Celtics/Rockets Biggest Game of NBA Season

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Tonight’s Celtics/Rockets game could easily be the biggest game in the NBA this season. The Rockets of course, have won 22 straight games – the second longest streak in NBA history, and the Celtics come in with the best record in the NBA.

TNT has tonight’s game, with the action tapping off around 9:40pm. They’ll have a 10 minute pregame show starting at 9:30. Calling the action will be Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Doug Collins (analyst) and David Aldridge (reporter). The night will conclude with the Emmy® award-winning studio show Inside the NBA with Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst) and Kenny Smith (analyst).

ESPN’s Daily Dime has a Celtics focus today.

Dennis Dillon says that the 2008 draft is boom-or-bust time for the Patriots.

Peter King has MMQB, Tuesday edition, with a look at what Bill Parcells might be thinking of doing with the #1 pick.

ESPN Ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber is pleased with some changes she’s seen on Sportscenter.

From Comcast this afternoon:


March Madness Mania Delivers College Basketball Fans Thousands of On Demand Options

MANCHESTER, NH – (March 18, 2008) – As college basketball fans from around the country prepare to tune into the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, Comcast today announced special NCAA® March Madness® programming features, ranging from game highlights in high definition to historical tournament moments to sports-themed specials and movies.

“With game highlights available in HD On Demand, fans of March Madness don’t need to worry about missing the action while at work. It’s one more example of the power of On Demand, this time for sports enthusiasts,” said Steve Hackley, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Northern New England Region. “Whether you love great movies, TV shows or sports, Comcast always offers more to watch, on your schedule.”

Comcast’s NCAA March Madness Memories and Highlights, as well as additional offerings, are outlined below:

NCAA March Madness Memories and Highlights Available Now – ALL IN HD and At No Additional Cost to Digital Cable Subscribers

Comcast On Demand will have NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship memories and highlights available to its digital cable subscribers at no additional cost. This programming, which can be found through the On Demand menu under the Sports & Fitness category and then the NCAA March Madness folder, includes:

*Highlights from the 63 2008 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship games beginning with the first round starting on Thursday, March 20 through the Championship game on April 7

*Historical moments from past tournaments, including exciting buzzer beaters and shooting stars, such as:

  • Laettner (Duke) vs. Kentucky (1992)
  • Bill Walton (UCLA) vs. Memphis State (1973)
  • George Mason’s run to the Men’s Final Four (2006)
  • Villanova over Georgetown (1985)
  • NC State and Jimmy Valvano (1983)

*Post-tournament recap show

Sport-Themed Movie Highlights Available Now – ALL In HD

Comcast presents a variety of sports-themed movie viewing options available On Demand, including Hoosiers, Rocky, Raging Bull, Bull Durham, Blue Crush, Slap Shot, Field of Dreams, Days of Thunder, Major league, Glory Road, Remember the Titans and more.


3.17.08 Afternoon

Congratulations to Chad Finn for having Boston.com pick up his excellent “Touching All The Bases” blog. Rather than just having a link, the blog will be hosted there full-time sometime before opening day.

Ian Thomsen says that the Celtics will be tested on this 4 game trip to the midwest.

In San Antonio, Jeff McDonald has Manu Ginobili and the Spurs a bit beat up heading into tonight’s game with the Celtics.

FireJoeMorgan goes after Kevin Hench for questioning Rocco Baldelli’s potentially career-ending condition.

After seeing Semi-Pro, Bill Simmons isn’t high on the future of sports movies. He also has an updated edition of this week’s links.

Peter King’s Monday Morning QB has a look at Matt Ryan, who has to show that he’s worthy being picked at the top of the draft.

Tom Curran agrees that tomorrow is a make-or-break day for Ryan.

Silliest suggestion heard from the Boston sports media this weekend…that the Patriots should trade the #7 pick in the draft to Miami for Jason Taylor. (From Burton/Lobel on Sports Final)

Hazard Pay For Sox Writers?

Sports by Brooks notes that being a Red Sox beat reporter this week has been a job that might entail some hazard pay, with pelicans dive-bombing into windshields and foul balls smashing laptops. Deadspin also picks up the SBB storyline.

Hey, that’s nothing, imagine being in the clubhouse when Roger Clemens was firing bread rolls at reporter’s heads.

Bill Simmons takes a serious turn today, writing about the senseless murder of 17-year-old Los Angeles football star Jamiel Shaw Jr.

Mike Reiss has Ty Law talking about how the Jets have been much more aggressive in pursuing him this offseason.

Chad Finn has 10 thoughts on the local sports scene.

