Well, we now know that Bennett Salvatore is one of the officials working the Lakers/Celtics game tonight. Here are the ref assignments for game three. Joey Crawford and Mark Wunderlich are the other two officials. The league apparently couldn’t have picked a more fitting crew for this crucial game three of the series. Tim Donaghy apparently had another commitment.

It will be interesting to see if the ABC announcing crew focuses in on this aspect of the game. One would think that the league wouldn’t wish for attention to be brought to the officials in this manner, but given all the talk over the last few days it is inevitable. I really am curious to see how Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson react to how things unfold on the court. They’ve shown that they will be candid about calls made by the officials, and their commentary could very interesting tonight.

It seems like no other sport, the NBA has to deal with the perception that the referees influence the outcome of the game. NFL officials might make a crucial pass interference call which can impact a drive, but things seem to generally even out in the course of the game. In the NBA however, whether it is how the referees  decide to call certain fouls or plays, or just a single big blown call in the course of a game, the league definitely has a problem in this area. It’s annual rite of spring that the NBA has a huge blown call in the playoffs that changes the outcome of a game.

The Lakers will be pumped up for this game, and it is crucial for the Celtics not to lose control of this one early on. The fouls are going to be called, but the Doc Rivers needs to tell his guys not to change their style of play. The bench is going to be a huge factor. If Ray Allen picks up a couple quick fouls, James Posey will have to take over on Kobe, when he gets his three fouls, we might just see Tony Allen in there. The same thing will apply to Gasol. Perkins, Brown, Powe, even Big Baby Davis could see time in the middle.

This game seems to be stacked so highly in the Lakers favor that it would not surprise me at all to see the Celtics win. Yeah, you read that right.

Check out CelticsLinks.com for more stories on the Celtics/Lakers game from throughout today and this evening.

  • If you’re looking for some football talk this afternoon, I’ve got a couple of links for you, Mike Reiss has a new edition of the Ask Reiss Mailbag, and over on Patriots Daily I’ve got some June Thoughts on the team following last weekend’s minicamp.
     
  • The Big Show was giving Butch Stearns a hard time this afternoon because supposedly Stearns got a call from someone who told him he was taking a tour of Fenway Park and said he saw Barry Bonds taking batting practice under the stands. Stearns went on the air over the weekend on WEEI with the report. Someone called shortly thereafter to explain that what he said was impossible. Tours do not go anywhere near the batting cages.
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10 thoughts on “Getting Ready For Game Three

  1. Butch you better check your facts before you go on the air. All you had to do was call MeterParel’s dad-he could have told you that! LOL.

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  2. Perception?

    It’s a fact that referees determine the outcome of the game. Unless you want to argue that there’s actual consistency in officiating in the NBA. Which would be silly to even attempt, as it’s a trivial matter to take any two NBA games officiated by different crews (or, sometimes, by the SAME crew) and illustrate how identical acts are called differently in each.

    It boggles my mind that people accept this in a major professional sport. What do you think would happen if an umpire decided that any pitch within 4′ of the plate was a strike for Josh Beckett, but not for the other team, and made OBVIOUSLY bad ball/strike calls in that direction? There’d be a firestorm that would put Spygate to shame. Yet that happens almost on a daily basis in the NBA, and has for the entire Stern tenure. I like Stern quite a bit — especially his acerbic wit — but this aspect of the NBA is shameful and inexcusable, and his inability and/or unwillingness to do anything about it is ridiculous.

    /rant off

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  3. I agree completely with DaveR. It’s not significant that the refs will be huge tonight or that the Lakers will be getting all the calls. That’s a given. The fact that it’s universally assumed that tonight’s game will be refereed very differently than game 2 is what’s astounding. Just because it’s in LA that means it will be called differently? How is that possible. Just because last game the c’s got fouled alot, that means it’s a given that the lakers will get fouled a lot this game? So all of a sudden fouls are based on memory. What happened before impacts what happens now? It’s amazing, not that it happens, but that everyone expects it to happen.

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  4. Joey Crawford has a reputation that he is biased in favor of the road team. It goes to his tough guy persona he likes to portray – he’s not intimidated by the home crowd and he’ll prove it.

    Obviously it doesn’t fit in with the NBA is going to stick it to the Celtics whining that Bruce and others are doing before the game is even played so we’ll ignore that one.

    After the home cooking the Celtics got on Sunday night from the refs it is a bit ridiculous to whine about game 3’s calls before they even happen.

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  5. Is anyone else fed up with Cedric Maxwell’s appearances on the Big Show? Max plays the fool willingly, takes all the interminable ‘you hate Larry Bird’ comments from Glenn and any other two-bit Mazz on the show, mangles the language Smerlas-style, and doesn’t really add anything in terms of analysis.

    I don’t think he’s really like that. He was a hard-nosed intelligent player who’s now somehow put himself in a box where he has to play the role of clown. Sad.

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  6. My name is Andrew and I am a recovering NBA fan. I even put forth a failed effort to jump on the Celtic’s bandwagon this season. I tried but I just couldn’t stomach it.

    The officiating is absurd to the point that I don’t really know what the rules of NBA basketball are. How many steps constitute a travel? Are three steps actually legal or is it just an ignored infraction? What constitutes an NBA foul? I can watch a college game and differentiate between a good call and a bad one, and there are far more of the former than the latter. In an NBA game, for the most part I can’t differentiate between the good calls and bad because I don’t know what rulebook they use. I’m pretty sure that it isn’t a rulebook in any traditional basketball sense.

    I wish the Celtics well because I was once a fan and they are the local team, but the whole package is just too WWF for me.

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  7. If I didn’t love the game of Basketball so much and, of course, the Celtics, I would ditch the NBA much like I ditched the NHL. Referees have nearly killed the integrity of this sport. Just imagine officials calling the game one way in the NFL, then the next game switching to the other extreme. The only thing keeping it alive is the absurd star power of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, etc.

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    1. Star power is actually what’s killing it – the advertising revenue these players bring in is the motivation for influencing outcomes and extending series in the first place.

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  8. Let’s see how long or if Sen. Spectator will take action and shine the light on the NBA for fixing games during the actual games. This bum Stern should be thrown into jail, there is no doubt the NBA referees have been in the tank, manipulated by their top management, all for ratings, tickets, ad money. The NBA is a pathetic product and tainted. I want names and justice. Let’s go Spector you slimy weasle.

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  9. To be fair to Butch, he claimed that he said on the air that he had a call from someone who claimed that they saw Bonds and that he was checking into it with people at Fenway. He never reported it as a fact, but he still should have never aired what he had heard.

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