The Milwaukee Bucks have released a statement alleging that their playoff hopes were trounced by a rogue referee who bet on basketball games. "We are very disappointed that the league allowed this activity to occur, and we feel that we could have made the playoffs last season had this not happened," the official press release reads. The referee, Tim Donaghy, was a referee for seven Bucks games over the past two seasons.
Although the league insists this is an isolated case and that the effect of one referee on an entire season is minimal, the Bucks maintain that their 136-129 loss in double overtime to the Indiana Pacers may have marked a turning point in the season had they won. Donaghy was a ref for that game, and he threw Terry Stotts out of the game after a technical foul. Stotts appeared to be saying, "What, are you trying to beat the spread?" to Donaghy right before the ejection. The spread was 7 points in the game, as confirmed by Pete Rose who was contacted by Real Wiscosnsin News for his analysis.
When asked why seven games over two years would have made any kind of a difference in the playoffs, Bucks guard Michael Redd said, "Yes, definately. Like Jalen Rose, reknowned ESPN analyst said, 'There's a whole domino effect.'" When asked what that exactly meant, Redd maintained: "You're gonna have to ask Jalen. It's math, I think." And math is what the league is worried about right now, as teams promote season ticket sales and try to sign holdout Chinese forwards who play like Toni Kukoc.