Donaghy influenced Bulls vs. Warriors

The New York Times reported:

As F.B.I. officials, the news media and fans pore over video footage of
games refereed by Tim Donaghy, looking for curious foul calls and other
such behavior, several seconds of a game between the Chicago Bulls and
the Golden State Warriors in February could attract attention.
Donaghy, who resigned recently after completing his 13th season with the
N.B.A., is under federal investigation for suspected betting on games in
which he officiated and for an association with organized crime.

The Bulls-Warriors game of Feb. 9, played at Golden State and broadcast
on ESPN, was tied, 112-112, with 23 seconds remaining. While a Bulls
guard dribbled between midcourt and the 3-point shot line — clearly
working the clock down for an attempt at a final shot — Warriors center
Andris Biedrens stood in the lane without guarding anyone for about
seven seconds, which is grounds for a defensive three-seconds violation.

Donaghy, stationed behind Biedrens on the baseline, clearly stepped
forward and tapped Biedrens on the waist with 16 seconds left. Biedrens,
by then at the edge of the lane, then immediately moved clear of the
paint, and play continued.

The penalty for defensive three seconds is the assessment of a technical
foul and retention of the ball. Golden State could have faced a 3- or
4-point deficit before getting the ball back.

Instead, the Bulls had a shot blocked with six seconds left, and Golden
State missed a half-court heave to leave the score tied as regulation
time ran out. The Warriors won in overtime, 123-121. According to several
gambling Web sites, the odds opened with the Warriors favored by a point
and a half.

A veteran official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because speaking
with the news media violates the referees’ collective-bargaining
agreement with the N.B.A., said that in such a situation he would not
have blown the whistle because the violation was too trivial in a crucial
moment. “I would let the players determine the game,” he said.

The official added that touching a player or providing any sort of a
warning that a whistle is imminent — from either that referee or another
on the floor — is forbidden.

“I would never touch him — it would show up on tape,” the official said.
“We used to be able to say something like ‘Get out! Get out!’ But they
said that was cheating. We considered it game management.”

Fans of every team that have reason to think Donaghy may have caused their team to lose a game it had a legitimate chance of winning have a right to be upset.  However, as Bulls fans we have more right than most given that the Bulls finished the season just one game behind the Cavs and owned the tiebreaker between the two teams.  Had the Bulls won just one more game, such as this game against the Warriors, they would have had the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and at least have been in the Eastern Conf. finals.  The Bulls fell to the Pistons and still would have had to play them in this scenario.  However, they would have faced the aging Pistons one round later and thus maybe caught them a with less energy.  A trip to the Finals wouldn’t have been out of the question and the Bulls match up much better with the Spurs than the Cavs do.  We’re not saying what would and wouldn’t have happened with this one win, we’re just saying . . .

 However, Suns fans may have to most to be upset about.

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