I think it's become a tad too trendy to talk about how awful NBA refereeing has become. And I think a lot of folks (Nuggets players/fans are carrying the most blame at the moment) have decided to claim that every ref in the NBA is part of some huge David Stern conspiracy to get the perfect Finals matchup. Last year, that was LA/Boston. This year, LA/Cleveland.
Look, the refs are awful. I realize that. I also realize the last six years of Finals:
San Antonio/New Jersey
Do you really think an NBA conspiracy would allow a Miami/Dallas Finals? A San Antonio/New Jersey Finals?
The idiotic assertion by an unnamed Nuggets player that the Lakers paid $50,000 to win Game 5 is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. NBA refs make an average $250,000 a year. Only a real idiot would take a fraction of his yearly salary as a bribe to fix a game. Even if it's part of some to-the-top NBA conspiracy, I imagine Stern and Co. would want a little more than 50 grand from the $100+ million Lakers. Please.
I, personally, believe that the NBA has realized they have a huge problem with officiating. Tim Donaghy was the peak of public distrust with NBA refs, and if you look at the refs who are allowed to officiate playoff games, they're OLD. The NBA is concerned with the quality of refs it's been producing over the last two decades, and it's now becoming a big problem. Jerry Crawford can't ref from a wheelchair.
I don't think they know what to do about it. From a fans perspective, all we really want is consistency. In other words, if you're going to call the game loose, call the whole game loose, not the first half. Fans, players, and coaches have decided that that inconsistency is evidence of some scheme to fuck their teams, a sexy proposition but not one which carries any weight.
Lakers 119, Denver 92
Thank you, guys. Seriously. Now, take care of business, avoid all of this crap, and bring one home to Figueroa.
I have never seen a team more in need of a 7 game win streak. A streak >5 wins restores my confidence in this team. Otherwise, it's looking like a .500 season. I'm a bit more bullish on the future, though, with a couple prospects (Sean Rodriguez, Brandon Wood, Will Smith, Trevor Reckling) looking much more promising than at season's start.
There's gonna be more Angels coverage after the NBA Finals.