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: Sep 13, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:39 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Not every foul is a shooting foul. If you're not in the bonus, you don't get foul shots. You get to inbound the ball.

Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:33 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

An 8 foul disparity is 16 Free Throws not five. I don't know how he picked and chose the fouls to get 5 shots out of 8 fouls. Can anyone get that?

Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:25 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

I am a huge Lakers fan however I couldn't agree more that the overall officiating, regardless of series and home team, is atrocious. It makes it very difficult to watch the NBA when the officiating is so poor. Personally I thought the best officiating that took place last night was when the referees put their whistles in their pockets and let the teams play in the 4th quarter. That was some good, physical, hard fought basketball. Unfortunately this rarely happens and when it does you get players on both teams crying about getting bumped or pushed. Damned if you, damned if you don't.

I see there being 2 major issues. The first is simply the speed at which the game occurs requires split second decisions which frankly I think too many referees miss. I just don't know if it is humanly possible to make the correct call all the time. Secondly, the players now cry foul over every little touch or bump. Their crying does not help the situation because it gets the crowd incensed and the referees are conscious to this. Shut up and play, that's what you're getting paid for.

David Stern can continue to keep his head in the sand when it comes to the officiating but it is slowly killing the game. It use to where I would watch basketball all the time on TV then it went to only big games, late season, and playoff games. Now it's where I can barely watch playoff games anymore. Somehow I don't think I am alone in my watching habits.

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:22 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

To your point of palming/carring the ball........wasn't Donte Jones called for palming last night.  Again, if the refs call a fair game, there should have been a Laker or two called for palming as well.  Technically, Kobe carry's it almost everytime.

Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:21 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Lets Go Yankees!

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:19 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

I watched the game to halftine and did a critique for my wife as the game was being played. I will indenitfy myself as a Nuggets fan that goes so far back that I have been at a game where David Thompson did a double clutch windmill jam that very few in today's NBA could ever dream of doing. I have also played "ball at the highschool and junior college level, as well have coached several teams in the past.

I actually saw during the game several fouls the Nuggets never got called for and a few one's that were called that were just bad officiating from the angle the referee was standing. We have to always remind ourselves that we have a more complete vision of the court watching on television than 10 referees would have together.

My issue with Berger's analysis of statistics is that he should stop pouring over the stat sheet to ever offer an argument on that basis. He proves his knowledge of how the game is played and how it is affected by fouls proves he is not qualified to make statistical analysis and knows nothing about the fine art of basketball. He definitely does not understand the history of the NBA as seen in great players like Moses Malone who made th whole art of fouling, that not only put some of the great NBA big men of his time on the bench, but had a high FT% to boot for a big man. If you have spent as many years with the bank of knowledge as I have (and that is quite limited IMHO), you understand that it is an art to getting fouls by putting that in your strategy, not only to getting them, but who gets them. It not only puts your player on the charity stripe, but it puts the player you want out of the game siiting on his butt on the bench and that Mr. Berger you cannot analyze from a stat sheet, so "go back to your knitting grandma".

The simple fact is this game as I saw it in the first half was not about refereeing, but the Nuggets not adjusting their game and taking what was given by the referees and the Lakers. It was obvious that the Nuggets were going to have to use their outside game to win this game, which they definitely have the weapons to do. The Nuggets chose to pound the ball inside, where it was obvious the Lakers did a much better job of collapsing their defense. The Nuggets took a fair amount of "stupid shots" on the insdie, when they should have spread Anthony, Smith, Billups, Klieza (whoever was in at the time) and either drove the lane and kicked out to the wings or posted their big men, so that they could kick the ball out or use their quickness for easy inside shots. No team can collapse the middle and defend the spread.

I am not convinced that The Lakers are the better team per se, but they are the better polished and better coached team. Denver is still a work in progress with the true coach (Billups) still instilling a championship menatlity, Karl is just a waste of salary for the Nuggets. The Nuggets are a more of a mixed extreme style of play. They can adjust their game to any style with their personel. They can play the finesse game to the extreme, a very physical game, or a mixed bag of the both.

Karl has no clue to how to win a chamionship with any team right now. He can't even setup a basic inbounds play correctly, which is all coaching from the gym to the arena. I even read an article where Billups in a regular season game called a time out in a crucial part of the game and "told" Karl he had to set up an inbounds play and the other players in the huddle were shocked to hear the "true coach" teaching the imposter how this game is supposed to be played.

I personally would like to see Larry Brown make a another stint in Denver. Billups and Anthony have played under him and he knows the true art of basketball. An immature Anthony played for Brown who did not tolerate his lack of toughness and hustle at the time, but Brown would have a different Anthont thay plays with grit and an urgency on the defensive end.

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:11 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Agreed! If The NBA was fixing games they'd be helping Lebron out more since he's there poster The Refs are human and sometimes they make mistakes. I saw alot of them last night but on both squads, honestly though I thought they did a pretty good job. As you said I think The Lakers and the Magic are destined for the finals this year....get your popcorn ready!

Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: May 28, 2009 9:05 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

The best example of this has to be the late 90's Lakers vs Blazers Western Conferance Championship Games seven and Portland is killing the Lakers For three and a half quarters. Then all of the sudden after shooting nearly 65 % for the game they can't score a single point for the last 8 minutes of the game And they can't get a single call for them and the lakers suddenly get every call and get to the freethrow line over and over. Shaq even clubs SG Steve Smith on a lay up a huge body foul and there is no call. I have never seen a more one sided quarter and fixed quarter in my life and to this day i still belive the nba puts teams in the finals that they want there. In this case the Lakers are a much bigger market and had two high profile stars in shaq and kobe. This year is no differant it is clear to see they want Kobe vs Lebron. Do you see some of the calls Lebron gets the play the night before last when lebron charges the defender with a few secons left and the call the foul on the defender for orlando and he goes to the line and ties the game to put it in OT. come on.

Since: May 25, 2009
Posted on: May 28, 2009 8:56 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

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. George Karl

That looks a little odd to me, too.  This one wasn't as bad as the Lakers-Kings game of years ago, but NBA officiating too often seems to nudge games and series toward the desired TV match-up for maximum ratings. And then there was the Patrick Ewing draft.  Of all the major sports, I trust this one the least.

Since: Dec 31, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 8:51 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Why does Ken Berger act like buying a win in the NBA is not a possibility. It is. David Stern want to have Kobe Bryant vs LeBron James in HIS NBA finals( GO Magic!!), so he'll do whatever it takes for that to happen, even if it means letting the referees influence the way a game is being called. Personally, every game I am disgusted with the NBA and thier officiating. I love the Magic because they have played through the horrid foul calls and the shouldve swept the Cavaliers by now. And I am also tired of these Journalists and commentators having Man_Crushes on Kobe and LeBron. Those two even have thier own puppet commercial. Why doesnt Dwight Howard have a superman commercial or the Nuggets getting any commercials? Because stupid David Stern thats why. If any of you watched the Bulls and Celtics, you would know that there is a way to buy games after Doc Rivers complained about the toughness that the Bulls were using, so the next game Rajon Rondo hit Brad Miller in the face, made him lose teeth by swiping at his head, ALL ON NATIONAL TELEVISiON, and they failed to call a technical foul. I used to love the NBA, but now i despise it because of how planned out everything is.

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