My opinion is Stern has way too much power. I think he controls the refs even though they supposedly dislike eachother. Today, even PTI laughed about how mny fouls would be called in the Laker game, tonight, against New Orleans. I think that speak volumes for those two guys to view Stern that way, even thouhg they never really used his name (a lot of inference).
For the Lakers to go out in the first round would be catastrophic (to Stern). For them not to make the play-offs would upset Stern.
As a fan of the Magic and living in Orlando, I have to say it was somewhat a miracle for them to have made the Finals 2 years ago. I have to be honest and say they were beaten by the Lakers and not the refs or Stern, that year. Last year, I think they got shafted against Boston.
I am just curious as to how many agree with me that Stern has too much influence on the play-offs.