Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Did Last Season Even Count?

An NBA referee is accused of fixing games. As a fan of the NBA, I had always thought that at best the refs were just crummy, at worst they were biased towards bigger market teams. But this is pretty incredible. Is this ref the only one? Who else was involved?

ESPN columnist Bill Simmons wrote a great piece about the issue, with all of its implications. He brings up the San Antonio - Phoenix series from this year's playoffs. Guess who was reffing? In a sidebar he points out that shortly after his column was posted a video was put on youtube that shows clips from that series. A series fraught with bad calls and questionable officiating. Here's the clip:

There are now quite a few videos on youtube regarding games this guy officiated. Which is pretty much the whole point of Simmons's column. Now every single game can be called into question. Are the refs bad or are they dirty?

I went to game three of the Western Conference finals between Utah and San Antonio this year. Utah won going away, and it was a bit of a coming out party for Deron Williams. He was unstoppable, and seemed to score and dish at will. In the closing minutes of the game San Antonio emptied their bench before we did. On the very next sequence, one of the new players clobbered Williams and sent him out of the game. Deron was injured on the play, an injury that affected him for the rest of the series, which the Spurs ended up winning handily. Was this ref there that night? Were all of the bad calls and tide turning events caused by someone that needed San Antonio to win?

These are questions that every NBA fan is asking right now.


None said...

Watching some of the highlights on ESPN last night I was coming to the same conclusion. I was watching while running on the treadmill without the sound. I found it interesting his how non-descript the segment was. Almost suggesting that any official could be a "fixer". Even the freeze frames of the complaining players could be seen as a rightful justification of their protest. The highlights never provided an angle to show if these "questionable" calls were accurate.

Sort of along these lines, I always flash back to the Kings v. Lakers Conf. Finals a few years back. The Lakers had some very questionable calls go their way at the start of game 6 (if memory serves correctly).

"ESPN columnist.. wrote a great piece.." not often you can say that.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Sounds like basketball needs a Judge Landis to clean it up. Landis was small-minded, self-righteous, and made baseball respectable. There's too much money involved, even as the audience for the NBA dwindles, making the stakes even higher. All of this is a recipe for corruption.

Me, I have better things to do than watch people toss an orange ball in a hole. It's called a life.

Cameron said...

Every basketball fan thinks their team got screwed by the refs, now they have even more fuel for the fire. It could taint the entire league.

One of the playoff games in Salt Lake this year with the Spurs ended up with fans throwing stuff onto the court because of bad calls. That was the reaction to "incompetent" refs. Now factor in point shaving refs and things could get ugly.

Apparently more stringent rules and review are needed.