The Celtics gutted out a 94-90 win on the road in game five last night to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston will have a chance to close out the series and clinch a berth in the NBA Finals tomorrow night in game six at the TD Garden.

Before the game, I was amused by the emphatic predictions of the ESPN Pregame panel:

(I know the video quality isn’t the best, but it was all I could find.)

I love how smug Jon Barry is, and how insulted he seems to even have to make a prediction. Broussard is even more confident about the Heat, and Magic says they’re going to “roll.”

The postgame comments were much, much different. Magic even apologized for doubting the Celtics.

Check all the Celtics coverage from

Some highlights from the coverage:

Just how did Celtics score biggest win of year? – I’m glad the Globe decided to let Bob Ryan handle these front page columns.

Celtics been there, done that – Jackie MacMullan has the Celtics answering the naysayers, including herself.

Celtics continue to thrive as underdogs – A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics enjoying the upsets.

A lot left in KG’s tank – Steve Bulpett has Garnett able to step on the gas late in the game. Paul Flannery has more on KG.

When all looked lost, Rondo was found – Gary Washburn has Rajon Rondo coming up with big plays after struggling much of the night.

Masseuse question goes too far – Steve Buckley isn’t comfortable with the media asking about the situation involving Chris Bosh.

Pierce master of the moment – Frank Dell’Apa’s notebook has the Celtics captain comfortable taking the big shot. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has Ray Allen reflecting on his time in Boston, and possibility of it coming to an end.



28 thoughts on “Celtics Stun Miami, Look To Close Out In Game Six

  1. Wow,

    What a win. ESPN is now already setting it up with “Who gets traded and where” on the Heat. Amazing how 3 games change everything?

    I posted this on the previous post but the overnights were insane for the NBA on this.

    Unfortunately, the NHL continues to be down and being beat by reruns of comedy/sitcoms. Sad, considering how absolutely dominant the Kings have been. Game 3 barely put up 2m viewers (it was on nbcsports not nbc).

    This is another market and I think a few of the link posts that Fang/Bruce have reposted have had some but also a chilling tale:

    Basically, a local and well-known columnist was against the paper using its platform to advocate for public funds to build a new stadium for the Chargers. He also was against the city using public funds to sell out the stadium, preventing blackouts (how is this legal!?). The editor/person-in-charge were on the opposite end and fired him because of this.


    1. Because no one cares about the NHL no matter what the puck heads around here say. Last year was an aberration because the Bruins were in the Cup.  THis year two neutral markets and no one is watching.  Can we now settle this argument and dismiss hockey as a viable major sport.  At best it is a regional phenomenon.


      1.  Latetodinner, once again you’re a complete moron. Plenty of people care about the NHL. And since when is LA a “neutral market”? Last I checked it was the #2 tv market in the US. Go back to watching womens tennis or whatever “sport” you think is viable.


        1. Moron…strong words when the evidence clearly is on my side. If the NHL can’t get more than 2 mill people nationally to watch their product during the finals with the #2 and another top 10 market represented then there is a serious problem with the sport. Heck 2 million people in NE might have watched game 5 last night in the NBA semi finals. Except LA regardless of the amount of people who live there, has never, even when Gretsky was there, embraced the Kings. It is akin to MLS in Boston. Look, I don’t really need to have this out with you. If you want to believe that less than 1% of the households in the USA watching the signature game of the sport means it is supported…by all means live in your delusional world. When you actually want to admit that the NHL has a real problem selling its product and that expansion has diluted interest in it to the point where Unwed 16 year old mothers on MTV are consistently pulling better numbers nationally than the Stanley Cup finals then we can talk. The point BSM was making and the one I agree with is it is a shame that even with the national contract with NBC, its support in Canada, and the extra exposure the Bruins gave them last year, the NHL can’t grow beyond regional enclaves. It has about 8 good markets and the rest suck, some even when the home team is playing.
          As an aside. I want the NHL to succeed. However I think Gary Bettman spent too much time with David Stern before being the Hockey guy. I think the marketing of the NHL has been atrocious over the years. The constant rule changes to “improve” the game have made it virtually unwatchable. Look at what Washington accomplished. They beat the Bruins in a 7 game series without trying to play any offense. It made the games unwatchable. We thought the Neutral Zone trap sucked the life out of the game…nothing compared to what Washington did. With Franchises moving regularly, unrecognizable players and a game that used to be elegant and now is barely watchable the NHL has managed to make iteself irrelevant in the national sports scene.
          Go ahead and tell me I am wrong…but this time, instead of calling me names…bring a fact to support your position.


