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Tim Donaghy On Game 3: Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Worse ...

Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee who spent 11 months in prison for relaying inside information to gamblers, is reviewing the performance of his former colleagues during the NBA Finals. Here's a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of Game 3, with accompanying video.

Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4 | Game 5 | Game 6 | Game 7


Let's talk about ABC's broadcast for a second. The announcers have pledged their allegiance to The Man by glossing over blatantly missed calls by the refs. They're an accessory to the crime. They're partnering with the league in downplaying the effect those blown calls have on the series outcome. Just listen to them. They're calling the games like it's the start of the summer league, and they're all sharing a round of beers.

There's also a curious lack of replays (at least until the last two minutes of the fourth, thanks to the NBA's new rule). Fans need replays to assign their own grades on the quality of the refereeing. If we graded the broadcast according to how well it fulfilled Mr. Stern's demands, I'd give ABC an A-plus.


10:03 [BOS 6-2] Paul Pierce isn't set on the screen. He moves into the path of the defender. This should be an offensive foul.


9:56 [BOS 6-2] This is not an offensive foul on Ron Artest. This is a defensive foul. The official is out of position by several feet. He has no angle to make this call.

6:50 [BOS 12-7] Kevin Garnett holds Pau Gasol around the waist and reaches in. This foul was called all night in Game 2 but gets ignored on this play.


5:55 [BOS 12-9] Illegal screen called on Perkins. This is a marginal call, but Derek Fisher does a good job of acting and selling the foul to the official.

5:13 [TIE 12-12] That's not a foul on Rajon Rondo. I don't see any contact on this play. Kobe is back to getting a little star treatment with this call.


1:26 [LAL 20-16] Gasol is fouled by Rasheed Wallace two different times on this drive to the basket. No call is made.

:45.9 [LAL 21-16] Block called in the paint. A defender will get whistled for that any time he makes contact in the circle under the basket. This rule was put in several years ago when Bill Laimbeer was constantly sliding under a driving offensive player near the basket.



6:40 [LAL 37-24] Andrew Bynum gets hit on his jump shot, but the officials ignore it because of L.A.'s lead.


5:55 [LAL 37-26] Fisher is called for blocking, even though it's Rondo who's out of control. One thing to note: The foul would've been ignored if Rondo had made the shot. Most referees will hold off blowing the whistle on this play to let it develop. If Rondo fights through it, the officials will ignore the slight contact. But it's called here because the play looks bad.

4:43 [LAL 39-29] Pierce gets bumped going into the lane; foul is missed.

4:12 [LAL 41-29] The ball is clearly in the cylinder when Boston taps it back into the basket. Call is missed — it should be basket interference. The Celtics are given a two-point gift.


2:00 [LAL 43-35] Bryant takes a hop, skip, and a jump through the lane without a travel being called.

:26.1 [LAL 50-39] Foul called on Luke Walton, even though he grabs all ball. Not a foul. The official anticipates it.



10:20 [LAL 54-42] Artest travels before getting his shot off. He shuffles his feet, which lets him get away from the defender and set himself. No violation called.


9:21 [LAL 54-45] Boston hits the ball out of bounds but retains possession. This is a situation where an official guesses and picks the wrong team.

8:20 [LAL 56-47] Bynum is in the lane for five seconds without guarding an offensive player. A defender can't be in the lane for more than three seconds unless he's within arm's length of an offensive player. A violation should've been called.


6:58 [LAL 58-49] Artest travels again, and there's no whistle to be heard.

5:55 [LAL 58-49] Another missed out-of-bounds call. The official is looking right at this play and blows the call anyway.


5:33 [LAL 58-49] Offensive foul called on Kobe. He clearly pushes with his off arm.


11:21 [LAL 67-63] Artest clocks Pierce in the neck as they both shove each other. Pierce gets called for the foul, his fifth.


11:14 [LAL 67-63] Wallace gets all ball but is wrongly called for a foul. This one's on the official, Dan Crawford, who's upset about the heat he took for the call at 11:21. The Celtics went after him for that, and now he decides to stick it to them. Mark Cuban may not be the only one he sticks it to in the playoffs. (Fun fact: The Mavericks' record in playoff games reffed by Dan Crawford? 2-16.)

7:38 [LAL 70-69] Lamar Odom goes over the back of Pierce, pushing off with one arm and grabbing the ball. Foul missed.


7:20 [LAL 72-69] Bynum never touches Glen Davis on this play; you can see the space between the players. Missed call.

5:59 [LAL 74-70] Bynum fouls Garnett on this shot but gets away with it. This is a make-up for the blown call on the previous play. Officials know when they've missed one. They watch the replays, too.


4:34 [LAL 76-73] Rondo fouls Fisher from the backside. Missed call.

2:58 [LAL 80-76] Gasol goes over the back of Davis on a rebound. This should be a foul, but the officials let it slide because Davis secures the rebound. If he'd lost the ball, then the referee would've blown his whistle.


1:29 [LAL 84-80] Replay used to correct this missed call.

1:10 [LAL 84-80] Replay used to correct this missed call.

:39.0 [LAL 87-82] Replay used to correct this missed call. Of course, the officials can't do anything about the other missed call — the foul on Rondo that caused Odom to lose the ball out of bounds. This is a tricky one. In the past, I would've called it the same way: I would've ignored the foul on Rondo and just given the ball to the other team. But replay forces the officials to give the ball to Boston, and now they almost have to look for a make-up ...


:32.0 [LAL 87-82] ... and they find one.

Tim Donaghy is a former NBA referee and the author of Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal That Rocked the NBA. Follow him on Facebook here.


Video editing by David Matthews.

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