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Sunday, April 01, 2012

OT: NBA monthly thread: April 2012

I estimate that only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what the site is really about: JoePo leaving SI and Mike Sweeney endorsing Rick Santorum.

News link is to story on Jeremy Lin’s injury.

baudib Posted: April 01, 2012 at 05:35 PM | 2013 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   301. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4100407)
Flip
   302. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4100408)
I have heard all that before, and frankly, I think it is mostly just air and small-market fan anger, mostly centered on the Heat and coming from small-market Western Conference fans who hate the Lakers.

And the people who DON'T think there's are a problem are generally Lakers/Bulls/Heat/Knicks/Celtics fans. Bill Simmons, for example, has said several times that he thinks loaded big market teams are a good thing. But that's easy for him to say, since his team (Celtics) is one of them.

It's OK if you feel that way, but it has very little to do with analysis or the health of the league. Revenues, ratings, etc--all going strong

Yes, I mentioned the ratings in 289. I don't think that's a good indicator of what's good for the league. Big stars in bigger cities will always mean better ratings.

I note that you mostly left out the Spurs, who have been at or near the top of the league for 15 years, lucked into two franchise big men, benefited greatly from a controversial ref decision in 2007, and have won four titles.

I did mention the Spurs as being an exception in 288. But like the 1990's Jazz and current Thunder, they built a championship caliber team with the luck of their own draft picks, not by being able to buy or somehow trade for all the top talent like the Knicks/Heat/Celtics/etc are doing. Also, the 2007 ref decision that helped them came against the Suns, another small market team. When they played against a top large market contender the following season (Lakers), they were on the wrong end of an officiating blunder (Derek Fisher's blatant no call foul at the buzzer of game 4 when he jumped into Brent Barry as he attempted the game tying 3).

You left out the fact that Durant has already re-upped with the Thunder and they are primed to be in the championship conversation for years to come.

Yep, but we'll see if it happens again when this contract is up if the Thunder haven't won a title (and especially if they've lost one on some Donaughy level officiating). And if Durant does leave in what,5 years, I'm guessing it won't be to sign with the Jazz, T-Wolves, or Raptors.

You left out the fact that the Grizzlies got Marc Gasol in the Pau deal and it has wound up helping them. You left out the fact that Minnesota now has a star who has also re-upped.

Marc Gasol is good, but not a top superstar. He's exactly the level of star small market teams seem to end up with in most best case scenario's. And as we talked about earlier, teams with Marc Gasol as their top player may make the playoffs, but they won't win titles. Love is great, but we'll see how long he can stand playing for a team that has no chance to go anywhere. I'm guessing he pulls a Dwight Howard/Chris Paul and asks for a trade before his contract is up.

If Boozer is about market size, why did he sign with Utah to begin with?

$$$. Boozer wasn't a star when the Jazz signed him. He became an all star with them. And then he left. He's pretty much a perfect example of the gripes you hear about small market teams essentially serving as farm systems for the large markets.

Stoudemire left because the Knicks offered him a lot of money and the Suns aren't contenders anymore. The Suns won 54 games and got to the WCF in Stoudemire's last season with them.

The reality is that you probably need a variety of narratives, including big markets and charismatic superstars, for a healthy league.

Agreed. And it doesn't bother me when big market teams have top superstars as long as they built their teams fairly. It didn't bother me that the Bulls had Jordan or the Lakers had Magic/Kobe or the Celts had Bird/Pierce or the Knicks had Ewing or the Heat had Wade, etc, cuz those were their own draft picks (well, Kobe wasn't, but they traded for his rights before he was a star). But the kind of scenarios that lead to LeBron/Bosh/Melo/Stoudemire/Paul signings, well yeah, those do bug me.
   303. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4100409)
Maxwn,

As I said in pre-season, I think this is potentially a big moment for the Grizzlies. They have shown they can play with the best two teams in the conference, although they would not be favored and the Spurs depth/Thunder's talent are impressive.
   304. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4100420)
but the best team wins the NBA title almost every year.

As long as the best team doesn't play in Indiana or Portland or Sacramento, sure.

As to 1998 Bulls/Jazz series, one thing Jazz fans never mention: it seems like the league would have killed for a Game 7 that year. Jordan trying to top Game 6, with Pippen banged up (Jazz fans never mention that, either--that Pippen was hurt), trying to get the second three-peat in a hostile environment in the first Game 7 in the Finals of his career. Must-see TV. So I have never been totally sure what the motivation was supposed to be for fixing Game 6 for the Bulls.

Cuz in Jordan's last season, with Pippen banged up, without homecourt advantage (remember, there were people suggesting the 1997 Jazz may have beat the Bulls if they'd had homecourt), the Bulls winning the title was the best thing the league could have hoped for. Yes, game 7 would have been huge. But what if the Jazz raced out to a 20 point lead and never looked back? A few well timed bad calls wouldn't have made a difference and the Bulls might have lost. That couldn't be allowed to happen. The Bulls played exactly one game 7 in all their championship seasons combined; the 1998 ECF against Indiana. And at the end of game 6, Jordan was driving to the basket for the game tying shot and he tripped. I have little doubt that if he'd been able to get the shot off, the Bulls would have tied the game. He either would have made it, or they would've called a foul on somebody that barely touched him (or both). The league didn't like game 7's with the Bulls cuz there'd be a chance they'd lose.

I have always thought the 2006 Mavericks have the best "the refs screwed us" narrative. But even they didn't get to a Game 7.

Oh they were totally hosed. There was no game 7 because the league made sure it ended before that. Why? See above.

The 2002 Kings have a good one based on Game 6, but they always skip what happened in Game 7.

Lakers fans always bring up game 7, but it's irrelevant because there shouldn't have been a game 7. Kings should have taken that series in 6.

Just out of curiosity Robin, what is your team?



   305. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4100421)
That said, if the Grizzlies winning the title will ease Booey's mind about competitive balance, I would be glad to see it happen.

I would love to see this. But I'm not holding my breath. I've been surprised about the NBA champion exactly twice in my 20 plus years of watching (2004 Pistons, 2011 Mavs).
   306. Charley Root of All Evil Posted: April 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4100424)
Rose was 4-18 from 2, 4-8 from 3. Four assists, eight TOs. I think it's safe to say he's not anywhere near 100% yet.
   307. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4100428)
And the people who DON'T think there's are a problem are generally Lakers/Bulls/Heat/Knicks/Celtics fans.

I'm a Grizzlies fan. I don't think there's a problem.

Yes, I mentioned the ratings in 289. I don't think that's a good indicator of what's good for the league. Big stars in bigger cities will always mean better ratings.

This seems utterly nonsensical to me.

The rest of your post is mostly just a bunch of special pleading. There are several small market teams that are very competitive now and/or have superstars and/or young cores that mean that they can make a run in the next several years. But none of them count for various reasons that you come up with. Seriously, your counter to OKC getting Durant to extend is that he might leave after this contract. They've got him and Westbrook locked up till '16. That's just a silly point to make.

If the Grizz never have a championship level core with this team, it will be their own fault to a large extent. They've done a great job of picking guys up off the scrap heap and putting this team together, but they completely blew the no 2 pick in '09. If they had been smart enough to take nearly anyone else with that pick, they'd have another quality player who could contribute, which might have gone a long way last year. If they had been smart enough to really knock that pick out of the park and took James Harden, they might be a short list contender right now. The fact that they are making a decent run at it despite blowing that pick is a testament to how well they've done with their other moves, but no one should fill sorry for them if they top out short of being a true contender.
   308. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4100432)
But the kind of scenarios that lead to LeBron/Bosh/Melo/Stoudemire/Paul signings, well yeah, those do bug me.


OT in NYC. 43 for Melo. Knicks win.

That's fine if it "bugs you." But like I said, it has jack to do with analysis or the health of the league. And sure, big and small-market fans both have their biases. But that is all it is--you root for a team that won't benefit from that. But I don't see evidence that it is an issue for the NBA.

Boozer: Nah. He was already good in Cleveland. His PER in Cleveland was 20.8 the year he left, and then was 19.2 and 21.4 the first two years in Utah. He hit his PER peak in 07 with Utah and is sitting at 20.0 now. He is the same guy he always was, more or less, and like most guys, wanted to go to a place where he could get the money and play for a contender.

Stoudemire: Fair point, but the Suns didn't want to match that offer in part because they didn't think they could take the next step and in part because there were, as we have seen, reasons to be concerned about Stoudemire's ability to be worth the money he wanted. I don't think the NBA as a whole is freaked that the Knicks are primed to dominate due to Amare Stoudemire.

Gasol deal: Maxwn had the best take on this I have read anywhere, saying that while Pau with the Lakers was a drag for Spurs, Suns, and Celtics fans, that is really not a concern for the Grizzlies. Pau going to the Lakers pissed a lot of people off: you, Dan Gilbert, Bill Simmons, Gregg Popovich, Steve Nash. But it has worked out for the Grizzlies, looking at the big picture.

Love: berg may have something to say about this, but it is way too early to write off Love's future in Minnesota. He is tight with Adelman and they are in Love's words, "headed in the right direction". Obviously, Rubio's injury didn't help, but there are reasons to be optimistic.

And, on a related note, while you complained about Garnett getting traded to Boston, you skipped over the fact that Garnett played in Minnesota for 12 years while the team was chronically mismanaged. Paul and James played seven years in NO and CLE. Howard is committed to try a 9th year in Orlando, even with all the crap he has taken (some deserved).

Yep, but we'll see if it happens again when this contract is up if the Thunder haven't won a title (and especially if they've lost one on some Donaughy level officiating).


