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Game of ins, outs

Ticket scarcity hits close to home

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / June 8, 2008

So, you want to be inside TD Banknorth Garden tonight, cheering among the thousands who somehow scored a ticket to Game 2 of the NBA Finals?

Well, you're not alone.

Tickets are not easy to come by, and maybe there is comfort in knowing that even people who know a member of the Celtics are no closer to tonight's game than the other ticketless fans.

For the players on the NBA's biggest stage, the pomp and circumstance that go with the playoffs also means a call or e-mail from that cousin, three times removed, looking for tickets. While players are focusing on the next game or nursing injuries, they also are orchestrating the ticket game.

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett is in his first Finals, and before the first round against Atlanta, he said he has his own way of doing things.

"I let people know from the playoff start, this is what it is," Garnett said. "If you don't like it, beat it. I don't have a problem with it and how it is. People understand when it's playoff time or when it's anything dealing with me, this is how it's going to be, and if you don't like it, then remove yourself."

Each Celtic is given three tickets for home games and two for the road, said Jeff Twiss, Celtics vice president of media services. Players can buy additional tickets based on availability. In the playoffs, Twiss said, the organization has not changed its policy.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the playoffs may mean more interest for those connected to the players, but there has to be a balance between the players' routines and enjoying the atmosphere.

"Families are great, obviously, and so are friends," Rivers said. "But you've got to still do your job. You have a game; that's your focus. But people should be part of it, too - your family, your wife, they should be part of it. Hell, they've been part of it all year.

"But you've just got to make sure you understand that whatever ritual you have on game day, nothing can get in between you and that ritual, that preparation."

For players who don't want their routines interrupted on game day, Twiss said he will step in to handle the logistics.

Other players look to family members to handle requests.

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is in his second season and his first Finals. He said he has asked his brother to keep track of ticket requests at times, but the process isn't as challenging because the same group of friends and family has attended games throughout the season.

For players who are constantly taking requests, they learn eventually to say no.

Celtics forward Leon Powe said he had his own system for distributing tickets.

"I'm not going all out of my way to buy tickets and stuff like that," Powe said. "I already got it in my head, and that's just how it is. You have to have some kind of standards on tickets because it can get out of hand, and I know that."

After 15 years in the NBA, forward P.J. Brown nearly retired before joining the Celtics in midseason. Brown said it is not the requests from friends and family that can make the issue touchy.

"We said tickets are hard to come by and we're not going to be able to accommodate everyone, so don't worry about coming to Boston or LA," Brown said.

"It's not so much family and friends as it's the people on the outside of it that are connected. Everybody wants to be part of it; unfortunately, it's too difficult to get these tickets."

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com

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