quick change

The latest chapter of the Tim Donaghy saga: Talk about casting a pall over the NBA Finals. On the same day that the first feel-good championship series in years -- probably since Lakers-Bulls in 1991 -- finally became competitive, the whole affair was tainted by allegations of game-massaging (at best) and game-fixing (at worst). Talk about your wet blankets.

But before I get into the sordid details, let's back up. Prior to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, my buddy BadDave asked me what my real opinion was on NBA officiating. Or, as he put it, "Do you think that games are really fixed?"

The short answer was "No."

The long answer was a bit more complicated. With one possible exception (more on that below), I've never felt as though any NBA games were clearly and blatantly fixed. However, I have often felt -- especially during the playoffs -- that the refs carefully and perhaps even consciously control the flow of the game, favoring Team A here, favoring Team B there, to keep things close, make them more exciting...which keeps viewers viewing and is obviously good for business. And of course it's been clear since, like, forever that fouls (and non-fouls) are called differently based on who's playing at home and who's playing on the road.

To me, it's basically like turning on "Computer Assistance" in NBA Live.

But it's not absolute. It's not a clear-cut fix (except in that one notable case I'm going to discuss soon). The players still have to make shots (or not make them, in some cases). Take the first round series between Atlanta and Boston. The Hawks were given much more leeway to play physical at home than they were in the Garden. They were allowed to bump and push and hold just a wee bit more...nothing egregious, but enough to make the Celtics miss tough shots (and get rattled, which they did). And let's face it, it didn't hurt that there was at least one big first-round storyline -- the best team in the league gets taken to the limit by a big-time underdog -- when the Western Conference playoffs, which were supposed to be so competitive, basically sucked.

Take the now-infamous Game 2 of this championship series. The Celtics enjoyed a 38-10 advantage in freethrow attempts that had Phil Jackson and the Lakers faithful freaking out and making wild, even ridiculous allegations. But maybe they aren't all that ridiculous after all.

Donaghy's lawyers filed a letter that -- although it didn't name any names -- claimed the NBA encourages its officials to call bogus fouls to manipulate results while also discouraging them from calling technical fouls on star players to keep them in games and protect ticket sales and television ratings.

As the letter stated: "If the NBA wanted a team to succeed, league officials would inform referees that opposing players were getting away with violations. Referees then would call fouls on certain players, frequently resulting in victory for the opposing team."

But even worse, the letter stated that Donaghy learned in May 2002 that two officials -- refs of the "company men" variety -- were working a best-of-seven series in which "Team 5" was leading 3-2. Then, in the sixth game, they allegedly ignored fouls made by opponent "Team 6" and made phantom calls putting its players at the free-throw line. The letter concluded that "Team 6" won the game and came back to win the series.

It doesn't take a team of super genuises working on the Bat Computer to figure out which game Donaghy was talking about: Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

In that game, which featured the Kings and Lakers playing in Los Angeles, the Lakeshow finished the game with a 40-25 advantage in freethrow attempts. Which in and of itself doesn't seem like that big of a deal until you realize the Lakers got 27 freethrow attempts in the fourth quarter alone.

I watched that travesty live, and it was one of the worst things I've ever seen. In point of fact, that game was The Reason why we invented the term The Stern Button. (It even says so in the entry.) And it wasn't just a case of the Lakers getting every call, it reached such ridiculous lengths that Sacramento players were actually jumping out of the way of L.A. players and still getting called for fouls. It was crazy.

That game caused Ralph Nadar to write a strongly-worded and accusatory letter to David Stern, and Washington Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon said: "I have never seen officiating in a game of consequence as bad as that in Game 6....When Pollard, on his sixth and final foul, didn't as much as touch Shaq. Didn't touch any part of him. You could see it on TV, see it at courtside. It wasn't a foul in any league in the world. And Divac, on his fifth foul, didn't foul Shaq. They weren't subjective or borderline or debatable. And these fouls not only resulted in free throws, they helped disqualify Sacramento's two low-post defenders. And one might add, in a 106-102 Lakers' victory, this officiating took away what would have been a Sacramento series victory in 6 games."

