Chip Stevenson on the NBA

Posted by Chip Stevenson

I was starting to write a comment to Pacman's post about the losses the other night, but it turned into my own version of Moby Dick (or War and Peace if you prefer) so I decided to turn my response into its own post. I guess I am more fired up about the Pistons game the other night than I thought...

I thought the officiating in that game was pretty even except for 2 very specific instances- 

1.) When Paul Pierce tried to decapitate Chauncey Billups when he was driving for a lay up. I thought that should have been a flagrant foul even if Pierce ended up trying to grab Chauncey to help brace his fall or whatever. None of Pierce's body parts ever even came close to reaching for the ball.  Chauncey was dribbling, about to make his drive to the hoop, and both of Pierce's hands went up around Chauncey's neck, nowhere close to the ball. Holding him up to try to protect him after you do a Stone Cold Steve Austin clothesline doesn't take away from the flagrancy at the beginning. 

2.) Near the end of the game, I think the Pistons were within one possession- maybe down 1 point or down 3. Kevin Garnett passed up a clutch shot, which he is soooo good at doing, and the pass was deflected. Chauncey and Rajon Rondo both went after the ball, Chauncey tapped the ball to a teammate, giving the Pistons the ball in a one possession game. Unfortunately, AFTER Chauncey tapped the ball, he and Rondo collided. They called a foul on Chauncey even though it was a loose ball after it was deflected and both of them dove for the ball.  The foul call gave the ball back to the Celtics who hit a shot in that possession. I dont really know the rule on that situation, but it seems to me that the ball was loose at the time so it was basically up for grabs. Chauncey made his dive and tapped the ball before any contact was made. That doesn't seem like it should be a foul to me. HUGE call and I thought it was the WRONG call 

Anyways, the NBA is a magnet for conspiracy theories- from giving the Knicks the number one pick in the first ever draft lottery in 1985 to draft Patrick Ewing to giving Cleveland the number one pick to draft hometown hero Lebron to having Dwyane Wade win a championship by himself against a far superior Dallas Mavericks team. A Lakers-Celtics final is clearly the best thing for the NBA in terms of fan support and all that. At some point, as all of these conspiracy theories get brought up, you have to believe that a couple at least have SOME truth to them. So, I wouldn't doubt that David Stern has tipped the scales a little bit in favor of the Celtics and Lakers to get that dream match up. The no call at the end of the Lakers-Spurs game and the calls I talked about in the Pistons-Celtics game seem to be pretty clear cut cases of "luck" in favor of that dream match up. 

Even so, I think that the only negative aspect of the game the other night was that the Pistons lost. We came back from being down 17 IN Boston to get within 1 point in the 4th quarter. If a couple calls go our way, we would have walked out of there with a win and control of the series. I feel like the Celtics are feeling just as bad as the Pistons are after the game because of how they almost let a HUGE game like that slip away. I would even go as far to say that we are the ones with the momentum.  AND Flip Saunders who usually gives some weak quotes after the games about how we have to stay together and play better blah blah blah adamantly stated after the game, "we are not going away."  I've never seen that kind of confidence out of him, and it gave me like 1/25th of the goosebumps that I get after watching Rocky 4, which is a thousand times more goosebumps than I have felt about the NBA in years.  I liked it.  Also, Rasheed is pissed now and that's always a good thing for Detroit. If Rip Hamilton's elbow is ok, a big if now that he is listed as questionable, to play the rest of the series, I think the Pistons still have a good shot to win it. The chances of the Pistons winning in Boston are greater than the chances of Boston winning in Detroit. 

Pistons in 7 (if Rip is healthy). Still have hope.

Lastly, I read recently that the NBA is at the very least considering fining players next season who flop.  Seriously, the NBA is THIS close to turning into soccer, and that is not even close to a good thing.  I guess fining players who flop is better than nothing, but there still seems to be a MUCH easier and a MUCH more successful solution to that problem------- DON'T CALL FOULS WHEN SOMEONE FLOPS!!!!! Sheesh, I feel like the option of fining people is the NBA scrambling all over for a solution when the most logical one is right in front of their collective noses.  Here's a video I found from Sportscenter of the top 10 soccer flops during the last World Cup... Seriously, is there any difference between any of these guys and Manu Ginobili in the NBA?  


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