Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 9:00 am  |  85 responses

Nugget: ‘Lakers paid $50K to win Game 5′

by Marcel Mutoni

Prior to the festivities, it wasn’t too hard to guess that the Lakers would get the calls on their home floor in the pivotal fifth game of the Western Conference Finals. That’s just the way these things typically work.

Evidently, the Denver Nuggets don’t agree. And according to one soul in powder blue (who shall remain nameless, largely because he asked the reporter he spoke with not to identify him), the Lakers got the win last night the old fashioned way: they bought it.

The Denver Post reports:

The NBA has an integrity problem, as shrill and annoying as a referee’s whistle. If the competitors don’t trust the truth in the final score, why should we? Did the Nuggets lose to the Los Angeles Lakers 103-94, or were they robbed by referees who gave favorable calls to a marquee franchise that pumps up television ratings?

Does the league want to see superstar Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals rather than the tattooed bad boys of Denver? In an accusation that goes straight to the heart of the sport’s integrity, one member of the Nuggets shook his head in disgust after the game, and could not believe how cheap it was for Los Angeles to buy a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

“The Lakers paid $50,000 to win that game. They got their money’s worth,” said a Denver player, not wanting to be identified for fear of retribution from the league.

Mr. Anonymous is of course talking about the $50k total Phil Jackson and the Lakers were fined after his criticism of the refs following Game 4.

L.A. shot exactly 5 more free throws than Denver last night, were whistled for 8 less fouls, and were able to dominate the paint for much of the second half (with Nene fouling out in the fourth quarter.) And now the Nuggets are on the brink of elimination.

Sounds like money well spent to me.

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  • finest hour


  • finest hour

    the foul on nene in the 4th was an ofensive foul on pau GASOL

  • The Ghost of Wilt Chamberlain

    This is why the Donaghy scandal was so terrible. These playoffs, which have been incredibly entertaining, have featured more discussions, arguments and articles than the games themselves. It’s a real shame…

  • Cizzo

    Wow how dare the Nuggets make that accussation, aint this the team that has the player that specialize in the sweep kick defense????

  • The Ghost of Wilt Chamberlain

    I meant to mention that the discussions, arguments and articles have been about the referees and conspiracies than the games themselves.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Gotta love Mutoni’s fair and balanced reporting style.

  • Fred

    Sad but true man! The NBA want the Lakers in final it’s evident! Even a blind man would notice that.

  • g i i

    sweep the leg… put him in a body bag!

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com bryan

    This is ridiculous.

  • Epsilon Nupe

    They were letting play, what kills me is Denver will beat up the Lakers and were suppose to all think “Oh the lakers are soft and Denver is just the tougher team” but when the lakers start playing tough then its a conspiracy of the league wanting kobe in the finals The fact of the matter is both teams were going at it last night and the Lakers won the game

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    The only questionable call was the sixrh on nene and he probably got it called cause it was so obviously a flop.


    Last time I checked the refs weren’t the ones missing the shots. 5 more free throws than you and that’s your claim for losing?!?! Difference is talent and Lakers have more of it! PERIOD!

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    No wonder the Denver newspapers are going out of business…

  • http://www.liveddb.com DDB

    I loved the 6th foul on Nene. I think that anytime a defensive player flops, it should be a blocking foul. The defender being on the floor beneath your feet impedes the progress of the offensive player.

    Why did nobody but the Lakers say anything last game when the Nuggets shot 40 FT through 3 quarters? Also, do the Nuggets think maybe they pissed some officials off by getting 3 techs in a game in which they were on had the upper hand in terms of FTs?

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z


  • Teddy-the-Bear

    The refs ALWAYS favor the Lakers in the Staples Center. That’s why its one of the worst arenas to play in. On the sidelines, you have an annoying Jack Nicholson trying to be like the Spike Lee of the Lakers. Then you have the refs who just love to change the flow of the game to suit the Lakers.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I’ve seen this before: Lakers down a couple baskets. Kobe makes a big shot. Trevor Ariza steals the ball, goes in for a lay-up. What happens next?
    On the next posession be sure of an Offensive Foul called on the Nuggets. The crowd gets excited.
    Time-out called. Commercial break. NBA happy.

  • mj23

    I’ve been saying it all along. The NBA wants a Kobe/Lebron finals. That will bring in the highest ratings/most $. It’s all about $$$. Now the Cavs f***ed up by letting the sorry Magic take a 3-1 lead, but i’m predicting that series will go to 7 games, and anything can happen in game 7 especially if u have Lebron.

