-don’t-know-when-the-news-is-coming situation. It is hard in our format to come in and out.”

Apparently ESPN had actually made an internal effort to resist putting more speculation out there, but in the end they simply couldn’t resist. This section is interesting:

“What we told columnists,” said Patrick Stiegman, ESPN.com vice president and executive editor, “was, ‘Don’t jump to any conclusions that we cannot support with facts.’ We wanted to make sure all commentary was based on new information, not new speculation.”

And new information was hard to find.

“There was a lot of rumor and innuendo coming into us,” Stiegman said, “and we were filtering that through the enterprise unit, and through [reporter] Mike Fish, who spent a lot of time reporting on things that didn’t pan out. There wasn’t much new to report after the Super Bowl beyond the status of Matt Walsh’s negotiations with the league and whatever [Senator Arlen] Specter was saying.”

You might recall that Mike Fish was one of the reporters I was most critical of in my post Why Spygate Is The Most Disgraceful Episode In Recent Sports Media History, and the fact that he could provide us absolutely no new information throughout the entire episode. Now we have one of the network executives telling us that Fish “spent a lot of time reporting on things that didn’t pan out.”

It’s nice to have a little validation for what most New England observers felt was ridiculously one-sided coverage by ESPN of the entire affair.

(Approval ratings scheduled for 1:00pm)

Game Three Highest Viewed In Series for ABC

From ABC/ESPN

Tuesday night’s Game 3 of the best-of-seven NBA Finals on ABC – the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics – was the most-viewed in the series to date, averaging 14,509,000 viewers (P2+), an increase of 53 percent compared to last year (9,492,000 viewers for Cleveland at San Antonio, Game 3). The Lakers/Celtics game averaged 10,338,000 households, an increase of 45 percent over 7,147,000 households in 2007, and a 9.2 rating, up 44 percent over last year’s 6.4 rating. The Lakers won the game 87-81, with the Celtics now leading the series 2-1.

Through three broadcasts, the 2008 NBA Finals are averaging 13,801,000 viewers, up 52 percent over last year’s 9,078,000 viewers. The Lakers/Celtics series is averaging 9,901,000 households, an increase of 46 percent, and an 8.8 rating, up 44 percent over last year’s 6.1 rating.

For the third consecutive broadcast, the NBA Finals led ABC to “win the night” among all television networks. The NBA Finals averaged more homes and viewers than any other show, with ABC winning primetime overall among all networks. The network marked its highest-rated Tuesday since January 2006 among men 18-34 and since June 2006 among men 18-49 and 25-54.

The Lakers/Celtics broadcast was the network’s highest-rated and most-viewed NBA Finals Game 3 since Lakers/Detroit Pistons in 2004 (10.5 rating; 11,412,000 households; 16,213,000 viewers).

Among key demos, the NBA led the competition among (demo impressions in parenthesis):

Men 18-34 (2,737,000) Adults 18-34 (4,226,000)
Men 18-49 (5,060,000) Adults 19-49 (7,887,000)
Men 25-54 (4,893,000) Adults 25-54 (7,637,000)

Viewership peaked in the 11 p.m. to midnight ET (8-9 p.m. PT) hour. Following are quarter-hour household rating details:

Broadcast quarter-hours (all times ET) HH Rating

9:04-9:15 p.m. 6.4
9:15-9:30 p.m. 7.5
9:30-9:45 p.m. 8.2
9:45-10 p.m. 8.7
10-10:15 p.m. 9.4
10:15-10:30 p.m. 8.1
10:30-10:45 p.m. 8.3
10:45-11 p.m. 9.5
11-11:15 p.m. 10.2
11:15-11:30 p.m. 11.0
11:30-11:45 p.m. 11.3
11:45 p.m.-12 a.m. 10.8

Additionally, the ESPN.com NBA section generated nearly 5.6 million page views – an increase of 67 percent over the comparable day last year. The NBA section is averaging five million page views through Game 3, up 79 percent over 2007.

Colon Cleanses Sox Woes

With all the injuries the Red Sox have suffered to starting pitching this season, the signing of Bartolo Colon in spring training has proven to be a wise investment. The Sox beat the Orioles 6-3 last night behind the burly right hander.

Jeff Horrigan has Colon improving to 4-1 on the season and picking up career win number 150 last night. Amalie Benjamin has more on another strong outing from Colon. Bob Stern says that Colon may have lost some of his fastball, but has retained plenty of savvy and guile. Joe Haggerty has the Sox jumping on the Orioles early and often last night. Paul Jarvey has Colon picking up the Sox once again. Jeff Goldberg has the bargain basement signing of Colon proving huge once again. Joe McDonald wraps up the game stories with more on Colon’s outing.

Gordon Edes has the Sox again being successful when they score first. Karen Guregian has Kevin Youkilis revealing that other teammates have asked him to tone down his frustration displays in the dugout following unsuccessful at-bats. (Something Gerry Callahan insists would never happen.) Jon Couture examines the ugly path to first place that the Sox have taken this season. Sean McAdam looks at how giving their starting pitchers time to heal and rest now could pay big dividends later in the year for the Sox.

Alex Speier has a look at the Red Sox cautious approach to their starting pitchers. Guregian has a look at the recent hot streak of J.D. Drew, who has helped carry the Red Sox offense in the absence of David Ortiz. Lenny Megliola has more on another strong outing from Colon last night. Steven Krasner looks at how Colon mixed up his pitches last night.

John C. Drake has the news that the Fenway Park food stands failed 20 health code violations on opening day this season. Christopher Baxter has David Ortiz becoming a United States Citizen.

Benjamin’s notebook has Coco Crisp set to appeal his suspension. Horrigan’s notebook says that Manny Ramirez may not be able to play the outfield in Cincinnati this weekend, meaning he would not start the games in the NL park. Stern’s notebook has Daisuke Matsuzaka’s rehab picking up. Couture’s notebook has more on Dice-K’s rehab. Jarvey’s notebook has more on Ortiz becoming a US citizen. Goldberg’s notebook also looks at Papi taking the oath. The Projo notebook has Matsuzaka set for a rehab start with Pawtucket on Monday.

Celtics

Mark Murphy says that getting rest might be the most important thing for the Celtics right now. Dan Shaughnessy says that it is time for Kevin Garnett to step up. Jeff Howe wonder what’s wrong with Garnett. Frank Dell’Apa has Kendrick Perkins stating that the Celtics need to dominate the inside more, on both ends of the floor.

Steve Bulpett asserts that it has become clear that the Celtics are the better team in this finals, but they need to go out and get the job done in order to get banner 17. Christopher L. Gasper has Rajon Rondo expecting to play in tonight’s game four. You can read more from Rondo himself on his Yardbarker blog. Bill Doyle wonders if the entire series could turn on Rondo’s ankle. Steve Buckley examines the contrast in delivery between Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers. Bulpett has Eddie House welcoming the chance to play more this evening.

Bob Ryan says that David Stern needs to fully address the allegations made by disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy about the games he claimed were fixed at the orders of the league. Jeff Jacobs says that it is time for this Celtics/Lakers NBA Finals to live up to all the hype. Kevin McNamara examines the reasons for Ray Allen’s fastidious preparation routine for each game.

Jessica Heslam has a look at ESPN sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, who has a soft spot for Kevin Garnett, and who has been getting noticed with her dress as much as her work in the NBA Finals.

Buddy Thomas is hoping for the best for former Durfee star and Celtics backup Chris Herren, who had another drug related incident last week.

Shira Springer has Lamar Odom determined to avoid foul trouble tonight and to be much more of a factor in the game. Buckley has Kobe Bryant talking back at Curt Schilling and making a Bill Belichick reference. Laura Crimaldi has former Celtic Rick Fox rooting hard for his other former team, the Lakers.

Check out the coverage from LA in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register.

Murphy’s notebook has Rondo’s status up in the air for tonight’s game. Gasper’s notebook has Doc prescribing rest for his players yesterday. Springer’s notebook has Bryant going after Schilling for his blog entry. Doyle’s notebook has more from Bryant on Schilling.

 

Approval Ratings – Donny Marshall

Donny Marshall Today we’re looking at Comcast SportsNet Celtics analyst Donny Marshall.

After a playing career at UConn and a five year stint in the NBA, Marshall is now in his second season at CSN.

Marshall is the primary studio analyst alongside Gary Tanguay on the pregame, halftime and postgame shows, and also traveled with the team on several of their longer road trips this season, serving as the in-game analyst filling in for Tommy Heinsohn alongside Mike Gorman.

Marshall also serves as co-host of the Celtics Now weekly magazine show with Laura Behnke.

Marshall’s previous TV experience includes color commentary on ESPN NCAA telecasts and appearances on Hartford area network affiliates.

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Donny Marshall Approval Ratings
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As Scripted, Lakers Take Game Three

Officials making many more calls in favor of the Lakers? Check.