And now is very possible that, as many people suspected, the game may actually have been fixed.

It's enough to make Scott Pollard cry. "If it was proven that it was -- I don't know how it could ever be proven that it was -- that would hurt. That would hurt the league, it would hurt my feelings, it would hurt everybody. That's ugly. You don't want that to be true. I don't want it to be found out that that was true. I would much rather live with human error than human interference."

As you would expect, Stern's response was arrogant and dismissive, which is his typical modus operandi. Said the Commish (in a sort of summary): "My reactions to Donaghy's lawyer are that clearly as the date of sentencing gets closer and the things that he's thrown against the wall haven't stuck, he's rehashing a variety of things that have been given to the U.S. attorney and the FBI, fully investigated and are baseless. He's a desperate man and he'll make whatever allegation he can at the most propitious time somehow I think to manipulate the process. We're confident that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office and the Court will not be taken in by his activities."

And Phil Jackson, who's always been eager and quick to attach an asterisk to the victories of his enemies, was quick to both repudiate allegations and direct everyone to "injustices" leveled against the Lakers earlier in that 2002 series. "The allegation was that they were extending the series? Was that after the fifth game after we had the game stolen away from us after a bad call out of bounds and gave the ball back to Sacramento and they made a three-point shot? There's a lot of things going on in these games and they're suspicious, but I don't want to throw it back to there." God, I hate Phil Jackson sometimes.

Anyway, who knows what the "truth" is at this point? But whatever the case, it was a dark day for the NBA, for officiating, and for the Finals game that, sadly, had to take a back seat to this whole mess. Which totally sucked the enjoyment out of it for me. So if this post seems a little angry, it probably is.

Shooting: The Celtics shot 35 percent from the field. The Lakers, by contract, shot a relatively blistering 43 percent. Of course, if you take away Sasha Vujacic (7-for-10) and Kobe Bryant (12-for-20), they shot 28 percent (11-for-39). It was an ugly brick-a-palooza. As Phil Jackson put it: "It was not a beautiful ballgame." But the Zen Master shrugged it off as a simple problem of jet lag. "That's a transition game from East Coast to West Coast. But we'll have a day to catch up tomorrow and hopefully both of us will play better basketball on Thursday night."

Kevin Garnett: Why oh why does KG insist on jacking up shots from the outside? Dig it: 15 of his 21 shots were jumpers. He shot 6-for-21, by the way. Although maybe he knew what he was doing; according to the short chart, Garnett was 0-for-3 on layups and only 2-for-3 on dunks. But in all seriousness, KG needs to take most of his shots from the inside and only a handful from the outside...not the other way around.

Paul Pierce: Think the Lakers fans will believe Pierce's knee is hurt now? His mobility, particularly on drives, was severely limited and he finished the game with only 6 points on 2-for-14 shooting. He missed all four of his three-pointers. The truth is...the Truth sucked in Game 3.

Leon Powe: After his 21-points-in-15-minutes performance in Game 2, everybody was screaming for Doc to get more PT for Leon. But Powe was almost totally ineffective in the six minutes he played in Game 3: 1 point (0-for-3), 2 rebounds, 1 turnover and 2 fouls. Oh, and two of his three shots were fed back to him. That's why he's a reserve: He' not going to be dynamite every night. And I guess Doc realizes that, even if nobody else does.

Sam Cassell: Holy crap, this guy shoots the rock like it's going to explode. He touches it, he shoots it. I thought Sam was a wily veteran. What is he even thinking out there? It's a joke. Even the announcers are openly mocking his gunnery.

