I'm not Oliver Stone, but this blog post -- about money, potential lost revenue, peculiar refereeing, an odd decision by the league office announced today and the NBA Finals -- does require an upfront disclaimer:
This isn't journalism in the conventional sense or in its purest form. It's a conspiracy theory, flat out.
And here's your warning label.
There is no evidence whatsoever beyond an unbalanced box score to give it more than a blogger's credibility. But unfounded or not, at least I'm going to get to the heart of what any reasonable fan or observer has to be thinking right now, and that is:
If both teams are playing hard and tough and physical, and there's plenty of banging and bumping and grabbing and holding and pushing and shoving going on all over the court in Orlando, with fouls happening all over the place, how in the name of Bennett Salvatore could the Magic shoot 16 free throws in the fourth quarter to exactly none, zero, for the Lakers?
You wouldn't think a disparity that egregiously noticeable could even be possible. So if that is the NBA trying to orchestrate the end result, with some Machiavellian master puppeteer pulling the strings behind an invisible curtain, they're sure not very subtle about it.
And if the NBA doesn't want to see the series extended back for at least a sixth game in L.A. -- and I certainly believe they do in order to maximize the little ratings and revenue train they're riding right now with America's highest-rated TV programs each night the Finals is played -- then why in the name of Stu Jackson didn't they suspend Mickael Pietrus for Game 5 for what was obviously a suspendable Flagrant 2?