Celtics Can’t Close Out Magic, Sox Take Down Rays

The Celtics played their poorest game since game three of the Eastern Semi-Finals, but were still in position to close out the Orlando Magic last night. They fell short in overtime, 96-92, sending the series back to Orlando for game five tomorrow night. Get the complete picture at CelticsLinks.com.

Fair or not, until the Celtics can close out this series, expect plenty of comparisons to the Bruins losing their 3-0 series lead.In fact, many people nationally are hoping for the Celtics to collapse.

Wouldn’t it be great if a 2nd Boston team gagged away a 3-0 lead in the postseason? I think Orlando can win 4 straightTue May 25 01:54:29 via web

I can’t get a good feel for tomorrow night’s game. A loud voice in me says that this series is now going six, as the Magic will be fired up back at home. Another voice says that the Magic’s aim was just not to get swept and that they’ll lay down tomorrow night.

Magic force Game 5 with overtime win – Bill Doyle points out that perhaps the Celtics shouldn’t have tempted fate by having the Bruins singer Rene Rancourt do the national anthem last night.

Howard, Nelson Deserve Credit For Preventing A Sweep– Jeff Jacobs says that the Magic are not the 2004 Red Sox or the 2010 Flyers, but they deserve credit for not mailing in the sweep.

Magic make things interesting– Steve Bulpett says that the series isn’t quite over yet.

No surprise the Magic made it a series – Rich Levine says that we shouldn’t be surprised at what happened last night.

Rondo and the Celtics have come a long way in one year– Kevin McNamara says that Danny Ainge should be able to crow about signing Rajon Rondo this past offseason as much as the trades that netted Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Final play breakdown tells story– Chris Forsberg notes that the final play of regulation was a microcosm of the entire night for the Celtics.

Technically, it’s a problem for Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace – Mark Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics suffering from their first lack of poise since the first round.

The  Red Sox got another impressive start from Clay Buchholz, who gave up one run in six innings last night, as the Red Sox beat the first place Tampa Rays 6-1. Boston got home runs from David Ortiz (9) and Kevin Youkilis (10) in the win. Follow all the stories over at RedSoxLinks.com.

With raised stakes, Sox stay hot – Amalie Benjamin has the Red Sox offense staying hot against the Rays.

Can we stop panicking now? – Gordon Edes says that after taking 6 of their last seven against quality opponents, the Red Sox are getting things together.

Buchholz passes this test with flying colors – Sean McAdam has the young righthander improving to 6-3 on the year after the big win last night.

Martinez may have caught break – Peter Abraham says that the toe injury suffered by the Red Sox catcher last night doesn’t appear to be serious.

Cameron’s back, while Lowrie has a long road ahead – Brian MacPherson’s extensive Red Sox Journal is packed full of Red Sox goodness.

The Patriots have come to terms with third round pick Taylor Price on a four year contract.

Kraft investing in the future – Albert Breer has the Patriots owner speaking from the owners meetings in Dallas.

Revamped Rivals Have Patriots Gearing Up for Treacherous Run Through AFC East Gauntlet – Jeff Howe with a look at the Patriots divisional foes.

Shawn Crable – Potential Player, or Bad Joke? – Do you roll your eyes when you hear the name Shawn Crable, or do you just have a blank stare on your face?

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BSMW Ratings Poll – Celtics Coverage

Interest in the Celtics is at a season-high right now, with the team on the cusp of returning to the NBA finals for the second time in three seasons.

While no doubt you’re getting your coverage from a variety of sources, perhaps relying on the links provided here at BSMW, is there one place that you find yourself going back to again and again for Celtics coverage?

In the choices below, include the blog that that outlet might provide. For example, on WEEI.com you’ve got the columns from Paul Flannery and Jessica Camerato on WEEI.com, but also material on the Green Street Celtics blog.

{democracy:87}

Wakefield, Sox, Impressive Against NL Champs

Tim Wakefield pitched eight shutout innings yesterday, as the Red Sox beat Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies 8-3 to take two out of three from the defending National League champions. Get the full links from RedSoxLinks.com. The Red Sox now begin a three-game series in Tampa against the first place Rays, who have jumped out to a 32-12 start this season, and lead the AL East over the Yankees by six games. The Red Sox are 8.5 games back.

The Celtics can close out the Eastern Conference Finals with a win over the Orlando Magic tonight (ESPN, 8:30)  at the Garden.

It’s finally coming together for the Sox – Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox are finally starting to play the way they had envisioned at the start of the year.

Rays, with everything going their way, can make Red Sox an A.L. East afterthought this week – Brian MacPherson looks at a very important series for the Red Sox.

Youkilis locked in, and hard to get out – Peter Abraham has a look at a monster May for the Red Sox first baseman.

