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Data Disputes Tim Donaghy’s Claim About Dick Bavetta

The case of Tim Donaghy is a difficult one to analyze. The guy was thrown in prison for betting on games he officiated, shamed, disgraced, and now he’s written a book about the corruption by officials in the NBA. Skeptics will say his claims confirm what they have believed for quite some time, that the NBA officiating is sketchy because of its subjective nature. Others will say that Donaghy is writing with revenge on his mind and that he doesn’t care whose reputation he sullies while trying to make a buck. I think the truth lies somewhere in between; some referees may favor certain teams or individuals and it may be manifested through their calls, but that’s not the case for every official and it doesn’t mean the biased ones do it in all situations. One of Donaghy’s claims was that referee Dick Bavetta bragged about being the ideal “company man” for the NBA and that Bavetta kept games close. The fine gentlemen at True Hoop have done some quality research that would dispute Donaghy’s assertion:

Bavetta officiated 69 games between the beginning of the 2003-04 season and the end of the 2006-07 season where the closing betting line was 10 points or greater. The big underdogs in those contests went 25-44 against the spread — a winning percentage of 36.2 percent. In other words, teams that were expected to be beaten badly were far more likely to be embarrassed when Bavetta was on the floor.

Donaghy may have been outstanding at fixing games he reffed, but he’s apparently incorrect regarding his assertion about Dick Bavetta. I do believe there was some accuracy to what he said about Bavetta’s desire to be in the spotlight and Steve Javie’s dislike of Allen Iverson, but that doesn’t mean all the games they reffed were fixed. The one thing that I still have a tough time accepting, as do many, is the notion that the ’02 Western Conference Finals were officiated fairly. The refs did everything possible to help the Lakers beat the Kings, no doubt about it.

Check out more great info at True Hoop as they further discredit Donaghy’s claims.

Close Play at the Plate, Barkley Wins the Race, Sealed with a Kiss

The race of the century is over — and it was all that was promised.  Former NBA player, current analyst, and all-around badass Sir Charles beat NBA referee Dick Bavetta in a race at the All Star weekend in Las Vegas Saturday night (just before the 3 point shootout took place).  The whole thing started when Barkley ridiculed Bavetta while filling in for Steve Kerr as an analyst on TNT and bragged he could beat Bavetta in a race.  When Bavetta got word of Barkley’s boast, he decided to take Barkley up on the challenge and they agreed to do it over All Star weekend.

The two raced up and down full court twice and then finished it up at half-court.  Barkley was enjoying a healthy lead after the first two laps and felt it was time for some good old fashioned showboating.  Barkley ran the final leg of the race backwards. Like a baby boy chasing after his older brother, Bavetta made a futile attempt diving head-first into the finish line at mid-court only to come up short.

What’s interesting about the race — besides the fact that it stole the show — is that Bavetta appeared to be moving so much faster than Sir Charles.  It reminded me of watching Vince Young run for the Titans, he takes long strides and doesn’t appear to be moving too fast, but there he is out-running the entire defense and scoring touchdowns.  And that my friends is how Barkley looked racing Bavetta.

But the show wasn’t quite over.  For their final act, the two embraced at half court following the race, and much like a man and woman are pronounced husband and wife, Charles Barkley kissed his bride, Dick Bavetta.  The affectionate display between the two men — no doubt well-timed because of Tim Hardaway’s anti-gay remarks — raises an interesting question.  Will their moment of embrace spark the newest blog? 

KissingDickBavetta anyone?