Does this Series Feel Familiar Yet?

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The numbers don’t look that bad when you line ‘em up. Although basketball, is a fragile game. It’s not just the fouls, it’s the timing of the fouls. Calling a crucial foul, like the bogus one called on James Harden as time ticked down on Sunday night, changes a game. That’s all it takes in a close series. And one team is getting those calls lately and the other isn’t. The game is not being officiated in an unbiased way. Explain to me how a 280 pound behomth that loves driving the lane has 6 fouls in 3 games. All the while, a guy built like a light-pole in Kevin Durant, somehow has had double that number of fouls called against him. This is a guy that doesn’t foul. He averages 2 per-game in the regular season. Shane Battier is doing the Irish jig on his way to getting charge calls down the stretch. It feels like the refs are being specifically instructed to get Durant out of his rhythm with foul trouble.

Just as Tim Donaghy and Co. did to Amar’e Stoudamire and the Suns a few years ago when those games were fixed. It doesn’t take an egregious, glaring moment to fix a game. All it takes, when it’s two good teams, is a call down the stretch. Sending LeBron to the stripes with 20 seconds left and the shot clock bleeding down would qualify. That’s all Donaghy had to do: look the other way while Steve Nash got hip checked and hand-guarded, then blow quick whistles on Amar’e as he played air-defense against “The Big Fundamental.”

Well, I hope it’s not the case, but it’s starting to feel like “a little bit of history repeating.”  The Suns were lost with Amar’e’s agression toned down and stuck in panic mode. The same can be said for KD. If you screw with the Durantula’s attitude, it’s shown that it can ruin the whole team’s flow. Now, the question David Stern wants to pretend doesn’t exist anymore, is this being done intentionally?

One can hope it’s just terrible refereeing (with the home team getting more fouls called their way in each game). But color me skeptical when I see a team that worked like hell to squeeze by a half-zombie Boston Celtic bunch; then, Boom, all of a sudden, get sailing and rock OKC’s very alive bunch onto it’s heels. The Thunder just handily beat the team with the best record in the business and the best coach in any racket.  That series was down the middle in terms of refereeing though. Something smells fishy here. Unless you wanna ask the left tackle they call LeBron James how he seems to maneuever away from the best athletes on the planet so regulary? Maybe Stern wants his King to have a crown (and with it, pipe down all the negative pub). Maybe he just wants a 7-game series, to keep ratings rolling (see link if you don’t remember the things he’ll do for ratings). Maybe I’m just nuts for thinking something’s off about LeBron James fouling out of 2, yes 2, games since the year 2008. And now Durant isn’t allowed to dribble inside the paint.

Maybe we need a new commissioner.

Columnist: Pat N.

2 Responses to Does this Series Feel Familiar Yet?

  • So sick of the excuses. Yea there’s a difference in fouls. Durant wanted to guard lebron and lebron isn’t settling for jumpers, he’s in attack mode which means fouls. Durant being a tooth pick might have something to do with the fouls because he can’t stay infront of lebron. Tell Durant to stop shooting jumpers and go to the basket. Get no calls shooting jumpers. Doesn’t matter whether lebron wins or not always gonna be an excuse or complaint.

  • Glad somebody noticed biased officiating besides me and wonder why other columnists are not up in arms over it? It’s no “excuse”. It’s plain fact! In Game 2, LeBron had three flagrant fouls that were not called. In Game 3, there were four more and by Game 4, I stopped counting but it wasn’t quite as bad, until the late going. Consider this. In Game 2, the ref’s really stretched it to call the foul that gave Miami two points without the ball going through the basket. Every commentator said it was a bogus call and so rare, that when the ref called it, they were scrambling to look it up in the rules book to see what it was. With 12 seconds left, OKC was down by just those two points that the refs GAVE Miami, who had NOT put a ball through the hoop for those two points. Then Durant was going for his sure thing lay-up to tie the game and in replay after replay, we see LeBron’s arm hooked around Durant’s arm spoiling his shot…a flagrant foul that was not called. This has nothing to do with Durant’s being a “light-weight” against LeBron. It has to do with biased officiating. There is little doubt in my mind that the “fix” was in from Game 2 on and that “King” James is on his way to being “anointed.” It was what James wanted and now he’s going to get it. Too bad he lacks the wisdom to know yet, that for the rest of his life, just like “Cleveland,” it will hang around his neck… that he’ll never be able to say he was clearly the MVP. Sure, he got the award but those who know and love basketball will always wonder, “What if the kid named Durant had been able to play the game without the interference from the refs and it had been a fair game to begin with?” For much of the most critical part of Game 3, Durant was on the bench and LeBron was playing against a phantom, as if Durant was actually on the floor. Sorry James, you got the glory but it’ll always be tarnished, which is a real shame, because you’re a great player and in REAL SPORT, whether you were THE greatest or one of the two greatest, you and Durant could have gone down in history as being the two best, in that memorable saga of the ‘Ought 12 NBA Finals and it wouldn’t have mattered “who won.” As with all such things, NBA Finals come and go and a generation later, nobody cares but like a Triple Crown winner or Tunney vs. Dempsey, the GREATEST moments in sport outlive the game, because of the greatness of the athletes who have gone beyond normal human capacity. You, James LeBron, might have been one of those but now, we’ll never know, because in the greatest test of your greatness, the result will always be flawed, because the one man alive who could have really tested you was off the court in foul trouble, while you fouled your way to the championship unimpeded. Durant will have other chances, when in his youthful innocence, he gets over the initial shock of realizing he and his team were robbed by dishonest people who cared more about the wagers than the sport (I presume not you James or at least hope so) but for you James, it will just hang there for eternity. The only redemption left to you will be to publicly speak out against it, unless you were part of it and even then, it would make you a far greater man than most but that will probably never happen either. So, now we all go home from what was potentially the greatest exhibition of this sport for all time, to rank up there with the great ones and instead of being filled with the wonder of it all, we are just nauseated. As I write this, I am mindful that the “powers-that-be” may have it in mind to let OKC make history and pull it out in Game 5 but that too would be as nauseating as the other. Games such as this should be decided on the court, not the “Board Room” or some other back-room, out of sight, in the shadows and by the athletes not the referees. What a waste. Pat’s right. We need a new Commissioner.

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