Celtics taking attendance


Celtics taking attendance

I stumbled across some early season NBA attendance numbers tonight, and thought I'd pass them along. You know, just for fun. Just to stay to true to the spirit that Harriet Tubman had in mind when she invented blogging back in 1735.

Anyway, one month into the season, and the Celtics rank sixth in the NBA in total attendance at 167,616. Only the Lakers, Clippers, Bulls, Thunder and Mavericks have had more fans walk through their doors. And when you consider that of the Top 6 teams, that the Celtics are tied for the fewest home games played (nine, with Dallas and Chicago), the total is even more impressive.

At the same time, there are also a ton of teams who have played fewer home games than the C's, so the totals are kind of skewed. Instead, if you take the average per game attendance, Boston only ranks 11th in the league. Pretty much in the middle of the pack.

So what gives? How is it that teams like the Raptors and Warriors are drawing more fans a game than the C's? Does this have something to do with Aztec Gino? Is he scaring people away?

No, he's not (although he is horrible). The truth is that the Celtics have fewer fans per night, because they have a smaller arena. 18,624 is all that the Garden can handle. And that's what it's handled in each of the Celtics nine home games. In fact, as of tonight, the C's are one of only six in the league to be at full capacity for the season.

Bottom line: The jungle is still rocking every single night.

Next up: A few more home wins. It may be early, but 5-4 just doesn't cut it for the C's. Especially if they have any aspirations of keeping that perfect attendance.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots pregame rituals: Step-by-step with the players on game day


Patriots pregame rituals: Step-by-step with the players on game day

What goes through Dont'a Hightower’s mind in the minutes before he takes the field and lowers himself into a cauldron of collisions, pain and exultation?

Not a thing.

“I rest. I literally rest,” said the Patriots Pro Bowl inside linebacker. “I don’t do anything else. I sit at my locker, I don’t listen to music. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary. I don’t look at film, I don’t look at notes. I’m just relaxed. Calm before the storm. I’ve done enough preparing, I’ve done enough notes, I’ve done enough of that stuff during the week. If I don’t know it by now, I don’t know it. It’s not gonna help me last minute. It’s only gonna make me play slower.”

By the time an NFL team hits the field – in the Patriots case, runs out of a giant, inflatable helmet while Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” blares – they are primped, polished, taped and glistening.

But what is their day like leading up to that? I asked a few Patriots to take me through their game-day prep from wakeup to anthem to give me insight into what we don’t see.  

You can hear Hightower, Nate Solder, Alan Branch, Devin McCourty and Rob Ninkovich detail the steps they take to get game-ready. French toast is involved. So are naps. And sock preparation.

It all builds to that moment of theater that Ninkovich says is what players truly miss when they leave the game – that feeling of euphoria.

“When we finally get to run out, that’s the most exciting time in the world,” says Solder. “The crowd wasn’t there earlier when we went out there and all of a sudden, the crowd is there. Very exciting, very fun, especially with the guys you work so hard with.”

Says McCourty, “I always think when I run out of the tunnel to look up and say, ‘Thank you’ just to be able to play.”

Listen to them tell their stories here:

Belichick's game-day ritual: 'Try to coach and play good'

Belichick's game-day ritual: 'Try to coach and play good'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick was not in any mood to start revealing his behind-the-scenes pre-kickoff routine on game-days. The air of focus he's exhibited during his media-availability periods this week continued on Friday, particularly when he was asked about his Sunday rituals. 

When a reporter wondered if there was anything in particular Belichick does before a game, he initially said simply, "No."

A follow-up about superstitions was tossed Belichick's way next. He swatted that aside as well.

"Try to play and coach good," he explained. "Goes a long way."

There you have it. An easy-step-by-step guide on how to approach a game like a future Hall-of-Famer.

For more on Patriots pregame prep, click here.