Archive for the ‘NBA Referees’ Category

The Donaghy Effect?
June 12, 2008

tim donaghyA couple of weeks ago, the NBA decided it wanted to get $1 million from Tim Donaghy as reimbursement for their investigation into his gambling (and also a little something… you know… for the effort).  Donaghy’s lawyers responded by dropping a bombshell that refs fixed past playoff games… and they did it right before the biggest game… of the biggest finals in years… with 2 of the top 7 television markets tuning in. 


Suddenly, the top story on morning talk radio is Tim Donaghy… not Celtics-Lakers.  ESPN’s SportsNation is asking if people believe the 2002 Lakers-Kings series was fixed… and 76% are saying “yes” right now.  It is a scandal that could be as big as steroids in baseball… in that people are starting to ask if outside agencies need to investigate… and if Congress needs to hold hearings.

And oh, by the way, what was the biggest story line coming out of Game 2?  The free throw disparity.

So here we are, heading into Game 4, and suddenly “Pierce-Garnett shooting woes” and “will Gasol or Odom show up” have been bumped down to the middle of the list of things most people are now watching for.  Everything on the list before those now have to do with the officials.

Now the question is… how will this affect the rest of this series? 

The referees aren’t just under the magnifying glass now… they’re the plastic army men I used to set up on the side walk… a split-second before I trained that beam of magnified sunlight onto their unsuspecting heads.  How will they react?

Will they live up to the perception that the superstars get all the calls?  That the home team gets the benefit of the doubt?  That the NBA will do what it needs to do to extend a series and maximize profit? 

Or will the refs call this one right down the middle… and a foul is a foul… whether it gets Kobe Bryant or Glen Davis in foul trouble or not.  Could tonight be the night where Kobe gets a couple of offensive fouls early while trying to be aggressive?  Will an over-emotional KG get tossed on a second technical?  Will Paul Pierce and Derek Fisher each end the game with 8 turnovers because the refs are calling every travelling violation?

And if the refs decide to make sure the fouls are all even and there isn’t even a hint of the appearance of impropriety… who does it benefit?  My feeling would be that if all things are equal, then its simply a matter of the better team winning… and I think that has clearly been the Celtics so far in this series.  But it will be interesting to see.


Tell Me This Isn’t True
June 10, 2008

Tim Donaghy is talking… and he’s either exposing what, up until now, has been a conspiracy theory…. or he’s grinding a serious ax to make the NBA look bad.

Ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy told the feds two refs fixed the outcome of one playoff series – and that officials were told not to eject star players from games for fear of hurting ticket sales.

Donaghy claims he was told that two refs who were “company men” acting in the interest of the NBA conspired to extend a playoff series in 2002 to a seventh game.

The referees allegedly ignored flagrant fouls committed by the team that needed to win. They also reportedly called “made-up fouls” against the other team which led to the ejection of two of their players. The team favored by the refs won that night and the next game to win the series.

I’ve said similar things in frustration… but I’ve never really believed it.  If this is true, David Stern and everyone in the NBA front-office should quit right now… and that’s just to start.  I’m hoping its not true… but this needs to be investigated… and the truth needs to be told.

Fines For Flopping: Bad Idea
May 29, 2008

pj brown and aderson varejaoThe NBA is going to start fining players for flopping

NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson confirmed the new policy Wednesday night saying: “What was clearly expressed to the committee is that we would begin imposing fines next season for the most egregious type of flops. When players are taking a dive, for lack of a better term.”

It sounds like a good idea.  But I don’t like it.  I’m already on record as saying you should blame the refs, not the floppers, for what’s happening.  If someone takes a dive… then let them get torched on the play.  Make it a no call and let the offensive team play 5 on 4.

But here’s where the NBA just screwed itself. 

There will be a scenario where a guy will egregiously flop… but draw a foul.  What does the NBA do?  Does it fine a guy for the flop and make the refs look bad for calling a foul on that play?  Or does the NBA look bad by not fining a guy BECAUSE the ref fell for it and called a foul on the play?

And how long before someone split-screens two flops that look the same… but one drew a fine because the ref didn’t fall for it… and one didn’t draw a fine because the ref fell for it.

Either way… the NBA just set themselves up to make the refs look even worse.  This whole thing wouldn’t be an issue if NBA refs had enough balls to make a no-call on these plays.  I guess that wasn’t an option.