Red Sox proving resilient amidst key stretch – Alex Speier has the Red Sox showing good signs in this brutal stretch of schedule.

Pedroia has yet to hit on a solution – Amalie Benjamin’s extensive notebook leads off with the continued struggles of Dustin Pedroia.

Perspective on a team in transition – Howard Bryant blasts David Ortiz for blasting the media.

Quitting time already for Orlando? – Tim Weisberg has the Magic at least speaking like a team that isn’t ready to quit.

Kevin Garnett has healing powers – Mark Murphy says that the improved health of Kevin Garnett has made a huge difference for the Celtics defense.

Garnett invigorates teammates – Bill Doyle says that even though the torch might have been passed to Rajon Rondo as leader of this team, they can’t win a title without KG.

2010 just isn’t 2008 – Rich Levine looks at why there is no comparison between this club and the one from two years ago.

This Celtics team has shades of 1969 green – Old-timer Bill Reynolds remembers that last Bill Russell championship.

Strong leadership keeps the Celtics on course – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at younger player like Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and even Glen Davis stepping up their roles as leading players for the Celtics.

They couldn’t bear Bruins repeat – Yes, there are people (media) actually trying to bring up the Bruins collapse from a 3-0 series lead and somehow compare it to this situation. Michael Vega’s notebook has the Celtics determined not to follow the Bruins lead.

What to watch for at the OTA’s – Christopher Price gives us a few things to look for at Patriots organized team activities.

Banta-Cain hoping to be timely contributor for Patriots once again this season – Glen Farley has the Patriots linebacker hoping for another strong season.

Wes Welker shoulders pain – Ian Rapoport has the Patriots receiver talking about his shoulder injury.

Sunday Quicklinks

Just a few links following the Celtics dominating 94-71 win over the Orlando Magic in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics now hold a 3-0 lead in the series. Get the full links at CelticsLinks.com.

How the Celtics are demoralizing their opponents Paul Flannery looks at how the Celtics have sucked the will out of their opponents.

Saturday night slaughter – Scott Souza with a look at a win for the ages.

Night to treasure – Steve Bulpett says that this blowout had it all.

Glen Davis’ desire helps fuel Boston Celtics’ dominance – Chris Forsberg with a look at the big-time effort from Glen Davis last night.

Pierce shows he’s not all talk – Julian Benbow’s notebook has the Captain backing up his talk from earlier in the week.

Daisuke Matsuzaka took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Philadelphia last night as the Red Sox beat the Phillies 5-0. Get the full links at RedSoxLinks.com.

The Friday Night Megalinks

Usually Friday is a day to look forward, but it became a nightmare for me this morning after I got into an accident on the way to work. It certainly effects your entire day and I’m feeling some discomfort in my left side where my car was hit, but it’s not enough to prevent me from blogging. I’ll do the megalinks now.

You can find the Sports and Primetime TV viewing for the weekend right here.

Now to our links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand says Chad Ochocinco continues his reality TV tour this summer.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch talks with the reporters assigned to cover LeBron James 24/7.

Milton Kent of Fanhouse says Fox Sports’ Chris Myers has issued an apology for comments he made about Hurricane Katrina victims while guest hosting on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this week. 

Media Matters has the exchange of letters between the Mayor of New Orleans and Myers. 

Subbing for CNBC’s Darren Rovell, Maury Brown from the Biz of Sports Network writes that the NFL will have a huge war chest thanks to TV rights fees if the league decides to lock the players out in 2011.

The Associated Press reports that ESPN will use Cisco technology to conduct video conference interviews during the World Cup. 

Ben Grossman of Broadcasting & Cable says CBS and ESPN were among those honored Thursday by Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily.

Michael K. Ozanian of Forbes.com says sports programming is giving media stocks a big boost. 

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says Univision hashed out a deal this week to carry Mexican National Soccer team games, beating out previous rights holder Telemundo.

Diego Vasquez of Media Life Magazine writes that advertisers can reach male college students through the College World Series which is gaining popularity which each passing year.

Ryan Berenz of Channel Guide Magazine looks at Fox Sports carrying its first ever soccer match in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday.

David Goeztl of Mediapost says Turner Sports isn’t saying much about having the NCAA Tournament on its networks, but is expecting the property to be a money maker. 

The Sports Media Watch speaks with two Turner Sports executives about developing new technologies for the network’s sports properties. SMW continues that conversation here.

SMW says the NHL Conference Finals are getting off to a slow start in the ratings, but the postseason numbers are still way up overall.

SMW says the NBA Conference Finals are also down.

The SMW notes that the Preakness Stakes experienced its lowest ratings in ten years.

And SMW says NASCAR on Fox hit an extreme low note on Sunday.

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media has the NHL Conference Final ratings through Tuesday.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News feels the NHL is treating CBC like dirt while kowtowing to NBC which doesn’t pay the league a rights fee.