          1. How did we get back on this topic. We all know where LTD stands on NHL, don’t waste your energy on the keyboard, this argument is so tired.


      2. It does sit at 4th and probably will be for a bit. I’ve debated for a bit among myself and others if it is better being this or if you want to “invite the masses in”. I think how this new CBA goes down (or doesn’t) is critical for them, however. If they have another labor stoppage, it won’t be good.

        George’s comments summarized why I think he is doing so poorly, despite the fact that the Kings are absolutely wrecking anyone and everything in their way. I wondered if such dominance this year (and maybe even next year) would help the ratings.


        1. This may come off as bitterness at the Bruins being upset in the 1st round, but the fact that there were so many upsets bothers me because it completely devalued the regular season. If there’s an occasional 8 seed beating a 1 in the first round, that’s fine. But there was too much of it this year so looking back its hard to take the season seriously. In the past, the very top teams are usually the ones that win the Cup and Cinderellas don’t quite get it done (see: Edmonton ’06, Calgary ’04, Anaheim ’03). There has never been a team ranked lower than 8th in NHL regular season total points that won the Stanley Cup (excluding strike-shortened season of ’95). Los Angeles was 13th out of 30 this year and NJ was 9th out of 30.


          1.  Bruins,

            Actually, I think you raise a valid question on how much parity is good for the league.

            I don’t have the stats here but if you don’t have something top-heavy like the NBA?

            See the NCAA.

            It’s well known that early-round upsets with Cinderalla stories: Butler/VCU make for _absolutely great_ ratings.

            They make it to the Elite 8/Final 4? Garbage ratings. The majority of fans (I’m here as well) want to see a Kansas, Kentucky, even Duke in the finals.

            I think they also have such large fanbases (I mentioned this below) as they have anti-fans who want to see them lose.


  2. Bruce, after reading your post about Breen yesterday, I paid special attention to how he called the game (even though I already know his bias opinions as you do). Two things stuck out to me.

    1) On the block Wade made on Brandon Bass’ dunk attempt. This was a highlight reel block, amazing play, etc. IF and that’s a big IF, the ball went to Miami rather than Rondo continuing to play and find Pietrus for 3. Based on the way Breen called it, then reveled in the replay, you wouldn’t have known how the play ended. Thank god for JVG who pointed out that amazing part was the ability of Rondo to fire a quick, one handed pass to the open Pietrus. Breen still continued to rant about the block.

    2) Breen also seemed to take sarcastic pleasure in the early fouls on Boston and the fact they were missing shots. 

    *I could’ve sworn I heard  Breen say in the third quarter, with Lebron at the FT line, that “during the regular season, James was one of the best FT shooters.” Someone please let me know if I “mis-remembered” that comment. The stats across the screen showed James at 77% fron the stripe in the Reg Season. Maybe I just didn’t watch enough NBA this year, but its a sad league when 77% is one of the best, which I doubt is actually true. Where’s Tony Reali (Statboy) when I need him…


    1.  I actually thought Breen was much better last night- though I did note both of the instances that you do above, and they were egregious, especially the Wade block.

      I wonder if it is the tide of the series – it has shifted to Boston, so Miami cheerleading is going to sound silly.

      Interestingly, someone at the network contacted me after that post, and said that Breen and Doc Rivers are VERY tight, and that, if anything, Breen goes too far the other way so he doesn’t come off as a Celtic homer. I find that last part hard to believe, but then again, the person who told me hasn’t steered me wrong in the past.


      1. I am probably going to get flamed (do we still use flamed?) for this but I haven’t thought the announcing wasn’t awful this series.  I know it wasn’t like listening to Mike G and Tommy H but for a national broadcast I think Breen and JVG have been pretty balanced.  I know it has to be hard not trying to sell LeBron for 48 minutes.  He has the rep as the best player in the league.  He makes some unbelievable plays (before he disappears down the stretch) and the TV broadcast, unlike the radio one is all spin.  Radio guys have to point a picture because you can’t see what is happening.  TV guys are supposed to augment it.  The first game the Celts looked overmatched…the story during the game was the Heat.  The second game the valiant Celtics lost an 18 point lead for the first time.  Again the game during the game was the Supermen Miami Heat overcoming an 18 pint deficit while the over the hill Celts gave a valiant effort and lost.  How were the announcers supposed to support the TV broadcast.

