Late Whistle

It will be 10 years since disgraced official Tim Donaghy released his tell-all book. Yet another butchering of last season’s NBA playoffs led me to finally give the book a read. Now, I’m wondering what took me so long.

Following the ridiculousness that was the 2018 NBA Playoffs, which prompted a league reaction for #RefWatchParty, I was prompted to write about the results of said reaction; However, I was also prompted to order a book that had been gently gnawing away at my subconscious for close to a decade now: “Personal Foul”, by Tim Donaghy.

And I encourage you to do the same, especially if you have any sort of doubts regarding the officiating in the NBA. You really won’t know what to think about the book until you read it for yourself.

Why? Because every opinion I have ever heard about the book is incredibly biased, as anyone who has any kind of negative spin on it has apparently never read the damned thing.

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Professional Basketball is Dead

Who killed it? And who – or what – is slowly rising from out of its grave?

“My name is Dan. I love basketball, probably at an unhealthy level”

This is the introduction to my About Cleaning Up The Glass page. And, although I can convince myself that this statement holds true for the sport in general, I no longer can say with a straight face that this accurately represents my love for the way it’s played at the professional level. Which is where my love for the game had originally blossomed, and, therefore, where the majority of my knowledge lies.

What happened?

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3nough!

The three-pointer is shot more often and accurately than ever, but ratings are still down for the NBA. Coincidence? I think not.

I recently sat down to watch the Lakers-Heat game. The NBA was billing it as the final showdown between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. I wish it was more of a rivalry matchup than the bro-mance that it was (Even their post-game hug-and-talk afterwards seemed so scripted and phony that I almost threw up), but, so are the ways of today’s NBA.

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Did #RefWatchParty Actually Work?

We all had our expectations of how this experiment was going to shake out, but did anyone correctly predict the result?

We all thought it was a joke. Even I had my reservations about it when I heard the news.

But the NBA did the unthinkable. Following heavy criticism after the first two games of this year’s Finals, the league responded by having @OfficialNBARefs, the Twitter handle representing professional basketball’s referees, live tweeting during Game 3 last night. With the internet, who is always both crazy and angry about everything.

It sounded like a terrible idea from the word “go”. The first two games were so bad that, forget the internet, hoop heads everywhere would have ripped the refs a new one in-person. Upon hearing of the news, my mind jumped to some of the terrible calls from the previous games, and how the referees’ Twitter would handle rabid, spiteful fans demanding explanations for some of the worst officiating we have ever seen (or at least in recent memory). How could the referees Twitter attempting to explain away a call that pissed off the entire internet help anything?

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Fixing the NBA Playoffs

No, not the Tim Donaghy way… What do all three players in this “Finals” image have in common? All were able to compete for the NBA Championship this season. They also shared a 0% chance of winning it.

The first round of the NBA playoffs completed this past weekend. We had some surprises along the way, with sixth seeded New Orleans sweeping the number three seed in Portland, as well as seventh seeded Milwaukee nearly upsetting Boston. Cleveland and Indiana also went to a crucial Game 7, and these three series have been a joy to watch.

It reminds me of other great first round moments, like in 1994, when the eighth seed Denver Nuggets upset the Seattle Supersonics, becoming the first team to do so in NBA Playoff history. Or how about 2007, when the eighth seed Golden State Warriors stunned the 67-15 Dallas Mavericks, becoming the first eighth seed to do so in a seven game series? Boston vs. Chicago in 2009 was also great, setting records for most games requiring overtime (4) and periods played (7). We could even go back to 1989, as Michael Jordan hung in the air longer than his defender Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers, to hit the game and series clinching buzzer beater. All great and unforgettable moments.

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