If we were living in an action movie, David Stern would be giving the signal to put something in Tim Donaghy's coffee. Donaghy asserted yesterday that the NBA pushed its officials to manipulate two playoff series, in 2002 and 2005, to a seventh and decisive game.
The 2002 series happened to be Kings-Lakers, which if you recall, featured a Game 6 where the Lakers attempted 27 free throws in the 4th quarter. Even if Donaghy is lying his face off, he will undoubtedly be given some amount of credibility, if only because people think Game 6 was manipulated anyway.
However, Donaghy might just as well be going down the Jose Canseco road, which is naming people who he thought was a cheater. Canseco based his assertions that Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, and Magglio Ordonez cheated solely on perception, not by evidence. Donaghy is facing up to a quarter-century of jail-time and might be grasping at straws to find a way out. If he finds it, he'll make Bill Bellichick look like Mother Teresa compared to David Stern.
All the NBA can do is ride the "he was working alone" theme that has saved them this far. If Celtics-Lakers goes deep, the series finale will assuredly draw an enormous number. The same way Spygate didn't deter 97 million people from watching the Super Bowl, Game 6 or 7 (whichever ends the Finals) will draw a large number too. Hopefully the truth will identify Donaghy's claims as lies, because if they don't, there will be a lot of causalities in the National Basketball Association.