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com Jeff Fox

    Didn’t see the whole game, so I can’t comment too much, but I don’t but the conspiracy angle. Melo shot 13 free throws – the most in the game. Dahntey Jones shot 8, which is more than anyone on the Lakers outside of Kobe. The Nuggets are losing because Melo is shooting 41%. (The second foul on Chauncey – the charge call – was bogus though)>

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    I’m sure the turnovers and 11 straight missed shots in the 4th had something to do with the loss as well.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Co Co has a great point. And, it would cost a helluva lot more than that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Man…my SLAM webpage is so messed up. Teddy your an idiot. Just going to say that because I wont be onhere until itfixes.

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    Co-sign everybody, basically. Denver didn’t play well enough to beat a very good LA team in their building. They got nothing from Nene, Chauncey and JR. End of.

  • Syk

    I watched the game last night and I’m a Lakers fan. It was pretty one sided on the calls in favor of the Lakers. Guys were getting mugged in the paint and nothing was called. This isn’t the way I want them to win.

  • rhyen

    are byran and Bryan different dudes?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I agree with Syk.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Jeff, Billups brought his knee to the face of Ariza, not an offensive foul, wow. Also Nuggets has had more free throw attempts in this series, if they make 6 more in game 1 they win. Also Kobe is doing whatever his team needs to win, Billups made alot of errors last night in turnovers and bad shot selection, if this was AI, as Van Gundy said, the media would have went crazy. Lakers are beating the Nuggets base off of the triangle offense excueting at key moments of the game, instead of Melo trying to beat three people for a contested layup and plus the Lakers were finally more agressive last night, the team with the most aggression goes to the line, thats why Nuggets have more FT attempts.

  • Stan

    I thought that this game was the best officiated game so far. The referees were letting the players play and not calling fouls too much. The call on Nene could have gone both ways but the one on Billups shouldn’t have been called. I think it’s safer to call a foul than an offensive foul any time. I have a feeling that Smitty is Mr anonymous here =).

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    That was not an offensive foul at all, though. He didn’t stick his knee out. You can’t call an offensive foul on that unless the player is going out of his way to shield the defender with his arm or leg.

  • http://www.ihatelebron.com nate the great

    nuggets in 7 ;) .

  • Sparker

    there were 2 keys to the game. the first was nene being in foul trouble, which took the nugs out of their rhythm; i didn’t realize quite how important he was until that happened. the other was the defense that shannon brown, with fresh legs, played on chauncey billups. all of sudden, chauncey couldn’t drive, couldn’t set up the offense and even threw away the ball a couple of times. and without nene in the game (see point one), there was no one to set up the other guys… so what u had left was kenyon martin chucking up his ben-wallace-like line drives

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com Jeff Fox

    Billups’ knee might have hit Ariza, but it is still not an offensive foul. Ariza was moving backwards and had one of his feet in the restricted area. If he was stationary and out of the restricted zone, then no problem. Too often guys get rewarded for sliding under the offensive player after he is already in the air (the type of thing that starts fights in pickup games).

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    So now Chauncey has a 6′ foot 7″ vertical? Why is HE not in every dunk contest in the nation?

  • Tommy Patron

    With less than two minutes having run off the clock in the first quarter, ESPN was ALREADY re-running all the Jones-on-Kobe fouls from this series from every angle, forcing the announcers to talk about it AGAIN. This was while the game was in live action! They were showing replays of those fouls instead of showing some of the beginning of the actual game.

  • kulas

    Nuggets, if anything your team was always favored by the refs (Bynum’s flagrant, JR smiths excessive celebrations, Dahntay Jones’ dirty plays). This game was the exception because it was FAIRLY called. LA was letting Kmart beat them by sinking jump shots, which he made at first but then ultimately he missed continously on his next attempts. Billups was hoisting ill-advised three-pointers and making costly turnovers. Stop your whining, Lakers won this, you’ve got only yourselves to blame. If this was LBJ and the cavs, that’s a different story. Refs do not favor Kobe, its been evident this series if you really watch closely.

  • http://www.asternwarning.com mookie

    That headline really drew me in at first!!

  • ti-sizz

    if both the lakers and the cavaliers manage to win their series in a decisive game 7, clearly there is a conspiracy going on here…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    Adelman complains, rockets win next game, mcmillan complain, portland wins next game, rockets complain, they win nexrt game, jackson complained, lakers won next game…….a trend i noticed during the rockets’ run….does it mean it was fixed? No, because players still have to play, but the refs are obviously influenced some by complaints, well stern is i guess. Refs usually start calling whatever the coach complained about, which is usually a foul anyway, but the change in the way the game is called gives that team an advantage, even if only alightly…from wha ti remember it usually enables them to start of very well or keep the momentum throughout the game.