Durent has re-upped with the Thunder through 2016. Exactly how long would he need to stay there to make you feel OK about it?

Refs: if you think the whole thing is fixed for big-market teams, you might consider picking another sport to watch and talk about.
   309. Conor Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4100435)
The Bulls played exactly one game 7 in all their championship seasons combined; the 1998 ECF against Indiana.


Not that it changes your point, but I am a Knick fan, so I'll point out the 92 series against the Knicks went 7. The Bulls won by 30, so it is easy to forget, but it happened.

Rose was 4-18 from 2, 4-8 from 3. Four assists, eight TOs. I think it's safe to say he's not anywhere near 100% yet.


Definitely true, but I was also saying to a buddy of mine that I thought a Knicks-Bulls playoff series could be a showcase for how good Shumpert is defensively. I wouldn't pick the Knicks to win the series, and Rose isn't going to shoot 30% for an entire series of anything like that, but I think Shumpert is going to be a great defensive player in the NBA.

Edit: On Amare; I am pretty sure he left because the Suns didn't offer him as much money as the Knicks. NY may have been part of it, but if, I don't know, Indiana offered him 5 years and Phoenix offered 4, I think he would've gone to Indy.
   310. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4100436)
I am a Lakers fan, and have all the biases contained therein. But I will say this: when the Lakers lose, I don't focus on the refs or injuries. I tip the cap and move on. Moses or Matt may address the Bulls' stuff, or they may leave it alone, but I will leave that to them or other guys.
   311. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4100437)
If they had been smart enough to really knock that pick out of the park and took James Harden, they might be a short list contender right now.


Hollinger wrote about this a couple of months ago. If Memphis had Harden, no way to know who OKC would have or how that would have affected other moves. But things would look different in the West.
   312. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4100441)
Oh they were totally hosed. There was no game 7 because the league made sure it ended before that. Why? See above.

Why the #### would the league care who won between Dallas and Miami? Why the #### wouldn't they want to go 7 and make even more money? How exactly does giving the title to Miami in the first place make the league more money? What is the incentive for a multi-billion dollar business to risk their entire business on fixing games at the league level? Why would the other 29 owners go along with a plan to give the title to another team?

All of these points apply to the Jordan Bulls #### too. I can think of no reason why Jordan losing one of those series would have been bad for the league. If anything it would have heightened interest the following season.

None of these league-office series fixing theories have a coherent story about how these operations would help the league make more money or why all the owners would choose to operate in such a way. It's just a bald assertion that whatever happened happened because the league wanted it that way.
   313. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4100463)
Hollinger wrote about this a couple of months ago. If Memphis had Harden, no way to know who OKC would have or how that would have affected other moves. But things would look different in the West.

Yeah, there's no way to tell how exactly things would look now, but picking the worst of all the first rounders #2 was a bad, bad move. OKC was smart enough to take Harden with the 3 and MEM wasn't and that is responsible for some, though certainly not all, of the difference between them now.

Trading Kevin Love for O.J. Mayo was also a mistake, though I think it was defensible at the time. But not doing that would have changed the future course of the team dramatically, so they could be about anywhere from title contender to high lottery team at this point.
   314. tshipman Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4100475)
Lakers fans always bring up game 7, but it's irrelevant because there shouldn't have been a game 7. Kings should have taken that series in 6.


Take another look at game 5 in that series.

92-91. Kings shot 10 more FT's (Lakers shot 15 more in game 6). Shaq shot just one FT all game and fouled out. Kobe ended with 5 fouls. I will be happy to argue the overall reffing in that series if you like.

Kings fans who cry "Game 6! Game 6!" always like to conveniently forget about the rest of the series. Boo hoo for the Kings who only got to shoot 204 FTs to 185 FTs for the Lakers. This is against peak Shaq and peak Kobe who were #1 and #5 in the league in FTA that year.

It's very convenient to focus on just one game, though.
   315. Charley Root of All Evil Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4100479)
Definitely true, but I was also saying to a buddy of mine that I thought a Knicks-Bulls playoff series could be a showcase for how good Shumpert is defensively. I wouldn't pick the Knicks to win the series, and Rose isn't going to shoot 30% for an entire series of anything like that, but I think Shumpert is going to be a great defensive player in the NBA.


Going to be, hell. I'd say he already is; the open question is whether he/the Knicks can figure out what to do with him on the offensive end. He doesn't seem to have good shot selection at all, but IIRC that's one of the more trainable skills over someone's career. Someone with Synergy skills will undoubtedly tell me just how bad a >1 STL/game player can be defensively, but given the skills he demonstrates and the steal rate, it'd be very hard for Shumpert not to be a strongly positive defensive contributor. He's got a particular knack for finding distracted opponents and poking the ball out cleanly, looks like he's got decent instincts on the boards. Probably worse than his BLK/STL/REB numbers would suggest just because he's (by mark 1 eyeball) gambling a lot. I wouldn't put a ton of stock in Shumpert staying in front of Rose today--Baron Davis could do that half the time, and I think I have better lateral movement than he does these days--but he was taking full advantage and being active and disruptive in a way that Davis--and many others--obviously can't.

Looking forward to the rematch Tuesday; as poorly as the Bulls played on the whole they did not deserve to take that one to overtime, and they've certainly stolen their share of close games this season. I think this incarnation of the Knicks is more fun to watch--even if I'm rooting against them--than the Linsanity version.
   316. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4100482)
Someone with Synergy skills will undoubtedly tell me just how bad a >1 STL/game player can be defensively, but given the skills he demonstrates and the steal rate, it'd be very hard for Shumpert not to be a strongly positive defensive contributor. He's got a particular knack for finding distracted opponents and poking the ball out cleanly, looks like he's got decent instincts on the boards. Probably worse than his BLK/STL/REB numbers would suggest just because he's (by mark 1 eyeball) gambling a lot.

He does gamble a lot and is still figuring out help defense, but as a man defender he's the goods. Last I heard/read somewhere, he was 88th percentile in PPP on Synergy.
   317. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4100483)
Yep, but we'll see if it happens again when this contract is up if the Thunder haven't won a title (and especially if they've lost one on some Donaughy level officiating).

I missed this before. If the Thunder are in a series that gets decided by crappy refereeing, they aren't going to be the ones losing.
   318. Conor Posted: April 08, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4100486)
As a Knick fan, there is a part of me that just wants to rest everyone on Tuesday and save them for the huge game on Wednesday.

I hope Shump's shot selection improves a bit as he plays more; his jumper isn't all that good. But then I watch JR Smith play and I realize experience doesn't guarantee improved shot selection.

He does gamble a lot and is still figuring out help defense, but as a man defender he's the goods. Last I heard/read somewhere, he was 88th percentile in PPP on Synergy.


I figure this is something that will be improved as he gets experience. Did anyone else notice he and Fields switched assignments right before the last play of OT? I guess he figured they would run Rose off a screen so instead of possibly getting lost on it he switched to Korver.
   319. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4100490)
I'm a Grizzlies fan. I don't think there's a problem.

That's good. But would you have still thought that if your team was on the losing side of the 2002 WCF or the 2006 Finals?

There are several small market teams that are very competitive now and/or have superstars and/or young cores that mean that they can make a run in the next several years.

Competitive is nice, but only for so long. Eventually you want titles, and if your team has a true argument for being the best in the game and they lose on some questionable calls, it's a small consolation that "Well, at least we were competitive."

If the Grizz never have a championship level core with this team, it will be their own fault to a large extent.

Well sure. And you could say this about a lot of teams. Portland, for example, could've picked Durant over Oden. They also had the 3rd pick in the 2005 draft and could've had Deron Williams or Chris Paul but traded it to the Jazz instead. They could've also picked someone else instead of Roy in whatever year that was, knowing full well that other teams were passing on him because of his knees. But that's kinda my point; for a small market team to build a core like this, they basically have to have all the luck in the world going in their favor. OKC was lucky that Portland passed on Durant and that 3 teams passed on Westbrook. The Jazz were lucky to snag Stockton and Malone in back to back drafts with middle of the pack picks. The Spurs were lucky to get number 1 picks the years Robinson and Duncan were available. The Knicks weren't lucky to get Melo or Amare; the Lakers weren't lucky to get Shaq or Phil Jackson - they got them because they were big market, high profile teams that people wanted to be a part of.

Seriously, your counter to OKC getting Durant to extend is that he might leave after this contract. They've got him and Westbrook locked up till '16

There's never a guarantee players will even stay until the end of their contact (Paul, Williams). But I'd love to be wrong about OKC. If they win it all this year (or any other), point it out to me when you see me in a thread and I'll gladly concede your point.

Refs: if you think the whole thing is fixed for big-market teams, you might consider picking another sport to watch and talk about.

Well, baseball has always been my first love anyway. And I WAS really close to swearing off the NBA after the 2010 offseason where all the stars made a mass exodus to larger markets. If Miami had won it all last year, I probably would've done just that. But Dallas winning was a nice change of pace and kept me going for at least another year (and the curiosity of seeing how all the Jazz's lottery picks would do).

"Fixed" is too strong a word. I've never said that. I do think there's intentional favoritism towards larger market teams and that certain calls are blown on purpose sometimes, but in order for even that to work the two teams have to be pretty much equal. When a small market team is far and away better than their large market opponent, a few bad calls here and there won't make a difference.

