[eDebate] NBA Game 6 in the "Whine Cellar"

Josh Hoe jbhdb8
Tue Jun 20 14:06:04 CDT 2006

Lets try a much better article from a much more credible source on the nba:


Especially loved the following:

Speaking of the refs, Game 5 of the Finals took its rightful place alongside
Game 7 of the Seattle-Phoenix series in 1993, Game 6 of the Kings-Lakers
series in 2002, Game 5 of the Knicks-Celtics series in 1973 and some of the
other famous entries in the Pantheon of One-Sided Officiated Games. We're
running some e-mails in a sidebar (look to the right), but you know it's bad
when the owner of the losing team runs out onto the floor to stare down the
commissioner after the game -- the last time that happened at a sporting
event, Vince McMahon was involved.

 (FYI: In *today's Miami
Greg Cote writes that Cuban was screaming profanely at referee Joe DeRosa
right after the game, "then turned to Stern and other NBA officials who were
seated at the scorer's table and was overheard to shout venomously in the
jubilant din, '[Bleep] you! [Bleep] you! Your league is rigged!'" Remember
when I wrote that, on a scale of 1-to-10 about being excited for the moment
when Stern handed Cuban the trophy, I was a 35? Now I'm a 72. Although Cuban
did deny saying this on his blog.)

I tackled this in a Cowbell blog last year, but it's worth rehashing again:
The NBA doesn't fix games. That's impossible. And stupid. It could never
happen. (Well, except for the Hubert Davis game -- that was fixed. Just
kidding. Kind of.) A few months ago, I looked David Stern in the eye and
asked him about the ongoing officiating problems, and he seemed agonized
enough about it that I actually believed him. Unless he was pulling a
DeNiro-level acting performance on me. Which I doubt. But there are three
major problems here.

 First, Dwyane Wade shot as many free throws (25) as the entire Dallas team
in Game 5. I just don't see how there's any way this can happen in a
fairly-called game. It's theoretically impossible.

 Second, everyone knew the officiating would be a problem heading into this
series because of Cuban's past problems with the league. In my Finals
preview, I wrote that "No team depends on the refs quite like the Heat. When
the refs are calling all the bumps on Shaq and protecting Wade on every
drive, they're unstoppable. When they're calling everything fairly, they're
eminently beatable. If they're not getting any calls, they're just about
hopeless. I could see the refs swinging two games in Miami's favor during
this series, possibly three. In fact, I'm already depressed about it and the
series hasn't even started yet." Well, we had our two games -- Game 3 (the
last five minutes were just obscene) and Game 5 (again, a top-five debacle).
And the series isn't over yet.

 Third, here's a theory on referees that I described in a blog last spring:

 "I don't think the NBA fixes games, but they have one trick that they use
for situations like this -- when they want a home team to win the game, they
invariably assign the worst referees possible to that game for two reasons:
Bad referees have a tendency to get swayed by the home crowd, and bad
referees never have the stones to make a tough call on the road. In a
related story, I went to 35 Clippers games this year and kept a list of the
referees in my pocket which I also used to follow the referees for any
televised games. And yes, the referees in the NBA -- as a whole -- have
never been worse. But there were six referees that stuck out as being
especially terrible."

 Then I went on to list the worst six referees. Here was No. 2 on the list:

 "2. Bennett Salvatore -- Always one of the worst, he took it to another
level this season. If you see him on the court at the start of the game, get
ready for about six technicals, two near-brawls and both coaches having to
be restrained by their assistants at various times."

 Why is this relevant? Not only did Salvatore officiate Game 4 of the
Suns-Lakers series (the one where Kobe tied it at the end of regulation and
won it at the end of OT on two shaky non-calls on Nash, both by Salvatore),
not only did Salvatore officiate Sunday night's Game 5 (in which Miami had a
40-12 free-throw advantage at one point), but Salvatore called the foul on
Wade's final drive in overtime (remember, the call where ABC couldn't find a
replay to show that anyone touched him?) even though he was standing at
midcourt a full 35-40 feet from the play, and even though two other refs
were closer to the play. Not only was that NOT his call, he butchered it.

 Considering I brought this up LAST spring, do you find any of this a little
strange? Why aren't the best referees calling these games? Why do the worst
ones always seem to get assigned to games in which it would be better for
the league if the home team won? Why am I the only one who notices this
stuff or seems to care? Why do I find myself watching these games and
concentrating more on the one-sided officiating than some of Wade's
spectacular plays? As my buddy House e-mailed on Monday morning: "I don't
think I can take much more of NBA refs insisting on controlling the outcomes
of the most significant games. The NBA is a disgrace and should be
completely embarrassed. I hate this game."

 And that's coming from one of the last 19 NBA diehards -- I can only
imagine what the casual fans thought after watching such a one-sided
travesty. Look, we all love Dwyane Wade. He's fantastic. But there's
absolutely no scenario in which a 2-guard should be attempting as many free
throws as everyone on the other team. It's absolutely unfathomable. And
here's what really kills me: If there's a Game 7, you KNOW they'll come up
with the best possible officials for that particular game. So why wouldn't
every Finals game work like that? We have seven possible games spread over
17 days ... they couldn't pick the best three or four refs and have them
work every game, like how MLB picks the best seven umps to comprise the
World Series crew? Why wouldn't that work? Is there a single reason you can
come up with? Arrrrrrrrgh.

