Cracks in Stern’s iron fortress? (Fixing NBA officiating.)

The flood gates are beginning to open.

Anybody who wasn’t a Miami Heat fan in the 2006 NBA finals saw the officious officiating in Game 5 (where Wade got to the foul line to tie the game without getting touched) and thought deep inside that David Stern would choke on his own vomit before handing a Championship trophy to Mark Cuban, who interestingly enough was recorded screaming on the court to Stern’s face that his NBA was rigged. Well now that disgruntled ex-ref Donaghy is coming forward with information that the refs are fixing games by trying to elongate the series to therefore make the NBA more money, that Game 5 of the Finals is beginning to look more suspect.

How about weeks earlier of the Finals when coach Jeff van Gundy of the Houston Rockets was fined $100,000 for simply telling the truth about how a NBA official contacted him about the “plan” to target Yao Ming? Even when he was reporting facts the league was obviously trying to hush and censor him while scaring other liberal minded coaches from their rights of speech. Enter recent statements from Donaghy which may substantiate Gundy’s claim.

Everything about officiating fouls is too subjective. Look at this playoff season: The obvious foul that would have won the game for the Spurs against the Lakers that wasn’t called simply because it was in the last seconds of the game. Officials deciding when hand-checking is and isn’t ok. One team getting to catch-up at the foulline because they fouled the heck out of the other team, and the foul stats look unfair. Van Gundy himself stating that star players (like Kobe) shouldn’t be called for fouls in the playoffs because they deserved to not foul out.

The solution? How about letting coaches “challenge” 2-3 ref calls a game? And this includes the NFL, where coaches should be able to challenge shady holding and pass interference calls that obviously affect game outcomes.

The NBA is going to try to smash Donaghy’s credibility to pieces, but Kings fans deserve to get to the bottom of this. I have a feeling that other officials will eventually come forth, and obviously if there is fixing going on it will be put on hold until the storm clears or Stern leaves as commissioner, which should create a fair Championship series.



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