Former ref Tim Donaghy says NBA is pushing officials to favor Brooklyn Nets

Many Toronto Raptors fans voiced complaints about the NBA's officiating after game 1 in the Raptors-Nets playoffs series. According to the New York Daily News, former NBA ref Tim Donaghy is supporting the sentiment that officiating was biased in favor of Brooklyn. Donaghy claims that the NBA is pressuring its officials to make calls favoring the Nets:

"(The Raptors) are not only going against the Brooklyn Nets but going against the league office," Donaghy said in a radio interview in Canada. "They have a very talented team and have to be that much better than the Brooklyn Nets.

"In this situation, Brooklyn would be put at an advantage. A Brooklyn-Miami matchup (in round 2) would bring great ratings and that's what this is all about for the NBA and the league offices — bringing in as many dollars as they can. … Some of the things that the league does and continues to do puts these teams at a disadvantage — like the Toronto Raptors — because moving forward they won't bring in the big dollars for the league. It's terrible for the fans (of) Toronto. They go and support that team but really they're going to have trouble moving on based on talent and what takes place on the floor when they're really going against the refs and the league, along with the Nets."

While NBA fans have felt that the presence of the league's officials has influenced many games in the past (I do in fact believe that officiating has determined many outcomes), these statements coming specifically from Donaghy should be taken with a grain of salt. Donaghy is not the most credible source, as he was relieved of his duties by the NBA several years ago and served 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to betting on games that he officiated. It's a bit ironic that he is complaining about corruption in NBA officiating, seeing that his past behavior is one of the main examples of such corruption. Furthermore, Tim is most likely seeking more time in the limelight.

An NBA spokesperson responded to Donaghy's allegations with the following statement:

“Tim Donaghy is a convicted felon looking for any opportunity for people to listen to his baseless allegations. For Mr. Donaghy to continually try to challenge his former colleagues’ ethics is distasteful and says more about his own integrity than it could ever say about our referees, who are the best and most scrutinized game officials in the world.”

Former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce weighed in with their opinions on NBA officiating, and expressed that veteran experience has taught them how to handle matters when calls don't go their way:

"In the playoffs you're not going to get calls," Garnett said the morning before Game 2. "If you do, then you're fortunate. Playing on the road is very difficult. We know that. Some of us do. And that's just expected to come with the series. Things are not going to go the way that you want them and you have to just continue to be aggressive. But that's the difference between experience and non-experience." 
Paul Pierce, who got away with a travel in the fourth quarter of Game 1, echoed his teammate in emphasizing experience. Going into the series, the Nets' starters played in 399 playoff games. The Raptors' starters had played in 24.
"We could say something about the refereeing on our side, but we're not going to get into that. We understand that it's the playoffs. A lot of calls may not go your way and we understand that as veterans," Pierce said. "You gotta be able to play through it. …I think as a young team, or a team with less experience, sometimes you can get a little rattled in those situations. But when you've been in those situations before, you remember them and you remember how you did in the great situations and try to repeat it and I think a lot of us have the experience to know when these times come what we have to do."

The playoff series between the Nets and Raptors has become a heated one, and the score is now 1-1 going into game 3 Friday night in Brooklyn.

 Photo: Getty Images/Joe Murphy