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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 3: Officiating is already the story, and tip off is eight hours away

Jun 8, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT

Nicholson_officials.jpgMy plea has fallen on deaf ears.

After seeing 134 free throws through the first two games, after seeing the officiating and fouls called play a key role in both games, the announcement of the referees for Game 3 has led basketball fans everywhere to say, “Are you kidding me?” In Boston and Los Angeles, you can insert a few expletives into that sentence.

Your officials for Game 3: Bill Kennedy, Bennett Savatore and Danny Crawford.

Celtics fans are convinced Bill Kennedy has it in for them. The most public and recent incident is when Kennedy tossed Rasheed Wallace from a game against the Sixers in December (a game the Celtics lost). Last year he tossed Doc Rivers from a game then got in a staring match with him.

Bennett Salvatore? Phil Jackson got fined back in April when after a game he said you never know what you are going to get with Salvatore. Lakers fans are convinced that Salvatore has it in for their team — but that is a huge bandwagon. Everybody thinks Salvatore has it in for their team. Boston fans included.

So after two games of calling the game tight and not letting it look like an NBA finals, the NBA is sending out two of the most controversial referees in the league? Things will get interesting.

This is all a bit like the Tim Donaghy situation. Actually look at the data and it’s clear Donaghy is full of crap. He doesn’t stand up to any test. But it’s about perception. People have long been suspect of NBA referees, and now a former NBA referee is saying they were right so they believe him. It’s that simple.

When you break down the numbers, Kennedy doesn’t call any more technicals against the Celtics than other officials do. But that doesn’t matter, it’s about perception. Celtics fans are convinced he does and will react that way.

After two tightly called games, two controversial officials are going to be watched like hawks and blamed for things beyond their control. But they also could well influence the game, as their peers did in the first two games. The good news, Crawford is one of the best out there. So it will not be three blind mice tonight

  1. EC - Jun 8, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Ummm…you ever heard of a guy name Kevin Garnett? Who missed the entire postseason last year? If Garnett didn’t hurt his knee last year, Celtics are working on a three-peat right now.

  2. Mitch Match from Cerritos - Jun 8, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    Professional basketball officiating is extremely difficult, but so is rapid weight loss. Officials should be fined for mistakes in judgement; just like everyone else. Coaches are fined, players are suspended, and club owners are hauled away. Refs should pay for poor officiating. It has gotten that bad!
    Review the calls and fine officials $25,000 after their third bad call. Questionable call, $10,000. Likewise, give coaches a flag to throw in, just like in professional football. Time is out for poor officiating deciding the outcome of a game, and getting away with it.

  3. Rick92886 - Jun 8, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    You are a complete idiot and must not have watched the game.

  4. SFWA - Jun 8, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    Wow…so many people that think the finals are rigged by Stern. Me too! It will ALWAYS go 7 games to maximize the dollars. The real question is who is Stern going to pick this year? Is he going to let LA win 2 in a row or is he going to let the Celts pull it out in the end like the cagey vets they are? Which storyline is the most sexy Dave? Let them play and quit tweeting the damn whistle so much.

  5. I am a laker fan>>> - Jun 8, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    I do look at laker games from a fans eyes but its not accurate to judge the calls in a game on stats like boston fan wants to. Everyday I read how boston and their fans want to foul hard when a laker goes to the basket and then when there is a discreptency in the ft its the refs. No its a game plan made so the Lakers dont get easy buckets and earn it at the line. Boston has plenty of power forwards that can play while the lakers do not. The Laker bigs are taller so they can stand there and disrupt shots without having to foul or jump to get to the ball. Also, no one should say that allen should be just as likely to commit the same number of fouls as Kobe. First Allen is a jump shooter so he is not or shouldnt draw as many fouls and Kobe although he can shoot takes the ball to the hole and putting pressure on his defender who was allen. Instead of looking at the calls in black and white lets look at how many were called off the ball and how many were soft calls. The amount of soft calls not only on Kobe but also fish when allen purposely was running into him while running off the screen was ridiculous. Not even mentioning the moving screens. I agree that a game can’t be called exactly even but the same calls should be called for each team. And it was at the most critical times that these calls were made. The same “great strip” by rondo from behind on kobe at the end was a foul on artest when he poked the ball allen threw wildly in the air in the general direction of rondo that looked like a hail mary. The most disturbing was the out of bounds call on gasol when it was clear garnett hit the ball out. And that was even reviewed! It was a 3 point game at that point and minutes left. All of a sudden its 5 and your whole game plan has to change. To look at a game in black and white is funny and that is what Boston fan wants to do because deep down that in that particular game they benefited on the calls. Its not to say that LA wont benefit in the future but to call 3 soft calls on defense and 2 charges (one that was a complete flop) on kobe is disturbing. The refs took him out of his game not the celts. Sorry Boston fan but you like call our team a bunch of euros and pretty boys but we dont get taken off on wheel chairs and return running around like we are on the island from lost like john locke… oops I mean paul pierce. I’m starting to think those stab wounds were paper cuts. Or say we are soldiers and get smacked and not do a thing back like anthony peeler did to garnett. No we go play hard and win titles consistently through out every generation and get hate from every city we showcase in… yes I did say showcase! We are the away team but in every city you see our shirts… Beat LA. And the reason Boston doesn’t have that is because they are not the team at the pinnacle its the Lakers! We have by far the most finals appearances and after this year we are only 1 ring behind you for the most titles. Sorry the stars come out to watch us and the trophy wives are a 9 and up! So chant that national anthem I hear in every city I go and every text I get… beat LA… beat LA… because the only team that works on is the clippers. We are the champs and its gonna stay that way!