The Lakers not named "Mamba" or "The Machine": Derek Fisher (1-for-6). Pau Gasol (3-for-9). Lamar Odom (2-for-9). Vladimir Radmanovic (1-for-4). Luke Walton (0-for-3). It's like there was a shooter's version of mononucleosis going around the Lakers locker room. I can only hope that Kobe and Voojeychick catch it by Game 4.

Kobe Bryant, world's greatest teammate: Mamba wants the world to know he both calmed and inspired his teammates after the Lakers stumbled into an 0-2 series hole. Just ask him. "What I tried to do with my teammates is just stay calm. It wasn't the end of the world. They did a great job of defending home court. We knew we had to come here and do the same. They feed off of my confidence and I have all the confidence in the world that we can come here and win."

Whatever. Look. Kobe's great. There's no question. He's one of the most amazing scorers in the history of the game. But the guy's an unremitting ass. He went bleep-crazy on the rest of the Lakers in Game 2. He stares them down. He glowers at them when they make mistakes. I don't care if you love Kobe or you hate him, if you were playing basketball with somebody who treated you the way Kobe treats his teammates you would hate his guts. I guarantee it.

Curt Shilling was sitting behind the Lakers bench during Game 2 in Boston, and he made some pretty interesting observations on his blog: "Kobe. This one stunned me a little bit. Who doesn't know Kobe Bryant right? I only know what I have heard, starting awhile back with the entire Shaq debacle. I don't really have an opinion one way or the other on or about him other than to know that people feel he might be one of the 4-5 greatest players to ever lace it up. What I do know is what I got to see up close and hear, was unexpected. From the first tip until about 4 minutes left in the game I saw and heard this guy bitch at his teammates. Every TO he came to the bench pissed, and a few of them he went to other guys and yelled about something they weren’t doing, or something they did wrong. No dialog about 'hey let's go, let's get after it' or whatever. He spent the better part of 3.5 quarters pissed off and ranting at the non-execution or lack of, of his team. Then when they made what almost was a historic run in the 4th, during a TO, he got down on the floor and basically said 'Let's f'ing go, right now, right here' or something to that affect. I am not making this observation in a good or bad way, I have no idea how the guys in the NBA play or do things like this, but I thought it was a fascinating bit of insight for me to watch someone in another sport who is in the position of a team leader and how he interacted with his team and teammates. Watching the other 11 guys, every time out it was high fives and 'Hey nice work, let's get after it' or something to that affect. He walked off the floor, obligatory skin contact on the high five, and sat on the bench stone faced or pissed off, the whole game. Just weird to see another sport and how it all works. I would assume that's his style and how he plays and what works for him because when I saw the leader board for scoring in the post season his name sat up top at 31+ a game, can't argue with that. But as a fan I was watching the whole thing, Kobe, his teammates and then the after effects of conversations. He'd yell at someone, make a point, or send a message, turn and walk away, and more than once the person on the other end would roll eyes or give a 'whatever dude' look."

Of course, when he heard about it Phil Jackson -- the same guy who blasted Kobe to tiny bits in a first-person, tell-all book a few years back -- got all bent out of shape that people might (GASP!) find out what an asshat Kobe can be. "I've been against [fans sitting close to the bench] for as long as I've been coaching. Those people don't belong there, somebody is going to get hurt. But that becomes part of what the NBA is about, being close to the action and close to the scene. We have to suffer the consequences because of it." Considering the fact that he wrote that above-mentioned book, that statement sure makes Phil seem like a bit of a hypocrite. But at least he's a very Zen-like hypocrite.

Kobe's freethrow shooting: I'm not even going to get into the officiating, but Mamba got his calls in Game 3...and 18 freethrow attempts. Amazingly, he missed seven of them. Crazy for somebody who's normally so clutch.