I am a Lakers fan, and have all the biases contained therein. But I will say this: when the Lakers lose, I don't focus on the refs or injuries. I tip the cap and move on

That's good, and I'm pretty much the same way. I've seen the Jazz get eliminated in the playoffs probably 20 times, and only twice did I think they unfairly got the short end of the officiating stick - 1998 Finals and 2008 second round (Sorry, but your boys got a REALLY big free throw disparity in that series. You legitimately owned us in 2009 and 2010, but 2008 was much closer than people give it credit for).
   320. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4100493)
Why the #### would the league care who won between Dallas and Miami? Why the #### wouldn't they want to go 7 and make even more money? How exactly does giving the title to Miami in the first place make the league more money?

I've wondered this too. I have no idea why they would've cared who won this series. But did you WATCH it? Do you really think Dallas didn't get the short end of the stick and that Wade really deserved all those free throws?


   321. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4100497)
All of these points apply to the Jordan Bulls #### too. I can think of no reason why Jordan losing one of those series would have been bad for the league. If anything it would have heightened interest the following season.

Strongly disagree with this. Jordan WAS the 1990's NBA. There's no scenario where him losing would've ever been good for the league. Did ANYONE outside of Utah want the 1998 Jazz to win the title?
   322. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4100504)
It's very convenient to focus on just one game, though.

Well, when one of the officials calling the game admits it was fixed and gets a prison sentence because of it, it's kinda hard NOT to focus on that game...

Kings fans who cry "Game 6! Game 6!" always like to conveniently forget about the rest of the series

I hated the 2002 Kings by the way (and the 2000 Blazers). Both teams had the unearned swagger of a multi championship squad despite never even getting to the Finals, and that made me dislike them. But that said, I think they were the best teams in their respective years and on the wrong end of some really bad calls.
   323. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4100509)
I missed this before. If the Thunder are in a series that gets decided by crappy refereeing, they aren't going to be the ones losing.

I think you're trying to disagree with me here, but if you're implying that the Thunder get an unfair amount of crappy calls in their favor, you're basically conceding my point that the league deliberately does this to help certain teams win. So we're in agreement there. We're just in disagreement over which teams they do it for.
   324. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4100518)
I think you're trying to disagree with me here, but if you're implying that the Thunder get an unfair amount of crappy calls in their favor, you're basically conceding my point that the league deliberately does this to help certain teams win. So we're in agreement there. We're just in disagreement over which teams they do it for.

No. I think basketball is hard to referee and certain players are even harder to referee. The Thunder have 3 of them. In no way do I think it is a deliberate decision at the league office.
   325. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4100520)
That's good. But would you have still thought that if your team was on the losing side of the 2002 WCF or the 2006 Finals?

Yes. We would't even have a team without the larger market teams driving a lot of the interest in the league. To pretend otherwise is to ignore the economics of sports leagues.

   326. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4100523)
No. I think basketball is hard to referee and certain players are even harder to referee. The Thunder have 3 of them. In no way do I think it is a deliberate decision at the league office.

You don't think there's a superstar system in the NBA where stars get the benefit of the doubt on calls more often than rookies? You hear complaints all the time from players and coaches about the calls certain other players get. The Kings and Lakers have both recently complained about Blake Griffin, for example.
   327. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4100525)
Strongly disagree with this. Jordan WAS the 1990's NBA. There's no scenario where him losing would've ever been good for the league. Did ANYONE outside of Utah want the 1998 Jazz to win the title?

Why? If he'd got knocked off in a series it would be fascinating to see what happened the next season. If he had developed a real rivalry with someone that beat him a time or two that might have done even more for the league. Where is the evidence that people stop watching when teams win that they weren't rooting for? People hate the ####### Lakers, particularly the Kobe teams, but the years they've won don't seem to damage the league very much. Quite the contrary in fact.

Also there were plenty of people who weren't rooting for the Bulls during that run. Ask some people from NY or Portland or Indiana.
   328. Spivey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4100536)
Booey, come down off the ledge. You're going way overboard.

Oh they [Dallas] were totally hosed. There was no game 7 because the league made sure it ended before that. Why? See above.


This is the most ridiculous of them all. Dallas got hosed in that series. Everyone here has agreed to that. The idea that the league did something is off point though. Dallas is a similar sized market to Miami. The problem is that the officials aren't perfect - and guys like Wade, in that series, make it very difficult to officiate by barreling into the lane every time and forcing the refs to make a call. Your points just read like whining - you realize, of course, as a Jazz fan that people complained about the calls Karl Malone got? He got away with slapping in on defense all the time. There was a play where he did his patented slap-in and broke a Spurs players hand and a foul wasn't called.

It's easy to remember when you get hosed, and forget when you get the benefit of the doubt. But it's something I think you need to be more self-aware about.

I think you're trying to disagree with me here, but if you're implying that the Thunder get an unfair amount of crappy calls in their favor, you're basically conceding my point that the league deliberately does this to help certain teams win. So we're in agreement there. We're just in disagreement over which teams they do it for.


It's not a team thing. It's a player thing. Star players get star calls. It's unfortunate, but it's based on rational human behavior of giving stars the benefit of the doubt. And an official is rarely going to get backlash for calling a bang-bang play in the favor of a star.

I do have concerns that were never really resolved by the whole Donaughy situation, but I think you're reaching with many of your point.
   329. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 08, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4100547)
There's no scenario where him losing would've ever been good for the league. Did ANYONE outside of Utah want the 1998 Jazz to win the title?

I can't tell if this is a serious question or not. I grew up hating Michael Jordan and everything about him. I would have loved for anyone to beat him/them ever.

The Knicks weren't lucky to get Melo or Amare

You keep saying this as though the Knicks are title contenders or have been relevant to the title picture at any point since the '99 season.

the Lakers weren't lucky to get Shaq or Phil Jackson - they got them because they were big market, high profile teams that people wanted to be a part of

If the Jazz were lucky to draft Malone and Stockton when they did, wouldn't the Lakers be lucky to draft Kobe when they did, which is important considering that some (arguably, all) of those titles don't really happen without him?

But that's kinda my point; for a small market team to build a core like this, they basically have to have all the luck in the world going in their favor.

Basically, for any/every title team to be a true contender you have to luck into at least one superstar whether it is via draft or trade (most common ways) or FA signing.
   330. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4100571)
Yes. We would't even have a team without the larger market teams driving a lot of the interest in the league. To pretend otherwise is to ignore the economics of sports leagues.

I do understand the economics of sports leagues, and yes, I'd rather have a team that can't win a title than not have one at all. But if you're a long time Grizzly fan, you can't really understand where I'm coming from since just getting to the playoffs (and getting past the first round last year) is a pretty big deal in your franchises history. You're in the place where Jazz fans were back in the mid-late 80's. But whenever small market teams finally DO get a true shot at a title, yes, it stings very much and for a long time when we lose, especially if it happens on calls that easily could've gone the other way. Because we never know when - if ever - we're going to get that opportunity again. Like we talked about above, a lot of luck has to happen at the same time for a team like OKC to build a contender. It's different with teams like the Lakers, who will likely never be bad for very long. They had a few mediocre seasons when Magic retired and then again when Shaq left, but only half a decade later they stumble into Shaq and Gasol and they're back on top again. When Kobe retires, I suspect they'll just sign Durant or Howard or Deron Williams or some other top star and be back in the hunt within a few years. Not all teams have that option.

I don't blame Kings fans for being bitter about 2002. When are they ever going to get that shot again? After Garnett left, when are T-Wolves fans ever going to have a true contender again? (the Love/Rubio combo may make them a playoff team within the next few years, but an actual contender? I doubt it)
   331. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4100580)
Star players get star calls. It's unfortunate, but it's based on rational human behavior of giving stars the benefit of the doubt

I don't even think this is as a big factor as people think. Seriously someone who thinks deliberate star calls are a big deal should please explain to me a theory of the game of basketball where the players who are the best scorers don't draw the most fouls. Why wouldn't the superstars get the most calls? They are the hardest people to guard because they are better than everyone. This happens at essentially every level of basketball as far as I can tell and yet people act like you need some sort of NBA league conspiracy to explain it. Hell even the missed calls should be missed more often in favor of the stars because they take more shots than non-stars. No skullduggery or underhandedness is required.
   332. PJ Martinez Posted: April 08, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4100592)
Granted, Philly and Boston probably won't do better than a second-round loss to Miami or Chicago; still, big games for those teams today. And good first quarter.
   333. Maxwn Posted: April 08, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4100594)
But if you're a long time Grizzly fan, you can't really understand where I'm coming from since just getting to the playoffs (and getting past the first round last year) is a pretty big deal in your franchises history. You're in the place where Jazz fans were back in the mid-late 80's. But whenever small market teams finally DO get a true shot at a title, yes, it stings very much and for a long time when we lose, especially if it happens on calls that easily could've gone the other way. Because we never know when - if ever - we're going to get that opportunity again. Like we talked about above, a lot of luck has to happen at the same time for a team like OKC to build a contender. It's different with teams like the Lakers, who will likely never be bad for very long. They had a few mediocre seasons when Magic retired and then again when Shaq left, but only half a decade later they stumble into Shaq and Gasol and they're back on top again. When Kobe retires, I suspect they'll just sign Durant or Howard or Deron Williams or some other top star and be back in the hunt within a few years. Not all teams have that option.

Seriously? I am 26 years old. If the Jazz miss the playoffs this year it will be the 5th time in my lifetime. They've played in 6 Conference finals and 2 NBA finals. They've been out and out terrible 1 time in my entire life. Their current troubles were partially self-inflicted and yet they still could make it this year and have several interesting young players. You want to know when you'll be a title contender again. So does everyone. You point to the Lakers and assume they'll be back in the hunt soon after this team ends, but there's no reason to think that is necessarily true. The Knicks are just as large market and they've gone through long periods in the wilderness. #### the Knicks are still in it. They made a splash with Melo and Amar'e, but that Amar'e contract may be a huge albatross very shortly. If the Lakers are smart and a bit lucky, they can probably reload quickly, but there's no guarantee that they will be smart or lucky.
   334. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4100602)
Your points just read like whining - you realize, of course, as a Jazz fan that people complained about the calls Karl Malone got? He got away with slapping in on defense all the time.

