Former NBA official and author of ‘Personal Foul’ Tim Donaghy joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the officiating in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals and how referees manipulate games.
‘It’s a situation where officials are well aware of what goes on and what’s best for the league,’ Donaghy said. ‘Obviously, in this series, what’s best for the league is putting Orlando in a little bit of an advantage, and it seems to me that’s certainly what’s taking place.’
Below is a transcript. Visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page  to hear the interview.
I would be very interested in your just overall impression of the specific event where Ed F. Rush called the second technical on Kendrick Perkins  and washed him out of the game.
Obviously, that’s a situation there where he’s just not thinking and not concentrating knowing that [Perkins] already has one technical foul, and the second one is not only going to mean an ejection for him but a suspension. So it’s something where he wasn’t thinking and I’m sure he’s sitting around today wishing he didn’t do it because it certainly to me looked like it wasn’t deserved.
We were speculating on the postgame process for officials. I’m assuming the three of you would sit in the room and go over the video tape and look at each call and I assume that an NBA official who is at the site would come into the room with you. Is that how it goes?
It would, and there’s an enormous amount of reports that you need to fill out on the computer in the locker room to justify what you did and why you did it so that they have a full understanding of the entire situation and that they can defend any media request that comes their way in regard to this. Certainly this is something where a lot of answers need to be had.
What do you think it sounded like out of Ed Rush’s mouth in that room, the other two officials, and the NBA official, when they played the video tape of the two technicals on Perkins?
Well what happens is you sit there and you say to yourself, ‘Can I write anything down here that warrants these technical fouls?’ You have to go one way or another, either you’re going to stand on the fact that you know you’re 100 percent right and you can defend it. Or you’re going to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to throw my hands up and I screwed up here.’ Put that in an email that this is something that I probably wish I wouldn’t have done. But that rarely, rarely happens. In this case I can’t see them doing it, I think they’re going to try to defend it. I think the league office is going to have to step in because of the consequences that are now going to take place with Perkins being suspended for a game with that being his seventh technical foul.
Do officials know what’s best for the NBA when they’re in the middle of the action in a playoff game?
There’s no doubt about it, I write about this at length in the book ‘Personal Foul.’ It’s a situation where officials are well aware of what goes on and what’s best for the league. Obviously, in this series, what’s best for the league is putting Orlando in a little bit of an advantage and it seems to me that’s certainly what’s taking place. When you talk about Perkins being suspended, I think you have to look at the fact that [Dwight] Howard is looking at a possible suspension for the way he flailed his elbow off and hit Big Baby [Glen Davis ] in the face.
I don’t know if you guys remember, but there was a situation a couple years ago where Kobe Bryant was consistently doing that and he was suspended during the regular season. I know the playoffs and regular season don’t follow the same set of rules, but I think that Boston should be looking at the fact that if they’re going to suspend Perkins, why isn’t Howard going to be suspended for that flail of the elbow?
What’s your opinion of Joey Crawford and Ed Rush when it comes to game manipulation?
Obviously they’re two veteran officials and they’re well aware of what’s going on. They’re certainly out there and going to give the benefit of the calls to Orlando at this time. It’s funny, when I found out who was refereeing the game yesterday, I emailed the producer of the Dan Patrick show  because I was on twice with him this week and he kind of hinted that he didn’t have a full understanding or a full belief of what I wrote in the book. I told him based on the blueprint that’s in the book, I not only see Orlando winning the game tonight, but winning by several points.
The reason I’m not on the radio predicting these games anymore is because I think it was sending out the wrong message because I had an enormous success rate of 13-2. Working for the Gambling Treatment Center, it’s not something I want to portray. I made sure I emailed him discreetly well before the game started to try and have a full understanding moving forward of what’s going on.
You keep your record of wins and losses even though you’re not supposed to gamble?
Well what happened was that I was making picks on radio stations and stations started keeping the records.
Everybody else is gambling with your information, that’s got to be against the rules of your gamblers anonymous meetings doesn’t it?
And that’s why I stopped doing it. I was doing it just to show a point because everybody was hinting to the fact that the blueprint in the book wasn’t something that would work. I did it for two weeks as a form of entertainment with a guy in Dallas and a guy in Miami and everybody was getting a big kick out of it. I think the only prediction I made that didn’t come true was I thought that Cleveland was going to get by Boston because they wanted a LeBron-Kobe finals.
If extending the series to six games was a good thing for the league last night, does extending the series to seven games also qualify as a good thing for the league tomorrow night?
Again, I’m not getting into predictions, but I will tell you that moving forward I would say no. That’s just because anything could happen in a Game 7. I’m sure an LA-Boston NBA finals  is going to be much better than a LA-Orlando finals.
Will the league rescind one or both of Perkins’ technicals last night and allow him to play Game 6 in your estimation?
In my estimation I would say they would have to because if they don’t, it would make them look foolish as they’re already starting to look with a lot of these calls. I also don’t see them suspending Howard, although it’s a carbon copy of the stuff that Kobe Bryant used to do when he got suspended for it.
Will Perkins get the benefit of the doubt from the officials, either consciously or unconsciously tomorrow night?
There’s no doubt about it. You certainly are going to be under a microscope and when they play those plays back over and over and over again and see that there were mistakes made in them, you certainly don’t want to be thrown into that fire and say you’re also making a mistake. Referees, to a certain extent, want to be known as someone who makes the correct call and not embarrassed on national TV. I would say moving forward that it’s a situation where all of his fouls will certainly be justified if he plays.
Does it hurt the Celtics  down the road when they whine about calls?
Absolutely it does them harm. Referees have egos too and you certainly don’t want to be embarrassed on that floor night in and night out. Things stand out a lot quicker than others when you’re on that floor and somebody is constantly giving you trouble. You’re going to be able to see those things a lot clearer and take pride in sticking it to them like they’re sticking it to you.
Is there really a chance that the NBA will come down on Howard for these errant elbows that he’s throwing all over the place?
At this time, I would say absolutely not. But, if you go back and look at the plays Kobe Bryant was suspended for, it’s a carbon copy of what he’s doing. Like you said, what he’s doing is creating space and he doesn’t want anybody around him for the next time he’s down that floor and turns and goes to the basket. If you’re getting smacked in the teeth and in the nose, you’re going to be a little gun-shy of getting in his face and playing some defense. It’s the exact same thing Kobe did at times when he was flailing his arms, but because it was during the regular season they suspended him, but I don’t see that happening in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Is there a way the Celtics can extract some revenge on Howard without getting Perkins or Garnett or Wallace a technical foul or getting them thrown out?
I grew up right outside Philadelphia so I hear what you’re saying. I take the 11th or 12th man on that bench and I go out and crack [Howard] right across the mouth and give him a little taste of his own medicine. If that person gets suspended or thrown out of the game, so be it. It certainly would send him a message to keep his elbows down and in I’m sure.
Will Ed Rush be sanctioned for what happened last night? If so, what form would that take?
No I don’t believe he would be sanctioned. I think that it’s a situation where it’s basically his judgment and if you start suspending referees for their judgment, where does it stop? Obviously the judgment of some these referees, even some of these top referees, are certainly subject at best. You look at Dick Bavetta who for years has been making calls that’s been very suspect, but doing it based on what’s great for the league. You look back at that 2003 Sacramento-LA game, even though those three referees all were told they had a horrible game publicly, they still all went to the NBA finals. The NBA is a little bit embarrassed now, but bottom line is they have another game which is going to create millions and millions of dollars for them.