Update! Doc Rivers, quote machine: Doc took the "high ground" after his team loss the freethrow battle to the Lakers. Said Doc: "I'm just surprised [Jackson] didn't whine about the fouls tonight. I told our guys, 'Listen, you had a chance to win but don't be delusional. That team attacked you, they were the aggressor. That's why they went to the foul line. They deserved it.' I told them I didn't want to hear about Coach Jackson complaining and that's why. No that's not why. They played harder, they drove to the basket and they deserved to go to the foul line." Doc might not be half the coach Jackson is, but at least he's got a little something Phil doesn't have: Class.

Update! Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy: Basketbawful reader jodial observed that: "Your 'Worst of the Night' should have included J. Van Gundy and M. Jackson's impassioned on-the-air claims that 'you don't have to win a championship to be a champion.' Huh?! Sounds like a couple of guys who never won championships talking!" True dat. I mean, no offense to guys like Barkley, Ewing, Malone, Stockton, and Wilkins...but you're only a champion if you're, you know, a champion.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm a Laker diehard (have been since the 70's) - but I love your blog all your same!

I feel compelled, however, to address the notion that the Lakers' 2002 title was "tainted".

Does the NBA have refereeing credibility issues? Yes.
Does that mean Tim Donaghy is suddenly trustworthy? No.

Sure, the Kings got jobbed on some calls in game 6 that year. I remember. It happens.

Phil Jackson may annoy you, but he is correct in referencing game 5 from that series - that game was completely altered in the final seconds when a ball that clearly went out of bounds off Webber was given to the Kings, setting up Bibby's game-winner.

And more to the point:

The refs didn't make Vlade volleyball the rebound out to Horry in game 5.

And they didn't make the Kings miss 14 free throws in an overtime loss in their own crib in game 7.

For all the Scot Pollards of the world crying about a lost championship: The referees didn't take a title from the Kings. The Kings just lost.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
PS -

And as far as Ralph Nader goes, he should be more concerned with his own role in screwing up the 2000 presidential election than anything that happens on a basketball court.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Part of Donaghy's comments backed-up Van Gundy's claim a few years ago that the officials were told to call everything on Yao, so even if you don't believe the "convicted felon", as Stern called him, you'd also have to doubt Van Gundy. Where there's smoke, there's fire ... and right now, there's only a smoking crater where the NBA offices used to stand.

Until Stern is removed, I'm done with the NBA. His smarmy, "You're all idiots and I know everything" statements last night where he heaped blame on the media (instead of looking in the mirror or maybe even watching a game in these playoffs), were it for me. It's not hard to believe that Gary Bettman (aka the worst Commisioner in pro-sports) was mentored by David Stern. They've both managed to destroy great sports while somehow convincing owners they're actually doing a good job.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I went into the whole Donaghy thing last night here, and my deflated thoughts about the officiating in this series, but it continues to drag me down today. What was said about how Cuban was able to get the refs to target Yao Ming in 2005 on the screens he was setting seems to me to be the same kind of thing they do all the time. They seem to single players out and decide beforehand how they are going to officiate them in that particular game. The 2002 Lakers-Kings series is a perfect example, IMO, and not just for Game 6.

I went into this already over on Hardwood Paroxysm, but if you just look at the way Shaq specifically was called in Games 5 and 6 of that series (never mind all the other crappy calls), it really is mind boggling. It's especially perplexing since with Shaq he always just plays the exact same way, so it's truly bizarre the refs would officiate him in exactly opposite manners like that in back to back games. Look at the fouls and free throws for Shaq and his defenders in Game 5 and Game 6:

Game 5: Shaq fouls out in 32 minutes with only one free throw attempt on 18 field goals. Vlade Divac and Chris Webber finish with 3 fouls each and Scott Pollard doesn't record a single foul.

Game 6: Shaq gets 17 free throw attempts on 25 field goals while finishing with only 4 fouls. Vlade Divac and Scott Pollard foul out and Chris Webber finishes with 5 fouls.

