Blog Entry

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Posted on: May 28, 2009 5:30 am
LOS ANGELES -- An NBA playoff series doesn't begin until you have a good ol' referee conspiracy.

Conspiracy theory, I should add.

And a deeply flawed one.

Nonetheless, we're in for an interesting day in the Los Angeles area Thursday now that a member of the Nuggets has told the Denver Post -- anonymously, of course -- that he believes the Lakers bought their 103-94 victory over the Nuggets in Game 5 Wednesday night for the very reasonable price of $50,000.

For those keeping score at home, that's how much Lakers coach Phil Jackson and the Lakers paid in fines for complaining about the officiating after Game 4.

"The Lakers paid $50,000 to win that game," the anonymous Nuggets player told the Post. "They got their money's worth."

The player did not allow his name to be used, for fear of retribution from the league, the Post reported. But let's be fair. The player didn't allow his name to be used because he didn't want to pay a fine himself for such a salacious comment. If I were Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, I'd make it my business to find out who said that, and deduct the inevitable fine that will be assessed to the Nuggets from his paycheck.

If it was Kenyon Martin, for example, I'd ask him to forfeit $10,000 of his game check for each of the nine shots he missed from the field.

If it was Nene, for instance, I'd ask him to pay up for each of the 33 points Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom combined to score in the paint that he was supposed to have been defending.

It doesn't matter who said it, really. What matters is that the Nuggets have resorted to a different sort of dirty trick than the one that raised Jackson's ire after Game 4. This was worse than Dahntay Jones tripping Kobe Bryant in that game. This reeked of sour grapes.

The Nuggets were called for 30 personal fouls in Game 5 Wednesday night. The Lakers were called for 22. The resulting disparity of five free throws wasn't enough to account for the nine-point difference on the scoreboard. But that's not the point.

I don't pretend to have watched all 52 fouls called in the game, nor have I gone frame-by-frame through all the fouls that weren't called. And as busy as I'll be Thursday getting reaction from the various parties involved, I won't have time. But that's not the point. To the naked eye, it was a liberally officiated game at both ends of the floor by referees Monty McCutcheon, Ron Garretson, and Tom Washington. Obvious contact in the act of shooting and/or driving to the basket was ignored at both ends.

Before the game, Jackson playfully commented on his $25,000 fine -- an additional $25,000 was assessed to the Lakers -- by saying, "I'm a gardener. I like planting seeds. Constantly."

After the game, Nuggets coach George Karl channeled his inner Stan Van Gundy, lamenting the fact that playoff games have turned into a contest of which coach can gripe the most in hopes of influencing the officials.

"I'm not going to get fined," said Karl, who proceeded to make comments that almost certainly will get him fined. "... It was a difficult whistle to play, no question about that. Every player in my locker room is frustrated, from guards to big guys. Look at the stat sheet. Gasol goes after at least 20 jump shots and 20 shots to the rim and gets one foul. Our big guys have 16. I don't know. Nene has six fouls; three or four of them don't exist. And it's frustrating when you take one of your big guys off the court for that many minutes.

"I think Stan Van Gundy says it right," Karl continued. "In the postgame, we're lobbying for the league to help us with the refereeing. And this is too good a series. It's too good of teams competing that we're sitting here just confused by the whistle."

I don't think the referees had anything to do with the Nuggets' 5-for-21 shooting in the fourth quarter. I don't think the referees had anything to do with Denver's four consecutive turnovers in the third, when the Lakers started making their move. But I disagree with one anonymous Nuggets player -- speaking for the entire locker room, apparently. We'll see Thursday, when the teams speak with the media before flying to Denver, if anybody backs him up.

My guess? It's going to be a costly day for both sides.
Category: NBA

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:21 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Keep in mind when looking at foul/free throw disparaties the fact that the team that is behind and with more fouls, in this case the Nuggets, often are committing intentional fouls at the end of the game, resulting in free throws, hoping the team in the lead will miss and let them back into the game while the team in the lead will try very hard not to commit a foul.  Given that, an 8 foul difference, 5 free throw attempt difference, is not that surprising.  Would, as one poster suggested, Martin and the Nuggets have made more shots if not often being fouled in the act.  Assuming uncalled fouls, maybe.  The same, however, can be said for the Lakers' players.  In the end there was only a difference of 5 free throws in a 9 point game....assuming all 5 were made, Denver still loses.  Believe me, I am not saying the refs are good or consistent from game to game, but there is no "conspiracy" or intent to favor the Lakers or any other team and anyone who thinks so is nuts.  Team owners of the "conspired against" teams would not stand for it--they want to win championships just like the Lakers, Celtics or Cavaliers or whoever--and would run Stern out of town on a rail.

Since: Jan 23, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:19 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Amen!! I feel the same way. For example in game 5 of the Eastern Finals, I didn't think either plays at the end of regulation were fouls.  Orlando fans had to be upset for the game to go to OT when LBJ falls down and gets a call, and Howard at the end was a no call.  Let's not even get in to technical and flagrant fouls!!  These refs get paid great money bewtween $100K-$500K per season.  They should be kept to a high standard.

Since: Jul 29, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:08 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

The NBA blows !!!!


