Friday, June 13, 2008

Opening Up A Whole New Can Of Worms

In the past year, the three major professional sports have been greatly tarnished.
Last summer, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy admitted to betting and fixing NBA games which he officiated.

Last fall, Bill Belichick admitted to using cameras to "spy" on opposing teams' practices. Now, "Spygate" is a household term and the subject has snowballed and led everyone to question the legitimacy of New England's dynasty.

We all knew MLB players were juicing. This past December only solidified our assumptions and now a cloud hovers over a good 15 year period of baseball.

Enough of all that. That's all old news.

Now, Tim Donaghy is trying to save his ass, literally, to reduce his time in the pen. Donaghy's lawyers alledge that the NBA had referees alter the outcomes of certain playoff series' in 2002 and 2005.

The series' in question, the 2002 Western Conference Finals, most notably, Game 6 between the Lakers and Kings, and also the 2005 first round series with the Rockets and Mavericks.

I still have a vivid memory off the whole seven game Western Conference series between LA and Sacramento. That was the series where Robert "The Bondsman" Horry received a gift from Vlade Divac when Divac swatted the ball away to a wide open Horry. Standing wide open at the top of the key, Horry hit the winning 3 pointer in Game 4.

I cried bloody murder during Game 6. The Lakers shot 27 free throws to the King's 7 in the fourth quarter! Sacramento was whistled for 16 fouls in the fourth quarter to LA's 8!

Sacramento was clearly the better team. I loved Chris Webber and that Kings team. You remember that Sacramento team with the likes of Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Doug Christie, Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac and Bobby Jackson, Hedo Turkoglu and Scott Pollard coming off the bench.

That was such a fun team to watch. And a supposably great series, Five of the seven games were decided by 6 points of less.
The Kings should have won Game 6 in LA, then they blew Game 7 at the very hostile Arco Arena in Game 7 but shot horrible from the line, barely shooting over 50%.

I vowed never to watch the NBA Playoffs again. Why wouldn't the NBA want the "Showtime" Lakers in the Finals. I mean this was just a few years removed from Jordan's exit and the NBA Lockout.

Do you really think the NBA wanted a Sacramento/New Jersey Finals. New Jersey didn't even sell out its two Finals' games that year.

I love the NBA, especially the Playoffs. But every year I find myself yelling at the TV in disgust of the officiating. Yet, every year I still tune in.

David Stern denied all of Donaghy's lawyer's allegations, calling Donaghy a liar and a crook. Hmm...Remind you of Brian McNamee or Jose Canseco?

In the 2005 Playoff series between Houston and Dallas, after Game 2,Mavs owner Mark Cuban apparently complained to the league about illegal screens not getting called on Yao Ming. Houston won the first two games of the series, but then went on to lose 4 of the next 5 games.

Then Rockets' coach Jeff Van Gundy had to find about Cuban's complaining from a personal reference and was fined by Stern a record $100,000. What! Sounds fishy, considering Stern and the NBA should have made Cuban's complaint a public matter, if not the very least informing the Rockets.

Maybe C. Webb wins a ring which would make him a sure lock for the Hall of Fame?
Maybe T-Mac gets out of the first round?

How many times have you watched a game and claimed, "This is fixed. The offiating is so one sided." This notion was the hot topic the other day after Boston shot 38 free throws to LA's 10 in Game 2.

How many times do we say to each other, "The NBA wants this series to go 7 games."
Of course Stern is going to deny the allegations. The credibility of the league and his image are in jeopardy.

If Donaghy's allegations turn out to be true, I'm sure NBA officials will fall like dominoes and we'll hear more acusations about the possibility of more games and series that were fixed. This would kill the credibility of the NBA, and much like baseball, would cast a dark cloud over this era. And you can bet on that.

Here's a good highlight video of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

1 comment:

Johnny Utah said...

good stuff tree. i agree the officiating has been pretty questionable lately. it seems that basketball is the most susceptible sport to overreaching refs. the last 3 minutes of a tight game can be completely influenced by refs, less so in the last inning or waning minutes of the 4th quarter. we'll see what happens, but Stern looks a little different than the almighty czar he was a decade ago.