Record Ratings for Game 7

NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup-clinching victory over the on Wednesday night earned the highest television rating for an NHL game in 37 years.

Boston’s 4-0 win in Game 7 on NBC earned a 4.8 rating and 8 share. That’s the best since a 7.6/27 for Boston-Philadelphia in 1974.

It’s up 2 percent from last year’s deciding Game 6 between Chicago and Philadelphia and up 12 percent from the most recent Game 7 in 2009 between Detroit and Pittsburgh.

The seven games averaged 4.6 million viewers on NBC and Versus, the most for a series split between network and cable involving a Canadian team.

The game earned a 43.4/64 in Boston, the best for a hockey game since records began being kept for the market in 1991. That’s higher than any game in the ‘ last two NBA finals.

Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.

Bookmark and Share

LeBron James and Miami Heat Put Boston Celtics on Brink

Dwyane Wade added 28 points as the Heat moved closer to vanquishing the defending Eastern Conference champions by taking a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Game Five is on Wednesday in Miami where the Heat will attempt to finish off the Celtics.

“What we’re going to face on Wednesday will be our greatest challenge of this season,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “To put away a champion will be the toughest thing we’ve had to do to this point.”

In last season’s playoffs, Boston eliminated James and the , and Wade and the Heat on their way to the NBA Finals, but the Celtics are finding themselves overpowered by Miami’s new partnership.

Chris Bosh, who signed with Miami along with James in the summer to form a “Big Three” with Wade to challenge Boston’s reign, added 20 points and 12 rebounds including a crucial tip-in with 24 seconds left in OT to give Miami a 95-90 lead.

In a see-saw fourth quarter, the Heat held the Celtics to just 13 points to force the extra session as Paul Pierce missed a potential game-winner as the buzzer ended regulation time.

Miami scored the first six points of overtime to put the veteran Celtics on their heels.

Pierce finished with 27 points and Ray Allen chipped in 17 for Boston.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, Editing by Larry Fine)

Bookmark and Share

Celtics Wait to Learn Next Opponent

In the playoffs, the Big Thirtysomethings of , Paul Pierce and Ray Allen took care of it for themselves — and 39-year-old , too.

The got another day off on Tuesday, two days after beating the 101-89 to complete their first-round sweep. Boston is waiting to learn its second-round playoff opponent; the most likely opponent is the , who hold a 3-1 series lead over the heading into Wednesday night’s Game 5.

“We haven’t swept a team in a long time,” point guard Rajon Rondo said. “It is a good feeling to get some rest.”

The Celtics have reached the NBA finals twice in the three years since the new Big Three was assembled, winning it all in 2008. But they hadn’t swept a team since beating the in three straight in the first round of the 1992 playoffs — the last postseason series win in ‘s career before he retired.

In ’08, Boston managed to win an unprecedented 17th championship after going the distance in each of the first two rounds, needing 26 playoff games before finishing off the in six games. Last year’s return to the finals took 24 games, and the extended season has been taking its toll.

Rivers thought that rest was so important this season that he conceded the No. 2 seed in the East to the Heat to rest his stars in the final week rather than burn them out in a (likely futile) attempt to catch Miami.

“I think we do need it, so we’re going to take it,” he said before sitting his starters for the last two regular season games.

Boston has one of the oldest starting lineups in the NBA, with three starters in their 30s — four if O’Neal can make it back from a right leg injury that has limited him to just 5 minutes, 29 seconds since Feb. 1. Allen is 35, Garnett turns 35 next month and Pierce is 33; they have played more than 120,000 career minutes between them.

But Pierce played fewer minutes this year than in any full season in his career. Garnett was near his career-low in minutes per game. But no one could use the extra time more than O’Neal.

The former MVP and future Hall of Famer played in a career-low 39 games and 751 minutes this season, but mostly because of injury. He has not played since making a cameo on April 3 to return from an Achilles tendon injury. He then injured the same leg after just 5½ minutes.

O’Neal is still listed as day-to-day, the team said Tuesday.

, 32, whose presence will be key if Shaq can’t play, also played his fewest minutes since becoming a full-time NBA starter in 2000.

Bookmark and Share