Gail Sideman writing in Sports Networker talks about sports and politics mixing as in the fray over the new Arizona immigration law.

Deadspin looks at one of the oddest and saddest lawsuits against ESPN. 

Robert Littal of Black Sports Online couldn’t be happier to have Screamin’ Gus Johnson as the new play-by-play voice of the Madden ’11 NFL video game.

Dave Kohl of Major League Programs notes that Chicago sports anchor Mike Adamle identified and then mis-identified the same person in the same sportscast.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Pawtucket Red Sox radio voice Dan Hoard writes in his MLBlog that a Red Sox prospect has been leaving tickets for ESPN’s Erin Andrews in hopes of meeting her (scroll down).

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe talks with former Red Sox infielder and current WEEI and Comcast SportsNet commentator Lou Merloni.

Bob Raissman from the New York Daily News says having LeBron James sign with the New Jersey Nets would become a big get not only for the team, but for the YES Network.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post tries to equate Red Sox DH David Ortiz with Florida Marlins malcontent Hanley Ramirez. That’s a big stretch, Phil.

John Koblin and Irina Aleksander of the New York Observer chronicle how a recent journalism graduate got a major sitdown interview with New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokorov.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union speaks with area native Ari Wolfe who has been quite busy traveling the country doing gigs for various networks.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner has Fox Sports President David Hill predicting a high viewership for the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday.

And Jim speaks with Food Network’s Paula Deen who loves her baseball.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the LeBron James saga is getting to the ridiculous stage.

Ilana Limon of the Orlando Sentinel says Conference USA is hoping to see some flexibility between its TV partners, ESPN and CBS College Sports in the next rights deal.

Sarah Talalay of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says the Florida Panthers plan to reduce seating at its arena next season.

Eric Smith of the Memphis Daily News recaps a local appearance made by ESPN/CBS college basketball analyst Jay Bilas. 

David Barron in the Houston Chronicle says ESPN’s 30 for 30 series will look back at the period when Southern Methodist University became the first and only school to receive the NCAA’s death penalty.

David adds that Univision nabbed a big property for its soccer programming.

In the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht says the local ABC affiliate is defending its decision to pre-empt the start of last Sunday’s NBA Eastern Conference Final game in favor of storm coverage.

Mel recaps Dan Patrick’s interview of disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema in the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with former Fox Sports NFL analyst Ray Bentley about his return to local sports radio.

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is enjoying ESPN’s and TNT’s “A” announcing teams on the NBA Conference Finals.

Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Lewis Lazare of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the White Sox may be looking for an FM outlet to carry its games after this season and beyond. 

To the Rochester Post-Bulletin where Paul Christian writes that Saturday is becoming a prime viewing night for sports.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that there are plenty of changes coming to all three of the city’s sports radio stations.

Dan also notes that former St. Louis Rams QB Kurt Warner is making his first foray into the broadcast booth.

Blair Kerkhoff at the Kansas City Star explores the Big Ten Network and what Missouri could gain from the channel if it joined the Big Ten Conference.

West

Scott D. Pierce in the Deseret (UT) News says Salt Lake City and Utah for that matter is not an attractive TV market for Pac 10 or Big 12 expansion.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune is mildly surprised to see the NBA Playoffs being the Padres in the local ratings.

John Maffei of the North County Times says soccer is proving to be a ratings winner in the US.

Jim Carlisle in the Ventura County Star feels Versus is giving short shrift to the Tour of California.

Jim says ESPN’s Chris Berman doesn’t deserve a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says the Dodgers are running a contest for a fan to call an inning of a game on the internet.

Tom profiles TNT’s Reggie Miller in his weekly media column.

Tom has more with Reggie and adds his extensive media notes in his blog.

Canada

James Mirtle of the Toronto Globe and Mail feels Don Cherry goes too far in his criticism of European players.

Bruce Dowbiggin in the Globe and Mail rates Canada’s NHL panel discussions on the three major rightsholders.

CBC says Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean will be writing his autobiography.

TSN announces that it and TSN2 will carry plenty of coverage of the French Open.

Etan Vlessing of the Hollywood Reporter writes that TSN and Rogers Sportsnet will split coverage of the English Premier League for three seasons.

And that will conclude the megalinks. Thanks for your patience.

Lester is Complete in 6-2 Win Over Twins

Jon Lester went the distance last night, giving up just one earned run while striking out nine. Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Beltre homered for the Red Sox, who posted a 6-2win over the Minnesota Twins to sweep the quick game series at Fenway Park. Get the complete coverage from last night at RedSoxLinks.com.

Merloni is still a fan favorite – Chad Finn’s media column in the Globe focuses on CSN and WEEI personality Lou Merloni, who has remained a fan favorite even after his playing days.

