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: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: May 29, 2009 2:40 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

@ Bubba Board ... now I'm a Lakers fan? I thought I was a Celtics fan? I'm so confused. this is getting old and way to easy to predict. when I write something that casts your team in a poor light, I must be a fan of the other team. can we make one thing clear here, once and for all. SPORTS WRITERS ARE NOT FANS. WE DO NOT CARE WHO WINS AND LOSES. WE WRITE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS, AND GIVE OUR OPINIONS ON IT. this is the most absurb assertion I have read on this site. somebody please explain to me how I could be a laker fan AND a celtics fan when I grew up in NEW YORK? how would that be possible? how would it be possible for anyone who understands what a sports writer is to conclude that a sports writer roots for one team over another? have you ever met a sports writer? do you understand what a sports writer is? you guys understand that we have actual, professional, trained sports writers with experience on this site, don't you? not fans. WE ARE NOT FANS.

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: May 29, 2009 2:32 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

@cheesemonkey ... that's your real name, right? upon what journalism training and experience do you base your comments? I'm just curious. disagree with me, and come with some legitmate arguments, and we can have an intelligent debate. but don't assail what I have been spending the better part of my adult life doing for a living. my job is not to create controversy. my job is to report and give my opinion. I base my opinions on actually attending NBA games and speaking with the participants about the issues involved. upon what experience do you base your opinons? one last point -- I don't even know why I bother, this is so easy -- but who said the lakers bought the win for $50K? me? did I say that? are you able to read English? no, a member of the Denver Nuggets said that, and I reported and commented on it. had a member of the Denver Nuggets not said that, I would have gone to sleep about an hour earlier.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: May 29, 2009 2:00 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Just an avid basketball fan watching the game but come on.  The "charge" call on Billups near the end of the 1st Q changed the entire landscape of the game.  Instead of a 3 point play opp,  Billups had to eventually go to the bench after hitting his first 3 shots and controling the game.  In all the years I played and watched basketball, I have NEVER seen a player called for a charge cause he jumped to high and got his knee into a player (who was obviously in a bad defensive position).  Billups' game was passive at best after that cause he knows how much his team needs him.  It's not how many foul shots are taken or how many calls are made against one team or another but when and on whom that change the game.  Kobe would have never gotten that call against him!

Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: May 29, 2009 1:47 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

The Magic have reason to feel like the Nuggets, they have some good facts to back them up also, the other fact was LaBron James was to good in this game in the 3rd or 4th quarters. so they lost

Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: May 29, 2009 1:40 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Guys, the anonymous Denver player isn't saying that the Lakers paid the referees $50,000 to win the game. What he means is that the comments Phil Jackson made, accompanied by a $50,000 fine, made the refs look at the game in a different light. I'm not saying this player is correct in his assessment, or that he's incorrect. This is my impression. If he actually thinks Phil and Co. paid off the refs, he is a complete and utter dumbass.

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: May 29, 2009 1:25 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

It's pretty easy if you just call fouls...the problem refs run into at the Y and in high school is that they try to "officiate" a good game..this is amplified when they move to the college and pro level because they have alot of powerful people telling them to "officiate" an even game... throw in hundreds of millions of dollars and anyone who believes that nba refs just call the fouls they see comes off as naive... to reiterate calling fouls is easy when thats all you're trying to do

Since: Nov 3, 2008
Posted on: May 29, 2009 1:16 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

Excellent post.

Since: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2009 12:42 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

SO Very true

Since: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2009 12:40 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

haha wow,spoken like a true NUGGETS fan...or Should I SAY LAKER hater?
too funny,I agree the refs are desroying the game,but ,look at the stats no one player has gotten more fouls called in their favor more then melo not even the so called best player in the game has more free throws then melo unbiased is always the best opinion otherwise you just look foolish

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2009 12:31 am

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

This is the worst assessment of a game I have ever read.  The NBA is PRAYING for Kobe vs. Lebron.  It's all about the money.  They will get there wish.  Did you watch game five of the eastern conference?  Try some original thoughts next time. 

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