Is the NBA guilty of a conspiracy with its referees, or are the men with whistles simply incompetent?
I've been willing to say throughout this year's playoffs that the officials are just plain bad. They don't favor one team or another, unless it happens to be the home team. But the latest Tim Donaghy news, the league's protestations nothwithstanding, make other instances of refs behaving badly questionable.
One intrepid CBSSports.com community member -- to protect the innocent, we'll call him g8trfan_1 -- has found video from the 2002 West finals of Kobe Bryant delivering a forearm to Mike Bibby's face, with a ref staring directly at the action, and no call being made. Check it out and discuss.
And remembering all of those bad calls in the Lakers' favor -- and this year's Brent Barry/Derek Fisher non-call, the clock starting late on Fisher's shot vs. the Spurs in '04, etc., and the 5,831,498 calls that went Michael Jordan's way in Chicago -- that make me laugh at Phil Jackson. He has the gall to complain about officiating when much of his coaching career has been built upon beneficial calls?
He can make his snide remarks about the officiating in Game 2. But did he not see Vlad Radmanovic take six steps on the way to a dunk during the Lakers' fourth-quarter rally? Did he not see Pau Gasol grab an offensive rebound (after going over a Celtics player's back), change his pivot foot three times and kick the ball out to Rad for a 3-pointer? That 'miraculous' Lakers near-comeback doesn't happen without some calls going in L.A.'s favor.
I guess if you have gotten the benefit of calls through your entire career, and all of a sudden a game is called straight-up, you might be a little confused. It's OK, Phil, you'll get over it.