‘I’m not paying attention to any of [the media’s] crap anymore’ – Transcript of David Ortiz’s interview on WEEI yesterday afternoon.

Lester goes distance in 6-2 Sox win – Bill Ballou notes that complete games have gone the way of the Buffalo.

Sox have found their winning blueprint – Joe Haggerty says that the Red Sox seem to have dusted off that old Epstein baseball blueprint with these last two wins.

Ellsbury set to punctuate key week for Red Sox – Alex Speier says that the return of Jacoby Ellsbury could provide a boost for the Red Sox.

Beckett’s back will take time to heal – The ProJo Red Sox Journal picks up many of the remaining pieces.

The Red Sox have the right man for the job – Rob Bradford says that this stretch should remind us of the value of Terry Francona.

Doubront on the up and up – Peter Abraham’s Minor League notebook has Felix Doubront taking a step forward.

The Celtics will wait another day before resuming their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Orlando Magic tomorrow night at the TD Garden. Down in Orlando, columnists are trying to rally the fans (as heard on D&C this morning) and tell them that the series is not over, pointing to the Bruins collapse against the Flyers.

Kryptonite Kendrick – Michael Muldoon looks at the job Kendrick Perkins has done on opposing centers.

Celts’ defense shutting down Magic’s 3-point shooting – Scott Souza examines how the Celtics defense has come alive in the postseason.

Paul Pierce has always talked the talk – Steve Bulpett notes that the Celtics Captain was a talker even when the team wasn’t any good.

Pierce’s fire has been lit – Chris Forsberg says that the Magic’s decision to have Vince Carter “defend” Pierce seems to have lit a fire under the Captain.

Celtics should raise Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 to the rafters – A little early for this, Ron Chimelis?

Doc Rivers tries to keep focus – Dan Duggan’s Celtics notebook has the coach trying to preach humility to his team.

Julian Edelman talked to reporters at Gillette yesterday, as the second-year receiver prepares for a larger role in the Patriots offense in ’10.

Big task awaits Patriots’ Edelman in 2010 – Glen Farley has Edelman better able to focus on getting better this offseason.

Edelman wants more in second season – Mike Reiss says that Edelman will need to take a giant step forward this season.

Edelman looks to build on a rookie season for the ages – Christopher Price notes that Edelman accomplished quite a bit last season, and is looking for more.

Boston soccer’s (low-key) version of Becks and Posh – Frank Dell’Apa has a look at Revolution defender Cory Gibbs and his pop-star wife Zena McNally, who have kept a pretty low profile in Boston.

Today’s non-link is Steve Buckley’s column, which is basically a re-write of the WEEI appearance yesterday (linked above) of which Buckley was a part. Did he write it in the studio while he was on the air?  The transcript is softened up a bit in terms of the questions, as Buckley had a “tone” in some of his questions as if he was trying to challenge Ortiz or get him mad, it was pretty annoying, in fact. (You can also listen to the interview on WEEI.com as well – though fair warning, Mike Adams hosted the Big Show yesterday.) 

Toucher and Rich went after Ortiz this morning as well, saying he should leave the public eye if he doesn’t want to be criticized by the media. They claim that the media “created” Ortiz, so he can’t really be mad at them. That type of self-important reference is not something that T&R usually do, so it was a bit disappointing to hear it come from that show.

Meanwhile, Mike Lowell speaks out the day after a devastating loss, saying he has to play, and instead of getting any criticism, gets a warm fuzzy from Gerry Callahan in print yesterday. Ortiz has been crushing the ball this month – .358 batting average, 7 home runs, 17 RBI, 1.171 OPS (Last 7 days – .417, 4, 10, 1.379) – yet the talk from the media is still that he is “done” and that Lowell needs to be in the lineup.  

Why the difference in coverage?

Kevin Millar to Join NESN as Studio Analyst

Not to be outdone by the CSN announcement of Connecticut Sun broadcasts, NESN announced today former Red Sox first baseman and “Cowboy Up” sloganmaster Kevin Millar has been added to their rotation of studio analysts for Red Sox broadcasts.

Millar will make his NESN debut on Thursday, May 27th at 6:00 PM on Olympia Sports presents The Boston Globe Red Sox GameDay Livebefore the Red Sox host the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. He will join host Tom Caron and Jim Rice on the NESN Yawkey Way stage.

“We are thrilled to have Kevin join our team of outstanding studio analysts,” said Joel Feld, NESN’s executive vice president of programming and executive producer. “Kevin is a fan favorite and he brings first-hand knowledge of the game. He has never been shy about sharing his opinions and our fans will enjoy the added dimension he will bring to our Red Sox programming.”

Millar will join Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Jim Rice and Peter Gammons in the rotation. Millar also recently joined MLB Network as a studio analyst.