Of course I've heard the complaints against Malone. Likewise, Jordan and Pippen got away with as many arm slap "steals" as anyone in the league. Part of that was the superstar call system I mentioned in 326, and part of that was just 90's basketball - it was a much more physical game back then with a lot more no calls than there are now.

Dallas got hosed in that series. Everyone here has agreed to that. The idea that the league did something is off point though. Dallas is a similar sized market to Miami.

I know Dallas and Miami are similarly sized markets, and as I stated in 320, I have no idea why the league would've cared who won that series. But Wade isn't the first quick slasher type player to barrel into the league on every possession. Why would the officials somehow forget how to correctly handle that type of player for that one series only when they'd never had so much trouble in any other series dealing with similar players, before or since? Even Wade himself never received that level of favoritism before or since. What happened?

Why? If he'd got knocked off in a series it would be fascinating to see what happened the next season.

I agree. But then again, I think about it from a small market fans perspective and not from a ratings/revenue perspective, so I always thinks it's fun when the big markets with big superstars lose.

People hate the ####### Lakers, particularly the Kobe teams, but the years they've won don't seem to damage the league very much. Quite the contrary in fact.

Exactly. Big market teams winning generate big numbers. A Pacers/Blazers Finals in 2000 or a Nets/Kings Finals in 2002 would've been a ratings disaster. Hence games 7 and 6 in the WCF, respectively.

Also there were plenty of people who weren't rooting for the Bulls during that run. Ask some people from NY or Portland or Indiana.

Well sure, everyone wants their team to win. But once their teams are eliminated and the contestants for the 90's Finals were set in stone, how many outside of Portland or Seattle or Utah wanted the 92 Blazers, 96 Sonics, or 97/98 Jazz to win? (and I think the Bulls won the first 3 of these series on their own merit, FWIW). I didn't include the 93 Suns cuz I think Barkley may have been popular enough that a lot of people wouldn't have minded seeing them take it.

I can't tell if this is a serious question or not. I grew up hating Michael Jordan and everything about him. I would have loved for anyone to beat him/them ever.

Ditto. But I don't think our opinions on that reflect those of mainstream 1990's NBA fans.

The Knicks weren't lucky to get Melo or Amare

You keep saying this as though the Knicks are title contenders or have been relevant to the title picture at any point since the '99 season.


No, I bring this up to prove the exact opposite; the Knicks don't even need to be good to get superstars like this. How many other teams could've picked up two players of this caliber despite not having a winning season for a full decade just because of the city they play in?

If the Jazz were lucky to draft Malone and Stockton when they did, wouldn't the Lakers be lucky to draft Kobe when they did, which is important considering that some (arguably, all) of those titles don't really happen without him?

Yep, and I mentioned in 302 that the Lakers having Kobe didn't bother me (or Jordan/Magic/Bird on the Bulls/Lakers/Celtics) because they came across him fairly, rather than just using their big market magic to buy him as a free agent or getting him in a trade when some small market club is forced to pawn him off for less than market value since they know they won't be able to resign him.
   335. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 07:12 PM (#4100610)
Seriously? I am 26 years old. If the Jazz miss the playoffs this year it will be the 5th time in my lifetime. They've played in 6 Conference finals and 2 NBA finals. They've been out and out terrible 1 time in my entire life. Their current troubles were partially self-inflicted and yet they still could make it this year and have several interesting young players.

Yes, the Jazz have been competitive, but like I said in 319, being competitive only goes so far. When you make the playoffs 20 years in a row, and like you mentioned made 6 WCF and 2 NBA Finals, just getting to the playoffs sometimes isn't enough if you have a team that has a serious argument for being the best in the game. The 1997 Finals hurt, but I think the Bulls were legitimately the better team and I gave them props for that. But the 1998 Finals hurt even more cuz I don't think the Bulls were better and those two shot clock miscalls in a 1 point game in game 6 were really painful.

The Knicks are just as large market and they've gone through long periods in the wilderness.

Why do people keep bringing this up like it means something? I never said every big market team will always be better than every small market team. I've just implied that they have more advantages in their favor. And they do. The Knicks had terrible management and an awful record throughout the last decade and still were able to net two top stars just because of their market. That's an advantage small market teams generally don't have. And when they have been good, they have been given the benefit of the doubt on some iffy calls (Larry Johnson's 4 point play in the 1999 ECF against Indiana, for example).

People, I don't mind answering your questions and explaining my POV, but please stop interpreting my words to mean that I think all large market teams will always be good and all small market teams will always be bad and the larger market will always win every playoff series and it's completely impossible for any small market team to be competitive, ever. All I'm saying is that not everyone has the same opportunities.

And before anyone points it out, yes, I know that that's sports and life in general.
   336. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4100617)
Well, when one of the officials calling the game admits it was fixed and gets a prison sentence because of it, it's kinda hard NOT to focus on that game...


Donaghy didn't call that game. AFAIK, Bernhardt, Delaney, and Bavetta are not in jail. I think Delaney and Bavetta are still active officials. Here is a breakdown of it from 82games.com with pix of the refs and a play-by-play analysis:

http://www.82games.com/lakerskingsgame6.htm
   337. PJ Martinez Posted: April 08, 2012 at 07:44 PM (#4100623)
Philly's kind of a mess right now. Celtics by 26 in the third.
   338. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4100624)
All I'm saying is that not everyone has the same opportunities.



Nah. What you seem to be saying, and how you are framing it, is a lot stonger than the simple "Some guys like LA and NY so what-are-we-gonna-do-in-Salt-Lake-City" meme. It would not have generated this number of responses otherwise. You are openly saying that the Heat, Lakers, and Bulls were handed titles they didn't deserve with the blessing, and perhaps at the direction, of the league, and you are saying that small-market teams are hugely handicapped on two levels: talent retention due to market size and appeal issues, (which you seem to see as being very unfair) and intentionally dishonest officiating in closely contested post-season games driven by the league's desire to increase interest, to see big-market teams win titles, and to increase TV ratings.

And you have presented this POV without taking numerous factual counters to it very seriously.

To your credit, you have done this in a civil manner without resorting to personal attacks, and I commend you for that. But this isn't a Jazz or a Kings blog, and most of the regulars here happen to be big-market fans. So you need to expect there is going to be some blowback.
   339. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4100625)
Give Boston credit. They seem to have kicked into another gear to some extent, and I didn't see that happening. We will see if it carries over at money time.
   340. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4100627)
Add:

The guy who wrote the 82games.com piece is Roland Beech, who currently works as a stat analyst for the Mavericks. He also broke down Game 5 of the 2006 Finals. It is linked in the piece above.
   341. PJ Martinez Posted: April 08, 2012 at 08:00 PM (#4100628)
Give Boston credit. They seem to have kicked into another gear to some extent, and I didn't see that happening. We will see if it carries over at money time.

Yeah, I didn't see it coming. Garnett has gotten comfortable at the 5, Bradley has become competent enough offensively that the Celtics can benefit from his excellent defense, Rondo has showed up most nights. They're still below the two top dogs in the East, obviously, but they have put themselves in the scrum for third-best, which is, to me, an unexpected and very pleasant development.
   342. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 08:07 PM (#4100630)
You are openly saying that the Heat, Lakers, and Bulls were handed titles they didn't deserve with the blessing, and perhaps at the direction, of the league, and you are saying that small-market teams are hugely handicapped on two levels: talent retention due to market size and appeal issues, (which you seem to see as being very unfair) and intentionally dishonest officiating in closely contested post-season games driven by the league's desire to increase interest, to see big-market teams win titles, and to increase TV ratings.

Yeah, pretty much. I call it like I see it. If others disagree, that's cool. To each their own.

And you have presented this POV without taking numerous factual counters to it very seriously.

Well, in the same sense that people often shrug off the complaints of Jazz/Kings/Blazers/Pacers fans as nothing more than small market whining from teams that weren't good enough to win it all, the defenses from large market fans about these particular series often come across to us in a similar fashion, though from the opposite end of the spectrum. Of course people aren't going to recognize favoritism when their team is the beneficiary of it.

To your credit, you have done this in a civil manner without resorting to personal attacks,

Ditto. And I appreciate that.

But this isn't a Jazz or a Kings blog, and most of the regulars here happen to be big-market fans. So you need to expect there is going to be some blowback.

No, it's an NBA thread, so talk about the Jazz/Kings/officials fits in as well as anything else NBA related. I did expect the blowback, and I'm fine hearing differing opinions (as long as they're civil, and they were).

But anyway, I've got Easter family type stuff to do, so I'll be bowing out for now. Thanks again for the discussion and Happy Easter to y'all. :)


   343. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: April 08, 2012 at 08:12 PM (#4100631)
The Bulls played exactly one game 7 in all their championship seasons combined; the 1998 ECF against Indiana. And at the end of game 6, Jordan was driving to the basket for the game tying shot and he tripped. I have little doubt that if he'd been able to get the shot off, the Bulls would have tied the game. He either would have made it, or they would've called a foul on somebody that barely touched him (or both). The league didn't like game 7's with the Bulls cuz there'd be a chance they'd lose.

