Tim Donaghy, who fired shots across the bow of the NBA Tuesday to possibly remind a punitive David Stern that he’s still got some leverage, has affected more than Tuesday’s Game 3. Game 4’s rare Finals comeback by the Celtics only held center stage as long as the cameras were pointed at the players (or the playa); the rest of the day was spent with Dick Bavetta.
Not literally; Bavetta has only worked Game 1 of these Finals so far. However, Bavetta’s work in the 2002 Western Conference Finals (specifically, Game 6) has come under scrutiny from federal investigators while the other officials from that game appear to have little interest to them. Stern’s pre-game press conference yesterday did not assuage concerns immediately.
The NBA has the results of a report about their officials commissioned by them but won’t release it until after the Finals (and understandably so). Dick Bavetta has not been made available for comment. Stern put on his “I can’t believe how stupid you are, but I’ll humor you all” face for the presser, which his mother must be concerned will freeze there soon.
The Maloofs (owners of the Sacramento Kings, the perceived slighted team in that 2002 series) have insisted they have no reason to believe the NBA was out to force a Game 7 in that series. While they were the alleged aggrieved party, they also don’t gain anything from dredging this back up. It only lowers the value of the NBA and, in turn, their investment.
After all, Chris Webber’s not walking through that door. In fact, he probably needs Paul Pierce’s wheelchair to get around now.