NBA legend Magic Johnson looked like Nostradamus after a recent teleconference in which he talked about the NBA Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
After tepid play from the Heat’s LeBron James in Games 2 and 3, the latter being a Spurs blowout, Johnson offered this observation.
“He has to now be more aggressive, more assertive, take more of a role in terms of scoring, and especially in the first quarter and second quarter, because those role players will follow his lead,” Johnson said. “Not just the role players, but everybody — Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — because they know he is the best player. So when he’s aggressive and when he’s playing well, that will help them to play well.”
Johnson was proved correct as the Heat won 109-93 in Game 4.
James played aggressively on offense in the first half, scoring 15 points and, more importantly, inspiring Wade, who’s been struggling throughout the playoffs, to score 14 points. Bosh added eight in the first half. By the end of the game, the three had combined for 85 of the Heat’s 109 points in Thursday’s series-tying victory.
Considering the way this series has played out thus far with alternating wins for each team, it will be interesting to see whether it continues.
ABC (WEWS Channel 5) continued to enjoy a ratings success with the Finals, even if it wasn’t to blockbuster standards.
Thursday’s game was the second most-watched Game 4 since 2004 with a 12 rating, besting Game 3 by two full ratings points. It should guarantee that a game in the series wins its time slot for the 34th consecutive time.
The use of digital platforms to keep up with individual games continued as Game 4 generated 14 million minutes of usage among users.
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is adding a top-notch journalist to a group that already includes the likes of Frank DeFord and Andrea Kremer.
Soledad O’Brien, most recently of CNN, will join television’s most respected television sports magazine.
“Soledad is a perfect fit for Real Sports,” said HBO president Ken Hershman in a news release. “She’s an extraordinary interviewer and storyteller, and we’re thrilled to be able to add her to a franchise where the emphasis is on finding and presenting thought-provoking stories in the diverse and ever-fascinating world of sports.”
For anyone aware of O’Brien, she has a reputation for being a tenacious, but fair interviewer. Some of her best work came during last year’s presidential race as she grilled Democrats and Republicans alike.
She left CNN when management revamped the morning show that she co-hosted. CNN’s huge loss is HBO’s gain as O’Brien will produce other programming for the pay-television network.
“HBO is undeniably a leader in meaningful storytelling in a wide array of formats. I’m honored to join the Real Sports team and look forward to continuing my fervor for uncovering unique and impactful stories,” O’Brien said.
Fox expands coverage
About the only good thing about the end of summer is the start of football season — high school, college and professional.
Fox will televise close to 100 games across its assorted networks from the Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA, beginning Aug. 29 with Utah vs. Utah State in the college game to air on the media company’s new national sports channel, Fox Sports 1.
Yahoo Sports’ app for smartphones and tablets, Sportstacular, received a makeover and a new name — Yahoo! Sports. For those familiar with ESPN’s ScoreCenter app, it’s similar to that — scores, stats and news.
This revamp and rebranding falls into line with Yahoo’s recent strategic shift to a focus on supporting mobile users. The company has struggled in recent years, and this change makes sense for it. Yahoo is known for its investigative sports department that has broken huge, impactful stories in the past five years.
Why its sports app didn’t carry its name to start boggles the mind.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.