Kobe Bryant living at the free throw line? Check.

Bryant having a HUGE night? Check.

Lakers taking game three so that there is no possibility of a sweep (and the low ratings and revenues that come with it)? Check.

Despite all of that, the Celtics still could’ve won this one. They had a chance to tie with just over two minutes to go, but Eddie House missed a pull up jumper. On the other end Sasha Vujacic nailed a wide open three to put the Lakers up five, and that was pretty much the ballgame.

Marc J. Spears has the Lakers taking advantage of the poor-shooting Celtics. Mark Murphy has Paul Pierce and most of the Celtics simply unable to find the range last night. Kevin McNamara has the Celtics defense showing too many holes last night. Jeff Howe has the Lakers finally showing an answer to the Celtics defense. Bill Doyle has poor performances by Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and a big performance from Kobe too much for the Celtics to overcome.

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press has the Celtics giving themselves permission to lose last night.

Bob Ryan examines a stinkbomb from the Celtics last night. Bill Burt says that Phil Jackson won this one with his game two whining. Steve Bulpett has Paul Pierce floundering in front of his home town crowd. Bill Reynold says that it is high time that Doc Rivers gets his due for the coaching job he’s done thus far this season.

Jeff Jacobs has the NBA officiating being called into question after another WWE-like scripted performance. Dan Shaughnessy says that the officials were not the deciding factor last night. Tony Massarotti says that no one was surprised that the calls went the Lakers way last night. John Tomase talks to Scott Pollard, who was one of the two Sacramento Kings who fouled out of game six of the 2002 Western Conference Finals – an act that Tim Donaghy alleges was part of a deliberate act by the league to extend the series. Shira Springer has NBA commissioner David Stern denying the allegations of former referee Donaghy that playoff games were fixed in the past. McNamara has Doc Rivers declining to blame the officials for last night’s loss.

Gary Dzen looks at Ray Allen’s big night, as the Celtics guard scored 25 points to lead the time while also playing defense on Kobe. Tomase notes that at least one of the Big Three showed up last night. We know about Pierce’s ties to LA, Howe points out that Allen also has Southern California ties. Steve Buckley checks in with Bill Walton, who has as his “professional” pick the Celtics, but his “personal” pick is the Lakers, because of his son, Luke. Christopher L. Gasper looks at Paul Pierce being unable to get into any sort of rhythm last night.

Getting ahead of himself, Shaughnessy wonders if Boston fans will be ok if the Celtics clinch the championship on the road. Bulpett has former Celtics GM Chris Wallace rooting hard for Boston in this series. Spears’ Courtside chatter has the Celtics looking to land the 2010 All Star Game for the Garden.

Gasper’s notebook has a look at Rajon Rondo’s sprained ankle. Murphy’s notebook has a look at Phil Jackson’s defense of Kobe Bryant. McNamara’s notebook has Lamar Odom continuing to fall short of expectations. Doyle’s notebook has Leon Powe staying humble.

Lakers

Shira Springer has Kobe Bryant putting on the performance that was expected from him last night. Bill Reynolds has the legend of Kobe finally rising to the occasion in this one. Buckley has more on the giant night from Kobe, as he erupted for 36 points. Rob Duca says that we now have a series on our hands.

Steven Herbert has a look at the hot shooting of Sasha Vujacic, who scored 20 points on 7-10 shooting from the field. Frank Dell’Apa takes a look at the history, design and features of the Staples Center. Massarotti looks at the continued good health of Magic Johnson, some 16 years after his HIV diagnosis. Springer’s notebook has Phil Jackson able to make the needed adjustments and fixes for game three.

Red Sox

When both Josh Beckett and the bullpen are shaky, it can mean a tough night for the Red Sox. That was the case last night as the Sox were roughed up by the Orioles, 10-6 at Fenway Park.

Gordon Edes has the Orioles taking advantage of shaky Boston pitching. Paul Jarvey has the Orioles feasting on Red Sox pitching. Rob Bradford has the formula not quite working last night. Joe McDonald says that the Boston relievers were strictly for the birds last night. Jeff Goldberg urges the Red Sox to keep Hideki Okajima away from the Orioles.

Amalie Benjamin has Okajima’s struggles with the Orioles continuing. Alex Speier says that Okajima has been more trick than treat lately. Sean McAdam says that there has been nothing automatic about Okajima this season. Steven Krasner has Josh Beckett turning in an ace-like performance without the ace like numbers. Jarvey has the Red Sox making sure that they have rested arms in the rotation.

