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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Donaghy saga : Gary Payton

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As the side-circus to the NBA Finals continues, so that non-Laker and Celtic fans can have some entertainment, Tim Donaghy has released some potentially juicy details.

The first (and most hotly discussed) topic is that which concerns the Lakers v Kings 2002 playoff series. Donaghy claims that our very own Mr Stern wanted the Lakers to progress and thus instructed his referees to call Game Six in the Lakers' favour, leading to a win and subsequent series-clinching Game Seven victory. Check out BallHype for 10,000 different opinions on that, ranging from "Da Lakers Will Have An Asterisk Next To Da Title" to "We Won, It Doesn't Matter."

Meanwhile, the other less discussed allegation, was as follows:

"Donaghy also claimed that a supervising referee told refs than an unidentified NBA executive did not want them to call technical fouls on star players or boot them from the game.

Donaghy told the feds the league reprimanded a ref who disobeyed that edict in January 2000 by ejecting an unnamed star player from a game in the first quarter."

A little investigation on the archives would indicate that the player in question was Gary Payton, in his prime with the Sonics. On January 25, 2000, Payton was booted in the first quarter as he blew up at referee Ted Bernhardt.

However it makes for small-time news alongside the other match-fixing allegations. It will be interesting to see what else comes out as Donaghy tries to bargain his way to leniency in sentencing.

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