My Sideline Notebook from Games 1 & 2 between Knicks & Celtics

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
It’s amazing how much of a sideline reporters work the viewers DON’T see.  Below are most of the reports I had prepared through attending practices, shootaround, and in the pre-game locker rooms.  I got two on the air.  Why only two? Not because my reports weren’t “good”, in fact, my producer reads through all of them, and if he doesn’t like one, I just press delete.  But because through the course of a game, I am competing against promos, commercials, and the flow of the game. When Amar’e Stoudemire left the game early in the 1st quarter to get his back worked on, my priority became reporting on Amar’e’s condition. I also had an interview set up with the already injured Chauncey Billups for the second time-out in the second quarter. As Amar’e’s condition turned dire, I spent the entire third quarter standing by the door to the Knicks locker room, with Amar’e inside.  I was waiting for the player to appear, run to the court, or get an update from a trainer or public relations employee.  I didn’t see one live play of the third quarter.  Just a part of the job.  The job I love.  What is NOT below are the interviews I did with Carmelo Anthony before the tip, before halftime, and with asst. coach Phil Weber after the half. I also interviewed the Celtics Jermaine O’Neal after the game for our Post Game show on MSG.  Here’s all the work I did, that didn’t make it to the sidelines ….

AMAR’E
This week Amar’e Stoudemire from the day he signed with the Knicks he saw it as a great opportunity to team-up with Mike D’Antoni again, and they made an effort together to keep communication lines going, Amar’e says “we’ve been on same page from start”
Amar’e prides himself in playing like a warrior. // Earlier this season he read “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu (zoo) … a Chinese military strategist. The book teaches warriors to “attack your enemy where he is unprepared, appear where he does not expect you.” Amar’e told me it prepares him for battle, so he took notes, wrote down quotes and has them with him, now in the post season to continue inspiring and motivating his warrior side.
((Game 1)) At morning shootaround, Amar’e was asked what he thought about Glen Davis’ comments that Amar’e is “not that hard to guard” … Amar’e said … “Glen Davis and I are on two different platforms right now. He’s a solid player, does a great job for his ballclub, but we’re on two different platforms.”
CARMELO
Carmelo Anthony recognizes the Celtics are battle tested as a team, yesterday at practice Melo said, “They do have more experience than us … that’s a fact, yes we’re a young team, but we can still compete, ” Melo says if the Knicks can compete to the point of stringing together 2 wins in a row, THAT will make a difference in this series for New York.
LANDRY
Landry Fields says after the trade he wasn’t playing like himself. He was thinking too much, instead of just playing. Landry admits he’s a cerebral guy, and while that’s his strength, it can also be his weakness. He said in these playoff games he needs to just trust what he can do, and did the first half of the season, and just play.
Even before Billups was out … Amar’e has been saying … the Knicks starts can’t win this series on their own … the rest of the team has to step up. Landry Fields says what’s important for everyone that’s “not” a star … is that those players have to be like a “glue guy” … bring energy, be aggressive, play good defense.
TONEY DOUGLAS
When Toney Douglas was a rookie he came into the league with great admiration for Rajon Rondo. Saying he looked up to Rondo, because he overcame the critics that weren’t high on him when he came out of college. Toney said Rondo wound up in the right situation and proved people wrong by doing the right things … rebounding, he knew how to find people, play good defense by using his quick hands … and … he took his team to the playoffs.
RONNY TURIAF
Ronny Turiaf told me he was not surprised at all with Jermaine O’Neal’s performance Sunday. Ronny says it doesn’t matter if JERMAINE lost time due to injuries or had surgeries, HE WAS AN ALL-STAR FOR A REASON, and has had a great NBA career because he was born with a talent. Ronny says that talent doesn’t go away, so he respects O’Neal and expects him to still be a game-changer.

CHAUNCEY ((Game 1))
At this morning’s shootaround, Chauncey Billups said from the DAY arrived in New York after the trade, there was a buzz in the city and he sensed a fan base that was “starving for a winner”, for the Knicks to be competitive and be relevant. // Billups says while the postseason is what he expects each year, he understand how IMPORTANT it is for Knicks fans to have their team back in the playoffs.
From the minute the regular season ends, Chuancey Billups changes. He says “You know the stakes are higher.” // On his own … He does a lot more film work, mental preparation … he says to “try to prepare for different situations that come up in games, where we can be effective, how to run plays, and places on court he needs to get to.”That’s the edge you need in the playoffs.
Chauncey says the toughest road arenas to play in are Utah … where he played a number of post season games when he was with Denver… Philly was always tough for him when he was with Detroit … and yes, Boston … now a loud, volatile atmosphere for him as a Knick.

BOSTON
****RAY ALLEN (PRE GAME LOCKER ROOM GAME 2)
Before the game tonight, Ray Allen said the Celtics really feel “ We gotta away with one on our own floor , but we don’t want to say that anymore, now we need to take care of business.” //
He doesn’t see himself tonight as the “guy who hit the game winner” but a player who has to do every thing in his power to help his team win.
DOC RIVERS
Doc Rivers says the plan… defending Amar’e is they’d “like” their normal defense to “work”. But if they’r not making stops & he’s scoring, they, primarily Garnett … have to essentially “over deny” him the ball. Doc says Amar’e’s going to catch it … they have to prevent that.
((Game 1)) Paul Pierce said we can’t get caught up in their game and give up 108 – 110 points … if we do, there’s no way we can win.
At the beginning of the season Rajon Rondo told me he put on about 20 pounds of muscle since his first season. He says the time he’s spent in the gym has paid dividends when he drives to the basket, gives him explosion in his jumper, and helps him hold his own when he’s defended by bigger players.
The Celtics have practiced 3-days in a row this week … the FIRST time since they broke camp, that they’ve held practice three straight days. All season Doc Rivers has tried to preserve the health and energy of his vets … but Friday, Doc ran them hard for a good 2 ½ hours.

About Tina Cervasio

Tina is a television and radio sports broadcaster in New York City and contributes to national television broadcasts as well. You can currently see Cervasio on FOX 5 WNYW, Big Ten Network, Red Bulls Broadcasts, NBA TV, while also appearing as a guest on many local and national shows to talk about sports headlines, particularly the NBA, MLB, MLS, US & International Soccer after being a team announcer for both the New York Knicks and Red Bulls for 8 years and the Boston Red Sox from 2006-07.
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