In the letter submitted by Donaghy's attorney, the following "manipulation" is alleged:
"Referees A, F and G were officiating a playoff series between Teams 5 and 6 in May of 2002. It was the sixth game of a seven-game series, and a Team 5 victory that night would have ended the series. However, Tim learned from Referee A that Referees A and F wanted to extend the series to seven games. Tim knew referees A and F to be "company men," always acting in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA's interest to add another game to the series. Referees A and F heavily favored Team 6. Personal fouls [resulting in obviously injured players] were ignored even when they occurred in full view of the referees. Conversely, the referees called made-up fouls on Team 5 in order to give additional free throw opportunities for Team 6. Their foul-calling also led to the ejection of two Team 5 players. The referees' favoring of Team 6 led to that team's victory that night, and Team 6 came back from behind to win that series."
Although no teams are specifically named, it is not hard to deduce the game in question. The Lakers-Kings series was the only one that postseason that went seven games, and the officiating in Game 6 was so questionable that consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader called for a formal investigation.
The Lakers attempted 40 free throws to the Kings' 25 in that game, and Los Angeles made 21-of-27 from the line while Sacramento converted 7-of-9 in the fourth quarter alone.
In addition, a foul was called against Mike Bibby of the Kings after he was shoved and elbowed by Kobe Bryant, denying the Kings an opportunity to try for a tying basket. Also in that game, Kings centers Vlade Divac and Scot Pollard fouled out, and Kings coach Rick Adelman was highly critical of the officiating afterward.<!--(Game 6 of that series was officiated by referees Dick Bavetta and Bob Delaney, who are still employed by the NBA, and by ex-referee Ted Bernhardt.)-->
"My first thought [upon hearing Donaghy's allegation] was: I knew it," Pollard said Tuesday night. "I'm not going to say there was a conspiracy. I just think something wasn't right. It was unfair. We didn't have a chance to win that game."
The Lakers went on to win the 2002 NBA championship.
That was the worst officiated basketball game I've seen in my life, but I'm not sure what to think. If any NBA game was ever fixed, you'd think it would be that one. On the other hand, if you were facing jail time and you wanted to falsely claim that a particular game was fixed, that would be the one. Regardless, I think we're past the point where the league can just deny everything and expect people to believe them.