NBA: Cheating Isn’t Illegal If It’s Against Boston

The sins of the Patriots shall be visited upon the Celts? How else to explain Tuesday’s Boston-Portland tangle, when an unguarded Travis Outlaw was allowed to dunk in the closing seconds of the first half? Unguarded, not insignificantly, because the Blazers ran the play with six men on the court.

Blazers Celtics

Kevin Garnett, the only man on the court who could count, brought it to the attention of the refs. They awarded a technical, but allowed the basket. Those two points mattered, because Portland came out on top by five. The NBA admitted today the refs dropped the ball, but will allow the result to stand. That’s funny, because it was little more than a year ago when they sung a different tune. (Video of the play after the jump).

Remember last year’s Heat-Hawks game, when the refs again couldn’t tell the difference between the numbers 5 and 6? (It was fouls last time.) They went ahead and replayed the rest of that game. But no such luck (or justice) for Boston.

Yesterday, Ron Johnson, first-year senior vice president, referee operations, backed his crew.

“As our crew chief said last night, this situation is not a correctable error and therefore the play was administered properly by our crew,” Johnson said in a statement issued by the NBA. “It was an unfortunate incident and moving forward we will learn from it.

“We continue to strive to get every call right.”

The lesson here is that if you’re Dwyane Wade or Shaq and are a likable superstar, the league will do everything in its power to give you a shot at winning. But if you’re the Celtics, a team liked by no one west of Framingham, tough sh*t.

At least the guy who started the petition to reverse the result of this year’s Super Bowl has a new project on his hands.