EL SEGUNDO — The 14-month investigation of the NBA’s officiating system is complete, and the verdict is that the Lakers’ Game 6 victory over Sacramento in the 2002 Western Conference finals was not affected by deliberate referee bias.
“It’s wonderful to still know we won that series,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said with a grin.
Nine pages of Lawrence Pedowitz’s study on NBA referees are devoted to the Kings-Lakers game that Tim Donaghy suggested was affected by referees wanting to ensure a Lakers victory and a Game 7 for the NBA. The study’s conclusion is that referees Dick Bavetta and Bob Delaney were credible in saying they worked as fairly as they could.
An internal NBA review of the game by officiating experts said the fourth quarter (when the Kings were called for 16 fouls to the Lakers’ eight) wasn’t that badly officiated. The determination was that only three calls were wrong: two in the Lakers’ favor and one in the Kings’.