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Media: Gorman, Heinsohn and Celtics

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  May 18, 2012 11:05 AM

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Today's media column, which is basically a 700-word wish that Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn were permitted to call Celtics postseason games beyond the first round, is over here on BostonGlobe.com.

Because the column runs exclusively there now and yet I still want to acknowledge it on the blog, I think what I'm going to do each week is something like this: On Friday morning, I'll write a brief outtake or footnote from the column, or a sidebar directly related to it, then add a poll related to the topic. It's rare that there's a week where the topic doesn't lend itself to strong opinions, so let's give it a shot and see where it goes.

It's easy to understand why Comcast SportsNet New England and the regional cable networks that broadcast specific NBA teams' games get squeezed out after the first round of the playoffs. TNT and ESPN pay roughly $930 million a year combined to the league on the current eight-year television deal that runs through 2015-16. Given that CSNNE's ratings nearly doubled the national numbers in the first round, well, if you were an executive at TNT or ESPN, you wouldn't want to be dealing with that, especially considering what you're paying for the rights..

But there's a reason those numbers in the Boston DMA favored the local broadcast. Gorman and Heinsohn, who began their uninterrupted 31 years of calling games together during Danny Ainge's rookie season, know this team extraordinarily well. They were here for the ebbs and flows of a season that has had more than the usual share, and they can provide context and insight that a national network cannot.

I generally like Dick Stockton on the TNT telecasts -- mostly because his voice takes me back to the "NBA on CBS'' in the mid-'80s, when the Celtics, Lakers, and Sixers reigned and the game was never better. But his partner, Chris Webber, often says things that make me wish for another alternative, such as when he noted Wednesday night that the Celtics will require Rajon Rondo to play "one guard, two guard, and even three guard because of injuries.''

Presuming Heinsohn was watching the game at CSNNE -- he and Gorman at least get to appear on the pre- and postgame programming -- I'd have loved to have witnessed his reaction to that silly comment. I imagine it was something like, "Are you KIDDING me, Chris Webber? Rah-JON RON-do is a POINT guard.''

One last thought, regarding Game 4 that is just a few hours away: I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this team tonight, though Paul Pierce's sudden (and to me, stunning) return to form and apparent health in Game 3 certainly bodes well going forward. After watching him struggle to move in Game 3, I never thought we'd get the whole Truth until November. But that's how it goes with this often maddening and yet so damn likable team. You wonder if they've hit their ceiling, and somehow they smash through it. Their incredible ability to overcome just about any obstacle -- including the self-inflicted ones -- is part of their charm.


About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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