Put on your tin foil hats NBA fans…

When I decided to attend the Bucks game against the visiting Lakers Wednesday night it wasn’t because I’m a die-hard NBA or Bucks fan.  It wasn’t because I thought the Bucks could win (local Bucks talkshow host Steve Pfeiffer of WSSP said he’d be happy with a 12 or less point loss).  Really the only reason I went was because I had never seen Kobe Bryant play in person.  He is one of the last superstars from the days when I was a die-hard NBA fan that I had not seen.  So I expected to see Kobe play well (39-7-4).  I expected to see the Lakers big guys look way too strong for the Bucks.  I also expected to see more Brandon Jennings (~ 5min in the 4th and 0 min in OT).

So when there was about 6 minutes left and the Bucks were up by 5 I was just waiting to see the Lakers go on a run.  But they couldn’t… the Bucks had a shot and then I saw one of the most shocking scenes not involving Artest punching fans.  The refs just changed the course of the game right before our eyes.  First, with the bucks still up 5 and only 3:31 left, Gasol makes a short jumper and gets fouled.  Shot is good.  Free throw is not.  However, on the free throw Artest jumps into the lane about 5 seconds early and seems to pull Ilysova with him, who then goes to block out for the rebound.  Whistle blows, should be Bucks ball.  Instead, they call a lane violation on the Bucks!  Gasol gets another chance at the free throw and drains it.  Now it’s a 2 point game.  Bogut manages to tie it up late and Kobe misses a fadeaway as the clock runs out, sending us to overtime.  The Bucks look strong the majority of overtime, despite missing several shots for a stretch they have the lead with about a minute left.  Then it really happened.  Kobe has the ball about 15 feet out.  Everyone is crowding the key, Kobe drives, spins, takes a few extra steps and knocks over two Bucks players.  He makes his shot in the process.  Whistles blow but there is no call.  The refs just stare at each other until finally a block is called.  Kobe converts the 3 point play and brings it to within a point for the Lakers.  It was the most gut-wrenching backwards call I’d ever witnessed in a live game.  After that, the Bucks can’t make a shot and just like a scene from a movie, Kobe hits the game winner.

It really doesn’t matter that the Bucks lost.  The two calls I mentioned were a 4 point swing in Lakers’ favor.  The NBA and its followers can come up with plenty of examples where the Bucks missed opportunities late to overcome those 4 points.  They are all bad arguments though, because they rely on the “what-if” world of revisionist history.  I don’t care what happens if the Bucks make a few foul shots.  Should they make them?  Yes.  Might they have changed the course of the game?  Maybe.  The more important point is that the very hard to defend calls late DID change the outcome of the game.

Jay

Jay Ratkowski runs this joint, which is why his name is on the front door. You can find him elsewhere at Google+, Facebook, or Twitter

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Author: Jay

Jay Ratkowski runs this joint, which is why his name is on the front door. You can find him elsewhere at Google+, Facebook, or Twitter

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