vis-a-vis a Denver-Orlando Finals, as opposed to the Prophesied Coming of the LebrOne in a titanic clash between superstars of generations, both pretenders to the Jordan throne, which can either result in a first successful effort towards his first Championship (without Shaq), or the first successful effort for his first Championship?
Or will Stern watch, impassively, as two of the smallest market teams in the NBA collide in a ratings disaster that would make a San Antonio-Charlotte Finals seem like a dream.
Since when are Orlando and Denver “small market” teams? Both are about the same size as Cleveland. Both are much larger then NBA cities like New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Salt Lake, and Milwaukee. Those are the teams that bring nothing to the national table.
Sure, the NBA would always prefer a big city like LA go deep into the playoffs, or that big name stars like LeBron make an appearance, but since when did Carmelo, Billups, and Dwight Howard become something to avoid?
Besides, neither series is close to being over quite yet.
My brother is going to Denver-LA game 6. I was happy to see the Nuggets at least win this one so that game will happen. I’m still not sure if they have what it takes to win a 7 game series vs the Lakers, but tonight’s win was somewhat encouraging.
I don’t understand this post. Are you suggesting the NBA commissioner should step in and decide the winner of the two current playoff series by fiat, based on the market size of the teams involved? Because that’s what it sounds like, but that is such a retarded thing for someone to think and/or say that I assume I must be misunderstanding you here.
NBA refs influencing games to benefit superstars or large market teams is a pretty widely held conspiracy theory.
The 2002 Western Conference Finals is widely regarded as one of the classic series in NBA history, with the final four games coming down to the final seconds. Two games were decided on game winning shots and Game 7 was decided in overtime. It was, however, marred by corruption allegations. On June 10, 2008, convicted NBA referee Tim Donaghy’s attorney filed a court document alleging, among other things, that Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings was fixed by two referees. The letter states that Donaghy “learned from Referee A that Referees A and F wanted to extend the series to seven games. Tim knew Referees A and F to be ‘company men’, always acting in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA’s interest to add another game to the series.” The Lakers won Game 6, attempting 18 more free throws than the Kings in the fourth quarter, and went on to win the 2002 NBA Finals. The referees were not named, but the Western Conference Finals was the only seven-game series that year.
The document claimed that Donaghy told federal agents that in order to increase television ratings and ticket sales, “top executives of the NBA sought to manipulate games using referees”. It also said that NBA officials would tell referees to not call technical fouls on certain players, and states that a referee was privately reprimanded by the league for ejecting a star player in the first quarter of a January 2000 game. Stern denied the accusations, calling Donaghy a “singing, cooperating witness”.
See also Game 5 of the 2006 Finals between the Heat and Mavericks.
Edit: Crap, I just skimmed his post and ended up citing the same two games as BlueJackalope.
It is widely theorized in circles where sportstalk meets tinfoil that either David Stern is the luckiest commissioner in the world, or he ‘fixes’ things from time to time, or he has made a deal with the devil. You should take it with a grain of salt of course but that was clearly the slant of the OP. (Although you really only have to look at the dynastic years of the San Antonio Spurs to realize that there have been some dark times as well as light.) The one classic that never dies is how Stern reached in and grabbed a frozen envelope from the hopper with Patrick Ewing’s name the year the Knicks drafted him first. But it does strike many as odd how many years have included major market teams and/or superstar players in the finals, or how many series go 6 and 7 games on questionable calls. It’s all about the ad revenue, baby.
Superstar players in the finals makes sense, wouldn’t you agree? They are superstars because they significantly help a team win. And you have to win to get to the finals. Teams with shitty players are not (hopefully) making the finals.
The calls certainly didn’t go the Lakers way last night, so I think I disagree with the conspiracy theories. OTOH, calling the game the way they did definitely prolonged the series. It would be interesting to see what generates more revenue for the NBA, longer series or large market finals.
I remember reading on ESPN (I think) that the Lakers and the Knicks generate much more revenue than any other teams. But try as they may, the NBA has not been able to get the Knicks to the finals recently, not to mention even the playoffs in the worst conference.
The problem with a Nuggets/Orlando final is almost certainly the lack of fans from outside the specific city they are in. There’s Laker fans (and haters) world-wide. Not many people outside of Denver care enough about the Denver Nuggets to even watch. Same for Orlando. Those teams do not generate the passion people have for more marketed teams.
I’m only a casual NBA fan, so I’m probably not up to speed but:
People like Kobe/Lebron/etc, who supposedly get calls in their favor or don’t get called on when they do foul, routinely deliver consistent scoring. Not just from going to the basket either.
I’ve seen games where Kobe hits jump shots from all over the place, with or without people in his face. Same with Lebron. Meanwhile, other guys, like Williams or West(Cavs) can’t seem to hit anything regularly even when they are wide open. Refs sure as hell aren’t helping either side there.
In a sport where 100 points is often scored by a team during a game, it seems unlikely refs can sway games with sporadic ‘fixed’ calls. Compare that to the NFL where taking away even one score might be the difference between winning and losing.
I think what happens is that better players have earned a certain amount of respect not just from the fans but from the refs. So in any debatable situation, the better player gets the benefit of the doubt and the call. The reverse is true of players who are asses, they can expect to not get calls.
The NFL has instant replay and still can’t get it all right. In the faster paced NBA game the refs are going to screw up, no way around that.
There were 86 fouls called in the Nuggets / Lakers game this weekend. When you give someone a 15-20 shot advantage from the free throw line it is trivially easy to swing the result of the game. Fixing is very plausible and has certainly happened
Sorry - meant 86 free throws. If and 84 in the Cavs/Magic game the day before. Read the Sports Guy column today on ESPN to get a sense of how bad that was. Now if the breakdown is 50-35 and people hit averages - .750…
that means a 11-12 point advantage to one team. That is more then enough to swing a contest