I hate to sound like a bitter fan, but the NBA refs ruined the 2010 Finals. It was the absolute worst officiating I’ve seen from beginning to end of a championship series in any sport — and there were a plethora of bad calls against both LA and Boston. The big problem with it is that they not only called all the games super tight, they just constantly got calls wrong. The string of three replays that all over-turned calls made on the court showcased that the refs didn’t know what they were doing.
It’s the freaking Finals, the refs need to let the players play and not become the centerpiece of the game. If there’s any doubt, don’t blow your whistle. And if guys with the European soccer influence — such as Pao Gasol (Spain) or Kobe Bryant (most likely learned to flop during his time in Italy) — decide to fall down without even being touched or throw their shoulder into a defender who’s standing straight up, don’t buy their bull shit and don’t call a damn foul!
The worst part is that the first three quarters of Game 7 were called fairly loose. A friend at work even compared it to the way the game was called in the pre-Jordan era when they tended to let the players play more instead of calling a foul every time someone goes in for a lay-up. Then all changed the last quarter and the Lakers started to go to the line every single play, mostly on flops by Gasol or Bryant or drives by Kobe where he throw his shoulder into a defender’s chest and then pull back. They were bull shit calls that gave LA free points that they weren’t able to get normally against the C’s defense and it put guys in foul trouble, limited their face break points and just killed the game. In the end, they had a 37-17 advantage at the line.
It absolutely killed what was potentially an amazing NBA Finals despite the low scoring. But before anyone says anything, it wasn’t only the refs fault and the C’s absolutely sucked on the offensive end (they tend to always suck when they have to play the half court game, which they were forced into because of the foul shots) and still could’ve won the game if they’d just make some damn shots.
The best part of it all is that this was the last chance for this core of players and likely the last chance the C’s have as an organization for at least another three plus years. They don’t have cap space to sign enough guys to build around this core, KG doesn’t come off the books for two years, and they’re already over the cap by $10M with their top 6 players signed for next season.
Regardless, congrats to the Lakers and their fans. The team is a beast and could easily win another two to three more titles with this group of guys.