Does that make any sense to anyone? We've all seen Shaq play, he only has one way of playing: get deep post position and try to power it up. It's really up to the refs to decide whether in doing so he's running over his defender, or they're hacking him to prevent him from scoring. Add to this that Vlade Divac was a notorious flopper and really all you can determine is that for Game 5 in Sacramento the refs were buying Divac's acting or they just thought Shaq was bullying his way to the basket, while in Game 6 in LA they decided that Shaq was just being hacked. It's almost completely evident that nothing changed except that the refs reversed their opinion from one game to the next.

This is always my biggest problem with officiating in the NBA, and we could see it again in Games 2 and 3 of this series: consistency. Why are the same plays called one way in one game and another way in another? Even worse is when they call them one way in one quarter and another way in another, or when they call them one way at one end of the court and another way at the other end.

With a player like Shaq in that 2002 series, such a blatant 180 degree shift in the officials' approach to officiating him just should not happen. There is no way that a guy with such a singular approach to each game and such a limited offensive repertoire should be officiated in exactly the opposite manner from one game to the next. Just like there is no reason that the Celtics should have a 19-2 free throw advantage in the first half of Game 2 only to see the Lakers have an 18-2 free throw advantage in the first half of Game 3. Give us some damn consistency, not these seemingly obvious story lines that appear to be scripted by the league! David Stern's response last night was utterly sickening.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, Schilling also wrote in his blog that among the many reasons why he couldn't be a pro basketball player, one was the trash-talking, as he heard several things that would make him "take a swing" at someone.

He's apparently pretty sensitive, so I can only give so much credence to his observations.

I've played with guys who glowered and griped and bitched at me and other teammates on the court. Whether or not I hated them depended on 1) Were they any good themselves and 2) Were they right?

For item 1, well, we know how good Kobe is, and as for item 2, take a look at how LA played in Game 2 and tell me he wasn't right in chewing out his team for lack of effort and composure. Jordan did more than his fair share of glowering and grousing on the court (there was an article last year where Bill Simmons basically called a head-shove delivered by Kevin Durant to a Texas teammate), but he was overall likable so people never said anything about it.

People have never really liked Kobe, for various reasons (some I understand, others I do not), and that bias factors into their castigations.

All bashing of Phil Jackson is completely approved of, however. I'm a Laker fan and I still have never liked him.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Random thoughts:

Kendrick Perkins never smiles or shows any sort of positive facial expression I would associate with non-psychotics. I think I'd genuinely be afraid to be around this guy by myself. One could joke about KG's insanity on the court but we all know he's a teddy bear on the inside. If someone told me Perkins has killed a man I would believe it.

Speaking of Perk, what a turrible call on that continuation.

Over the season and playoffs it doesn't feel like a Celtics game unless Rondo gets completely smashed into the ground and everyone freaks out wondering if he just snapped his neck like a twig. The little guy takes some serious punishment and I'm pretty sure some day he's going to miss an entire season due to his reckless abandon.

As an aside, for a time in the playoffs I was pretty sure Rondo was leading in the "got his weak shit rejected" category. I swear he got swatted away 2-3 times each game of the Atlanta series. But it looks like Gasol is trying to catch up.

I loved it when Kobe was struggling at the line early and ABC tried to censor him saying "Get in there, bitch!"

Before this series started I posted this on ISH:

"The only consistent player [in the playoffs] has been Bryant. KG and Pierce have gone for 30+ several times. Other games...not so much. Ray can go off for 20-30 or be nearly invisible. Gasol can be draining those baby turn around hook shots or Odom can be an elite passer or they can both look like bums. Don't even get me started on Rondo and Fisher.

Whoever shows up..."

Not the deepest insight I admit, but a lot of people said a lot of those players I listed (Ray Ray aside) don't "disappear." What playoffs have they been watching? I was just amazed that KG, Pierce, Gasol, and Odom all decided to sleepwalk in the very same game. I suppose one could argue that KG is the "least worst" since he plays tough nosed defense and chases after loose balls like they're babies. But his hyperventilating on offense is painful to watch. Shooting like that ain't gonna get it done in a close game when you have the opportunity to go up 3-0 and essentially clinch the title.

