After years of struggling, the Celtics are once again viable in Boston and you can tell it by the crowd. There is a constant buzz in the arena and the crowd got very excited in the first quarter when Bill Russell made an entrance and worked his way to a courtside seat.
Boston is perhaps the most traditional basketball city in the country, much of it because of Russell's Celtic teams in the '50s and '60s. And although Boston management has adopted some of the innovations the NBA and David Stern have forced on fans, the basketball experience is still about basketball.
In Dallas, like in other cities, the game operations people feel compelled to never allow a moment when there is not music or something happening. It once was considered bad sportsmanship to play music during a possession, but most cities not only do that, but they even play it during the home team's possessions, which hurts the communication between coaches on the bench and players.
In Boston, they are not freaked out by a quiet moment. Yes, they have the grand introductions. Unfortunately, they have a shrieking announcer, which certainly has Red Auerbach fuming in his grave, but they do not feel compelled to pound the fans with incessant blaring music.
What a concept! Go to a basketball game and the emphasis is on basketball.
The TD Banknorth Garden is not the old Boston Garden, but what a terrific atmosphere.
-- Jan Hubbard