Karen Guregian has Eddie Murray talking about his former teammate and student Manny Ramirez, who passed him on the all-time home run list last night. McDonald has Murray honoring Ramirez, who then passed him. Ron Chimelis looks at how far Manny and Murray go back. Bradford reports that the man who caught Manny’s 500th wants the ball back, but for all the right reasons. McDonald has the same fan urging the fan in Florida to return Griffey’s 600th home run.

Edes’ notebook has more from Murray on Manny. Jarvey’s notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury getting back into the lineup. Bradford’s notebook says that the Red Sox plan of getting rest for their starters is working out perfectly. Goldberg’s notebook also has more on Manny and Murray.

Mike Reiss has Rodney Harrison penning the forward to David Tyree’s book. He also reports on the Patriots interest in free agent offensive tackle Barry Sims. Shalise Manza Young had a piece on Laurence Maroney yesterday.

 

Getting Ready For Game Three

Well, we now know that Bennett Salvatore is one of the officials working the Lakers/Celtics game tonight. Here are the ref assignments for game three. Joey Crawford and Mark Wunderlich are the other two officials. The league apparently couldn’t have picked a more fitting crew for this crucial game three of the series. Tim Donaghy apparently had another commitment.

It will be interesting to see if the ABC announcing crew focuses in on this aspect of the game. One would think that the league wouldn’t wish for attention to be brought to the officials in this manner, but given all the talk over the last few days it is inevitable. I really am curious to see how Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson react to how things unfold on the court. They’ve shown that they will be candid about calls made by the officials, and their commentary could very interesting tonight.

It seems like no other sport, the NBA has to deal with the perception that the referees influence the outcome of the game. NFL officials might make a crucial pass interference call which can impact a drive, but things seem to generally even out in the course of the game. In the NBA however, whether it is how the referees  decide to call certain fouls or plays, or just a single big blown call in the course of a game, the league definitely has a problem in this area. It’s annual rite of spring that the NBA has a huge blown call in the playoffs that changes the outcome of a game.

The Lakers will be pumped up for this game, and it is crucial for the Celtics not to lose control of this one early on. The fouls are going to be called, but the Doc Rivers needs to tell his guys not to change their style of play. The bench is going to be a huge factor. If Ray Allen picks up a couple quick fouls, James Posey will have to take over on Kobe, when he gets his three fouls, we might just see Tony Allen in there. The same thing will apply to Gasol. Perkins, Brown, Powe, even Big Baby Davis could see time in the middle.

This game seems to be stacked so highly in the Lakers favor that it would not surprise me at all to see the Celtics win. Yeah, you read that right.

Check out CelticsLinks.com for more stories on the Celtics/Lakers game from throughout today and this evening.

  • If you’re looking for some football talk this afternoon, I’ve got a couple of links for you, Mike Reiss has a new edition of the Ask Reiss Mailbag, and over on Patriots Daily I’ve got some June Thoughts on the team following last weekend’s minicamp.
     
  • The Big Show was giving Butch Stearns a hard time this afternoon because supposedly Stearns got a call from someone who told him he was taking a tour of Fenway Park and said he saw Barry Bonds taking batting practice under the stands. Stearns went on the air over the weekend on WEEI with the report. Someone called shortly thereafter to explain that what he said was impossible. Tours do not go anywhere near the batting cages.

Approval Ratings – Bill Burt

Bill BurtI’m actually starting to warm up to Bill Burt.

Burt has been on the sports media scene for nearly 25 years now, and has spent his entire career at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune where he is now the Executive Sports Editor for the paper.

He joined the paper right out of college, and has covered events such as Marvin Hagler fights in Las Vegas, the Patriots Super Bowl trips, and even tried out for the Manchester NH Arena Football League team for a story. He also does the Burt Talks Sports blog for the paper. For a while, the blog was squatting on the BradfordonBaseball.com domain after Rob Bradford left the Eagle-Tribune, but now the domain has been transferred back to Bradford and points at his Boston Herald blog.

He has gotten most of his biggest exposure in the region as a result of his appearances on WEEI’s Big Show, where he is forced to play a bumbling, forgetful role to make Glenn Ordway look smarter. Burt has also hosted a weekend show with Lenny Megliola on the station, one which resulted in a Pete Gustin skit which is actually funny.

He recent Celtics columns and coverage has been top-notch.

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Bill Burt Approval Ratings
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