Stop wasting countless nights on this garbage they call the NBA. Turn on a real playoffs that allows the players (for the most part) to police themselves. One thing that has always made me roar is that the NHL by far is a more physical, gruelling playoff structure yet the NBA stretches their crap out even further by allowing 2-3 days off between games....time to man up boys and girls and put on the only sport worth watching right now !!!

Since: Aug 13, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:07 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Im not saying the referees are cheating and I am sure the Lakers did not buy that win. But the NBA is going to do all it can to see the Lakers and Cavs in the Finals. Lets face it. How many people are going to watch Denver and Orlando? Not me.

Since: Jun 10, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:03 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Its obvious NBA officating is far from perfect.... Calls go bad each way.... usually at home teams get the benefit of home cooking which has always been the case. This blaming he refs thing has been gong on forever. But how can the Nuggets blame the refs for missing their first 11 shots in the 4th or turning the ball over 4 straight times in the 3rd. They shot 30 free throws and are still not happy.. As another poster said, the whistle could blow almost every play, but at some point they have to play. Just like they could call a holding call on every play in the NFL.

The Nuggets will get their 40 free throws at home and most likely win the game.  But there were 2 blatant flagrant fouls that the Nuggets got away with and they are complaining lol. Most likely Karl is just trying some sort of pychological ploy that he believes Phil Jackson used after game 4. But in the end it evens out. You probably get more calls at home. But they made 2 bad imbound passes at the end of 2 games and thats the refs fault.......Break down the game and the mistakes you made and it really is just a bunch of crying and excuses to blame the something because deep down inside they know they are gonna lose... Get home court advantage next year Nuggets, because home court is a big part of  any teams success in the playoffs......... If the Nuggets had home court this year they would probably win this series. Right now this is as evenly matched as 2 teams get and the only advantage the Lakers had was home court. hey lost one, got it back and its the Nuggets fault for letting that happen because no way do they win 2 in LA........ they had their shot and blew it....... Man up and stop crying about the refs... as the Lakers should do when they lose................. but its the NBA and its what they all do...........

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:03 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Face it, Nene made the comment, he cries after every foul call made on him.  I have seen a alot of complainers, Laker players too, but Nene is the worst.  The guy has never committed a foul.  Why is it the Nuggets refuse to admit the Lakers played well and beat them?  After the game 4 loss, Kobe said they got whooped.  He didn't cry about the trip, he just said they got beat.  The Nuggets always say we were the better team, the refs stink, etc.  The better team wins, period.  The Nuggets have a couple good players, Billups and Melo, and the rest are a bunch of dirty, constantly crying about calls, thugs.

Besides, would anyone other than Nuggets fans or Magic fans watch a Nuggets/Magic finals?  I could care less who would win that series and wouldn't watch 1 non-Nugget foul call.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:02 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

After every game both teams and their fans feel their team got some bad calls that effected the outcome of the game, and they probably did. 

If after every game, both teams & fans feel they got hosed, then the refs did their job... namely call it pretty even. Basketball is a tough game to referree. There's way to many things going on at such a fast pace that it's hard to see everything. Combine that with the design of the game is to be in constant motion and free-flowing and you get what you get... lots of contact all over the court.

The Nuggets should blame themselves for going cold to start the 4th quarter. I think their 1st basket in the 4th was Kleiza after about 5 minutes had passed. Yikes! They should also blame themselves for losing their cool and getting tee-ed up. Those technicals cost them about 3-4 pts in a tight ballgame. They should also blame themselves for bad defense. How many times did they double-team Kobe and leave a man wide open under the basket... who then not only make it but also get fouled in the process?

Those 3-point plays (old-fashioned way) combined with the technicals combined with cold shooting will earn you a loss everytime. BTW, Carmelo was the only one going to the basket (well Kleiza did a couple times) in the 4th. When you turn yourself into a jump-shooting team, it's hard to draw fouls... so the Nuggets shouldn't complain about not getting any their way.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:54 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win--Weak!

I have no love for the LA Lakers or Kobe and I am indeed hoping the Nugs knock them off but this is patently ridiculous.  I watched pieces of Karl's postgame newsconference and was befuddled that he'd even attempt to lay this one on the refs.  Yeah the officiating in the NBA sucks but it's not so egregious that you can just blame the refs for EVERYTHING. 

The Nuggets had leads in this game...good, solid 5-7 point leads in the third quarter.  So if there was shady stuff going on, they seemed to overcome it pretty well until the fourth quarter.  Officiating had nothing to do with Chauncey Billups throwing the ball away on back to back possessions (followed by turnovers in the NEXT two possessions as well, which consequently turned a Nuggets lead into a deficit). 
It had nothing to do with Denver missing 11 straight shots, including some REALLY hideous clanks, in the fourth quarter.

The game was physical.  Both teams got knocked around.  But that's playoff basketball.  So George Karl and this anonymous player need to shut their mouths, quit whining and instead try to figure out how to win the next game. 

Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:48 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

the officiating wasn't that bad...the way they called the game in the 4th quarter was perfect for playoff basketball...I applaud the refs...

Since: Sep 18, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:46 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

How can this Berger dickhole write this article? The guy was most likely the towel boy for the basketball team. And the NBA sucks! It is just God awful boring. Half the players should be in prison. Make that 3/4 of the players. And Kobe's interview after the game. Who told him what to say? He was using all of these big boy words that he doesn't even know how to spell.

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