It’s fun listening to Pete Sheppard vigorously defend Randy Moss’ character (granted, it’s in comparison to Pacman Jones) on the Big Show today…especially when you remember the things he said about Moss before he joined the Patriots.

Tell Me You Didn’t See This Coming…

Have I ever mentioned how much I despise the mixing of sports and politics? Can anyone seriously believe that Manny Ramirez had any political motivations for not appearing at the White House yesterday? Yet WEEI has (predictably) spent almost the whole day talking about it. I guess it’s the low-hanging fruit.

Dale & Holley did have some good interviews with Leon Powe and Jacoby Ellsbury though.

Dan Kennedy got a copy of the email sent to Boston Globe employees letting them know that 60 Globe employees and 20 from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette will have their positions cut within the next week.

Jason Whitlock feels that losing Randy Moss would sink the Patriots much worse than Matt Walsh can.

Don Banks has his latest mock draft, where he projects the Patriots trading the #7 pick.

Kevin Cullen writes about the madness that has become Red Sox spring training.

Bill Simmons talks about Sam Cassell potentially coming to the Celtics in his latest basketball mailbag.

Stan McNeal was impressed with the Celtics defense against Cleveland last night.

Steve Jones says that the Celtics bench will determine how far they go in the playoffs.

Mike Kahn says that buyouts of players like Sam Cassell aren’t fair.

I’ve got just one question: Who are these Bruins?

Cam Neely did a chat on Boston.com.

Media Assists NFL Tampering

Quick thought – Almost every NFL reporter out there has been writing or talking the last two weeks about which team is interested in which free agent, and which player is likely to end up at one of a couple of teams. Isn’t this just enabling tamperers? You can assume there are plenty of league memos out there about tampering. It’s pretty transparent when the ones spreading these types of rumors are the same ones who are also crying about cheating scandals and following the rules, when in reality they are fine with it…as long as they understand it and benefit from it.

This piece: If everyone’s doing it, free-agent tampering is OK from ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas tells us that the tampering certainly goes on.

The media gets used in this process by reporting rumors and interest from both players and teams, and is quite happy to oblige with this.

You could make the argument that gaining an illegal advantage on acquiring players is a little more egregious than illegally obtaining information that is perfectly legal to have in other ways.

Mike Florio has the latest “scuttlebutt” on the “Spygate II” scandal with Matt Walsh.

I’m reluctant to post that link, as I’ve avoided linked to all of Florio’s stuff that goes the other way. In fact, Florio has tried to play a tricky game here, spreading rumor and innuendo involving the Patriots situation with as much (or more) gusto than anyone out there, while at the same time making comments such as the following:

But the sense we’re getting is that many in the media are hoping for this to become a story of cheating and scandal and cover-ups and suspensions and forfeits.

“Many in the media?” Does he include himself in that?

That’s not to say that Florio doesn’t sometimes provide interesting information or sources. This Sport Magazine archive piece about spying in the 1960’s NFL was a great read.

A couple of WEEI items:

If you’ve listened to WEEI in the last week, you’ve heard that Dennis & Callahan producer Steve Ciaccio has been blogging from spring training. You actually have to navigate the WEEI web site a bit to find it, but here’s the link if you’re looking for it:

38 Glitches: Ciaccio’s Spring Training Blog

Talkers Magazine has its list of the 100 Most Important talk Radio Hosts in America. At #91 is this guy:

The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and Hall of Fame will name The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan as Sportswriter of Year on May 3-5, 2008, in Salisbury, N.C.

Here are the state winners for New England:

Sportscaster – Mike Lynch, WCVB
Sportswriter – Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe

New Hampshire
Sportscaster – Jim Jeannotte, UNH Sports Network
Sportswriter – Allen Lessels, The Union Leader

Rhode Island
Sportscaster – Steve Hyder, Pawtucket Red Sox
Sportswriter – Joe McDonald, Providence Journal

Sportscaster – Kevin Nathan, WVIT-TV
Sportswriter – Mike DiMauro, The Day (London)

Sportscaster – Dale Duff, WZON
Sportswriter – Ernie Clark, Bangor Daily News

Sportscaster – George Commo, Vermont Broadcast Sports & Jack Healey, WYSB
Sportswriter – Mike Donoghue, The Burlington Free Press

Congratulations to all!

Disagreeing on Dwight

On Monday, Bob Ryan posted in his blog that he wasn’t all that impressed with Dwight Howard’s performance in the NBA Slam Dunk contest on Saturday night.

This morning in the Metro, I have a rebuttal to Ryan’s premise that we shouldn’t be impressed with Howard because he happens to be 7 feet tall and athletic.

