Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The conspiracy theorists are going to love this one. Joey Crawford has been officially assigned to lead the crew calling Game Four in San Antonio tonight. Crawford, you may remember, was the ref who ejected Tim Duncan for laughing last year and earlier in these Playoffs poked Coach Greg Popovich with his finger during a disagreement. Via San Antonio Express-News....
It's the news every Spurs fan has dreaded — the team is fighting for its season tonight in Game 4, and blowing the whistle will be one Joey Crawford.I can already hear Spurs fans moaning if they lose this game. However, with the Lakers on the verge of reaching the Finals for the first time since 2004....I wouldn't be surprised if you saw one or two questionable calls if the game is close. You would think that Stern would nip this in the bud, and have Crawford only call Eastern Conference games, but I remember him being asked following the "finger poking" game and he all but danced around the question. Very interesting.
If the NBA wants to give the conspiracy theorists ammunition, this is certainly the way to do it. The pregame sports-talk chatter is sure to be full of comments such as, "See? The last thing the league wants is the Spurs back in the finals. They want Celtics-Lakers so bad, they can taste it. Otherwise, why would they assign Crawford to this game?"
Well, the silver lining is, if we're gonna get Joey, it's best to get him at home. Statistically, he's a Top 10 homer — eighth on the chart to be exact. And since some of the folks ahead of him don't appear to be working the playoffs (although the top homer, Joe DeRosa, did Game 3 Sunday), this would look like a good break, absent his history with the Spurs.
At least the game isn't in Utah.
Here comes Joey! (San Antonio Express-News)
Study Says Race Skews Referee Calls in the NBA, Professor Goes to Vegas to Prove It (Fanhouse)