I listen to a lot of sports talk radio and read a lot of blog posts, game articles and opinion. Normally I can't get enough, but the constant complaints about the refereeing in the NBA playoffs are wearing me out. You'd think this was the first year that the officials impacted the outcome of games, instead of the, I don't know, 35th year in a row. At least that's all my memory can recall. No doubt my fellow Pacers fans can instantly offer up a few examples of playoff calls gone bad in the '90's. They're part of franchise lore. Fans of nearly every team have their signature complaints and conspiracy theories which help them sleep at night. But seriously, after all these years, NBA officiating should always be factored into the equation.
The NBA boasts some of the best athletes in the world. Big, strong, fast players that give no quarter in the playoffs. Bang-bang calls are there to be made on nearly every trip down the floor. You have to know going in that the refs will struggle to see every play perfectly. Deal with it and move on but please, please, PLEASE don't subject me to any conspiracy chatter. David Aldridge hits the conspiracy nail on the head today and I agree.
The bottom line to refute any conspiracy theories: We're not that smart. And by 'we' I mean the collective human race. Conspiracies require too many people who have too many outlets available for any conspiracy to spring a leak. Natural power structures develop among any group of people and inevitably there will be people in the know who want to prop themselves up by letting others know they are in the know, then there goes your conspiracy.
Maybe I'm not invested enough emotionally in these games, but the Lakers, Nuggets, Cavaliers and Magic have offered up some incredible action regardless of any whistles. I just want to watch exciting games with players forced to make big plays, game-winning plays with the clock dripping dry. There's been plenty of that for me in the Cavs and Magic series alone. Big shots at big moments from Hedo Turkoglu, LeBron James and Rashard Lewis and almost LeBron again. Did you notice that LeBron's missed Game 4 heave in Orlando was dead on for distance? His body drifted too far left and took the ball with it, but six inches back to the right and it splashes the net. When that shot was in mid-arc, the whole series was up for grabs and not one person in the arena or watching on TV or sitting in the league offices could ruin the anticipation of seeing where the ball might land. On this night, the miss favored the Magic but the game's result was left in the player's hands. Just as it should be.