  • Naiym

    I have to say I was SOO mad watching the game last night, with the lack of calls on the NUggets end..But then I put my basketball Savvy back on…The Nuggets were up by seven with about 8 min left in the third..After STUpid turnovers and Kenyon Martin thinking he can shoot jumpers ( Uhmmm he can’t he was having a shoting guard identity crisis last night) I realized, we ( Nuggets) played badly…They just did…Yeah we got some bad calls and a lack of calls as well , but had they not turned over the ball and missed those lay ups…Nuggets would have been down 2 or three in the fourth with 47 sec left adn then George Karl could’ve called that RIDICULOUs timeout. and it would’ve made sense..Nuggets must close the fourth quater..and pay 24 SEC defense not 23 1/2 and assume the shot won’t go…We might have a chance at this thing..But it’s SOOO evident that NBA wants to see James Bryant in the finals! I say swallow your whistles let the big boys play basket ball!

  • http://slamonlin.com tina

    We’ll see how the trend goes with tomorrow’s game. G. Carl was complaining about the whistle last night so we’ll see.

  • Seth

    People are talking about the nuggets not shooting well…I can’t believe how many times the nuggets went to the basket and looked like something could have been called a foul and wasn’t…look at how many blocks the lakers had, I think Pau Gasol had 0 fouls going into the 4th quarter…JUST DUMB

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Marcel Mutoni: fair and balanced just like Bill O’Reilley

  • J-rell

    kmart got blocked by the backboard!the nuggets just suck period!phil outcoached george as always!kleiza is the only nugget that came 2 play!!!

  • http://mindyourbusiness@nosybutt.com Allenp

    David Stern is scared of the media and fan reaction to NBA fights.
    So, the officials have been asked to make sure fights never, EVER occur.
    Medai and fan reaction has driven most of the changes that we hate about the NBA. The ticky tack flagrants and technicals, the removal of hand checking rules, the flopping explosion, all of this can be tied to Stern’s attempts to mitigate negative press.
    Think about it.

  • vic21

    So if Im a coach and want for example my star player allowed to get away with fouls I have to complain in a press conference and wait for the bill to come in?

  • alex

    hahahha guees the person who wrote this isnt a laker fan! lol and i bett the nameless denver players is that soccer player jones! ive also counted many fouls on denver that have not gone the lakers way! Ps good job on the fair and bias reporting! lol

  • http://twitter.com/BrinaRo1 BrinaRo

    @Seth……exactly what I was thinking the whole game. How many no calls (especially in the first half) were there when various Nuggets drove into the lane, and looked (to me) to get hammered…only to have it called a clean block by the refs?

    Used to think the ‘conspiracy theories’ didn’t have any weight…but after watching this series and the Cavs/Magic series where LeBron can do no wrong…I am starting to think otherwise.

  • MACK

    yea the refs were the ones forcing kenyon martin to shoot all those jump shots……y dont the nuggs just say good game and go after it next game…..ur never gonna win a championship always looking for a bailout from the refs

  • MACK

    it was nene hilario by the way……all that guy does is complain the whole game….hilariooooooooo

  • D

    Waste of money. My grandmother could have beaten the Nuggets.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    AllenP FTW.


    Maybe Kobe will celebrate last nights win with another twenty year old behind his wifes back. He’s always been a great person as well as a great player. I hope his wife divorces him after they lose game seven.

  • bakers’ dozen

    Melo gets beat up in the post way too often. oh, and it’s just NENE, he dropped teh Hilario 3 years ago.

  • messofelegance

    desperation is a stinky cologne.

  • http://phoenixsunsrising.blogspot.com Hersey

    I guess they paid Denver to come out shooting bricks to start the 4th quarter too. It takes a real coward to say that and a bigger coward to write it in the paper. You lost. If you don’t like it- play better.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Blinguo

    Denver = tattooed bad boys? Then the Lakers are the bad tattooed boys. You all know Kobe’s/Walton’s, now Browns, but did you see Farmar’s shoulder ink last night? Those aren’t touching the Birdman wings.

  • kwame brown

    if this is what being posted as news im never reading slam again

  • WutWut

    Turdman looks like a monster, with his nasty ass tattoos… yuuuuuckkkk!

    QQ Laker haters.

