Referees, Gambling, Tim Donaghy, and how the Wizards fit in

Editor's Note: Se7en beat Jake to this story, but we wanted to incorporate WRG's thoughts as well.  -PM 

The braintrust at We Rite Goode guided us to this article from the The Smoking Gun that talks about the Tim Donaghy case and how his calls may have been "subconsciously" affected by his wagers.  I could go into a whole diatribe (fancy word!) about what kind of will power it would take to remain subjective and only have your calls affected on a subconscious basis after you've put down money in a non-subjective fashion, but I won't since it's neither here nor there.

Instead, let's focus on one of the examples from the court documents on how Donaghy used his inside info to make money.  Why?  Because it involves the Wizards!

For example, on December 26, 2006, Donaghy refereed a game in which the Washington Wizards hosted the Memphis Grizzlies.  Donaghy originally informed Martino that he thought the Grizzlies would win.  Just before the start of the game, however, an official NBA scorer entered the referees' locker room and said that the Grizzlies were "all banged up."  Armed with this inside information concerning the physical condition of the Grizzlies, Donaghy called Martino and changed his pick to the Wizards.  According to NBA records, the Wizards won 116-101

If you go back to the game thread from that night, you'll see that the Wizards were 7 point favorites and the Wizards of course went on to win by 15, so Donaghy's inside info paid off right?  Sure, but as WRG astutely pointed out in the e-mail, Donaghy really shouldn't have needed to use the "info" in the first place:

How much inside info did you need to take the Wiz at home?  Griz were 6-22, Wiz 14-12 and coming off a strong road trip.  [Ed. note: The strong road trip included the big wins at L.A. where Gilbert dropped 60 and their win against Phoenix who had won 15 straight.]

Thankfully, it doesn't look like Donaghy's bet made much of an impact on how he called the game.  The Wizards roared out to 45-18 lead after the first quarter and they took a 77-51 lead into halftime.  The 15 point closing margin was a byproduct of Chucky Atkins hot shooting in the 4th quarter that took the game from being a blowout to being just an ugly loss, so the game was never close enough for Dongahy's subconscious to have an impact on the game.  In fact if you check out the box score from the game, you'll see that the Grizz actually got the free throw line 13 more times than the Wizards did.

As time goes on, I'm sure we'll learn a lot more about who benefitted from Tim Donaghy's dealings and who didn't, but at least in this scenario, I don't think anyone can claim that the Wizards' victory was tainted, but I'm pretty sure Dahntay Jones will try his best to get something to happen, since it would get this poster taken off the records:

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