shady refs targeted yao ming in 2005

Last August, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to charges of betting on NBA games that he officiated. Today, his lawyers filed documents in federal court alleging that other officials altered the outcomes of playoff series in 2002 and 2005: Donaghy docs allege refs altered games, broke league rules.

The documents outline a plan among officials to target Yao Ming in the Houston Rockets' 2005 first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. It also alleges that referees helped alter the outcome of the controversial 2002 Game 6 playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.

Donaghy's legal team is trying to demonstrate his cooperation with a federal government investigation before he is sentenced on July 14 on felony charges of taking cash payoffs from gamblers and betting on games himself.

Back during the 2005 Rockets/Mavericks playoff series, after his team eventually lost that series in seven games, Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy accused referees of unfairly targeting Yao Ming. Van Gundy ultimately received a $100,000 fine, the largest in NBA history, before retracting his comments. Turns out, he might have been right after all.

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