Tim Donaghy Feels The Officiating Hasn’t Been ‘Too Good’ In The NBA Postseason, Believes Refs Are Swayed By Mark CubanJune 7, 2011 – 7:15 am by Steven Cuce
Tim Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months of jail time in July 2008 for betting on games that he officiated through his 13-year referring career (1994-2007). In December of 2009, Donaghy wrote a novel titled Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal That Rocked the NBA, chronicling the referring scandal of his own doing that opened up the door of controversial officiating in the NBA.
It’s no hidden secret that in the NBA officiating always looks to be favoring the home team and particularly star players. Some may even speculate that officials are told by the NBA to make calls in favor of the home team, so the NBA finals last all seven games for better television ratings. Whether it’s a missed traveling violation call on LeBron James or the call in game three where James was whistled for double dribbling, it’s impossible to please every fan and player. Donaghy is highly critical of NBA officiating since resigning from the NBA in July of 2007, specifically calling out Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for being a big influence on calls made in his team’s favor during the NBA Finals.
Tim Donaghy joined KHTK in Sacramento with the Rise Guys to discuss the Mark Cuban factor evening the way the officials are calling the NBA Finals, officials being influenced by the home crowd to make calls in favor of the home team, officials calling games a certain way to avoid short series to enhance television ratings, his take on how the officiating has been in the NBA playoffs overall and NBA officiating being on the proper level it needs to be.
Are you of the opinion that the Mark Cuban factor has evened the way the officials call the NBA Finals because the NBA doesn’t want to hear Cuban complain?
“No doubt about it. I mean I think Mark Cuban right now is like a volcano about to erupt when it gets to the point where he can’t take it anymore. He’s going to erupt just like he did the last time they played Miami in the NBA Finals. There are calls that are taking place that have seemed to be going in the favor of the Miami Heat and I think he’s at the point now where if he gets down three games to one he’s going to blow.”
Somebody just released a study within the last couple months that said home teams get more calls in the NBA because officials are humans and they get caught up in the momentum and the home crowd? What is your opinion on that? Is that true at all?
“Obviously that’s true. There’s weak referees. There’s stronger referees. Some of the stronger referees don’t allow that home crowd to affect you, but for the most part it takes place. Even last night you saw a big swing in the free throws where Dallas shot twenty-seven free throws to Miami’s fifteen. When you look at the box scores you’ll see the difference between teams getting the extra amount of free throws when they are on their home floor.”
Is avoiding a short series something the officials are aware of? Is it a matter they are trying to avoid?
“The officials are well aware of it and in these tape sessions people from the league office will come down and show them certain plays that they want called or let go. It will certainly start to swing in Dallas’s favor now since you know they are down in this series. You’re going to see a little bit of a turn in events here in game four.”
In general how good do you think the officiating has been during this postseason and these NBA Finals?
“I really don’t think it’s been too good. I think I would probably give it about a C, maybe a C+ at this point. I’ve done a lot of breakdowns for Deadspin.com and put the plays on there that have been missed. It seems to be quite a few, so it’s a situation where you are suppose to have the best referees in the world at this point referring these NBA Finals, but yet there still seems to be a lot of plays missed.”
Is the officiating not on the proper level or is it just poor officiating from what we’ve seen so far?
“I think right now it’s just poor officiating. I think when you start getting into these later games in this series you’re gonna see plays that weren’t called or that were called for Miami, that they are going to get corrected. I mean I’ve seen Jason Terry shoot a couple of jump shots and Dwyane Wade just clearly walk into him and through him as he’s shooting, these things and you are going to see him start to get these calls because in these tape sessions the league and the officials are going to see them. They’re going to point them out to these officials who are going to do the next game and they are going to be well aware that is taking place and been missed. I think you are going to see that called.”