Did refs play into Rockets 2005 playoff loss?

June 11, 2008 5:32:53 AM PDT
Remember in the 2005 NBA playoffs when the Rockets beat Dallas in the first two games and then ended up losing the series to the Mavericks? That was the series where Jeff Van Gundy was fined $100,000 by the league for saying an NBA official told him the refs were targeting Yao Ming. Convicted former referee Tim Donaghy is awaiting sentencing next month for fixing and betting on games. In trying to show cooperation, he wrote that after Mavs' owner Mark Cuban complained after the first two games, a supervisor told the officials to strictly enforce the screening rules against Yao.

Donaghy wrote the court that a referee supervisor told Van Gundy about calling Yao more tightly and the Rockets coach was fined $100,000 for saying he was told that.

Donaghy also told the court team executives conspired with the league to keep star players from fouling out. There's no comment from the league.

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