  6. Ron Trite - Jun 8, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    3 bad calls on Kobe isnt the same thing as 3 bad calls on big baby. It was bad calls both ways, but taking Kobe out of the game is flipping the game around. Not to mention that ball that was out on garnett, which they reviewed and still got wrong. Also Bynum and perkins should have gotten a double T, you cant call the game different because situations outside the game.

  7. john shearer - Jun 8, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    I thought the double technical 33 seconds into the game was a bit much for the refs to call. But as for the other many fouls, while I wish it were closer, hundreds of NCAA games this year were way out of balance with teams shooting 36 or more and the other teams shooting less than 20. So I dont blame the NBA officials, but it does appear they can control the outcome if they desire to. One thing I didn’t like about the last game was the commentators openly acknowledging that Fisher got by with bumping on far more pick and rolls than he got called for. That is not fair. However, I think we have a good series going and I plan to sit back and enjoy it. If LA steals one in Boston it will go seven games for sure. If the Celtics go to LA up 3-1, (which I just can’t help believing they will) it will be a doozie for sure.
    Let’s just concentrate on 10 players, and two coaches, and ignore the commish and the refs.

  8. hank - Jun 8, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    you suck. LA sucks, the BOTOX capitol of the world. Wives 9 and up. Yeah right. Jackson can only win with the superstarts. How did that work out in New York Phil? Kobe is the black Mamba, he really is a little black sambo.

  9. tyler - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    David Stern is horrible. I live in seattle and stern took away our team. I can’t think of anything he has done that is good.

  10. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:57 PM

    Very good point

  11. sean o - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    you are completely wrong, the celtics didnt have garnett for the second half of the season and the playoffs, or rasheed wallace last year they had mikki moore. to even say they are comparable is just blatantly ignorant and u should not talk basketball ever again

  12. sean o - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    tonights game was again filled with crap calls in favor or the lakers as each game has seen 1 member of the big 3 with 5 fouls yet gasol who plays the most physical get 2 or less a game. they should give him a technical for flopping 10 times a game. also more ridiculous calls against the celtics that truly buried them along with ray allens horrible perfomance which is the only thing that didnt have anything to do with the refs

  13. Jay - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:58 AM

    The Celtics are really getting screwed over by the refs in this series. Why can’t you just let the teams play? Why do the Celtics have to fight two opponents every night, the Lakers and the refs? The NBA is a joke now.

  14. Reality - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    laker fan is living in dreamworld. lakers flop as much as the celtics. gasol flops constantly, he even pushed off garnett and acted hit the floor, great way to sell a foul. fisher acts like he gets pushed all the time. the celtics do it, too. pierce is always contorting his body like he got hit hard. allen flopped against kobe in game 2. two very bad calls tonight – pierce and wallace. wallace got all ball on gasol and they called it a foul. the whole playoff it seems bostons bigs are constantly in foul trouble. i’m sure you could make a case about the lakers getting jobbed, too.
    laker fan, even if the lakers win this series it doesn’t mean your franchise is better. the lakers will still have one championship less than the celtics. also, just because they have made it to more finals doesn’t make them better. they have a losing record in the finals – they are 15-16. you must also think the buffalo bills were the best team of the 90’s because they made it to 4 straight super bowls and lost. even though the niners (2), broncos (2), and cowboys (3) won super bowls.
    also, let me point out your LOS ANGELES have only won 10 NBA championships. The other five came when they were the Minneapolis Lakers. Your Lakers need 7 more to go… and this series isn’t over yet.

  15. KG - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    Georgio. You just got booted out of the league. No more first class jets for you. No more caviar and cristal for you. bus rides and forty if you are lucky. you didn’t even know kevin garnett missed the playoffs last year. that leon powe got hurt in the playoffs. sayin’ the celtics had the same team. you’re out!!!

  16. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 9, 2010 at 4:28 AM

    And I would say the same thing about the Celtics Dynasty in the 60’s over — how many teams? 9 to 14? That’s equivalent to today’s NBA Conference! LOL! Talk about dominance in a tiny pond as opposed to modern NBA of 25 to 30 teams.

  17. 1985Magic - Jun 9, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    Bostonrob, what do ‘dumnass’ and ‘goiina’ mean?
    is that gaelic? Or just a rabid celtic fan without spellcheck? Anyhow, get the wheelchairs ready for thursday and saturday, i can hear the hips breaking already.
    On a less painful note, i wish my lakers had lost game one and let your clowns win three in a row, and then wipe the court with them in the last four, that way boston could have TWO teams join ‘the sorriest losers in history’ club.
    Pierce is your team’s psychic.
    They won’t be returning to L.A.
    Happy summer douche, you can’t beat L.A.

  18. Juandango - Jun 11, 2010 at 3:25 AM

    More of the same.
    To make up for Tuesdays debacle, the refs call tonight’s game in favor of the Celtics. Lakers did not whine though despite Doc Rivers acting like the game was on the line for a family member, Rasheed pouting as if he could do no wrong, Nate picking a fight with Odom and finally the big baby Davis slobbering like a, well like a big baby? The Celtics whined until the game was no longer in doubt and the refs had done their job. The Lakers will come back with a vengence on Sunday and put the series into a must win situation for Boston.

  19. Anonymous - Jun 13, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    duh dude
    lets reflect on the strategy the refs will employ to ensure laker strength is diluted vs immaterial calls against significant celtics…
    go celtics…go stern

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