Former NBA ref claims a 2002 playoff game was fixed

SACRAMENTO — A former referee for the National Basketball Association who is facing prison after admitting to gambling on games claims Game 6 of a 2002 playoffs series was fixed to ensure a seventh game.

Tim Donaghy does not specify the teams or the referees. But the Los Angeles Lakers-Sacramento Kings series was the only one in 2002 to go seven games.

In a letter filed Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., that attempts to show his level of cooperation in hopes of receiving a lighter jail term, Donaghy alleges two of that game's three referees were "company men" who used "manipulation" to extend the series to a deciding seventh game. The team that lost Game 6 had two players "ejected," claims the letter from Donaghy attorney John F. Lauro, and later lost the series.

And while no Kings were ejected, Vlade Divac and Scot Pollard did foul out as Shaquille O'Neal attempted 17 free throws in a 106-102 loss in Los Angeles.

"Referees A, F, and G were officiating a playoff series between the Team 5 and Team 6 in May of 2002," the letter states, using place holders instead of names. "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 best interest to add another game to the series."

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