Also a very nice bit on the Wade foul,

On 6/20/06, Darren Elliott <delliott at kckcc.edu> wrote:
> http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/5709610?FSO1&ATT=HCP&GT1=8297
> No whiners! Mavs need to shut up ...now
> As the basketball troops head west from the AmericanAirlines Arena in
> Miami to Dallas' American Airlines Center for the conclusion of the 2006 NBA
> Finals, it's time to stop the all-American confusion.
> So with apologies to American Airlines, the AAC shall be dubbed the "Whine
> Cellar" for the remainder of this series. We're not talking white, red,
> sweet, dry or any other variation. We're talking pure, unadulterated whine.
> OK, as the Mavs lost three games in a row, along with their grip on a 2-0
> lead that was on the verge of becoming 3-0, all we've heard about is the
> officiating. All we heard out of Dallas after Sunday night's thrilling
> one-point overtime victory was how Heat guard Dwyane Wade committed an
> offensive foul and was not fouled by Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, thus
> making his two free throws that clinched the 101-100 victory unworthy.
> And oh yeah, there was the rather large circumstance of Mavs forward Josh
> Howard calling timeout before Wade's second free throw * thus expending
> Dallas' final timeout and preventing them from advancing the ball beyond
> midcourt with 1.9 seconds left as opposed to having to travel the length
> of the floor.
> Sure, they can claim all they want Howard was telling the officials they
> wanted a timeout after the second free throw if he made it. But what was the
> point of that? In an incredibly raucous building with so little time on the
> clock, why would he walk to an official who may or may not hear an entire
> sentence, look at him and signal timeout?
> It was in plain view of everyone, including a national television
> audience. There was no reason for it, and it will forever be a historic
> moment in Finals lore.
> Of course, Dallas owner Mark Cuban was going to complain (and the NBA
> noticed, given Tuesday's $250,000 fine). That appears to be at least 30
> percent of his job description, to complain about everything. He even
> admitted in his blog that he's a whiner. Well, that's just fine Mark. And
> while you were espousing the finer intricacies of Mavericks braggadocio on
> late night television with your team up 2-0, it did nothing but incite the
> Heat.
> And one more thing we might like to make clear. Wade made his two free
> throws. Had the Mavericks not missed four of their last eight free throws *
> and this is from a great free-throw shooting team, not the rock tossing Heat
> * this wouldn't have mattered. You guys would have been returning home to
> the Whine Cellar up 3-2 instead of down 3-2.
> Even more so, had Nowitzki the superstar who was shooting 94 percent from
> the free throw line much of the playoffs, not missed a late free throw in
> Game 3 and in Game 5, chances are the series never would have been returning
> to Dallas. It would be over.
> It's kind of like Al Gore complaining he was robbed by the hanging chads
> of Florida in the 2000 election. All he had to do was carry his own state of
> Tennessee and allow Bill Clinton to help him get Arkansas, and Florida
> wouldn't have mattered.
> That's not justifying the Florida political shenanigans. That was handled
> dubiously any way you look at it. And that's not to say it was fair the way
> Wade was 21-of-25 from the free throw line Sunday (the exact same numbers as
> your entire team, while the Heat overall was 32-of-49.
> But hey now ... if y'all hadn't missed four in the final minute of
> regulation and overtime, y'all probably wouldn't be so steamed right now.
> Even though the one-game suspension of Jerry Stackhouse for his hit on
> Shaquille O'Neal in the second half of Game 4 was ludicrous during previous
> eras of basketball, it was right on the money in the NBA, circa 2006. It may
> pale in comparison to the clothesline Raja Bell put on Kobe Bryant, but
> realistically Bell should have gotten multiple games if they were being
> consistent based on the act itself. At any rate, Stackhouse did not attempt
> to make a basketball play. O'Neal, all 325-plus pounds of him, was airborne
> and vulnerable. Stackhouse came at O'Neal high and hard with a shove that
> could have injured him.
> Had Ron Artest or Danny Fortson made that play, people would have been
> calling for a season-long expulsion.
> The bottom line is, according to the present day interpretation of the
> rules, he earned a suspension.
> "It's sad for the players that he's decided to become the story of the
> Finals ... I think the pressure of his first Finals may be getting to him."
> * David Stern on Mark Cuban, Best Damn Sports Show
> So now, Stackhouse will be back for Game 6 at the Whine Cellar with
> another level of energy for a team seeking some version of controlled rage
> because they are convinced they've been hosed.
> Funny how whenever the San Antonio Spurs mentioned officiating briefly
> during the early losses of their seven-game loss to the Mavs, everybody said
> they were nuts. Give the Mavs credit.
> Well, it's time to give the Heat their due for bouncing back from the
> verge of extinction in Game 3 to take a 3-2 series lead. Had the Mavs taken
> care of business the way they should have, all of this officiating
> conjecture would be moot. In fact, that's virtually always the case when it
> comes to tough losses on a shaky call. There are plenty of other reasons for
> the loss that had more to do with the outcome than blaming it on an
> official.
> So as the throng heads for Big D, and the strong possibility of this
> series being extended to a seventh game in the Whine Cellar, there is just
> one more bit of advice for the Mavs.
> Y'all may be proud of your knowledge of fine whine, but this is a
> beer-guzzling series * survival of the toughest. Just shut up and play.
> Veteran NBA writer Mike Kahn is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com.
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