I'm not watching the Lakers-Celtics game tonight, I'm working on a track for the new Trey Sixes album, that is going to be hot (unless you're a member of law enforcement, but I'll keep you guys posted on that later).
In fact, I watched the first quarter of Sunday's game before turning off the television. I'm done with the NBA this season. If I were a betting man there are two sure bets I see for this season.
The first is that there is no way in heck that tens of millions of white Americans are voting for a black president (see West Virginia), so John McCain is a lock.
The second is that somebody, somewhere has already mandated that neither Phil Jackson nor Kobe Bryant will be adding any hardware to their jewelry cases this year.
Personally, I felt that game one was a horribly officiated game, but Pierce's gutty performance alone made the Celtics deserving of that win. Still, the Lakers must have gotten too close to a victory for somebody's liking, because game two was over after the first quarter, which is when I turned the television off.
My cousin called me midway through the third quarter to ask how I liked the fact that L.A. was down by 20 points, I told him that after Kobe was called for two off-the-ball fouls in the first quarter, I was done watching this series.
Of course Boston fans and Kobe haters will point to all sorts of rationale to suggest that Lakers aren't playing hard enough, that Boston is playing with more passion...whatever. Anyone who has ever played the game at a high level understands that the refs set the tone for a game early on.
Once it is established that one team is not going to be getting calls the whole dynamic of your game plan changes.
We've seen this before, Heat-Mavs - Suns-Spurs - Jordan-Byron Russell...Barry-Fisher.
What has upset me was that I don't believe that Boston needed any help from the zebras in order to make this a competitive series.
Without question, Boston's bench has out-performed the Lakers subs...far and away. Kobe has been Kobe, he puts up a lot of shots unless his team has the lead, there's nothing new about that. He's still the leading scorer of the series. So what he's not getting to the line? He didn't get to line against the Spurs. He doesn't have to get to the line to score 30 points, he's Kobe.
People talk about Garnett's energy, but his stat line doesn't suggest that he's doing very much more than Gasol is doing for L.A. KG is getting a rebound or two more, but again, the refs have called three fouls on Gasol in the first two games that were clean blocks, all were supported by replay.
In game two, Odom went 5-11 from the field, Ray Allen, Mr. resurgence, went 6-11.
The Lakers went 10-21 from behind the arc, the Celtics...9-14.
The Celtics shot 52% from the field on Sunday the Lakers 49%.
Boston had 37 rebounds to L.A.'s 36
The only place in the box score that was glaringly lopsided was in fact the only aspect of the game controlled by the referees, free throw attempts, where as everybody knows the Lakers shot a paltry ten free throws against the Celtic's 38.
If the Celtics were playing that much harder than L.A. it would've shown up in more places in the box score.
I said months ago that when the other shoe dropped from the Tim Donaghy case, the league was going to be exposed for some serious issues. Scoop Jackson brought up some of those issues in one of his columns during Donaghy's trial.
Now, the first revelation by Donaghy's attorney's that a referee crew had been used by "league executives" to ensure that a 2002 playoff series was extended to seven games.
According to Donaghy:
"Personal fouls...were ignored even when they occurred in full view of the referees," the document says of the unnamed series. "Conversely, the referees called made-up fouls on Team 5 in order to give additional free throw opportunities to Team 6+."
Sounds eerily familiar to Sunday's game.
What was astonishing to me was that the calls were obviously worse in the quarters that I didn't watch. Like I told my cousin after watching the two fouls on Kobe, "If the refs are going to make those kinds of calls in the NBA Finals, then it's obvious that they have decided to interject themselves into the outcome".
For those of you who want to discount Donaghy's testimony, I refer you to Jose Canseco who was also treated like a pariah in the media until he was found to be correct.
Maybe the league just wants a seven game series. Maybe Kobe and Co. will pull a Miami Heat act and win this thing after all. Either way I don't care.
Tonight, after the Lakers win and shoot 50 free throws to Boston's five, everyone will be talking about how everything balances out.
Of course they do, just like WWF and I don't watch that either.
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