Today’s Crew
May 18, 2008

Your officiating crew this afternoon… since it seems to matter.  Click on the name for the gambling stats of game in which they’ve officiated.  Click on the photo for their National Basketball Referees Association bio

Bennett Salvatore:

bennett salvatore and doc rivers

Ken Mauer:

ken mauer

Eddie F. Rush:

Add A 4th Referee
May 17, 2008

In the NBA, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett are all considered on the back 9 of their careers… because they’re over 30.  I mean… who the hell can expect them to keep up with phenoms like LeBron James… Chris Paul… Dwight Howard… and so on?

Yet… 50 year-old Joe Derosa, 63 year-old Joe Forte, and 68 year-old Dick Bavetta are expected to keep up with these bigger, faster, stronger athletes… and accurately make split-second decisions.  These decisions affect the outcomes of games… and further… how many millions of dollars franchises make, and players can earn.  The team that advances in this series will sell more merchandise, sell extra tickets and concessions, and get more ad revenue.  Players who play well in these series can establish a status that earns them more… or less money come contract time.  One bad call can influence a game… and cost teams and players a ton of money.

So with that much at stake… and with guys who almost always the oldest players on the court… why hasn’t the NBA added a 4th referee?  Take a look at the standard referee positioning during that pivotal “offensive foul” on Paul Pierce:

The red shaded area is the position where a ref would have been able to see the exact angle LeBron James took.  From the vantage point of the two officials on the left hand side… they only see Pierce drive… and LeBron fall.  They don’t see him reaching in… they don’t see him not square.  Split second decision time… and its an offensive foul.  From that perspective… you can see that you might have made the same call.  You’ve got 500 pounds of human beings going at full speed at a critical time… and you’ve got to make a decision.  But… if a 4th referee had been on the floor… that angle would have been covered: (more…)

What’s Wrong With The Refs?
November 19, 2007

I’ve already established that I’m not making the referees an excuse for the Celtics loss.  They lost… what’s done is done.

What this is… is a flat out rant… that I pray will somehow, some way, get echoed… or picked up…. or forwarded…. or something…. to someone who can do something about it.

It’s obvious… OBVIOUS… to me that there is a mandate in the NBA to not call fouls this season unless the foul affects the outcome of the play.  No, I’ve got no proof… other than history.  But I know… I KNOW…. that these officials have been told that when there’s contact in the lane… you don’t blow the whistle unless the contact causes the shot to be missed.

This was blatant in last night’s game… just before halftime. 


Help Wanted
August 18, 2007

Can you blow a whistle? Are you capable of spotting a hand slap from 40 feet away? Do you look ridiculous in tight pants? (Who doesn’t? I’m obviously talking about men) If so, you are advised to apply to the NBA because if Tim Donaghy sings like ESPN is reporting, David Stern is going to need a bunch more referees. Yup, Donaghy supposedly knows 20 refs or so, who have some connection to gambling. But didn’t the almighty Commissioner Stern refer to Donaghy as a ‘rogue, isolated criminal?” If this blows up, I hope some owners (don’t let me down Wyc) will step up and put pressure on Stern. He doesn’t deserve to skate on this issue if it’s proven several referees bet so much on Keno in Atlantic City.

Donaghy Fixed C’s Game
August 16, 2007

ATim Donaghyt least it was in our favor:

NEW YORK (AP) — A December 2006 game between the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers figured prominently in the Tim Donaghy (DAHN’-uh-gee) probe.  The former NBA referee pleaded guilty to two felony charges in a scandal that rocked the league.  He was accused of wagering on games he officiated and tipping off high-stakes gamblers with inside information.  According to court papers, Donaghy provided a tip on the same day he worked the game between the Celtics and 76ers.  The next day, authorities say Donaghy met with the gamblers in Pennsylvania and received a cash payment. A person close to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, said the payment was for a successful tip on the game.  The point spread moved two points before the game went off the board — a fairly significant swing — with the Celtics going from a 1 1/2-point favorite to a 3 1/2-point choice. Boston won by 20.

Donaghy faces 25 years in prison.  He’s also go to pay half a million bucks in fines. 

Reggie Miller:  “We’d be the team to beat”

You might have heard part of the interview Reggie Miller did with Dan Patrick yesterday on ESPN radio… but chances are you didn’t hear the whole thing.  Well… now you can.  We’ve got the whole 5 mintes for you.  Click here to download the mp3.  Reggie talked about his 2-a-day workouts… and he also had a neighbor stop by:

A neighbor stopped by Reggie Miller’s Malibu, Calif., home while he was conducting a national radio interview today.  It was Kevin Garnett, making a recruiting trip.