Reggie Miller demonstrates that you're full of ####. Funny how your encyclopedic knowledge of every play that happened in that series doesn't include the one that kept it from ending in five games.
   344. tshipman Posted: April 08, 2012 at 08:51 PM (#4100643)
Again, if the league wanted the Lakers to win the Kings series so badly--to the extent of not wanting to let it get to a game 7--why did the Kings shoot 149 FTs through the first 5 games of that series (compared to 107 for the Lakers)?

There are two huge biases in the NBA: for home court teams and for star players. There is no discernible bias towards franchises. Why did Stern veto the CP3 trade for one that ended up WORSE for the Hornets.
   345. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4100673)
7. NY 29-27
8. PHI 29-27
___
MIL 28-28

Boston is 32-24 and has to play Miami and Atlanta this week. They then play 5 games in 6 days, including the b-b-b, all road games, against TOR, NJ, and CHA. They get a day off and then play in New York and at home against ORL.

   346. robinred Posted: April 08, 2012 at 09:45 PM (#4100677)
I had forgotten about that Miller/Jordan play.
   347. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 08, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4100683)
That's an advantage small market teams generally don't have. And when they have been good, they have been given the benefit of the doubt on some iffy calls (Larry Johnson's 4 point play in the 1999 ECF against Indiana, for example).

O rly?

   348. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 08, 2012 at 10:06 PM (#4100688)
Man I'm not big on Rose's decision making in the last few minutes of this game.

He looked very winded and out of shape most of the game, but that doesn't explain some of those awful shots he put up. I also can't believe his FT shooting cost them another game. It was a tough loss; even when down huge early I felt they would come back. I never expected them to choke away a 10 point lead in the last 3 minutes though. And not much you can say about those Melo 3's; he looks like a totally different player now that he has to carry the offense.

---

The main conversation on this page bores me, but for the life of me I don't remember the shot clock calls that you're bring up Booey (and haven't seen anyone else ever mention them when complaining about that series); can you refresh my memory?

---

As a Knick fan, there is a part of me that just wants to rest everyone on Tuesday and save them for the huge game on Wednesday.

The Knicks are in no position to tank games. There's no reason to think they can't beat the Bulls again. Today was not exactly a blip, considering how they've looked lately.

---

7. NY 29-27
8. PHI 29-27
___
MIL 28-28


There's no way Philly chokes themselves out of the playoffs completely, is there? I mean, they obviously weren't as good as they looked early in the year but they just as much cannot be this bad. There's no actual reason - injury, trade, etc - for them to have regressed this much. They're not good on the road, and they've got 8 road games left but most should be wins. Hollinger still has them as 80% to make the playoffs; that feels right. I'm not scared of them as a Bulls opponent; having said that, I'd still much they face the Knicks or especially the Bucks.


   349. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: April 08, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4100720)
There's no way Philly chokes themselves out of the playoffs completely, is there?
yeah, that's a definite possibility at this point. it's not even unlikely, it's probably a coinflip whether they're in or out. the schedule looks favorable, but doug collins lost the team, and i don't think he's getting them back.

basically, it's not looking too ####### good right now.
   350. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4100724)
Funny how your encyclopedic knowledge of every play that happened in that series doesn't include the one that kept it from ending in five games.

I do remember that play, and I remember thinking that Miller got away with a push. However, A) That was a game 4, not a game 7. If Reggie had done that in Chicago in game 7, I have little doubt it would've been called. And, B) Indiana didn't get their fair share of calls until game 3, when the Bulls were already up 2 games and seemed to have the series in hand. Remember Larry Bird complaining after the first two games about the Bulls physical defense? Something along the lines of "If Scottie Pippen guarded Michael Jordan the way he's guarding Mark Jackson, we'd see how long he'd stay in the game."

So sure, give the Bulls game 4 if you want, but only if you give the Pacers games 1 and 2.

The main conversation on this page bores me, but for the life of me I don't remember the shot clock calls that you're bring up Booey (and haven't seen anyone else ever mention them when complaining about that series); can you refresh my memory?

Howard Eisley hit a long 3 (I think it was 2nd quarter, but I'm not 100 percent) with the clock winding down that was taken away as a shot clock violation, even though it was clearly in time and you could tell without even needing to look at the replay. Later in the game, Ron Harper hits a shot that was counted (I think this was in the 4th, but again, I'm not 100 percent), though it appeared to have been after the clock expired. Even Isaiah Thomas, who was commentating (and who never had much love for the Jazz, for obvious reasons) said, "I think that was a shot clock violation."

I don't hear much about these calls anymore either, but they were a big deal (to Jazz fans, at least) at the time. People often bring up the push off on Russell, but these two calls were a lot more blatant in my opinion and bothered me a lot more.
   351. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 11:11 PM (#4100728)
Why did Stern veto the CP3 trade for one that ended up WORSE for the Hornets.

Probably cuz the Lakers are one of the teams people who say there isn't a fair competitive balance always point to as an example, so it would've looked bad in his mind if they got yet another superstar. However, I don't see how Stern not actually caring about the Hornets well being DISPROVES any of my points about small market teams getting the shaft...

For the record, I didn't agree with Stern's decision to veto the Paul/Lakers trade. A) It seems pointless to veto one trade to a large market and then allow a different trade to the SAME large market, and B) I actually think the Lakers were giving up more in return than the Clips did.
   352. tshipman Posted: April 08, 2012 at 11:18 PM (#4100732)
Man, fantasy basketball has to be just about the dumbest game in existence.

I am watching the end of Rockets/Kings and sweating whether Isaiah Thomas gets another steal. What a dumb game.
   353. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4100735)
There are two huge biases in the NBA: for home court teams and for star players. There is no discernible bias towards franchises

Well, except that in most of the examples I've mentioned the larger market team ALSO had the bigger star power (1998 Bulls over Pacers/Jazz, 2000 Lakers over Blazers, 2002 Lakers over Kings). You can't favor a star player without also favoring his team as a result. I don't see much difference between saying "The 1998 Bulls got the calls over the Pacers cuz they played in a bigger market", or "The 1998 Bulls got the calls over the Pacers cuz they had bigger stars in MJ and Pip."
   354. Booey Posted: April 08, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4100737)
Turning off the computer for the night. If I'm bored at work, I'll talk to y'all tomorrow. Laters.
   355. robinred Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4100783)
Again, if the league wanted the Lakers to win the Kings series so badly--to the extent of not wanting to let it get to a game 7--why did the Kings shoot 149 FTs through the first 5 games of that series (compared to 107 for the Lakers)?


The argument has always been more that the league wanted to extend the series, rather than seeing the Lakers lose in 6. That is what Donaghy said about Bavetta--that he was used by the league to extend series/tighten up games. This is Donaghy:

In the pregame meeting prior to Game 6, the league office sent down word that certain calls — calls that would have benefitted the Lakers — were being missed by the referees. This was the type of not-so-subtle information that I and other referees were left to interpret. After receiving the dispatch, Bavetta openly talked about the fact that the league wanted a Game 7.

"If we give the benefit of the calls to the team that's down in the series, nobody's going to complain. The series will be even at three apiece, and then the better team can win Game 7," Bavetta stated.


____

Donaghy also put Game 7 of the 2000 WCF on Bavetta (He cites the FT count there--that is a big thing in ref narratives when it fits. It is ignored when it doesn't.)and said that Tommy Nunez was a huge factor in the 2007 Spurs/Suns series (likes SA, hates Sarver).

I won't link it, but it easy to find Donaghy excerpts on-line. Abbott and Arnovitz wrote several posts at that time refuting/questioning Donaghy and IIRC interviewed him.
   356. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:45 AM (#4100810)
You can't favor a star player without also favoring his team as a result. I don't see much difference between saying "The 1998 Bulls got the calls over the Pacers cuz they played in a bigger market", or "The 1998 Bulls got the calls over the Pacers cuz they had bigger stars in MJ and Pip."
If you can't see it, then it's because your bias is blinding you. The Bulls earned MJ and Pippen by drafting smart, and MJ and Pippen earned superstar calls by, well, being superstar players. Market size has nothing to do with it.
   357. AROM Posted: April 09, 2012 at 08:10 AM (#4100836)
Re: Amare

His contract is not looking too good right now, and it's one that wasn't highly thought of the moment he signed it. The Knicks signed him after better players turned them down and they were left with a ton of cap room and they desperately tried to find someone to spend it on. I don't think too many small market teams are jealous of the Knicks for being able to pull that off.
   358. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: April 09, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4100883)
I thought Amare signed with the Knicks early, then tried to recruit other guys to come play with him.

Also, part of the reason the Knicks (and probably some other teams) were bad in the late '00s was that they were intentionally clearing cap space for the summer of '10.
   359. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 09, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4100895)
mySynergySports: Carmelo Anthony had attempted 56 Iso no-drive jumpers from the right side making 28.6% of them before his huge 3 tonight.


I don't think the Bulls did anything wrong defensively on either of Melo's pull-up 3's, and this seems to agree with that.

Howard Eisley hit a long 3 (I think it was 2nd quarter, but I'm not 100 percent) with the clock winding down that was taken away as a shot clock violation, even though it was clearly in time and you could tell without even needing to look at the replay. Later in the game, Ron Harper hits a shot that was counted (I think this was in the 4th, but again, I'm not 100 percent), though it appeared to have been after the clock expired. Even Isaiah Thomas, who was commentating (and who never had much love for the Jazz, for obvious reasons) said, "I think that was a shot clock violation."

Ok then.

His contract is not looking too good right now, and it's one that wasn't highly thought of the moment he signed it. The Knicks signed him after better players turned them down and they were left with a ton of cap room and they desperately tried to find someone to spend it on. I don't think too many small market teams are jealous of the Knicks for being able to pull that off.

