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: Nov 30, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2009 7:46 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win


If the ref's in the NBA actually called every infraction, the ball would never make it to half court.  Nobody would ever dribble more than twice without being called for palming/carrying the ball.  Most players would be unable to adjust because they have never been taught the proper way to dribble.

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2009 7:35 am

People who complain about officiating

have probably never officiated.  It aint easy and a lot of it is angle.  you can't be like mom who sees everything you do. Phil Jackson, on the other hand, knew exactly what he was doing.  He knew 50k was worth getting some attention on the way Kobe got tripped.  It also handcuffed Jones for guarding him the rest of the series.  The NBA is not conspiring to get Kobe into the finals.  The Lakers really do look like the best team in the West at this point and guess what.  The Magic are looking like the best team in the east.  The refs are doing their job.  If you don't like it then go down to the YMCA and volunteer to ref a few of the 10 year old's games.  Then come back and post.

Since: Apr 29, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 7:34 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

David Stern isn't going to fix the problem because to him it isn't a problem.  If people can't see that there is some funny business going on in the NBA they aren't really paying attention. 

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: May 28, 2009 7:18 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Guess whose a Laker fan?? This article was constructed more like a response to a message board call out on the refs during the game. To dismiss the idea the refs have any direct impact on the outcome of the game biased towards one team (ahem, one with a superstar in Kobe on its roster) is simply ignorant.

Personally, this is the exact reason why I no longer watch the NBA.

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: May 28, 2009 7:17 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

I really like the NBA and enjoy watching but its single biggest problem are the way games are officiated.  There are way too many 'no calls' on obvious fouls and foul calls on questionable fouls, its like the referees pick and choose when they are going to call a foul.  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.  The refs call the call fairly for both teams, but fairly bad.  I'm constantly defending the NBA to my friends who call the game unwatchable because its already decided like the WWE.  David Stern has to fix the officiating problem by making the refs call a foul when its a foul and call an infraction when its an infraction, the players will adjust and the game will be better because the players will decide the outcome instead of the refs.

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