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This Is What a Fixed Game Looks Like

Last year when this news first broke, it was Henry Abbott’s interview at True Hoop that delineated how good Tim Donaghy was at fixing games. To refresh your memory, 15 out of 15 times the point spread moved by at least 1.5 points in a sportsbook for a Donaghy-reffed game, the way the spread moved was the team that won. OK, so that gives you a good idea how easy it is for a crook ref like Donaghy to manipulate a game. Anyway, I’m not sure if you’ve seen this or not, but I haven’t, so that’s why I’ll share it here. Via True Hoop’s intrepid digging once again, we have the following fixed games as pointed out by the sports betting pro :

I can say with a large degree of certainty that this game was one of the more blatant fixes. That Phoenix vs. New York game was a game that I was told was bet by the crew associated with [alleged Donaghy co-conspirator James "Baa Baa"] Batista, it was also a game where Phoenix shot 14 free throws in regulation and New York shot 36.

Here are couple of other Tim Donaghy games that may make for some interesting viewing. Miami at New York on February 26, 2007. There was a 39 to eight free throw disparity in that one.

Tim Donaghy refereed a 2003 Knicks at Lakers game that had a 47 to six free throw disparity.

In a 2006 Orlando at Utah game refereed by Tim Donaghy, there were two technicals called against Orlando in the final two seconds of the game.

Nothing too new — you knew already that Donaghy bet on games he reffed and that Donaghy says some past playoff series were fixed. But those were examples of fixed games, as picked out by a gambling expert. Seems pretty similar to Game 2 between the Lakers and Celtics, no? What was the free throw disparity again, 38-10? Ho-hum, nothing to see here. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time visual evidence were made of Donaghy’s scummy moves.

I Helped Fix NBA Games, Too

Every sport has its problems. Baseball has the taint of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (viagra, anyone?), football has PEDs as well, not to mention cheating coaches, and basketball has referees shaving points. The problem for the other sports? They should be blessed with enough fans to make a controversy this big of a deal. Anyway, I don’t think it took Donaghy saying it for you and I to know that stars get preferential treatment. Who knows if refs were actually reprimanded after the fact for ejecting or fouling a star out in a game. That’s just speculative. But the stars get preferential treatment — we deal with it. Same thing happens in baseball with hitters who have reputations of good batting eyes and pitchers who work the corners — they all get the calls. In football, respected lineman don’t get nabbed for the holds while the rookies do. Just the way it works.

The problem with the NBA, much like boxing and football, is that too much of the outcome is put into the subjective hands of the officials. They have biases, they’re not all honest, and in fact, many of them can be on the take. It’s disgusting when you start to think about how much they could have impacted games you’ve watched in the past. They make you question decisions and calls. The tuck rule? The pass interference on Miami? The Roy Jones Jr. ’88 Olympics decision? These are just a few examples of many. It’s sad that we can no longer watch sports and know that we are always watching a pure entity.

Donaghy may be a piece of crap who is singing like a canary, but his words can’t be completely ignored. It’s not just in basketball where the corruption is occurring — it’s bound to happen in any sport where judgment is subjective and not black and white. It’s a shame it has to ruin sports for us in a way. I usually like to come to some sort of coherent resolution in my writings, but I think the best advice I can deliver is to tell you to ignore this when you’re watching games. If you’re constantly worrying about who’s on the take and what’s fixed and what isn’t, it will take the enjoyment out of everything. Besides, if a player takes matters into his hand by hitting a home run, throwing a touchdown pass, nailing a three pointer, or recording a knockout, then the refs really can’t do too much about it anyway (I take that back, sometimes they create new rules or reverse/alter outcomes). At least we can take solace in knowing that some aspects of sports can’t be fixed and that professional athletes make too much money to be involved with this (we hope).

Tim Donaghy Was Pretty Good at That Whole Fixing Games Thing

Henry Abbott at True Hoop has some excellent info on the Tim Donaghy scandal. Matter of fact, it was so good, ESPN was promoting it on the front page of their website. Betting expert and founder of Pregame.com, RJ Bell, sent an email over to Henry with some juicy content. From True Hoop:

Fact #1: The first 15 games of the 2006-07 refereed by Tim Donaghy that had big enough betting to move the point spread by at least 1.5 points were PERFECT against Las Vegas – meaning that the big money gamblers won a 15 of 15 times on his games. The odds of that happening randomly are 32,768 to 1.

Last season alone, 13 games refereed by Tim Donaghy fell within A SINGLE POINT of the Las Vegas point spread. In the last two seasons alone, the winner of 14 NBA games refereed by Tim Donaghy was decided by a single bucket or less.

Yeah, what I said in the title was a complete understatement.  This guy knew exactly what he was doing.  And from the sounds of things, he was getting paid quite well for his services.

More Tim Donaghy on LBS:
Tim Donaghy’s Bookies Were Only Mob Wanna-Be’s
Uh Oh, Did an NBA Ref Bet on Games?

Tim Donaghy’s Bookies Were Only Mob Wanna-bes, So We’re Told

Boo, Boo!!! Disappointment!!! That’s what the New York Daily News is reporting, leaving me quite saddened here. Actually, that’s really good news for the NBA, you know, that the Gambino family might not have been involved as was originally suspected. But who knows at this point. From the Daily News report:

Two catholic high school chums of disgraced referee Tim Donaghy have been identified as the bookies in a gambling scandal rocking the NBA, the Daily News has learned.

But the two bet-takers apparently exaggerated their Mafia connections. “They’re nobodies,” a law enforcement source said.

The mob wanna-bes attended Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pa., with Donaghy, who was a varsity standout on the school’s basketball and baseball teams.

Hah, sounds just like a couple of wanna-bes who were trying to make a name for themselves. Or, are they just changing their stories to try and protect others? This is a tough call, but lets hope for the League’s sake that these guys were indeed nobodies. I think that would certainly help David Stern breathe easier.

More on Tim Donaghy:
Uh Oh, Did an NBA Ref Bet on Games?

Uh-oh! Did an NBA Ref Bet on Games?

Jimmy the GreekThis is deep doodoo for the NBA — really bad news. Apparently the ref in question got himself into the trouble by wagering on games with the wrong people to begin with. From the New York Post:

THE FBI is investigating an NBA referee who allegedly was betting on basketball games – including ones he was officiating during the past two seasons – as part of an organized-crime probe in the Big Apple, The Post has learned.

The sources indicated the referee apparently had a gambling problem, slipped into debt and fell prey to mob thugs.

“That’s how he got himself into this predicament” by wagering with mob-connected bookies, one source said.

Now that is some messed up stuff if I’ve ever seen anything. You know, wouldn’t be the first time people had suspicions that games were fixed and that the refs had something to do with it. This would give us second thoughts every single time we saw a questionable foul called towards the end of a game. This is incredible. This is insane. This will positively blow the lid off of sports.

Big Ups to SPORTSbyBROOKS who was all over this story