The officiating in the 2002 Lakers-Kings series was definitely problematic. That said, I think the very fact that that series is so well-known for its dubious officiating casts some doubt on Tim Donaghy's allegations of rigging. What he's done is basically take two conspiracy theories that are already well-known and say they're true. It's exactly what you would do if you were making something up. I would expect a real whistleblower to not only confirm some already widespread suspicion but also bring me something totally unknown or obscure.

But whatever the truth of the matter, as with everything surrounding Donaghy the league wouldn't be in this position if not for the fact that the overall quality of NBA officiating is legendarily low. In large part, that's simply because it's an objectively difficult game to officiate correctly. But the league rarely seems to me to show a ton of interest in improving things, or to be even slightly disturbed by refs' biases in favor of home teams, or even just of the general sentiment that it's fine and proper to use different standards of officiating in different games or at different points in the game clock.

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