Weekend Tube Review: Clearly, Powe = Dr. J

NBA Playoffs:
↵ABC got huge ratings for Game One last Thursday, pulling in an average of 13.3 million viewers and receiving an 8.7 rating. The announcing team was also light years better in the first game of the Finals than they were last night, as a huge third and fourth quarter lead by the Celtics caused them to lose focus on the game itself. ↵
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↵Before L.A.'s comeback bid began, the two analysts -- Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy -- went into their usual shtick where they poke fun at each other and joke about the other's career. The only problem was that it carried over into a Lakers 11-2 run that got them right back in a game in which they were once down by 24 points. At times their exchanges are humorous, but not necessary during a Finals game. It also overshadowed a great performance by Mike Breen, who was humorous, insightful, and a good babysitter for Jackson and Van Gundy ↵

↵Belmont Stakes:
↵ESPN/ABC's seven-hour coverage of the Belmont Stakes drew a ton of viewers (about 12 million), but everyone who watched the race didn't get to witness history. I was really into the broadcast most of the day and while all parties did a pretty good job, it seemed as if ABC was left scrambling after Big Brown pulled up before the home stretch. Other than that understandable confusion, the networks put on a great day of racing coverage. All the coverage obviously surrounded Big Brown, but it should have been that way. They were, after all, talking about an event that hadn't occurred in 30 years -- a horse winning the triple crown. ↵

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↵ABC also did a wonderful job of covering the passing of Jim McKay who himself was a horse racing enthusiast. The look back at his work during the lead into the Belmont coverage was classy and poignant. ↵

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↵ ↵Euro 2008:
↵I caught most of the four games over the weekend, and while there were little audio and picture problems from those calling the games from Bristol, it was the studio team that left me scratching my head. Neither of the leads, Will Selva and Steve Bunin, knew when they were on the air and analyst Julie Foudy's interactions with Tommy Smyth and Andy Gray seemed contrived and overmatched. Hopefully the addition of Rece Davis this week will make the studio show bearable and let the games speak for themselves. ↵

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↵ ↵Quotes of the Weekend:
↵"Big Brown is the Kobe Bryant of this field."- Jerry Bailey describing the Belmont favorite ↵

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↵"Gasol tips it out and he says give me a bounce pass."- Mike Breen
↵"I've been there, you tell the big guy give me a catch."- Mark Jackson ↵

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↵"You can put that fire out anytime guys. Nah, we'll wait. Mr. Montoya can I have your autograph?"- Kyle Petty after race officials watched as Montoya's car burned on the Pocono infield ↵

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↵"Get in my poster!"- Mark Jackson after a Pau Gasol dunk ↵

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↵"This is why we need, a seventh foul or no fouling out at all. Why should two questionable foul calls change the entire game?"- Jeff Van Gundy making up rules during Game Two ↵

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↵"We can help Kurt Russell escape from New York."- Jon Miller ↵
↵"That was a great movie."- Joe Morgan ↵

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↵"Another pass by Cassell - wow!"- Mike Breen
↵"That's like two already!"- Jeff Van Gundy ↵

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↵"You can't get the Magic Man eating popcorn. Come on cameraman, you're better than that!"- Mark Jackson after a shot of Magic Johnson guzzling popcorn in the stands ↵

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↵"Dr. J, wherever you are listening, I apologize for my partner Mark Jackson making the statement that Leon Powe reminds him of you in a dunk contest. That could be the most embarrassing statement uttered on the ABC airwaves."- Jeff Van Gundy ↵

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↵"A wild finish at the Staples Center" - Mike Breen ↵

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↵ ↵Video of the Weekend:
↵Shaquille O'Neal shows up at Belmont dressed like a jockey and hangs with the ESPN crew: ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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