FanPost

Around the NBA: The Hornets aren't lucky and games are fixed


I have been thinking about this for some time now, and like most other members here - would vehemently deny it. I tried to approach the dilemma with objective thoughts. There is no way the corruption would not be uncovered if it actually happened. What would it do to the NBA if exposed? There is no proof, so it cannot be true.

It is time to embrace reality. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that today's NBA is a tampered league. Keep reading, and you may agree. Even if not at first, try to be open-minded, and one day you may realize just how painfully obvious it is. You may be reading a book. You may be at a game. Or you may even be asleep. One day, it will hit you as it hit me, though I was the last to think the notion had any credibility. As I objectively considered why the league could not possibly be directly interfering with the outcome of games (or trades as I will discuss further on), I will objectively consider why the inverse is disappointingly true.

Are referees, though subject to extensive training and generally armed with comprehensive experience, truly incompetent enough to blow calls as bad as the ones they missed in games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals? The short answer: No. Yes, humans make mistakes. No referee in existence will ever get every call right. However: phantom technical fouls, blatant no-calls on contact-laden drives, and either LeBron or Wade getting a whistle when merely exhaled on by anything with a trace of green for ONLY the first two games? This my friends, I can assure you, was not unintentional.

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that in a perfect (certain) NBA commissioner's world, he would have LeBron, Wade, and arguably the most popular (for good and bad reasons) team since 2010 in the NBA Finals 100 out of 100 times if he could explicitly make it happen. The ratio of ratings to money is direct. The higher they are, they more money the league makes. David Stern is not here for your entertainment.

The bad news for us, the fans, is that the privately-owned, ultra-secretive NBA is Stern's utopia, and being a veteran at this point, he knows how to pull the strings just so that certain events have a much higher chance to pan out to his liking - his liking being whatever earns the league (and ultimately him) more money. Thankfully, no NBA executive including Stern can go so far as to fix a game so intentionally such that it becomes obvious enough for anyone with two lobes and a brain stem to notice. For that reason alone, the Celtics have survived as far as they have in ECF, even though Stern definitely sent executives down the golden ladder to give some choice advice to the officiating staff of games 1 and 2.

So now we know without a doubt, why Stern would have the motivation to fix any game in a particular series. Not only for the reason outlined above, but adding additional games to a series is very lucrative. Many are saying that the calls were incidentally the result of "home cooking", that the Celtics would get theirs when the time came, thus it simply happened and everyone would move on. Unfortunately many fail to realize that in most scenarios it would not matter if the Celtics got the hometown calls in games 3 and 4. The crux of the dilemma lies in which games were fixed. Most fans are too oblivious to realize that the NBA interfered as much as they did, or want to see Miami go head to head in a best of 7 series with Kevin Durant.

Advanced statistics are not only tracked and compiled for basketball clubs, coaches, die-hard fans, or sports media giants. Statistics are centric to gambling and betting as well, and there has been one stat that has been staring us in the face without blinking since the Celtics lost games 1 and 2 at the hands of the NBA. (Also I will briefly mention that game 1 was also a demonstration of a poor performance, in addition to the bad calls and techs - I am not looking to redirect blame for poor play. Game 2 on the other hand was a different story. Poor calls directly impacted the result of the game.)

Though the stat is inflated from a number of first round series, the line cannot be avoided: Teams which fall into an 0-2 rut statistically have less than a 5% chance of coming back to win the series. A team has never come back to win when down 3 games with no wins. Think about it carefully. The NBA merely needed to try hard to ruin games 1 and 2 to do substantial damage to the chances of the boys in green. Knowing both teams are great, there was slim chance of a sweep, though many initially predicted it. The commissioner could then instruct the officiating teams of subsequent games to take it easy, thus escaping the blame spotlight. The fact of the mater is, not every game needed tampering for damage to be done. There was an extremely high chance that after losing the first set that the Celtics would never recover, or best-case scenario for Stern and Miami, win all of their home game lose a painful game 7 on Miami's home court. This not only brings in more money for the NBA, it has a PROFOUND impact on the Vegas betting lines - for the same reasons why insider stock trading is illegal. In addition, a 2-0 lead is a hell of a momentum builder, which also helps reinforce the spreads set by Vegas. Thankfully due to the experience, grit, maturity, and lack of all of the above on Miami's side, the Celtics were able to escape the trap set by Stern and actually take a lead before getting blown out in game 6 on their home court.

The overwhelming point here is that though it was not obvious, it happened. The NBA has reached a point where games are called tight enough where with a substantial basketball IQ, one can make incorrect calls purposefully. It has happened before. Search Wikipedia for Tim Donaghy. After he was exposed, he openly exposed a number of incidents of internal corruption, such as other officials being involved in similar schemes, Stern's discussions with and influence over officiating groups, and more.

Last but not least - this year Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, while also stating numerous times that the league wanted sell the team for the best value. Subsequently, the league-owned Hornets won this year's #1 first round pick a few days before the sale of the team closed.

I can't make you believe, but I can present the evidence. You be the judge.

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