It especially doesn't help when everyone and their mom wants to call you a jump shooting choker and you put this up for your first three games in the finals:

total: 22-66 (35%)

As for Pierce, I might be willing to cut him slack and let him use the knee injury as an excuse but he's done this before throughout the first two rounds when he was perfectly healthy. I'm sure the knee doesn't help matters though. I just hope he doesn't flash any more gang signs.

BTW, someone is going to have to explain why they stopped designing plays for Ray when he was the only Celtic who could hit a shot. Doc, you need more illegal screens, stat!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
OK, on Pierce and his knee injury, I figured there was no way he was faking it (just cause I can't imagine any NBA player faking an injury like that to try to rally their team or create a Willis Reed-like storyline for themselves), but I read that Pierce has not received an MRI on the knee, and that to me sounds very weird. When a player of his caliber says he heard a pop, you do X-rays and an MRI, so why haven't they done that here? Even if he told them "I don't care what damage there is, I'm gonna play through it" wouldn't they still want to get an MRI done just so they know exactly how much bracing they need to provide? Anyway, Pierce looked fine after the injury in Games 1 and 2, and I think last night was more limited by the refs than anything (he didn't appear to be limping or limited in his mobility), but I guess we'll see more tomorrow night.

Oh, I totally agree with Stephanie's comments about Perkins' facial expressions on the court. He has one of the all time great angry sulks going on there.

Blogger spongefrob said...
Oh, I totally agree with Stephanie's comments about Perkins' facial expressions on the court. He has one of the all time great angry sulks going on there.

In Boston, we call that 'Robert Parish' mode...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Your "worst of the night" should have included J. Van Gundy and M. Jackson's impassioned on-the-air claims that "you don't have to win a championship to be a champion."


Sounds like a couple of guys who never won championships talking!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"When a player of his caliber says he heard a pop, you do X-rays and an MRI, so why haven't they done that here? Even if he told them "I don't care what damage there is, I'm gonna play through it" wouldn't they still want to get an MRI done just so they know exactly how much bracing they need to provide?"

My guess is that he doesn't want the mental "weight" of knowing there is something there (if indeeed there is). He'd rather tune it out and focus on playing. In other words, maybe he thinks it would in some way interfere with his (and the team's) concentration if he had an MRI and something was torn, shredded, melted, or sauteed.

Blogger DDC said...
@jodial. Hahahaha...that's what it sounds like to me. I wonder how what JVG's true opinions were regarding Donaghy's claims. He was fined for saying a league employee told him the officials were targeting Yao during the Dallas/Rockets series in 2005. Was it Donaghy? I don't think Donaghy is the most credible person in the world, I mean he's going to prison for cripes sake!! However, how credible did the court of public opinion believe Jose Canseco was before the steriods scandal. Oh well, we live in a scandalous world, so I'm not shocked by anything involving organizations/corporations that make billions of dollars a year.

Blogger 80's NBA said...
I don't know why it's taken folks so long to hate Stern. I knew this dude was f'd up when he spearheaded expansion back in the mid-to-late 80's. And when he decided to force NBA teams to travel to Europe to play wannabies (McDonald's Open Horseshit). And when...aw, forget it.

Fuck Stern.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I've been reluctant to say it since the playoffs started (because I didn't want to somehow jinx the Celtics), but KG's jump has fallen into the "Dead to Me"-category.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
anonymous - "My guess is that he doesn't want the mental "weight" of knowing there is something there (if indeeed there is). He'd rather tune it out and focus on playing. In other words, maybe he thinks it would in some way interfere with his (and the team's) concentration if he had an MRI and something was torn, shredded, melted, or sauteed."

