Friday, June 13, 2008
Bill Simmons, in 2002:
"If you examine the last four NBA playoff campaigns, during every situation where the league definitively "needed" one of the two teams involved to win -- either to A) change the momentum of a series so it didn't end prematurely, B) keep an attractive, big-market team alive in a series, or C) advance an attractive, big-market team to another round -- the officiating appeared to be slanted towards the team that needed that game. I use the phrase "appeared to be," because reviewing an official's performance is purely subjective. Maybe I'm dead-wrong.
These were just the games that jump out in my mind (again, I could be wrong):
# 1999, Knicks-Pacers, Game 3 ... LJ sinks a game-winning four-pointer (called a continuation foul by referee Jess Kersey even though LJ was fouled a full second before he released the ball).
# 1999, Knicks-Pacers, Game 6 ... Knicks last chance to close out Indy before the series shifts back to Indiana for Game 7 ... they get every call.
# 1999, Spurs-Knicks, Game 3 ... down 2-0, the Knicks get every call in their first home game and win their only game of the series.
# 2000, Knicks-Heat, Game 7 ... Knicks advance to the conference finals ... falling out of bounds, Latrell Sprewell awarded a timeout by referee Bennett Salvatore with 2.1 seconds left even though none of the Knicks called for one ... Sprewell admits after the game that he hadn't called a timeout ... the Miami players chase the referees off the court after the game, yelling that they had been robbed ... after the game, Jamal Mashburn tells reporters, "They had three officials in their pocket" and Tim Hardaway refers to referee Dick Bavetta as "Knick Bavetta."
# 2000, Lakers-Blazers, Game 7 ... LA shoots 21 more free throws and rallies back from a 17-point deficit in the final seven minutes ... Shaq plays an illegal defense down the stretch, undaunted ... Rasheed Wallace absolutely gets manhandled down the stretch, yet doesn't get a single call ... up by four with 25 seconds left, Shaq body-blocks Steve Smith out of bounds and the refs don't make the call (the most egregious non-call in recent memory).
# 2002, Celtics-Nets, Game 4 ... Celts up 2-1 ... the Nets are inexplicably allowed to push and shove Kenny Anderson and Pierce while they dribble the ball ... a number of head-scratchers go against Boston, including three offensive charges down the stretch ... four different "bull-(bleep)" chants during the game.
# 2002, Lakers-Kings, Game 6 ... LA needs a win to stay alive ... from an officiating standpoint, the most one-sided game of the past decade ... at least six dubious calls against the Kings in the fourth quarter alone ... LA averaged 22 free throws a game during the first five games of the series, then attempted 27 freebies in the fourth quarter alone of Game 6 ... rumors that David Stern wanted to pull a Vince McMahon and declare himself "The special guest referee" for this game prove unfounded."
this week we learned that federal investigators have been asking other referees pointed questions about Bavetta. gee, maybe this isn't just a Tim Donaghy problem, huh?
Posted by Jon Abbey at 11:58 AM