The Suns offer had a significant less amount of the contract guaranteed and the Knicks contract is completely uninsured. The Knicks have also already used their amnesty cut. Like 358 says, I think he actually was the first guy to sign. Maybe the Knicks knew Wade/Bosh were going to be in Miami and they were trying to use it to sell LBJ on coming there too. The Bulls signed Boozer after that, and that was also played up as an attempt to lure LeBron.
   360. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 09, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4100897)
yeah, that's a definite possibility at this point. it's not even unlikely, it's probably a coinflip whether they're in or out. the schedule looks favorable, but doug collins lost the team, and i don't think he's getting them back.

Do you know the tiebreak scenarios? Hollinger has them at 71% and BB-Ref has them at 88%. I don't trust Milwaukee, but to be honest, I haven't seen them play since the trade deadline.
   361. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4100913)
The Suns offer had a significant less amount of the contract guaranteed and the Knicks contract is completely uninsured. The Knicks have also already used their amnesty cut. Like 358 says, I think he actually was the first guy to sign. Maybe the Knicks knew Wade/Bosh were going to be in Miami and they were trying to use it to sell LBJ on coming there too. The Bulls signed Boozer after that, and that was also played up as an attempt to lure LeBron.

Either way, the relevant point is that the Knicks weren't able to get Amar'e because they're the NYK. It was because they were willing to give him a max offer on an uninsured contract. That just leaves Melo. Now, Melo wanted to come to NY, but at the same time he also made it clear that most important for him was signing a max deal before the new CBA came into effect. So, I guess you could say that NY has the special advantage of having the money to make potentially foolish decisions, but it doesn't add up to me that a baseball fan is complaining about the salary structure in basketball given the greater restrictions on spending in basketball.
   362. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4100916)
Wow:

Lamar Odom's brief and bumpy ride with the Dallas Mavericks has come to an abrupt end.

The Mavericks and Odom spent Easter Sunday working out a parting, according to sources close to the situation, that frees the struggling Odom to leave the team immediately without actually being released.

"The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team," Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com. "I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship."

Sources said Monday that Odom's departure will be immediate and that the Mavericks intend to simply list him as inactive for the rest of the season instead of outright releasing him, leaving open the possibility that they could still trade him after the season in conjunction with the draft. Any team that has Odom on its roster as of June 29 must buy him out by that date for $2.4 million or otherwise accept responsibility for the full $8.2 million that Odom is scheduled to earn in 2012-13.
   363. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4100923)
Now, Melo wanted to come to NY, but at the same time he also made it clear that most important for him was signing a max deal before the new CBA came into effect.

To be fair, the Nuggets offered him the same exact deal* and he had no interest in accepting it and if he were traded elsewhere he didn't intend on resigning there. Could have been simply negotiating, but it seems pretty clear that playing for the Knicks was in reality his top priority.

*And for the sake of bookkeeping, I think he actually did sign the deal with Nuggets as part of the trade.
   364. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4100935)
To be fair, the Nuggets offered him the same exact deal* and he had no interest in accepting it and if he were traded elsewhere he didn't intend on resigning there. Could have been simply negotiating, but it seems pretty clear that playing for the Knicks was in reality his top priority.

I remember him saying, or implying, that if he were traded to NJ he would sign there as well. So maybe it was just getting out of DEN? Or getting to the tri-state area at all?
   365. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4100947)
Again, if the league wanted the Lakers to win the Kings series so badly--to the extent of not wanting to let it get to a game 7--why did the Kings shoot 149 FTs through the first 5 games of that series (compared to 107 for the Lakers)?

Robin already gave Donaghy's answer to that question, but I think I can answer a lot of people's questions to me with the following: Just because I believe that SOME games in SOME series were unfair, it doesn't mean that I think that ALL games or ALL series have been called unfairly. I never said there was a problem with games 1-5 (or 7, other than that it shouldn't have happened), but that doesn't in any way prove that there couldn't have been one in game 6. Bringing up games that were fair doesn't disprove the idea that there may have been other games that weren't.

   366. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4100952)
I remember him saying, or implying, that if he were traded to NJ he would sign there as well. So maybe it was just getting out of DEN? Or getting to the tri-state area at all?

Nope. He actually met with the Russian and the Nets came out of the meeting saying they wouldn't be trading for him. It was the Knicks or bust. One of the first links I found. The trade to the Knicks was on 2/22/11 and the Nets traded their package to Utah for Williams.
   367. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4100959)
Couple of questions and then I'll actually start working:

The one point I've brought up that people seem to agree with is that the 2006 Mavs were hosed in the Finals. So why did this happen? (my best guess would be that Stern or the individual officials disliked Cuban because of his constant complaints about them) Someone mentioned that Wade liked to barrel into the lane and the officials didn't know how to handle that. Why? He's not the first player to do that. They've never had that much trouble correctly deciding what constitutes a foul and what doesn't with similar players (Jordan, Iverson, Kobe, etc). Hell, even Wade himself has never received that many phantom calls in any other playoff series. So why did the officials for that series and that series only, completely forget how to deal with a slashing type player when they've never had that much trouble in any other series before or since?

The Tim Donaghy fiasco - are you all satisfied that it was handled correctly and a proper investigation was conducted? IMO, the thought that even a single referee may not have been on the level is a much bigger scandal and threat to the credibility of the game than steroid use in baseball could ever be. But it kinda seems this issue was just shrugged off and swept under the rug. Did anyone else not think this was brought to a satisfying conclusion?

If Stern is so sure the officiating is perfect, why is he so damn sensitive whenever someone complains about it? Criticizing officials is one of the big no-no's in the NBA. Does any other sport fine their players, coaches, and owners 25 grand (or more) for whining as often as the NBA does? Or is it just that other leagues don't publish their fines? If a baseball player strikes out looking to end the game and then says afterwards to reporters, "That pitch was high," is he automatically going to be 25,000 bucks poorer?

Remember that bizarre Joey Crawford/Tim Duncan altercation, and the ensuing Spurs claims that Crawford had a bias against them? (and it seemed their complaints had some basis, since Crawford was suspended). So why was Crawford allowed to ref in the 2008 Spurs/Lakers WCF, when he'd been suspended for his bias against one of the teams playing? Is it a coincidence that the Spurs ended up losing game 4 of that series on a bltantly bad no call? (a game Crawford helped call). And before people defend that no call, please keep in mind that the league itself issued a statement saying that the call should have been made.
   368. Cabbage Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4100965)
There is a pretty interesting linkfest up on Metafilter about the classic NBA on NBC theme, "Roundball Rock".

   369. JJ1986 Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4100968)
I don't get the Crawford thing at all. Once a ref has been suspended for that, there's no way that he can ever be trusted again. I guess Stern is trying to create the idea that refs are infallible and if Crawford gets the boot, that makes it look bad. But that was around the same time the Donaghy thing broke and the state of NBA refereeing at the time couldn't have looked much worse. It was the right time to clean house.
   370. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4100969)
it doesn't add up to me that a baseball fan is complaining about the salary structure in basketball given the greater restrictions on spending in basketball.

Because of the nature of the game itself, baseball teams can certainly try to sign all the top stars and buy quick championships, but there's much less chance it will actually work. Baseball is much more of a team game, so buying a few superstars has much less of a guarantee that it will actually make you a contender in baseball than it does in basketball. And even if a team like the Yankees can supposedly buy their way into the playoffs every year, once they get there, all bets are off in a 5 or 7 game series. As others have pointed out earlier in this thread, the "best" teams in baseball don't win it all nearly as often as they do in the NBA.
   371. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4100973)
Do you know the tiebreak scenarios? Hollinger has them at 71% and BB-Ref has them at 88%. I don't trust Milwaukee, but to be honest, I haven't seen them play since the trade deadline.
they'll lose the tiebreaker to new york because of 2 previous losses, and i believe there's a rubber match against milwaukee later this month.

they do have the tiebreaker against boston, but that's appearing to matter less and less.
   372. tshipman Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4100981)
Robin already gave Donaghy's answer to that question, but I think I can answer a lot of people's questions to me with the following: Just because I believe that SOME games in SOME series were unfair, it doesn't mean that I think that ALL games or ALL series have been called unfairly. I never said there was a problem with games 1-5 (or 7, other than that it shouldn't have happened), but that doesn't in any way prove that there couldn't have been one in game 6. Bringing up games that were fair doesn't disprove the idea that there may have been other games that weren't.


Let me be more clear:

The NBA had a bias towards "make-up" calls--not just from quarter to quarter, but also from game to game. The Kings got a lot of whistles in the first 5 games. People who claim that the Kings were cheated in game 6 always ignore that they were very highly favored before that point (especially in game 5, but also in games 2-4). None of those whistles were as blatant, but the Kings were not, on the whole, shafted in that series.


The one point I've brought up that people seem to agree with is that the 2006 Mavs were hosed in the Finals. So why did this happen? (my best guess would be that Stern or the individual officials disliked Cuban because of his constant complaints about them) Someone mentioned that Wade liked to barrel into the lane and the officials didn't know how to handle that. Why? He's not the first player to do that. They've never had that much trouble correctly deciding what constitutes a foul and what doesn't with similar players (Jordan, Iverson, Kobe, etc). Hell, even Wade himself has never received that many phantom calls in any other playoff series. So why did the officials for that series and that series only, completely forget how to deal with a slashing type player when they've never had that much trouble in any other series before or since?


