Sunday, June 15, 2008

Donaghy Claims NBA Tainted Playoffs

So is former NBA referee Tim Donaghy for real, or just trying to save himself from a hefty prison term? According to recent allegations by Tim Donaghy, he claims that other referees were involved in altering NBA games and that the NBA gave them specific instructions for the playoffs.


According to a letter filed in court last week, two referees, known as "company men," purposely ignored personal fouls and called "made-up fouls on Team 5 in order to give additional free throw opportunities for Team 6" in a 2002 playoff series.

"I stand by my calls in that game," Bernhardt told Thursday. "I was right on."

Although no teams are specifically named, it is not hard to deduce the game in question. The Lakers-Kings series was the only one that postseason that went seven games, and the officiating in Game 6 was so questionable that consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader called for a formal investigation.

The game in question saw Shaquille O'Neal score 41 points and pull down 17 rebounds as the Lakers forced a Game 7 in the 2002 Western Conference finals. This could all be an attempt by Donaghy to reduce his potentially stiff sentence for allegations he helped fix games and was involved in gambling with the mob several years ago. It's a he said versus they said at this point, with the league having the better credibility. That's not to say sports aren't fixed or that referees don't make huge mistakes either. More should come on this story, which unfortunately comes during a revival of a great Finals matchup between the Lakers & Celtics.

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