Zuri Berry: Kings fans, are you not outraged? | TheUnion.com

Zuri Berry: Kings fans, are you not outraged?

It’s about time we bury Tim Donaghy – it’s just that David Stern won’t let us.

Here’s a rhetorical question for Sacramento Kings fans: Are you not outraged?!?

On Tuesday, Donaghy revealed the NBA’s master conspiracy – one which the league has long denied – in which the referees are in the bag for certain teams, including the Lakers and Celtics.

The dream matchup, as we’ve already discussed on this page, is what the league was banking on. Having so many superstars on one stage will more than likely boost the league’s TV ratings and give a spike to that all-important ad revenue. But it’s also magnifying the concerns about partisan refs and those whom Donaghy has described as “company men” doing the bidding of league executives, court documents show.

Back in 2002, the conspiracy was in full affect, alluded Donaghy. The Kings were playing the Lakers in game 6 of the Western Conference finals and never had a chance. In a 106-102 loss, the Kings committed 31 fouls and the Lakers attempted 40 free throws – including 25 in the first half, compared to Sacramento’s two. It spurred a game 7 that possibly should have never happened, which the Lakers won.

In a letter by Donaghy’s lawyer Tuesday, refs purposely tried to extend a series in 2002 to seven games. Here’s the whammy: The Kings-Lakers series was the only playoff matchup to go seven games that year.

Nevertheless, the numbers of that particular game don’t relive the lucidity of the calls or the context in which Donaghy is making his allegations. Nor do they reveal his motivation.

Stern would like you and I to remember that Donaghy is just a disgruntled ex-employee, facing a litany of charges because of his dishonesty from fixing games – most notably the San Antonio Spurs versus the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semifinals last season, which ended up being a 108-102 loss for Phoenix. Too bad for Stern, context also puts scandal right back in his lap as an added distraction of the poor officiating in this year’s finals.

You and I don’t have to look too far back to see what’s wrong with the NBA. As one reader pointed out to me, the Celtics attempted 79 percent more free throws, 38 to 10, than the Lakers in game 2. That’s just unnatural. And it’s all fishy in the big scheme of things. It’s up to Stern to calm the nerves of fans and hold terrible officiating accountable.

Otherwise, the conspiracy dialogue will continue to flow unsheathed and small market teams like the Kings and Suns will never step into the spotlight.

I mean, who seriously believes the Kings wouldn’t have throttled the New Jersey Nets in 2002?

Zuri Berry is a sports writer at The Union. His column appears Wednesdays. You can also read his blog online at http://www.theunion.com/blogs/sports. To contact Zuri, e-mail zberry@theunion.com or call 477-4244.

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