With only a 1.7 percent chance of winning, the big-market Chicago Bulls stole the NBA Lottery. Pushing the NBA Finals back to relevancy, the league got lucky enough to have the Lakers and Celtics this summer. And after attempting only 10 free throws in Sunday’s Game 2, the Lakers – on the brink of losing a short series – shot 34 in last night’s win that guarantees at least a highly-rated Game 5 … and beyond?
Look hard enough, and the NBA will give you multiple reasons to cock your head and squint your eyes in a “Hey, it must be a conspiracy” sorta way. Dwyane Wade and his 16 – sixteen! – free-throw attempts per game in the ’06 Finals against your Mavericks ring a bell?
Now comes yesterday’s revelation by former ref and admitted felon Tim Donaghy that NBA officials do indeed conspire to alter the outcome of games. Watch enough sports – any sport – and the initial reaction is … duh.
Officials are human, complete with human emotions and human flaws. To think they never ever never inject their personal perspectives (whether it be favorite a childhood team or personality conflict with a player or coach) into games and calls is preposterously naïve.
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But an orchestrated conspiracy? C’mon Oliver Stone, let it go.
Donaghy's court documents detail the ’05 first-round series between the Mavs and Rockets, in which, after falling behind 0-2, the Mavs rallied to win a seventh game. Owner Mark Cuban, according to the documents, complained about Yao Ming’s picks early in the series, the result of which was referees calling him for more offensive fouls.
Conspiracy? On my planet we call that “atta boy, Mark.” He wasn't asking the league to break any rules, only enforce them.