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.