Game 7 of the Celtics-Lakers NBA finals Thursday night on ABC drew an 18.2 overnight rating, making it the highest-rated NBA game since a 1998 finals contest between the Bulls and Jazz.

 

It was ABC's highest NBA overnight rating ever, surpassing Lakers-Pistons Game 5 in 2005, which recorded a 15.5.

 

Game 7 was the highest-rated show of the night for all of television, as was the case for the previous six games. The game peaked with a 23.7 rating in the closing final minutes, from 11:45 p.m. to midnight.

 

LOS ANGELES — Down to the very last, the Boston Celtics stayed true to themselves. They were a tight-knit emotional group, possibly even a little crazy.



PAUL FLANNERY

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Ten thoughts following a Game 7 that included Brian Scalabrine dramatically moving ahead of Shelden Williams in the battle for 11th man status.



KIRK MINIHANE

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LOS ANGELES -- Several Celtics players had tears in their eyes and were overcome with emotion in the moments immediately following their Game 7 loss to the Lakers, 83-79, at Staples Center Thursday night. 

 

"This is probably one of the hardest feelings I've felt in my lifetime." Ray Allen said. "There were a lot tears, just a lot of tears." 

 

LOS ANGELES -- In the emotional Celtics locker room, Ray Allen reiterated his desire to remain with the team once he hits free agency. "I'll deal with that when the time comes," he said. "But it's obvious that I don't want to be anywhere else."

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant kept the press at bay during the playoffs, constantly downplaying his role in the Lakers-Celtics rivalry and what it means for his legacy. "I was just lying to you guys," Bryant said. "I just wanted it so bad. I wanted it so, so bad." Bryant also praised the Celtics saying, "The physicality of their team, how smart they are, extremely well-coached and guys made big shots. It was tough. They weren't going to beat themselves.

LOS ANGELES -- As he has maintained throughout the playoffs, Doc Rivers will take some time to make a decision about his future. "It's just a tough decision," he said outside the Celtics locker room. "I'm just going to get away." He won't be far away from the Celtics, however. Their summer league team will play in Orlando July 5-9 where Rivers has a home.

Speaking after the Celtics' 83-79, Game 7 loss to the Lakers Thursday night, Celts coach Doc Rivers suggested that forward Rasheed Wallace may be contemplating retirement. "You know, I don't know if Rasheed will ever play again," Rivers said of the 35-year-old. "You know, he's one of them. I think he took that out on the floor with him. I think he is thinking about retiring, and I thought you could see that in his play. He was dying out there. When he got the cramps and the strains, he was just trying to figure out a way of staying on the floor.

 

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to help the Lakers claim an 83-79 win over Celtics in Game 7, earning Bryant the Bill Russell Award for the NBA finals MVP. Bryant shot just 6-for-24 from the floor in Game 7 but did enough to take away his fifth NBA title in the last 11 seasons, averaging 28.6 points per game in the series. For more, see the Celtics team page by clicking here.

LOS ANGELES -- The Lakers outscored the Celtics 30-22 in the fourth quarter to rally for a 83-79 win in Game 7 of the NBA finals at Staples Center Thursday night to capture their 16th NBA title.