There has long been speculation about whether the officials influenced the outcome of the 2007 Western Conference semi-finals that ended in the San Antonio Spurs defeating the Phoenix Suns. Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy shed some light on the subject with a local Phoenix radio station on Wednesday.
He noted that the group supervisor of the officials for the series, Tommy Nunez, disliked Suns owner robert sarver and routinely pointed out calls that could go against Phoenix while noting things to not call against the Spurs.
“Obviously, everybody knows I refereed one of those famous games with the San Antonio Spurs where [the Suns] were definitely the better team in that series and San Antonio went on to win that series,” he said, via Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
“Tommy Nunez, who was the group supervisor at that time for that series, didn’t like Sarver, who was the owner of the Suns at that time, and was always pointing out in the tape sessions of things to call against Phoenix and things not to concentrate on against San Antonio. And I think it put San Antonio at an advantage.”
The main moment in question came during Game 3 of the series. The series was tied 1-1 heading into that particular game but the Spurs took the series lead after winning 108-101. There were bad calls made throughout the night but it only ramped up in key moments, which placed the Suns in too great of a disadvantage to overcome.
The recent comments that Donaghy made about the playoff series align closely with previous statements that he has made. Last year, he added that Nunez ‘enjoyed the lifestyle in San Antonio’ and that also played a role in him trying to steer the series in the Spurs’ favor.