        In the next two games the momentum switched as did the story.  The fabled Boston Garden and the Celtics as Warriors became the story as the won game 3 big and game 4 in OT.  Last night I thought Breen did a good job staying balanced.  Was he overboard for LeBron a few times…sure…the Heat were at home and everyone expected the story to be they held court.  But in general I thought he was pretty balanced.  We have certainly be exposed to far worse.

        The real story as far as I can tell continues to be the lousy officiating.  I don’t understand how either team can play when the rules change minute by minute,  How the guys on the floor missed the out of bounds call when both refs had great views is beyond me.  At that point you just have to laugh.  Even the Heat fans in the building knew.


      2. Does the network contact you often about your posts? I find it very impressive that BSMW has grown to that level. Good work Bruce.


      3. I agree that Breen was far better last night being objective. My ears were just perked specifically because of your article the other day. 

        Bruce, I’d also have to take some questions back to that source. For example, Tommy Heinsohn likes Dave Cowens and Paul Silas and other former Celtics, but I would never consider that a factor in rooting for them should they land as coach of the Lakers/Knicks. The only current comparison I can think of would be Doug Collins. I’d have to guess that Tommy respects Collins, but would never root for the 76ers if they were playing the Pacers in the playoffs! Who knows, maybe I’m just cynical.In response to LTD below, I also agree the larger story is the inconsistency of the officials. Last night was easily the most balanced game, even reflecting in the C’s shooting two more FT’s, something I totally did not expect. It’s sad when I have to feel that happy about how an official called the game.


        1. One side note: for as much as I don’t like Breen, I really enjoy JVG. He is real, in the moment, and the old cliche “Tells it like it is.” I loved his line about fining Pietrus 1 million dollars for flopping, calling the call terrible, also discussing how the Heat flop and “trick” officials. His idea to expand the restricted area also is a sound idea, with good logic, based on the fact that it cuts down the flops, and eliminates alot of the garbage we see with officials. For all the negatives that Breen may bring, JVG balances that pendulum.


        2. Either folks have forgotten or I’m just older than dirt, but back in the 80’s Heinsohn was accused of sounding anti-Celtic on the CBS broadcasts.  However, he was only trying to overcompensate for a national audience so he didn’t come off as sounding too pro-Celtic.  Isn’t it possible Breen is trying a similar approach because of his relationship with Rivers?


  3. Bruce, on the ESPN clips:

    ESPN loves to share its media but hates when other people share it for them. They also love to remove this when it makes them look bad or is used against them (hey, it is their media after all), so you need the 3rd party clips. YouTube, for a few years now, has automatic video parsing where it’ll flag and auto remove this. (It uses OpenCV if you know the technology,and looks for logos and you’d see without clipping or a horrible angle.)

    On the clip: Broussard sold out right around “The Decision”. He’s literally one of LeBron’s “boys” and gets to party with him and given access because of the sympathy he affords him on air. ESPN is also cool with how he sold out his integrity because it allows them first-rate access to LeBron. SAS also did the same (to an extent) since LeBron gets trashed on First Take every single day, and LeBron won’t come on, so SAS can act as his proxy.

    If they get dropped tomorrow night, I think you’re going to witness a very interesting turn on ESPN and how they cover this. Haters (the majority) will be tuning into ESPN to placate their distaste for how much ESPN is in bed with LeBron, or see how many analysts not in his camp lash out. Just this morning, SAS is already proposing a trade with the Lakers to send Wade + Bosh for Kobe + Pau (im not kidding here). Given how ESPN is the new TMZ of sports, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to capture the venom from the Heat loss (this is if the lose tomorrow or Saturday) with their programming.

    And, knowing ESPN, they’ll find a way to wrap Tim Tebow and Tiger woods into this somehow. “Lets go live to Tim Tebow for his reaction on the Heat loss…” — you know the deal.


    A big thing that some of the media are starting to talk about, again, is the Sandusky trial. It starts next week, and the media attention, thus far, is at/near Casey Anthony-levels. I don’t know if Nancy Grace and the HLN-types will be parking there since the judge has limited the exposure. I bring this up because I think we’re going to go through another series of hosts overreacting and another “Casey Anthony trial”. If there is one thing that not only the people and the media should have learned is that trying any case through the media, let alone convicting, is absolutely a joke. Still, I don’t expect this to stop people like D+C from talking about this for hours and trying to convict him. (If what he did is proven in court, he deserves to go away forever, but I still believe in rule of law here.) It will be interesting to see how many hosts want to go near this.


