Milwaukee’s Frustration

Let me bring you into my cell phone Wednesday night.  If you followed the Bucks-Lakers game there was a charge/block called a block involving Kobe Bryant running into Andrew Bogut. Here are some samples of text’s I received after said play:

9:50:54 – “Never watching the NBA again”
9:49:59 – “(Expletive) (Expletive) call on that bogut block against kobe, (Expletive) refs takin care of the stars that’s why I just can’t get into the nba”
9:47:51 – “…and Kobe came down before the shot so it definitely shouldn’t have counted”
9:51:12 – “anyone surprised with that cuz I’m not”

And then we have the collective response from multiple members of the Bucks.

“No comment, I don’t want to give any money to the league.”

It’s frustrating to have to explain to people why I like the NBA sometimes.  You never have to explain why you like football or baseball.  But I constantly find myself having to defend the NBA and even occasionally convincing myself that the supposed biases are purely reactionaries making things up.  But when I see a ref ham it up and turn up the theatrics when he makes the sign for the block call, I get a little frustrated.  When it appears a ref is trying to decide how he can make a call without looking too ridiculous and take 15 or so seconds to figure it out, I get a little frustrated.  In fact, I get so frustrated that I start to see the other side a little more clearly.

And what makes me shake my head the most is how I had convinced myself overtime would not be like the majority of the rest of the game.  I saw things flowing with more ease at the start of overtime and thought, “Okay, the Bucks earned the right to compete in this one.  Things are evening out, there may have been slight bias earlier (I still wasn’t totally ready to admit it, a lot of calls probably could have been defended), but now they’re recognizing that this is about baskets not markets.”  I really believed that.  But that call.  That call ruined this one for me and furthered the disillusion amongst my already skeptic friends.

And I know I sound like a complainer, but I promise I’m not.  It was just so blatantly clear that this game was ridiculous.  Obviously the Lakers will always shoot more free throws than the Bucks, they get inside and attack the hoop as apart of their game plan and the Bucks shoot three’s, a free throw discrepancy is to be expected.  But the little things the refs did were ridiculous.  When it was becoming obvious that the Lakers were reaping the officiating benefits, the refs issued a horrific technical foul on Lamar Odom.  Odom protested a call, but all he did was swipe his hands in disgust.  Bucks players did that repeatedly and protested with significantly more vigor.  But now the Lakers had two technical fouls and the Bucks got another free throw.  On paper it looks much better.

Let’s be honest, we all believe a lot of what Tim Donaghy had to say.  Not all of his facts are accurate and I’m sure he’s embellished on a lot, but it’s not like he just pulled this stuff out of no where.  We’re not idiots and I think it’s safe to assume David Stern and company aren’t either.  They can’t possibly think he’s fabricating every detail of his stories, can they?  We’ve all long suspected lots of things he’s accused the NBA of to be true, even before the scandal broke.  So is the league really turning a blind eye to all of this and doing nothing to at least APPEAR to be unbiased?  Does the league desire the Lakers to challenge the 72 win mark for the publicity it would bring?  I can’t do much but shake my head right now.

So way to go NBA.  You’ve done your best tonight to bum out the Bucks biggest audience of the year and probably scare many of them away for who knows how long.  Nice.

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  1. Really, that’s what you took away from this game?

    Not the missed free throws or wide-open jump shots to win?

    Not the fact that Bryant was given not one, but two one-on-one looks from 15 feet to win the game, with nobody but 6’3″ Charlie Bell guarding him?

    Really, the only thing to take away from this game is the officiating?

  2. UB – Haha. I took more away. I’m crafting my second post as we speak. Just wanted to devote one to the refs tonight. I even apologize for being something of a cry-baby in the new one!

  3. You have got to be joking. That is the clearest charge call I have ever seen. Kobe then chooses to take 4 steps and lay it up. Kobe starts demanding the points count, refs hesitate, and they say “Yes Mr. Bryant…if you wish”

    A complete slap in the face for the NBA, its fans, and (most sadly) every single bucks supporter.

