Jackson awaiting NBA improvements

Updated: May 30, 2009, 2:54 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson is still waiting for the NBA's new era of officiating "transparency" to improve the game.

Speaking before Friday night's Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against Denver -- a series beset by complaints about refereeing that included $50,000 in fines against the Lakers and their coach -- Jackson conceded how difficult it is to call an NBA game.

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"This is the dawn of a new age, we were told in the last two years," he said. "Transparency, a wonderful word, was going to be used, and we're looking for that to help us. In that regard, we want to use all these aspects, whether it's called credibility or accountability, and use it to improve everything that can happen to this game, because it's a great game."

Jackson was speaking about some of the changes the NBA has made in the wake of the scandal involving Tim Donaghy, the former NBA ref who is serving a 15-month sentence after confessing to betting on games and passing game information to gamblers.

After Game 4 of the Lakers-Nuggets series, Jackson drew the fines for criticizing the refs for the 14-shot discrepancy in Denver's favor from the free throw line. He also complained about Nuggets guard Dahntay Jones being "unsportsmanlike" for tripping Kobe Bryant. Jones, not called for a foul on the play, was assessed a flagrant-1 foul the next day.

After Game 5, some of the Nuggets were confused about inconsistent whistles that resulted in eight more fouls on them than the Lakers.

Denver coach George Karl voiced mild complaints after Games 3 and 5 but nothing that has gotten him fined. He stayed away from critiquing the refs before Game 6.

Veteran official Joe Crawford was assigned to Game 6, along with Mike Callahan and Mark Wunderlich.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press