  • http://http//www.youtube.com The Promise

    People, this is a joke. Do you want to know why Denver lost last night? It was NOT because of a ref that got paid, or something stupid like that. Its because George Karl got outcoached, period. He outsmarted himself by giving Melo waayyy to long of a rest, and by the time he sent him back in, they were down by 11, and he was cold from sitting on the bench so long. It got them completely out of their rhythm, and it pretty much got them beat. So, stop this bullcrap about refs getting paid off. I’m sick of hearing it. May the best team win.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    vic21, pretty much…but the change only will last a game or two, you have to complain again after that

  • basketballallah

    Denver’s style is an offense to the Basketball Gods. Last night the Nuggets felt the stinging punishment. Coach Karl crying in the bright light of a teevee press conference, selecting Pau Gasol of all people as his sacrifice to the mouth-breathers aka Laker Haters aka NBA Conspiracy theorists. The tough nugget to swallow, the reason it ‘worked’ for Phil was Phil was right.

  • switzerland

    You’re all crybabies. Laker fans: act like you’ve been there before. Nugget Fans: Keep Kobe away from your women. Basketball is entertainment, if your team isn’t enteraining, then you lost that half of the game.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    it only takes a couple of bad calls. chauncey’s second foul was obviously bogus. that was an and1, so thats extra important, not just a foul, but points. melo got hacked a couple times with no calls. and nene’s sixth was wrong. the refs didnt exactly steal the game from the nuggs, just made it a 10 pt game instead of 2 or 3. however, it was fun watching jr smith poke the ball away from kobe like 5 times.

  • ifeelsoyoung

    DENVER IS NOT GOING TO WIN THE SERIES. Carmello is salyt cause Birdman is taking his thunder and no matter how many times Jr poked the ball away from Kobe, he will still never be as good as Kobe! And guess what? I don’t really care for Kobe, but when you gotta stick your foot out to stop a player, then they are the truth!

  • bill breedley

    calls favored the lakers last night but not as blatant as calls cavs are getting on the road. still without the favorable calls, lakers would have still won the game. Lamar Odom was a beast last night.

  • http://groups.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=groups.groupProfile&groupID=104091021&Mytoken=DDF795E1-BAA9-4AA4-A658D26EF5D70607132654176 clapzilla

    The Only Fishy Thing I Noticed With The Refs Last Night Was How They Called Nene. Every Other Player Was Allowed To Mug Everyone In Sight, But Nene Couldn’t Do Anything. His 4th Foul Was When He Fell On Defense And Gasol Stumbled Into Him, Then His 6th Foul Was The Same Situation Reversed Where Gasol Fell And Nene Stumbled Into Him. Both Went Against Nene. His 5th Didn’t Even Make Gasol Move! ESPN Skipped The Chance At A Replay, Even Though They Showed Replays On 500 Other Fouls. The Nuggets Tend To Go As Nene Goes, Putting Him On The Bench In Such A Ridiculous Way Is Bound To Mess With Them. That’s How The Refs May or May Not Have Influenced The Outcome of The Game! Don’t Look For The Obvious Signs!

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    vic21 Posted: May.28 at 1:05 pm
    So if Im a coach and want for example my star player allowed to get away with fouls I have to complain in a press conference and wait for the bill to come in?
    These days we should think of post game fines as… a tax invoice. All of a sudden they become a tax write-off…?!?

  • Josh

    Game wasn’t biased, that’s crap. A couple of calls went against the Nuggets, but in what game in the history of sport in general has there never been at least one or two bad calls. You still get them with Booth reviews! Its a part of the game, and the better team is the one that can get over this fact and play ball. Nene yelling at refs certainly doesn’t aid the team, referees are humans too, and what human won’t slightly resent someone yelling at them? Its simple guys, keep your mouths shut! Its funny how its only ever a problem when a team that traditionally does well gets a few calls that the conspiracies start popping up… It was a great physical game yesterday, and i thought it was refereed really well, they let them play. Great series so far, well oficiated.

  • Josh

    @ clapzilla. Dude, You Don’t Need To Push Shift For The First Letter of Every Word. A Question Too, Why The Capitals On “The”, “To” And “On”, But Not On “of”, “or”? I Can’t Place It Man…

  • http://Nicekicks.com MeloMan22

    Y cant they just play the next game with no fouls

  • don

    NBA is milking Kobe’s popularity until his game declines in a year or two. Yipee. I can’t wait. No more fakers in the finals!!