  4. It was a terrific game, and honestly, the refs called it right… even the Kobe/Bogut blocking foul.
    When I watched it real-time during the game I thought it was a questionable call. But the better angle shows that Bogut never established position.

    Dare I say, kudos to the refs.

  5. It doesn’t matter that Bogut never established position. Kobe dropped his shoulder and bowled Bogut over. That’s a charge regardless of position. Second, the reason Bucks fans are pissed is that one official was going to call a charge and waited an entirety. It’s like Howard said on the radio broadcast. It’s like you could see it going through their minds: “Charg…. (Oh wait it’s the Lakers. It’s Kobe.) .. Block and one.” At least the officials should have had the balls just to count the two, but they couldn’t.

    I am so tired of the NBA apologist argument of: well they missed free throws, they missed shots, they could have stopped him. They did enough of that to win the game and then were beaten because they had to overcome the refereeing too.

    This is something that the NFL and MLB get. That’s why cities like Green Bay and Milwaukee sell out their stadiums in these sports when their teams are “just good.” There’s a reason NBA arenas are empty in Milwaukee and the majority of other teams. This league is a joke. David Stern can’t retire soon enough.

  6. JJ you are a total loser and a total moron. You should be blocked from this site for a stupid comment like that. I think you are alone in coming to that retarded conclusion.

  7. Will – That’s a bit harsh. JJ was kind enough to provide visuals and while we may disagree he wasn’t disrespectful or rude.

    Nick – NFL and MLB certainly don’t carry the same burdens with regard to star calls in big markets. Sure, Tom Brady gets extra help on occasion, but the Green Bay Packers have spent 15 consecutive years (more or less) in the playoff picture and have had one of the games biggest stars. Rarely does anyone hint at the league trying to get certain teams into the Super Bowl or playoffs. How hard can that be to see for the NBA? Big markets don’t HAVE to win every game for your league to thrive! Agh!

  8. Ok that “NEW ANGLE” proves nothingggg. The video is not slowed down so:
    1) It is difficult to tell exactly whether or not bogut had stopped moving
    2) As a high level basketball ref, we are taught that the defense has the right to move laterally or backwards without reducing their ability to receive a charge call – just not forward…check the rule book if you dont believe me
    3) The components of a charge call…CONTACT, FRONT, FIRST…There was easily enough contact here as kobe pushed his way through Bogut, he was also hit down the front of his body and Bogut was in the position first, that doesnt mean that he has to be still, just in a court position prior to Kobe trying to push into that position

    Clearest charge and travel. You have got to be joking. Screw the NBA, im never watching it again after that.

  9. Mike – Glad to get a ref’s opinion on the matter. Thanks for the comment.

    Also I just want to add that I’m not saying the Bucks didn’t get one favorable call all game, they got a few, but to me, the majority went LA’s way. It’s just frustrating to see that the NBA, despite having their own referee come out and say they influenced games, give a star a star call. That’s troubling to me.

  10. Mike – you’re never watching the NBA again after a bad call at the end of a game in December?

    Wow – just imagine what you would have done if this had happened in the playoffs! I think you might have had to go shoot somebody…

  11. My apologies JJ. I am still sour about that call and the NBA in general. Even though I will be watching NBA all year long as it is my favorite league, I will be pointing out terrible superstar calls to people for the rest of the year, with this call engrained in my memory.

    It was a charge because Kobe looked more like the Tasmanian Devil going to the hoop than an actual basketball player. Enough said.

  12. I haven’t been a big basketball fan in years (well not since I lived in Chicago and MJ was playing) but I decided to watch this game as a friend was there and The Bucks sounded a little more exciting this year. I saw that play. I saw that call. Yup, one and done for me. Go Packers. Go Brewers. And there’s always March Madness.

  13. I’ll admit the continuation on the call was a bit much considering Kobe appeared to travel in an attempt to get the shot off. But it was obviously a tough call to make, and I have no problem with the ref awarding the aggressor.