I don't think it is a good idea to accept Donaghy's accusations as the truth. But I also don't think it is a good idea to assume he is lying. NBA commissioner David Stern is pleading with everyone to believe the latter.
I'll make a couple of comments from one of the ESPN.com articles: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3439554
Here are the comments made by the Maloofs, owners of the Sacramento Kings, on the 2002 Game 6 game against the Lakers.
We believe we have the best fans in the NBA and are so grateful for their continued passion and support," the Maloofs said in a statement. "We certainly didn't like all the calls in that Game 6 and were extremely disappointed with the outcome. However, we have been associated with the NBA for many years and feel in no way that the league was conspiring for the Kings to lose."
This is exactly what any sane person would say. The Maloofs are part of the league. No matter what they truly believed, it does not help to stab the NBA and David Stern now. It can only hurt them, and hurt them immensely. This is the case with everyone that has any connection to the NBA. Owners, players, coaches, broadcasters. Everybody. Even some reporters are probably too close to the NBA to make disparaging remarks on this issue. Imagine a reporter saying he believes Donaghy and that something fishy happened in the 2002 game. What do you think Stern, Phil Jackson, Kobe, Shaq or many others will respond to him the next time he calls them for an interview.
Next comment is on David Stern's comments:
At his news conference Thursday, Stern made his strongest statements ever regarding the 2002 Kings-Lakers game, saying: "You can watch it, you can look at it again, and you could see what we call the correct, incorrect and non-call incorrect. ... My guess is it won't be pretty, but it won't be dishonest and it won't be illegal. Of that I assure you."
It should be tough for anyone to be assured by David Stern. He now says there were many bad calls (or at least he implies it). Did he say that back then. I don't think so. Just think about Stern's motives, and you know he has to say what he says. The other thing is that he cannot prove a negative. Before the Donaghy issue, he would have claimed all his referees were clean, and he would have been wrong.
From a gambling standpoint, I would think twice about betting the home team in the playoffs when they are down 0-2 in the series. Is it possible that one of the reasons they have such a great record in that spot is the referees helping them out in some way, however slight? Possibly. And that might be enough to think about laying off those bets in the future.