  • thatskool24

    i wish we could buy wins LA would win 70+ a yr and sweep every round and win titles every single year…ohhh dreams!!…but in reality the lakers will be in the Finals because of thier offensive prowess, Kobe Bryant, and them put up whatever defensive effort they can…and Clevland will be fishn before june…KB24 v. D12

  • vizzo

    if ur a ball player u dont let the refs control the outcome of the damn game.u execute down the stretch and play smart which the cavs an the nuggets havnt been doin wen it comes down to it .

  • big bad boss

    50k only? if the nuggets wants to be paid they should have asked for more, man, their luxury tax are way way off to 50grand.. sore losers!!

  • Alan

    as usual, a player talking about referees… after a lose. never after a W.

  • belloblock

    nuggets are some b@tches! they the type that wont shake hands after they lose this series..

  • http://nbainchina.com NBA in China

    Are you freaking kidding me…LeBron’s been pretty much gettting automatic whistles whenever he takes a dribble while Kobe’s been getting pretty much nothing..and people here saying the opposite..what a joke.

  • chazz michael michaels

    man this is bs yall r jus haters becuz a team that got swept last year is in the way of the lakers getting to tha finals! for real tho lakers got like 5 “blocks” in the last minutes of game 5. not all of those could have been true “blocks” but watevr refs

  • http://http//www.youtube.com The Promise

    Like I said yesterday, no bias, no refs fixing games. Denver lost their composure, therefore, they lost the game. And, again, may the best team win.

  • scottyp

    that game wasn’t that bad… if corrupt is the topic then let’s talk about game 6 of the lakers kings series. that was the biggest corruption in the nba i have ever seen. lakers will always get the calls, but i have never seen such nonsense in my life. It made me less of a fan to the nba. kings lost game 7, but game 6 was basically run by don king and not david stern. o, also, if the lottery is legit then why dont we get to see it happen?????


    i think its obvious that home teams and especially prime time teams with star players get the calls. its been like that for years and recently has been really obvious. its just sad when you can predict how a series can go game by game and we always say the same thing that the home team or star team will get the calls at home. there is no other sport that can say that. baseball is a seven games series but we dont go around saying the umps will give the strikes to the yanks or sox or in football where the refs will throw flags on every play. theres just not enough opportunities in those sports.

    the thing that really convinced me was when the lakers got 27 free throws in the 4th quarter in game 6 against the kings in 2002 and im a laker fan. right there made me sick. i dont care if the celts, lakers, cavs win the next 5 titles. i just dont take it serious as much as i used to. even the trades of kg to boston and pau to lakers were fishy as well.

  • Mike – Phoenix

    I can only laugh. Anybody who has watched all the games will attest that the Laers are not getting the calls. In fact I have seen at least 10 fouls on Kobe that HAVENT been called and about 6 more on Gasol. So to say the Lakers BOUGHT that game is disrespecting the Lakers and making excuses. I guess the Lakers took it “personally” and went into the nuggets HOUSE and flat out embarrassed them in a blow out eliminatioon game! I Like Mellow and Billups great players! But a couple other guys on that team, one with great talent, have no class at all and the Lakers didn’t forget that as they drubbed em in Denver… buh bye nuggets..buh bye whiners. The cream always rises to the top…its just physics

  • Mike – Phoenix

    “scottyp Posted: May.29 at 8:23 pm
    that game wasn’t that bad… if corrupt is the topic then let’s talk about game 6 of the lakers kings series. that was the biggest corruption in the nba i have ever seen. lakers will always get the calls, but i have never seen such nonsense in my life. It made me less of a fan to the nba. kings lost game 7, but game 6 was basically run by don king and not david stern. o, also, if the lottery is legit then why dont we get to see it happen????? ”

    You guys are still whining about that? Geez

  • Mike – Phoenix

    Marcel Mutoni… you know how pathetic this article is don’t you? Uh, repeat. Pathetic.

    Lakers spank Denver on their home court in elimination game… So much for your foolish comments and article.

    George Karl and Martin look like morons this morning. All those cheap shot quips trying to sway the refs in game 6 didn’t make up for being the inferior team… Denver lost TWO of 3 games on their home court this series…and they got the majority of not only the calls but the “non calls” in the series ( even in LA ) as did Houston. I know, I watch every game.

    Stick to selling used cars or whatever it is you do, and leave the Journalism to people who have talent. Hack

  • cordovarudy

    Well what do you say now, “Mr. accuser” of the “Nuggets” losing game 6 in DENVER? I take it the refs didn’t get paid and additional $50K? Just admit it the Lakers are a better team, although I am a Nugget fan and always will be, why try to redicule yourself about a $50K payout? “BAD MEDIA” or least admit as to who indicated this ref payout, any names???