Thursday, June 06, 2002

PROBABLY MY LAST GAME SIX POST: Cause I think people will forget about it in a minute. Anyway, here's the full text of the Nader letter. Listen, say what you will about Nader, but if I was a consumer advocate and I wanted to take on somebody in the sports industry I'd start with the NBA. There's a 96 percent chance a large-market team will reach the NBA finals --over the past 23 years, anyway. (Via SPORTSbyBROOKS.) And there's nothing funny going on here? Just so you know, during the same time period the World Series involved a large-market team 38 percent of the time, the Stanley Cup 35 percent of the time, and the freaking Superbowl --our number one championship-- 22 percent of the time. Yikes. I guess the NBA feels like they have to appeal to a mass audience to get people watching, like the game can't stand on its own two feet, or would be at NHL levels ratings-wise if it did. I mean, if there actually is a conspiracy involved here, which is perfectly debatable.

Anyway there's new Bill Simmons and he devotes a little to Game Six too, and adds to the conspiracy theorizing, with caveats:

If you examine the last four NBA playoff campaigns, during every situation where the league definitively "needed" one of the two teams involved to win -- either to A) change the momentum of a series so it didn't end prematurely, B) keep an attractive, big-market team alive in a series, or C) advance an attractive, big-market team to another round -- the officiating appeared to be slanted towards the team that needed that game. I use the phrase "appeared to be," because reviewing an official's performance is purely subjective. Maybe I'm dead-wrong.

About Game Six:

2002, Lakers-Kings, Game 6 ... LA needs a win to stay alive ... from an officiating standpoint, the most one-sided game of the past decade ... at least six dubious calls against the Kings in the fourth quarter alone ... LA averaged 22 free throws a game during the first five games of the series, then attempted 27 freebies in the fourth quarter alone of Game 6 ... rumors that David Stern wanted to pull a Vince McMahon and declare himself "The special guest referee" for this game prove unfounded.

And he adds this:

By the way, I would feel remiss if I didn't share this information: Dick Bavetta was assigned to every one of the above games. That's an absolute fact. You can look it up. Doesn't mean anything ... I just felt the need to pass that along. It sure looks bad, doesn't it? Maybe the league could do a favor for Bavetta and not assign him to Game 3 of the Finals, especially if the Lakers jump to a 2-0 lead over New Jersey.

Kind of like Michael Wilbon in that Bill wants to make sure he knows he's going into possibly goofy territory here and warns you about it, though he seems more convinced that there is something funny going on with NBA refs than Wilbon. But no more Game Six bitterness; there's finals on.

No comments: