Los Angeles Lakers Playoff Appearance an Insult to the Intelligence of Fans

By tonygraham
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Humor me while I use a boxing scenario to support my overall point. In June of 2012, I had my intelligence insulted by the boxing world once again. I fell for it. I watched the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley fight. The split decision victory was given to Bradley, who came in as a 7-2 underdog. However, to me and everyone else that wasn’t a Bob Arum hand selected judge, Pacquiao won the fight. HBO announcers don’t get fined for calling out sports injustice. They were clear in their stance that Pacquiao won the fight as well. But that’s not  what insulted my intelligence.

During the post fight interview, Bradley had that classic “cat that swallowed the canary” look on his face. Typically in boxing, it is the outcome of a fight that begins the  long negotiations for a rematch. However, Bradley not only brought up a possible rematch, he actually had a specified date as well.  He told HBO’s Max Kellerman “ … you know what ? This is boxing. November 10th we do the rematch …” What?!?! you already have a date picked out and everything,  huh ? Well, November 10th came and went without the rematch. That came as no surprise. Bradley pretty much killed that idea by leaking the date.

So that’s one of the “last straws” as I’m reluctant to emotionally invest in anything pro boxing has to offer moving forward. But at least I have the NBA right? Right?

Okay, so I recently saw the video. You know, the video showing clips of of Los Angeles Laker games? Each clip highlighting what appeared to be blatant bad calls by the referees. Bad calls that all seemed to be in the Lakers’ favor? That video. It has gone viral. It started off with a home game against the Portland Trail Blazers. It was in the fourth quarter. I remember that game, and at that point, every possession was precious. Metta World Peace committed fouls that went completely ignored. It showed Antawn Jamison missing rim and backboard on an under the basket lay up attempt, catching the ball himself, making a second attempt and getting it blocked. That was called a goal tend and two points where given to the Lakers who would eventually win. Throughout the video there were several instances against several teams in which late in games, pivotal game changing calls were made in favor of the Lakers. Again I say that is not the part that insulted me.

On February 22nd, the Lakers were in no position to be talking playoffs. They were on their third coach Mike D’Antoni and he had a style that nobody believed would fit that team. Players were old, hurt and barely getting along. The team got off to a 17-24 start and the future looked horrible. Some were even suggesting that it would get a lot worse before it got better.  D’Antoni and Laker GM Mitch Kupchak where the recipients of heavy and consistent bashing by media and the fans. So what’s Kobe Bryant’s take on it? Well this is what Bryant told Sports Illustrated back in February: “It’s not a question of if we make the playoffs, we will. And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone.” That’s not confidence; that’s inside information. Just like the November 10th rematch date that Tim Bradley leaked on HBO after his Pacquiao “victory”. There’s a bigger question to all this, and firing a few referees is not the answer. So no, it’s not the refs that insulted the intelligence of fans.



Tony Graham is a NBA writer for RantSports.com.

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