I have no idea, but it doesn't fit any conspiracy theory either.
   373. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4100989)
I don't get the Crawford thing at all. Once a ref has been suspended for that, there's no way that he can ever be trusted again.

Agreed. If a ref's bias against a particular team is so blatant that he's actually been suspended for it, even if the commish decides to be nice and not fire him outright, at the very least he should never be allowed to call a game that involves that team again, much less a playoff game.
   374. Jimmy P Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4100993)
at the very least he should never be allowed to call a game that involves that team again

And if he can't work against one team, he shouldn't work against any. Because the random assignment of referees over the long term is supposed to level the differences in the refs. If you monkey with that by removing one ref for one team, you've created a bias (positive or negative) in the game.
   375. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4100996)
I have no idea, but it doesn't fit any conspiracy theory either.

Disliking Cuban and not wanting him to win a title because of his constant b1tching about the officiating year after year?

Kinda weak, I agree. But I can't think of anything else, and some of those calls were so bad I don't see how they couldn't have been intentional.

My biggest NBA officiating pet peeve: when a play happens and the refs right next to it don't call anything, but the ref on the other side of the court where there's no possible way he could've had a clear view of the play makes the call. Drives me nuts.
   376. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4101004)
The easy (and obvious IMO) DAL-MIA conspiracy theory is/was to elevate Wade as the next Jordan/Kobe/elite wing.
   377. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4101005)
The NBA had a bias towards "make-up" calls--not just from quarter to quarter, but also from game to game. The Kings got a lot of whistles in the first 5 games. People who claim that the Kings were cheated in game 6 always ignore that they were very highly favored before that point (especially in game 5, but also in games 2-4). None of those whistles were as blatant, but the Kings were not, on the whole, shafted in that series.

The idea of make up calls (which I agree happen) doesn't make the officials look any more credible. I actually think it does more to prove the point that NBA officials are intentionally manipulating games than it does to dispel it.

The Kings did have a free throw disparity in their favor in games 1-5, but it was never as horrendous as the 4th quarter of game 6, where the Lakers had 27(!!!) freebies in that one quarter alone. That was just unbelievable.
   378. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4101007)
And if he can't work against one team, he shouldn't work against any. Because the random assignment of referees over the long term is supposed to level the differences in the refs. If you monkey with that by removing one ref for one team, you've created a bias (positive or negative) in the game.

Yep. I think Crawford should've been fired outright.
   379. tshipman Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4101011)

Disliking Cuban and not wanting him to win a title because of his constant b1tching about the officiating year after year?

Kinda weak, I agree. But I can't think of anything else, and some of those calls were so bad I don't see how they couldn't have been intentional.


I sorta half-heartedly thought this when it happened, but doesn't the title last year put that one to bed? Cubes still criticizes the refs.


That series was so crazy. Wade averaged 16 FTAs (25 in game 5). The rest of the team was treated relatively normally.
   380. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4101031)
I sorta half-heartedly thought this when it happened, but doesn't the title last year put that one to bed? Cubes still criticizes the refs.

Maybe. He doesn't seem to be as bad as he used to. And that was just a guess, anyway. I really don't know why the league would have wanted the Heat to win. It just seemed that they did.

I do think the overall quality of the officiating has improved in the last couple seasons. The last year where I think there was any obvious favortism was 2008 (there was one playoff game in 2010 that I heard lots of complaints about and the boxscore seems to justify them, but I didn't actually watch that game, so I can't give any personal opinions about it).

Edit: Re Cuban - I also think the officials wouldn't have dared to even appear to favor Miami against Dallas again, not when they received so much criticism for doing it the first time. And with all the complaints about competitive balance disparity and the Heat being used as one of the primary examples, Dallas winning that series was the best thing that could've happened to the NBA.
   381. Jimmy P Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4101069)
Whoa, Baylor basketball (both the men and the women) got into a little Kelvin Sampson trouble. It seems that they made hundreds of calls and texts to recruits over the past few years. Including to Brittany Griner. We'll see what the NCAA does, but judging by the play on the court the last few years, it's easily been worth it.
   382. robinred Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4101072)
I will be interested to see how the conspiracists deal with the Lakers and the Clippers this spring, if those teams are involved in any tight games that have controversial calls. Those are teams whose current personnel have been profoundly affected by league decisions and league image/politics issues, which is pretty much a first.

The conspiracy theories only fit three series: 2000 and 2002 WCF and 1998 ECF, and Donaghy's explanations involve the league "sending signals" that all the refs understood. There was no commercial reason for the league to care about who won the 2006 Finals or the 1998 Finals. Looking over some numbers and patterns on BaskRef, there is a stronger "case" that the refs go back and forth more than they really want one team to win.

The rest of Donaghy's stuff that I have seen basically revolves around rogue refs, drunk on power, carrying out vendettas and/or favoring certain teams and people. It seems pretty believable but has no proof behind it, which is probably why Stern just let it go.

All that said, there are always specific reasons why teams lose, even accounting for the refereeing. The Pacers lost to the Bulls in 1998 because they couldn't keep them off the offensive glass. The Bulls got 22 ORBS in Game 7 and won the ORB battle 112-68 for the series. In 2002, The Kings, playing at home, shot 2/20 on 3s and 16/30 on FTs in Game 7. The counter, as Booey has used several times, is that "Game 7 should have never have happened" but if the Kings had hit their FTs in that game, they would have been champs anyway. The Jazz lost to the Bulls in 1998 because they couldn't score on them, and because they only hit 13/60 on 3s. The Bulls were only 26/88 themselves, so if the Jazz had hit 33% that might have turned things. They were 2/10 in Game 6. 5 of the 6 games in that series could have gone either way, but he Jazz also had one of the most pathetic performances in NBA playoff history in that series, scoring 54 points in Game 3.
   383. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4101083)
There was no commercial reason for the league to care about who won the 2006 Finals

Again, as a Knick fan watching at the time it sure felt like the league was like "hmmm, maybe if we give Wade his first title he can get on his way to becoming the new face of the league." Do I think it's likely this was the case? Probably not. Do I think it's possible? Sure, and that was only strengthened by the occasions on which I've been able to interact with NBA execs who have been forthcoming of the fact that as far as advertising/marketing campaigns, Wade (not LeBron, Kobe, Rose, etc.) is the league's "guy."
   384. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4101115)
They've never had that much trouble correctly deciding what constitutes a foul and what doesn't with similar players (Jordan, Iverson, Kobe, etc).
The Jordan Rules say otherwise. Magic Johnson was famous for getting a call basically whenever he wanted. The history of stars getting star calls is long and glorious.

The Kings did have a free throw disparity in their favor in games 1-5, but it was never as horrendous as the 4th quarter of game 6, where the Lakers had 27(!!!) freebies in that one quarter alone. That was just unbelievable.
That'll happen when teams keep fouling Shaq on purpose. (In an earlier iteration of this thread, I'd gone back and counted them. I can't remember the exact number, but it was something like 16 or 18 of those where from fouls committed intentionally, either as Hack-a-Shaq or to stop the clock.) Not only do you give the other team a bunch of free free throws, but when intentional fouls are part of your defense, refs are going to start assuming the foul even when you're not asking for it. When that team also has two of the most prolific whistle-drawers in the league (Shaq + Kobe), you invite an avalanche of whistles.

If there was a shadowy conspiracy to put the Lakers into the Finals that year, the league wouldn't have allowed the Lakers to be put into multiple must-win situations in the first place. The Kings' free throw advantage in the first five games would have never happened.

Disliking Cuban and not wanting him to win a title because of his constant b1tching about the officiating year after year?

Kinda weak, I agree. But I can't think of anything else, and some of those calls were so bad I don't see how they couldn't have been intentional.
Kinda weak, but you assume the conspiracy anyways. It couldn't have been just a bunch of bad calls, it has to be a conspiracy.
   385. robinred Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4101127)
Again,as a Knick fan watching at the time it sure felt like the league was like "hmmm, maybe if we give Wade his first title he can get on his way to becoming the new face of the league." Do I think it's likely this was the case? Probably not. Do I think it's possible? Sure, and that was only strengthened by the occasions on which I've been able to interact with NBA execs who have been forthcoming of the fact that as far as advertising/marketing campaigns, Wade (not LeBron, Kobe, Rose, etc.) is the league's "guy."


In what league-driven marketing campaigns has Wade been prominently featured beyond other stars?

This, along with the "screw Cuban" was the theory at the time. Kobe was post-Eagle and post-Shaq, so the league was trying to create the "new Jordan" and Wade seemed like the best guy. If that scenario was actually the case, then both the league and the refs are all kinds of stupid.
   386. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4101129)
There was no commercial reason for the league to care about who won the 2006 Finals or the 1998 Finals

Well, I've conceded a few times that I don't know why the league would've cared who won the 2006 Finals. I gave one possible explanation, and Melo gave another, but just because we can't think of a definitive motive doesn't mean there wasn't one. You yourself said this series has the best argument of any as being called unfairly.

As for 1998, the Bulls had Jordan, simple as that. Jordan was the face of the league (hell, 1990's sports in general), and Jordan didn't lose. If you took a poll of basketball fans before the 1998 Finals asking which team you wanted to win, don't you think the Bulls would have won that poll overwhelmingly?

All that said, there are always specific reasons why teams lose, even accounting for the refereeing

Yep. Pacers, Jazz, Kings, etc, all COULD have won those series anyway, and that's why I made a point to mention that I don't agree with the word "fixed." That implies the result is pre-ordained and there's nothing the losing team can do to stop it. I don't believe that. I prefer the term "favoritism", because that implies that certain teams were intentionally given the benefit of the doubt in close games between two basically equal teams where a few missed calls here or there might make the difference between winning and losing. Just cuz the Pacers couldn't rebound and the Kings couldn't hit free throws and the Jazz couldn't hit 3's doesn't mean their opponents didn't get a few close calls that they shouldn't have.