Garnett, the 10-time NBA All-Star who was traded to Boston last month, is trying to persuade Miller to join him on the Celtics’ roster next season.

“I’m in the ‘Get Reggie’ mode,” Garnett told talk show host Dan Patrick on ESPN radio from Miller’s house.

On a side note… how f’ing cool is that?  There you are… talking on the radio about maybe coming back to play in the NBA…. and *ding dong*…. who’s there… oh… it’s Kevin Garnett.

I don’t get KG drop-by’s.  I get the repo man telling me I’m 3 payments behind on my El Camino… or some chick I met 6 years ago telling me I should call a doctor because she’s been diagnosed with something or other. 

Jeez people.  Can’t a guy just play Madden ’08 and get drunk alone at 10 am in peace anymore?

On GotGarnettRay Allen’s encounter with a total douchebag (no… not Kobe Bryant)

Celtics 24/7 smells chemistry  |  Herald: More on Reggie  |  Globe: Teen has a ball with the Celtics  |  CBS: Celtics make basketball matter again  |  

D(onaghy) Day
August 15, 2007

Tim DonaghyMoronic douchebag Former NBA Referee will cop a plea to betting on NBA games today.

Besides allegedly placing his own wagers, investigators also examined whether Donaghy provided inside information to others, including referees’ schedules. The referee had a gambling problem and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance, a law enforcement official said.

Here’s soemthing you  never want to be referred to as:  a low level mob associate.  No one gets anywhere good in life as a low level guy.  You’re the one cleaning up the brains after a hit.  You’re the one roughing up alcoholic Vietnam Vets with one leg in wheelchairs. 

By the way… you kids out there grab your notebooks.  This is what we in the business call “a segue.”

Speaking of gambling… considers the Celtics to be among the Eastern elite.  Of course, Red’s Army doesn’t encourage you to gamble on sports.  We learned that the hard way.  Chuck has had 3 plastic surgeries to change his identity in an effort to thwart “Joey No-Thumbs.” 

On GotGarnett:  C’s and Pierce going from Boys to Men  |   Celtics putting the finishing touches on their roster 

Also: Celtics preseason schedule  |  Celtics 24/7: Doc’s leash just go shorter |  The Herald gets some local kids their due

Jose Offerman Is Crazy

Jose Offerman loses itThis just has to be mentioned.  Regular readers know we like to occasionally sprinkle in some Red Sox stuff.  And former Sox second baseman Jose Offerman lost it last night:

“He hit him with a cut fastball in the left calf,” Bluefish manager Tommy John said of the pitch that began the melee. “And the next thing you know, Offerman’s going to the mound with his bat over his head taking swings at Beech. He took at least two, maybe even three (swings).”

Yeah… The Bluefish manager is Tommy John.  THAT Tommy John.  Why can’t guys just retire?

NBA vs. The Refs
August 3, 2007

Bernie Fryer has a huge piece today on the growing battles between the NBA and its referees.  Bernie Fryer… who is pictured here… quit in protest over the way the NBA is treating its refs.  Up to 9 more could join him.

“It’s so bad,” says one, “guys buy lottery tickets everywhere they go. If they win, they’re just going to leave their shirt hanging in the locker.”

In short, the system is neither respected by veteran officials nor, it now appears, capable of weeding out miscreants such as [Tim] Donaghy.

The refs contend that VP of Operations Stu Jackson and Director of Officials Ronnie Nunn are merely siding with popular opinion when they review tapes of “blown” calls.

“With every whistle, guys think, Will the tape justify the call?” says one former ref. “Guys aren’t being backed up. It’s all about PR now.”

But Jackson and Nunn say their goal is to give the fans what they want:

Jackson and Nunn have said that they are trying to develop a corps of interchangeable whistle-blowers, each one calling every minute of every game the exact same way. Three seconds in the lane is a violation, be it in the first minute of the second quarter or the last 30 seconds of overtime. Same with a hand check or a moving screen. The league strives for conformity by creating statistical averages and tracking its officials’ adherence to them. Refs say they now receive calls from Jackson informing them that they haven’t whistled a particular infraction for several games and need to pick up the slack. And that makes them feel like little more than traffic cops filling ticket quotas.

Definitely worth checking out.