In a conversation with former NBA official Tim Donaghy, Bonzi Wells brought up a past series against the San Antonio Spurs that he felt was suspect.
Every fan base and most NBA players are guilty of thinking referees are out to get them. It’s common to want to have someone to blame when things aren’t going your way. As Tim Donaghy recently discussed with former NBA players Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, people aren’t crazy for believing such a thing, with a past San Antonio Spurs playoff series coming up in the conversation.
Donaghy is infamous for being the subject of a 2007 FBI investigation that led to him pleading guilty to two federal charges relating to fixing and betting on games throughout his career. This resulted in his resignation from the league after 13 seasons and a serving15-month prison sentence.
Wallace and Wells were directly affected by Donaghy’s poor choices. The most notable way was Tim’s own acknowledgment that Rasheed’s Portland Trail Blazers should have won it all in 2000 if their series against the Lakers was fairly called. In a captivating conversation between the three, they cleared the air about several past issues they had with officials on and off the court.
While Bonzi wasn’t as harshly affected as Wallace was by Donaghy, he did raise a question about current referee Scott Foster and how he handled a past playoff series he was involved in back in 2008.
Bonzi questions the end of the San Antonio Spurs vs. Hornets 2008 WCSF
Donaghy has been outspoken regarding the scope of officiating scandals, saying he was designated the fall-guy in a league that had widespread corruption. On an episode of Let’s Get Technical with Rasheed and Bonzi, he explained how officials such as Dick Bavetta were known for being inserted into series to extend them.
The two veterans also probed Donaghy about referees having vendettas against particular players, which led to Wells questioning Scott Foster’s rivalry with Chris Paul.
“Earlier [this] year…Scott allegedly came up to Chris and mentioned Game 7 in the 2008 playoffs when the New Orleans Hornets were playing the San Antonio Spurs. I was actually on that team — my last NBA game was Game 7 and Chris Paul fouled out. We were killing San Antonio. We were actually supposed to win that series and they fouled Chris Paul out.”
Wells explains how Paul thought it was strange for Foster to still bring that up to Paul 12 years later, asking Donaghy if it could be a coincidence or possibly a personal vendetta. Donaghy was quick to mention Foster, as well as Joey Crawford and Steve Javie, as guys that were able to do whatever they wanted as officials despite not getting enough calls right.
While it undoubtedly hurt to lose that game since it ended up being his last, Bonzi’s recollection of how the situation went down has some holes in it. For one, the Spurs controlled Game 7 of that series from start to finish. They won the first three quarters by a combined 15 points, only giving up a late run that made the game closer.
In fact, the biggest lead the Hornets had in that game was just three points while the Spurs led by 17 at one point. Furthermore, Paul fouled out with only 25 seconds left in the game and San Antonio already up 89-82. Even if Foster threw him out of the game unjustly, it didn’t have a bearing on the outcome.
Bonzi’s suggestion that the Hornets were supposed to win that series is also questionable since the Spurs dominated Game 6 as well. New Orleans did have a 2-0 lead against a Spurs squad that struggled on the road that season, so he could be referring to that fact.
Nevertheless, the series was a classic case of a veteran team having just enough to squeak by a talented group of young guys. San Antonio advanced to the Western Conference Finals that season before eventually losing to the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1.
I highly recommend listening to the full episode with Tim Donaghy above, as there’s plenty of compelling content the two discuss with the disgraced official.