Take it back to the 2002 Western Conference Finals, the Sacramento Kings up 3-2 on the Los Angeles Lakers, the defending NBA Champions.
Chris Webber was having a monster playoffs, averaging 23.7 PPG, 10.8 RPG, nearly 5 assists per game and shooting 50 percent from the field.
Sacramento seemed to clearly be the stronger team, playing an uptempo-style game that gave the Lakers all kinds of fits.
Mike Bibby had came into his own, and Doug Christie and Vlade Divac had done enough defensively for Shaquille O'Neal to publicly gripe and complain about the officials and for Kobe Bryant to give referee's snarls and head shakes every time he missed shots.
Beginning of the 4th quarter, score:
Los Angeles- 75
At this point, the Kings had been in control of the series and this game, and although the score was tied, you could feel the momentum mounting for Sacramento, who closed the 3rd strongly.
Sacramento shot 25 free throws for the entire game, a figure that would be surpassed by the Lakers in just 12 minutes.
After losing Game 4 to the Lakers by a single rebounding mistake by the Kings which led to Robert Horry's historic three-point shot, the Kings could've given in.
But they didn't, and in the 4th quarter of Game 6 the Lakers were scoreless from the field for nearly 6 minutes, but went to the free throw line a jaw-dropping 27 times to keep them alive.
Considering the fact that the Lakers only won by four and made 34 free throws to 18 for the Kings, this game could have easily went to Sacramento who would have presumably disposed of the weaker New Jersey Nets in the Finals.
Instead, the Los Angeles Lakers won the game and went on to win Game 7 to end up NBA champions for the second time in a row.
Consequently, Kings fans complained about the calls of the now infamous Game 6 to no avail.
Enter June 10, 2008, convicted felon and exiled former NBA referee Tim Donaghy drops a bomb on Commissioner David Stern and the NBA by alleging that two of the referee's of Game 6 in that Lakers-Kings series were making calls and non-calls to push the series to a Game 7.
Wow. Just what the karma police ordered. A game that saw a team shoot more free throws in 12 minutes than the other team in the entire game was fixed. That makes sense. Right?
Who really knows?
Can we believe a felon who compromised the integrity of his high profile job for bookees, and is nearing a sentencing that will rival that of a cold-blooded murderer?
Or can we keep bias and so-called "credibility" out of this and look from the outside in? In other words, it's easy to attack Donaghy's credibility and say that his accusations are "baseless" as Stern said in response.
But many criminals are in jail and truths told by desperate convicted felons who were looking to save their own butts. (Check Michael Vick, for example).
Am I saying that we should believe Tim Donaghy based on circumstantial evidence and his low stature as a felon? No, I'm not saying that.
I am saying that we shouldn't turn a quick cheek to what Donaghy says because David Stern says so. Of course he's going to jump on the defense of his multi-billion dollar enterprise.
We need more. Someone needs to independently investigate, because if these accusations are true, the NBA will be forever scrutinized by fans and sports personalities alike.
Many careers will be and possibly were affected. Had the Kings won, we would be talking about the brilliance of the Kings and Webber that season and Webber would have a much better chance at the Hall of Fame, as I examined in my first article.
As it stands, the Lakers were a three-peat dynasty that dominated the competition.
As many fans are wondering as they read this article and the many others chronicling this story, "is Donaghy telling the truth?"
We may never know, but I'll say it this way:
I can envision the Kings celebrating their monumental win over the Lakers in Game 6 and that series right now.
Someone owes Rick Adelman an apology.
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