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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007
Window Closed.... By a Ref?

SAJU has a post up wondering with the Kurt Thomas trade if the Suns' championship window has already closed. I've always feared that given their luxury tax woes and Steve Nash's age and bad back, that the Suns were in year-to-year territory.

Now comes the icing on the cake.

This past year the Suns playoff series against the Spurs was, for all intents and purposes, the NBA Championship; Dallas had been knocked out and the East was pitiful. Key Suns players Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire were suspended by the Commissioner for Game 5 for a ticky-tack interpretation of leaving the bench. After losing Game 5, the Suns were cooked.

Now the question is should they have lost Game 3 of the series? The Suns lost that game by 7 with Stoudemire reduced to 21 minutes because of foul trouble. Bill Simmons says maybe not because of one man who worked that game... referee Tom Donaghy.

Donaghy, yeah that guy, the same guy who is under federal investigation for betting on games in which he officiated. Simmons links to a post he wrote soon after that Game 3:

Congratulations to Greg Willard, Tim Donaghy and Eddie F. Rush for giving us the most atrociously officiated game of the playoffs so far: Game 3 of the Suns-Spurs series. Bennett Salvatore, Tom Washington and Violet Palmer must have been outraged that they weren't involved in this mess. Good golly. Most of the calls favored the Spurs, but I don't even think the refs were biased -- they were so incompetent that there was no rhyme or reason to anything that was happening. Other than the latest call in NBA history (a shooting foul for Ginobili whistled three seconds after the play, when everyone was already running in the other direction), my favorite moment happened near the end, when the game was already over and they called a cheap bump on Bruce Bowen against Nash, so the cameras caught Mike D'Antoni (the most entertaining coach in the league if he's not getting calls) screaming sarcastically, "Why start now? Why bother?" What a travesty. Not since the cocaine era from 1978-1986 has the league faced a bigger ongoing issue than crappy officiating.

Suns win Game 3 and all of the sudden Game 5 doesn't look as critical. Suns don't have the 2 players suspended for Game 5 and we're looking at NBA Champions. Way to go NBA.

This is why I stopped watching the NBA in favor of more honest sports... like professional bass fishing and ultimate fighting.