Its Game Seven of what has been a great NBA Finals. Sasha Vujacic is on the line with 11 seconds to go. He can ice the game and the Championship for the Lakers with two made free throws...
If you are a Celtics fan at home, you can only hope that he misses.
If you are player on the court you can do more than hope. You will try and intimidate him by telling Vujacic, "You will miss, choker!", then maybe bump the guy with a less than friendly brush.
If you are Doc Rivers, you can call a timeout to make Vujacic think about it a little bit more, hoping to ice him as they say.
After that, there is nothing more you can do, except pray...unless, you are the Boston Celtics...then you cheat.
'The towel and the video don't lie'
We should have all seen this coming. In a meaningless blowout a month earlier against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Danny Ainge, the Boston general manager sent a towel flying into the air while a Cavs player was shooting a free throw, hoping to distract him (Video Here).
"It was childish, unprofessional, and classless" Ainge said, and the NBA agreed by fining him $25,000.
Now, with a game that not only matters, the decisive seventh one of the NBA Finals, and with the whole world watching, what do the Celtics do? Have they learned their lesson, by controlling that urge to cheat? Or is that too much to ask of a Celtics player? Must they be "childish, unprofessional, and classless" on the big stage as well?
Decide for yourself.
In( this video,) notice the Celtics bench, as Vujacic shoots the first free throw. Particularly, the coach behind Scalabrine. Something gets thrown into the air. Can you guess what it is? I'll give you hint, its white.
Can you believe it? After what happened before, they did it again!
A solid case can be made this was planned by the coaches. Go back and watch Scalabrine's reaction after the towel is tossed. He turns to the coach, as if to say, "it didn't work!"
I was thinking, what if it did work, and Vujacic was distracted enough to miss? And somehow, the Celtics came back to win. How could anyone say there was any honor in that?
But back to the important matter for now. This was not "just good natured silly fun" like Ainge said earlier. It was meant to alter the outcome of a fairly played game.
What will the NBA do to clear up such blatant cheating? One fine wasn't enough with the Celtics, they didn't learn. What should David Stern do now, suspend coaches, hit them with millions of dollars in fines? Will the NBA even do anything?
Certainly this was an embarrassment to the Celtics organization, but especially to the NBA.
As big as the Donaghy scandal? Certainly not. But if the NBA wants to keep its credibility, it must react strongly. It must react strongly to show it doesn't tolerate such disregard for the high standards of decency in competition, the NBA has set.