Speaking of Ryan, he is down at Red Sox spring training, and after Manny Ramirez had his arrival press conference today, the Globe’s Extra Bases blog notes:

After standing up, out of the huge group of reporters and cameras, Ramirez went over to Bob Ryan, shook his hand, and stood talking to him for a few moments.

It would be interesting to know what Manny said to him.

Everyone Has Got An Agenda

Newsflash -media members have agendas! It seems to have been confessional day today on WEEI, as both Michael Holley and Glenn Ordway announced on the air today that sports media members all have agendas and alliances.

The catalyst for these comments is the fact that we’ve got a Red Sox/Patriots, Herald/Globe rivalry going on here. Mike Reiss of the Globe gets access to Bill Belichick, while the Curt Schilling invites his own circle of reporters to his “private” press conference, leaving the entire Boston Globe out of the session.

Ordway lectured this afternoon that access to various people and teams depends a lot on comfort level. Belichick talks to Reiss because he’s comfortable with him. Schilling hates Shaughnessy, so he doesn’t invite the Globe. Ordway said that Shaughnessy should stop crying about it, because this sort of thing happens to everyone in the business.

The discussion was actually pretty good, as we know that all of this happens, but it’s nice to hear those involved admit that this stuff goes on. That all media people at some point “prostitute themselves for the story” as Tony Massarotti said.

Massarotti also made the good point that there are so many media people out there now, that the subjects can pretty much now pick and choose who they want to get the story, based on how much they kiss up to them, or donate to their charity. Ordway said that that is the reason they don’t have many guests on the Big Show. Not buying that part of it.

Dan Kennedy wonders if a compromise is possible in the Curt Schilling/Red Sox disagreement over his rehab.

Schilling himself weighs in on the status of things on his 38 Pitches blog.

Sean Gregory on TIME.com looks at the resurgence of the Celtics and why they have thrived while so many other quick-fix, star-laden clubs fail.

Bob Ryan wasn’t overwhelmed with the Slam Dunk contest. Wilt Chamberlain could do anything Dwight Howard can do…he also says Jackie Jackson was the greatest dunker he ever saw. No love for Gus (Honeycomb) Johnson, Bob?

Peter King in MMQB, Tuesday Edition, doesn’t believe Bill Belichick, though he says he has always found Scott Pioli to be truthful.

Tom Curran reacts to the Belichick comments as well.

Pete Prisco gives us his top 10 Restricted Free Agents in the NFL.

John Clayton has the Patriots as the top draft evaluators in the NFL.

Charley Rosen has an NBA midseason report card.

Bill Simmons gives his thoughts on New Orleans during All Star weekend.

Chad Finn goes Nine Innings.

Sean McAdam traipses over to the other side of Ft Myers to do a piece on the Twins for ESPN.com.

No Place To Hide For (or From) Roger

Roger Clemens steroids talk is now all the rage on sports radio, as Clemens gets ready to testify under oath tomorrow. I hate all this steroid talk and how it has absolutely dominated sports talk radio during morning drive in Boston for going on three years now, but I have to say that I’m going to be looking for a way to watch Clemens go before the committee tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be entertaining.

In other news, today was the first time I actually ventured onto the national web sites since…you know. Not too much out there other than the Clemens stuff.

Chad Finn has some thoughts on Roger Clemens, and a number of other Boston sports items.

Eric Wilbur says that Clemens is apparently dumb enough to believe himself.

Jason Whitlock says that Clemens’ major problem is that he is addicted to having people kiss his butt all the time.

The Storming the Floor blog talks to David Scott about CSTV and BSMW.

Bill Simmons has an NBA All Star edition of the links.

Charley Rosen was impressed with the Celtics on Sunday, particularly on defense.

As for the site, we’re still making some tweaks here and there and moving stuff around. This will likely go on for some time until things “feel” right. If you’re having problems displaying the site, please feel free to email me what browser you’re using, and what issues you’re having.

Afternoon Update

Couple of blogs and recent missives from some media critics to check out on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.

Dave Scott checks in on witih Scott’s Shots while John Molori’s Media Blitz column features Andrea Kremer.

Over the past few months I’ve found Chadd Finn’s Touching All the Bases to be a must read. Another blogger from Vacationland, Steve Mistler on his Outsde the Hub blog tosses his four cents in on Johnny Damon’s return. Sheriff Sully offers up his five most painful losses as a Boston sports fan. Lastly, the grandaddy of ’em all, Bill Simmons, attempts to explain fantasy baseball to his wife in his latest column for The Magazine.

For those who haven’t read Bruce’s latest on the “Best and Worst of the Boston Sports Media”, check out below.