That is some crazy spin you're applying there, my friend. There is no way that is the case. If Pierce is truly injured, he'd get an MRI like anyone else. You can bet the Celtics would insist on it, rather than have him blindly risk his future by playing with a potential ACL tear or god knows what else. If there was something wrong with it, then they'd know what it was and if he still took the attitude that he'd play through whatever was wrong with it, then they'd at least know to put a seriously heavy brace on the leg. But just looking at the guy play, he's not hobbling around out there. In fact, if not for the overly-dramatic carried-off-the-court and wheelchair routine you'd never suspect anything was wrong. The guy was only in the locker room for about a minute and he came racing back out, jumping up and down.

Considering there was no MRI and considering he doesn't even seem to have a limp, I think he's basically healthy. Last night was just a bad night for him (Pierce has been inconsistent in the other rounds of the playoffs), and he had a lot of foul trouble. That's it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I also noticed Doc Rivers played Pierce in the garbage time of game 2 more than any coach would do with his injured best player. But then again he is Doc Rivers....

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm pretty sure Pierce is hurt, but not as badly as it seemed in Game 1. I think he just had a new injury he'd never experienced before and just freaked out. I mean, the Truth got stabbed 11 times, he's not faking anything. Dude's a tough hombre.

I'm guessing it's a sprained/twisted knee. Even if nothing's broken, it's still gonna slow him down a lot.

Blogger DvB said...
Hearing about how Kobe treats his team-mates (gosh, surprise surprise) I began wondering about what'd happen if MVP voting would be done by NBA players only.

Wouldn't that be fun?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Pierce is probably playing with a moderately sprained knee. Having gone through knee issues myself, my speculation is that his knee did in fact come out of joint for a split second (which trust me, if it has ever happened to you is a scary freaking moment) which made him think he was a cripple for a few minutes. Then in the locker room he realized he could put weight on it, meaning he didn't tear anything. His adrenaline and whatever illegal pain killers they gave him, allowed him finish the game strong. No fake theatrics. Just a scary moment for a professional athlete.

Next day the knee swells and stiffens. Ouch. If this is the case he will be limited for the rest of the series, only prolonged rest can heal the sprain.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...

Welcome to the party. Refreshments and punch are at the table.
The Kings (2002), Rockets (2005), and Mavs (2006) have all been waiting for you.

-Suns fan

Honestly though, Stern's done an impressive job getting the media off his league's back, when out of the three sports issues that arose in 2007, the NBA managed to fly under the radar. And I use the word "impressive" like how Hitler "impressivly" led the nation of Germany in the 1930's.

But his response comments about Donaghy's claims were shaky, you can hear it in his voice, searching for the right words. Where before, it was a solid "We're dealing with it. He was doing this alone", now it's a bunch of cheap shots on the lawyer, questionable remarks, and weak assurances.

Blogger spongefrob said...
I ran over my knee with a three wheeled ATV and it popped. Put my legs on the ground like it was a motorcyle and it ran up the back of my leg pressing down and in until I heard a sickening pop. Nearly scared me into a cold silent sobriety. It was sore for a day or so but I continued to go to work. Never rode a three wheeler again. (nowadays, I don't even think they sell them any more, and the four wheelers they got come with a wide wide footrest that doesn't allow you to perform that kind of stupidity.)

I've watched Paul Pierce his ENTIRE NBA career and he's never, ever, never been afraid or shy in any way. He drives to the bucket with abandon. I've seen him bust his teeth and keep playing. I've seen him fouled hard and keep playing. I've seen him take shots and fouls and falls and checks and shrug them off. He was stabbed ELEVEN times resulting in lung surgery in September of 2000. He started each and every one of the 82 games of the 00-01 season.

In short he's major league tough. He can handle it.

Now for him to suddenly get all thespian and dramatic, solely for the purposes of some sort of mind game pretty much goes against everything I've ever seen from him.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
When did Canseco and Mcnamee gain public credibility about steroids? When they started naming names. Donaghy can make all the claims he wants, but if he really wants to be seen as a prophet of doom, he needs to start giving names and what specific examples they were involved in.