CBS got two things it wanted Thursday night--a technically solid telecast and a Game 6 to televise Sunday.
The behind-the-basket camera angles and the sometimes overdone and confusing graphics that were seen during previous games of the NBA finals were absent in Game 5, providing viewers with a smooth, easy-viewing show.
Of course, Tom Heinsohn was still there, getting off a few comical remarks.
Early in the game, butchering a cliche, he said: "(A.C.) Green has been running around loose like a bull in a China closet. "
Later, he said: "It's important the Celtics have their legs underneath them in the fourth quarter."
They sure didn't want their legs on top of their heads.
CBS was 1 for 2 with its halftime features Thursday night. The first one, getting opinions on the NBA series from PGA players, was nothing more than a disguised promo for the network's golf coverage this weekend.
The second feature, on team announcers Johnny Most and Chick Hearn, was a nice idea. It was particularly interesting to see how each called Magic Johnson's game-winning shot Tuesday night, Hearn with tremendous emotion, Most with absolutely none.
Hearn had a good answer after interviewer Brent Musburger had asked him how it felt to be hated in Boston.
"I've been treated very well by everyone in Boston," Hearn said. "I don't think they know who I am."
As well-known as Most is in Boston and Hearn is in Los Angeles, neither is very well known elsewhere.
Complaint Dept.: It would be better to hear more from the players and less from Musburger during the postgame shows.
Speculation: Dick Stockton probably will be back on the NBA next season. Stockton's agent, Ed Hookstratten, said that CBS has already offered him a new five-year deal.
It's true that CBS Sports President Neal Pilson talked with Marv Albert about the possibility of replacing Stockton next season, but Albert has a year left on his NBC contract, and figures to be held to it.
However, Tom Heinsohn probably won't be back next season. The reason CBS will give for dumping Heinsohn is that he is also a Celtic broadcaster.
Heinsohn is the Celtic commentator for New England SportsChannel, a pay-cable service, and the network is concerned about that association. It leaves Heinsohn open to accusations about bias. Of course, Heinsohn has never been accused of that, has he?
The person CBS hopes eventually will be its No. 1 NBA commentator is Julius Erving, who came across well as the halftime guest Tuesday night. The plan is to break Dr. J in slowly.
Bailey bumped: If, for some reason, you are still listening to Angel games on radio, you may have noticed the disappearance of Steve Bailey as the No. 2 play-by-play announcer.
Bailey, KMPC's sports director, was supposed to eventually give way to Ken Brett after Brett gained some experience. But Bailey was removed earlier than expected.
A source said the station and the Angels got a lot of complaints about Bailey, whose forte is behind-the-scenes work, not announcing.
Brett, who was progressing nicely as a commentator, is now having to do play-by-play during the third and seventh innings even though he isn't ready for that assignment.
Bailey would have been spared some embarrassment had KMPC given capable Joel Meyers the No. 2 job in the first place and used Brett strictly as a commentator.
Add Angels: Al Conin, the team's No. 1 radio announcer, has a great voice and a smooth delivery. Some people compare him to Dick Enberg. They may sound alike, but the similarity ends there.
Conin's problem is control. He often says things without thinking.
After reporting last week that former Kansas City manager Dick Howser, who is battling cancer, had been hospitalized again, Conin said: "This may be the beginning of the end for Dick. We sure hope not."
It wasn't meant that way but it came across as insensitive.
The other night, he said: "If you're scoring along, the Angels win." Even if you weren't scoring along, the Angels won.
Another time, he said Don Sutton would rather give up solo homers than homers with runners on base. No kidding.
Party time: If Cap Cities-owned ABC is skimping, it didn't show at the network's affiliate meeting at the Century Plaza Wednesday morning when ABC Sports put on an elaborate show, which included singing, dancing, music videos and comedy.
Guest performers included Chaka Khan, the USC band, the Laker girls, a youth choral group and a Ronald Reagan impersonator.
After it was announced that Jim McKay will be the host of ABC's coverage of the 1988 Winter Olympics, the longtime ABC announcer was given a surprise tribute.
"It was one of the rare times that I have been lost for words," McKay said later.
The entire ABC Sports announcing team was on hand, along with a group of Winter Olympic medalists and other sports celebrities.
Fight night: Monday night's Gerry Cooney-Michael Spinks fight at Atlantic City, N.J., will be televised on pay-per-view cable by most of the same systems that offered the Marvelous Marvin Halger-Sugar Ray Leonard fight in April. SelecTV is also carrying the fight.
The cost, generally, is $30 through Sunday and $35 on Monday. The TV preliminaries start at 6 p.m., the main event around 7:45 p.m.
Pay-cable sales for Cooney-Spinks are nowhere near what they were for Hagler-Leonard, though, and according to an Associated Press report, tickets to closed-circuit showings are selling so poorly around the country that some exhibitors are bailing out.
TV-Radio Notes ESPN has announced that it will use Allie Sherman as an in-studio commentator during its NFL Sunday night game this fall. Sherman will be in charge of one camera that will shoot whatever he wants it to shoot. ESPN will call it the X-O cam. . . . Sherman will also be a regular guest on ESPN's new "NFL Prime Time" show, which will be shown at 4 p.m., an hour before the Sunday night kickoffs. The show essentially will be a wrap-up of the day's games. Pete Axthelm, formerly of NBC, and Chris Berman are the hosts. . . . Jim Simpson, who has been with ESPN since its inception, says he will not be retained after his contract expires at the end of the year.
"Lite Moment in Sports," a new monthly blooper series with Joe Namath as the host, will be televised by Channel 4 Saturday at 3 p.m. The half-hour show, produced by major league baseball, is predictable and often trite. And there is a piece on the "Fat Olympics" that borders on poor taste. . . . Gerry Cooney and Michael Spinks will be interviewed on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" Saturday. A wrap-up of their fight Monday night will be the focus of ABC's "Sportsnite" show Monday at midnight. . . . Half-hour specials from the fighters' training camps, with newcomer Brittney Ryan reporting, will be shown on FNN/SCORE tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 p.m.