The fans still chant "Beat L.A! Beat L.A!", but the Celtics haven't done it in Boston in a while.
The Lakers' 91-84 victory in Game 3 of the NBA finals Tuesday night was their third straight victory in the TD Garden. Los Angeles, which has won at Boston in each of the last two regular seasons, now leads the series 2-1.
Quite a turnaround from when they lost all three games on the Celtics' home court in the 2008 NBA finals. Yet Kobe Bryant downplayed the idea that the Lakers have become more comfortable in their rival's building.
"For us, we've always viewed ourselves as being a good road team," Bryant said Wednesday. "It doesn't really matter where we play."
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The Lakers are reminded of their 131-92 loss in Game 6 two years ago every time they come back to Boston. They stay in the same hotel they did then, which Pau Gasol said provides motivation.
"Every time we've stayed in that hotel reminds me of that last night," Gasol said. "I slept there after Game 6 and how bad I felt and how long of a night it was for us, and so the last two regular-season games I had the same feeling as I do every time I'm there."
Tuesday's game earned the highest television ratings for a Game 3 since 2004. The telecast got an 11.5 overnight rating, 14 percent better than the Lakers and Orlando posted in Game 3 last year. It was the highest-rated show on television Tuesday night, helping ABC win prime time.
Avery Johnson says in text he'll coach Nets
Avery Johnson said he has agreed to become the coach of the New Jersey Nets, the NBA's worst team.
In a text message to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Johnson said he thinks the Nets will announce the deal Thursday.
Nets president and general manager Rod Thorn did not immediately respond when asked to comment on Johnson's text. In an earlier e-mail to the AP, he said he "will have something to say" Thursday.
The current ESPN analyst coached Dallas for three-plus seasons, going 194-70 in the regular season and 23-24 in the playoffs. He guided the Mavs to the NBA finals in 2006, but was fired after a first-round playoff series loss to New Orleans in 2008.
Johnson will take over a team that posted a league- worst 12-70 record and set a league record opening the season with 18 straight losses.
The Nets threatened to break the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers' league record for fewest wins in a season — nine — until a late run got them over the hump.
Johnson should benefit from working with new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Russian billionaire has said he will open his wallet in free agency, and the Nets have more than $23 million to spend on a talent pool that might include LeBron James.
The Nets will be moving to the Prudential Center in Newark for the next two years before permanently moving to their new arena, the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2012.
League leads in diversity
The NBA still leads the way in sports diversity.
The NBA was again the only men's professional sports league to receive a combined "A" for race and gender in the annual report released Wednesday by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
The league had slight decreases for blacks in front-office positions from last year but is still the best among men's pro sports.
The study shows 77 percent of the NBA players were black, 18 percent white, 3 percent Latino, 1 percent Asian and 1 percent "other." International players, after a steady rise in recent years, stayed steady at 18 percent.
Richard Lapchick, author of the study, said the percentage of international players might deviate slightly in the next few years but has "probably peaked" for now.
Women made up 44 percent of professional employees at the league offices. That increased by one percent from last year, higher than any other men's professional league in any previous study but still below the NBA's high of 49 percent in the 1995-96 season.
Asked Wednesday by Newsday whether Nike would like to see LeBron James land in New York, Charlie Denson, president of the Nike brand, said, "Where LeBron ends up is totally up to LeBron. We're obviously going to support him.
"He wants to put himself in the best situation to win. ... That's the most important part. So I think LeBron is going to try to pick the best place where he can win, and wherever that is, we're OK with that."
James signed an extension with Nike in March that is not believed to include a clause that would pay him more for moving to a market larger than Cleveland.