See the thing is, I do not believe that officiating was rigged. I do believe that the officiating was horrifically bad. In basketball there exists no real way to do anything about it. Because if you complain then it gets worse rather than better. And if you exercise a little bit of frustration on the opponent then it gets a lot worse. The thing I've always loved about hockey is that if you get a chippy penalty, like, lets say 2 minutes for slashing. Then, when you get out, you got a nice rest and you get the opportunity to demonstrate to the officials what a slash actually is. For which they will most likely give you a 4 minute major, or possibly an unsportsmanlike, but most likely not. And every team has that one player that understands their role purely. The player that doesn't need to be told that it is time for them to do their job. Nothing even so clear as a nod, a wink, or some other nonsense like that. Because this player only gets their number called when its time for them to do their job.
This is the player who only takes a turn in the face off circle if they are going to right hook the player across from them as soon as the puck is dropped. This is the player that is entirely clear of purpose. Zen almost in simplicity. I wish this simplicity of purpose existed in basketball. I wish there was someone to send out to say to the refs, "That was a flagrant? What he just did was a flagrant? Wow, what's it like to live life that soft?" and then proceed to hack someone hard enough that their legs telescope into their body.
So after Baby went down concussed. And when Quis got himself equally concussed. And especially after the hard foul Howard dropped on Pierce. I wish there could have been that guy, the dude with a scar and a barbed wire tattoo that jogs out onto the hard wood casually. Wait, sorry, wasn't looking closely enough, that isn't a tattoo, his upper arm is wrapped with actual barbed wire. Wow Mickey, that's impressive. Because you know the guy would have a nickname like Mickey "One Glove" or Mickey "Knuckles" McFarlan. And then first play, he rolls out and with one swat "at the ball" makes Howard forget where he is, or the alphabet. And after the official tells him he's tossed, he throws up his arms in frustration and in the process causes the Zebra to fly across the hardwood partially injured and totally unconscious. At home he would be cheered like a war hero. On the road he has bottles thrown at him (but it's not like glass alone can harm Mickey). Every now and then a more intelligent fan might try a handgun, but Mickey's survived gunshots before. Besides, the last guy that tried died of cardiac arrest just from the look Mickey gave him after the bullet bounced harmlessly off his neck.
Disclaimer: this is only a Catharsis, I don't actually want any harm to come to Howard or any other Magic players. And I honestly don't think that Howard's hard foul on Pierce was intentional. I don't think the game was fixed or rigged, but the officiating was atrociously bad. And I've got every faith that Pierce's foul on Reddick will be upgraded to a flagrant and very little faith that the T's Perk received will be changed. I want to believe it, but I just doubt it. I feel better for having written this. Hopefully you also feel better having read it.