SCOREBOARD
Thursday, June 5
L.A. Lakers at Boston (9 p.m. EDT). The Lakers and Celtics meet in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987.

BIG DRAW
The NBA finals' television ratings for the last eight years fall into two unmistakable categories: series with the Los Angeles Lakers, and series without them. The four times that the Lakers - with their large market, big stars and storied tradition - reached the sport's grandest stage, the finals' average rating was never lower than a 10.2. The four times they weren't involved, the number was never above an 8.5.

SPEAKING
``We've all been on that side of the fence, where everybody pats you on your back and tells you they love you because you hit the last-second shot. Now, it's about winning, and being able to say that you won, and being to that certain promised land that everybody talks about trying to get to. We know we need each other to get there. Sometimes doing less is more.'' - Boston's Ray Allen on the synergy of the Celtics' Big Three: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Allen. The Celtics host the Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA finals on Thursday night.

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