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Scott D. Pierce: Celtics display different kind of 'curse' this time

Published: Friday, June 20 2008 12:04 a.m. MDT

In the wake of Boston's triumph in the NBA finals, a number of stories in newspapers across the country played on some variation of it being a return of The Curse of the Celtics.

That "curse" gave Boston eight consecutive victories over the Lakers in the NBA finals and had seemingly been put to rest when L.A. finally broke through in 1985.

On Wednesday, ABC had to deal with its own Curse of the Celtics. Or, rather, The Cursing by the Celtics, which led more than a few viewers to wonder whether the network was experiencing technical difficulties or if their TV set was going on the fritz.

Yes, the Celtics apparently cursed up a storm, if we're to judge by all the silence during the ABC telecast. And you didn't necessarily have to be much of a lip-reader to get that.

There has been some criticism of ABC over what happened, but it's hard to say what the network could have done. Or what it could have done better.

Maybe it could have cut away from the post-game interview with Kevin Garnett, who apparently is unable to speak even a sentence fragment without swearing. But, on the other hand, it was the kind of genuine emotion — in his case, pure joy — we don't get to see that often.

And, yes, the cameras (and microphones) did linger on the exuberant Boston bench in the closing minutes of the game, but there was certainly nothing worth watching on the court. Watching the Celtics celebrate was more entertaining than watching the Lakers disintegrate.

What we learned on Wednesday is that even a "live" telecast isn't exactly "live" anymore. ABC had the game on a delay just in case something like this happened so that the network could avoid sending f-bombs out over the air.

You can hardly blame anybody at ABC. What with the Federal Communications Commission assessing or threatening huge fines, the network can't afford to broadcast bad language.

And we're not exactly suffering when we watch a game that's delayed a few seconds.

Actually, we do that all the time. There's a bit of a delay just getting the game to our television sets. And that delay can be lengthened depending on whether it's an over-the-air broadcast, cable or satellite, digital cable or satellite and so on.

You've got to figure this is going to happen again. In lots of sports on lots of channels.

DIGRESSING INTO RADIO for a moment, it's nice that Spencer Checketts has apparently discovered there's no such word as "contrastly." This came after he used the non-word repeatedly on the Real Salt Lake pregame show on KALL 700AM.

Now, if only he could get over the idea that Rice-Eccles Stadium has become a place MLS teams fear to play because of RSL's record there this season.

It wasn't fearsome when was RSL was 3-0-3 at home. It's even less fearsome now that RSL is 3-0-4.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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