The Jazz lost to the Bulls in 1998 because they couldn't score on them, and because they only hit 13/60 on 3s

Yeah, but it should have been 14/61. :)

If anyone who's more computer savvy than I could find and post a link to the Eisley 3, it would be much appreciated.
   387. JJ1986 Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4101134)
If anyone who's more computer savvy than I could find and post a link to the Eisley 3, it would be much appreciated.


Here you go.
   388. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4101135)
[385] Rr, I'm not saying that was the case, but I am saying I have spoken to league execs face to face and had them openly state that whenever their is any promotional opportunity where advertisers don't come to them with a specific guy in mind, they ALWAYS request that the advertiser work with Wade because a.) he's really good b.) he has no tattoos c.) his public image is pretty clean.
   389. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4101143)
The Jordan Rules say otherwise. Magic Johnson was famous for getting a call basically whenever he wanted. The history of stars getting star calls is long and glorious.

Well, yeah. We've discussed superstar calls already. But did Magic or Jordan or Kobe ever AVERAGE 16 FT's a game in a playoff series? That Finals brought superstar calls to a whole new level. And Dirk was as big a star as Wade, and he didn't get nearly as many (yes, I know he's a different type of player and wasn't driving into the lane on every possession).

Kinda weak, but you assume the conspiracy anyways. It couldn't have been just a bunch of bad calls, it has to be a conspiracy

Did you WATCH that series? It was A LOT of bad calls - more than any group of professional refs could be expected to make by accident - almost all of which favored a certain team. I don't see how that doesn't qualify as favoritism.

Is "Dallas was screwed cuz the refs were incompetant" really much better than "Dallas was screwed because the refs were dishonest" anyway? It was a screw job either way.

If that scenario was actually the case, then both the league and the refs are all kinds of stupid.

The refs WERE all kinds of stupid in that series. And the league, if they had anything to do with it.
   390. robinred Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4101149)
Just cuz the Pacers couldn't rebound and the Kings couldn't hit free throws and the Jazz couldn't hit 3's doesn't mean their opponents didn't get a few close calls that they shouldn't have
.

Right. But you might want to rethink the claims you made earlier about the best teams not winning specifically due to the refs.

If you took a poll of basketball fans before the 1998 Finals asking which team you wanted to win, don't you think the Bulls would have won that poll overwhelmingly?


Maybe. But as noted, from the league's standpoint in terms of story hooks, the Bulls LOSING that series would have been a huge deal and ratcheted up interest, not to mention the fact that Jordan might have had a harder time walking away if his last game had been a loss. I can buy that the league wanted the Lakers in 2000 and 2002 Finals and the Bulls in the 1998 Finals to drive TV ratings and ad revenues. I have a much harder time buying that the league was basically a gigantic Bulls fan.
   391. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4101152)
There is a pretty interesting linkfest up on Metafilter about the classic NBA on NBC theme, "Roundball Rock".
I'm turning that into a ringtone at some point today. Thanks, Cabbage!
   392. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4101165)
Right. But you might want to rethink the claims you made earlier about the best teams not winning specifically due to the refs.

You're kinda quibbling about phrasing here. I do believe these teams I've mentioned would have won titles with unbiased officiating. Just because they had flaws of their own and could've won anyway doesn't change the fact that they would have won if the games were called fairly. The teams that did win had flaws too, and they won anyway. I don't really see how it changes my argument.

I can buy that the league wanted the Lakers in 2000 and 2002 Finals and the Bulls in the 1998 Finals to drive TV ratings and ad revenues. I have a much harder time buying that the league was basically a gigantic Bulls fan.

How many Jordan commercials did you see in the late 90's compared to Jazz commercials? The only non local Jazz commercial I remember from that time period was Malone's Rogaine endorsement.

   393. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4101167)
#387 - Thanks. It's not letting me open up that link at work, but I'll look at it when I get home.
   394. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4101185)
Well, yeah. We've discussed superstar calls already. But did Magic or Jordan or Kobe ever AVERAGE 16 FT's a game in a playoff series? That Finals brought superstar calls to a whole new level.
Sure, it was a horribly called series; I've written that plenty of times on this here on-going thread. But there's a difference between "horribly called series" and "shadowy conspiracy." You yourself wrote that the reasons for the league throwing the series in Miami's direction are weak, yet you go ahead and assume there's a conspiracy. It'll take more than weak reasons for me to assume the same.

Did you WATCH that series? It was A LOT of bad calls - more than any group of professional refs could be expected to make by accident - almost all of which favored a certain team.
No, I was watching soccer. OF COURSE I WATCHED THE NBA FINALS. Again, "bad refereeing" does not equal "vast shadowy conspiracy."

I'll admit my bias: I hate conspiracy theories. They are, for the most part, stupid, and are based almost completely on series of events that are only coincidentally connected. Hurricanes in the Atlantic are not caused by a butterfly in Brazil and sometimes even a true quarter lands heads up more often than it should. If you want to say it was a terrible series by the refs, I'm with you. If you want to go further, you'd better have some real evidence beyond guesswork that even you characterize as weak.

This reminds me of the 2000 Portland-LA series. The Blazers waste a 15-point lead, and immediately people were surmising that the fix had to be on because it was "impossible" for an NBA team that was actually trying to let such a lead slip away. Sometimes the other team banks in 3-pointers. Sometimes, they get all the calls. Sometimes, you can't hit the broad side of a barn. The fix is not always in.
   395. Eddo Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4101189)
The one point I've brought up that people seem to agree with is that the 2006 Mavs were hosed in the Finals. So why did this happen? (my best guess would be that Stern or the individual officials disliked Cuban because of his constant complaints about them)

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
   396. tshipman Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4101192)
How many Jordan commercials did you see in the late 90's compared to Jazz commercials? The only non local Jazz commercial I remember from that time period was Malone's Rogaine endorsement.


Salt Lake is not exactly a big marketing or metro area. It's not terribly surprising that there wouldn't be a ton of commercials with Jazz players. Advertisers like big market teams because fans of the team already like the pitchman. Nationally popular guys like Magic or Jordan get even more attention. I played basketball nearly every day growing up as a kid. Tons of guys tried behind the back passes, tons of guys stuck their tongue out when they drove to the basket. I knew one guy who had a finger roll. I never knew a kid who thought short shorts looked cool.

It was A LOT of bad calls - more than any group of professional refs could be expected to make by accident - almost all of which favored a certain team. I don't see how that doesn't qualify as favoritism.


All the bad calls really favored one player, not so much team. That's what made it weird.
   397. smileyy Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4101196)
We'll see what the NCAA does, but judging by the play on the court the last few years, it's easily been worth it.


The is a great 1-sentence summary of one of the problems with the NCAA.
   398. Jimmy P Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4101202)
How many Jordan commercials did you see in the late 90's compared to Jazz commercials?

Yeah, compare a small city that's demos don't fit the NBA with two very boring stars to the biggest marketing machine in the last 40 years. Everyone loses compared to Jordan except maybe Ali.

I'll admit my bias: I hate conspiracy theories.

No, really, the NBA and officials are very incompetent at their jobs. They are so incompetent, that they can develop a huge shadow faction that can alter the outcomes of games over a span of decades AND is so well run, that there has never been any proof or any leaks.
   399. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4101226)
You yourself wrote that the reasons for the league throwing the series in Miami's direction are weak

The reasons we can THINK of are weak. Doesn't mean there aren't better ones that we haven't thought of.

If you want to say it was a terrible series by the refs, I'm with you.

I asked this a few posts before and didn't get an answer: If Dallas was screwed in that series, does it really matter whether it was through malice or through incompetance? Either way, they still went home without a title that they deserved.

All the bad calls really favored one player, not so much team. That's what made it weird.

Well, yeah. But favoring one player also ends up favoring the team he plays for.

The Blazers waste a 15-point lead, and immediately people were surmising that the fix had to be on because it was "impossible" for an NBA team that was actually trying to let such a lead slip away.

Well, the huge free throw disparity in the 4th quarter in favor of the Lakers helped fuel those conspiracy theories...

Salt Lake is not exactly a big marketing or metro area. It's not terribly surprising that there wouldn't be a ton of commercials with Jazz players. Advertisers like big market teams because fans of the team already like the pitchman. Nationally popular guys like Magic or Jordan get even more attention.

Yeah, compare a small city that's demos don't fit the NBA with two very boring stars to the biggest marketing machine in the last 40 years. Everyone loses compared to Jordan except maybe Ali.


Exactly. And isn't it at least possible that a league would rather a "nationally popular guy" and the "biggest marketing machine in the last 40 years" won instead of "two very boring stars?"

From a marketing standpoint, Jordan was the best thing the NBA had ever seen, and part of his mythos was that he never lost a Finals series. Would it have hurt his popularity and marketability if he actually did lose once? Honestly, probably not. But I could see how some people might think that it would. And that may have been reason enough why the league would rather the Bulls won than the Jazz. Don't you think the Bulls were likely the most popular team in the league nationwide at the time? Where do you think the Jazz ranked?
   400. Booey Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4101231)
They are so incompetent, that they can develop a huge shadow faction that can alter the outcomes of games over a span of decades AND is so well run, that there has never been any proof or any leaks.

There has been proof of referee biases (Crawford), and leaks (Donaghy). Just cuz the league didn't give them the attention they deserved doesn't mean those things haven't happened.
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