    1.   From another media analyst:

      (Has the initial reaction on First Take from Bayless/SAS.)

      Even SAS has now “given up” on the Heat. Skip Felger is one of the only
      ones sticking with them, but I’m not sure how much of this is due to his
      “lets be contrary” angle.

      Another angle from an ESPN writer on the “identity crisis” the Celtics have placed the Heat in:


  4. First off, the officiating was fine last night, no issues other than the Chalmers technical which was a joke. A couple missed block/charge calls both ways which are such tough calls. Overall the best officiated game of the series.

    The thing I really wanted to post about though was, did anyone else here Gerry Callahan making a joke about Bosh’s masseuse dying? He was joking the reason Bosh didn’t play down the stretch was because he didn’t get his massage, something must have happened to his masseuse, ha ha…

    I haven’t heard anything in a long time in such poor taste. Why is nothing being made of this? So because someone is doing a service for a member of the opposing team we can laugh at their tragic death? Callahan should be suspended for being a scumbag.


    1. I agree that the refereeing was much better except for a couple of charge calls that I thought were questionable. I did find it ironic though that ref Mark Davis was the one who called that OB off of Rondo when clearly it was off Battier. It was a huge call. He was looking right at the play but gave the ball to Miami. It was quickly overturned by replay but I’m wondering if it was a little payback for Rondo. Davis was the ref that Rondo bumped and got suspended one game in the Atlanta series. Hmmmmm.


      1. Davis didn’t ref last night. It was Derrick Stafford, Ron Garretson and Monty McCutchen.

        In general, I try to cut them a little slack on block/charge and ball out of bounds calls. Those are really tough calls to make in real time. I actually thought the ball was off of Rondo at first too until seeing the replay.


    1. I hate Jon Barry because he held out as a Celtics draft pick and forced a trade. Not like he was a high pick…he went like 22nd overall. Then again, his father was renowned as a world-class jerk so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


  5. Breen is not even attempting to disguise his love for all things Miami Heat. I suppose when you are the MSG Network announcer for the NY Knicks you’ll find lots of reasons to dislike the Celtics over the years. A born and raised NY’er he also announced Giant games so he’s not a big fan of Boston teams. Someone tweeted that all Boston fans should write the ESPN Ombudsman and complain that Breen’s too one-sided and should be a professional and temper his enthusiasm. I could care less. Screw Mike Breen. 


    1. ESPN’s ombudsman, after Ohlmeyer did his 18-month term, became the Poynter institute. I had known 0 about before but, despite “remaining independent” from ESPN, are still paid by them. If you follow sites like Deadspin, Awfulannouncing, TheBigLead, etc, you’ll have a better gauge of things ESPN does wrong. Also, look at their comments section, especially when it hits 1000+. I can’t say ESPN directly reads them but people point out that they’re actively aware. See the Craig James/Leech situation as one I can vividly remember.

      I guess the latest you can say to this was the removal of Pam Ward on CFB games. If you’ve watched over the year, it got bad enough that kept an on-going diary. Some claimed this was sexist and they attacked her only because she was a woman, but if you watch enough CFB, you know how bad she was, even when relegated to MAC games on Tuesday nights instead of feature Big10/SEC matches Sunday.

      So, unless Bruce or someone has some insight here, I have no clue what would happen. I think it’d be great if JVG+SVG mated up on the call, and this has been suggested by many.

      Can someone also tell me why Magic wants to do ESPN’s pregame? The dude owns one of the most visible baseball teams. Doesn’t he also have 1000 other business ventures going on that probably pay him, easily, more than the 2m~ or so ESPN forks his way? Does he really need ESPN? This has been brought up many times, by many people, but Magic Johnson has a command like Wiggens does of the English language. It’s painful to listen to him. I’m sorry, but you need to be articulate in these ways to appear on the air and successfully manifest, especially on something national. ESPN’s worship of Magic was so big that they do the pre-game shows and NBA stuff from LA (look it up if you didn’t know). I know they’re jealous of Inside the NBA by TNT, but, man..


  6. I had to clean off my tv after Breen ‘gasmed after the Wade block.

    John Barry is so snide. I especially loved how after the game, he squarely blamed the Heat, rather than give Boston credit. I guess him being a bench warmer for the 2006 Pistons makes him the expert.


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