I'm with the rest of you that Joey Crawford blew that call last night. Here's the thing: Aside from what is sure to be a day's worth of scrutiny -- and recrimination -- the fact remains: Lakers up 3-1 with 2 of the final 3 to be played in L.A.
I'm usually not afraid to call a series prematurely, but even the biggest Spurs fan (or Lakers hater) has to be fairly certain that the odds are about as long as they could be for a Spurs comeback -- not the way that HCA has been working for the Lakers this postseason.
That's the lead of my Sporting News column today. See the post below for a link to what I think is the definitive take on the Crawford non-call -- by far the most controversial thing to happen in the playoffs so far, and probably the most controversial on-court moment in the NBA since the Spurs-Suns suspensions a year ago.
(But given the overall perception problems with the refs since the Donaghy scandal, anytime you can link a situation to Donaghy, it's not good for the league. Again: It's not about Crawford throwing the game, but it IS about terrible judgment by a ref that has massive impact.)
Consider that impact for a second: It basically seals the series for the Lakers, which seals the Western Conference title for the Lakers -- it guarantees at least half the Finals pairing will be super-duper-stardom, a best-case scenario for the NBA.
It also ousts the defending champs -- a virtual dynasty, though also a bane to the NBA's interests in finding the biggest TV audience possible.
And, of course, it calls into question the capabilities of refs in the NBA. It isn't a stretch to think that dozens of the best NBA refs were sitting at home, watching that game's ending and wincing -- perhaps even shouting out "No!" -- knowing the shitstorm coming their way as a group.
Anyway, that's where we stand.
Meanwhile, the Jay Bruce Era has begun and the hype is so for real. You will regret not picking him up for your fantasy team weeks ago and just storing him on the bench. I certainly do.
As of today, if you needed one NL pitcher for the rest of the season, would you take Tim Lincecum or Brandon Webb? I might go Lincecum.
Unassisted triple play > triple steal. Hands-down. Although to have one team do both within a week or so of each other isn't bad at all.
Those of you who read regularly know that I think Kevin Love is totally legit -- both as the best player in college hoops last season and as a pro prospect. You will hear no complaints from me that he is being thrown into the mix as the first player taken after the Rose-Beasley lock at 1-2.
Complete SN column here.
More later. (Couple new snall posts over at Varsity Dad, if you occasionally drop by that blog. Bunch of cool stuff lined up for it for June, btw.)