Bucks Diary

Monday, June 09, 2008

The refereeing in Game 2 was... ah, curious

When evaluating whether free throw opportunities were fairly dispersed in a game a lot of teams will cite FTA/FGAs as their "fairness" marker. I think the better marker is FTA/2ptFGA. Since three point shooters are unlikely to be fouled, eliminating those attempts provides a clearer picture of the "foul drawing opportunities" each team generates per game. (Here's a chart I did earlier in the season showing each team's FTA/2ptFGA at home and on the road).

By that measure, the 2007-08 Lakers were a team that went to the foul line often -- even on the road, and the Celtics were a team that piled up shooting fouls -- even at home. The Lakers' road FTA/2ptFGA percentage for the season was a robust 42.6% while Celtic opponents were getting to the line in Boston at an even more robust 44.9% FTA/2ptFGA clip.

Therefore, if you laid odds that there would be any single game in the series where the Celtics would receive 28 more free throws opportunities than the Lakers, those odds would have been mighty long. And yet last night it happened.

The Lakers received foul shot opportunities on only 16.1% of their two point attempts, a total that even the Bucks would find stingy. But the refs weren't swallowing their whistles on both ends. The Celtics were getting free throw opportunities on 70.1% of their two point attempts, a total Tim Donaghy might find a little suspect.

The most egregious example of possible "zebra tilt" was the early "push-off" foul whistled against Kobe Bryant. That had to be one of the worst phantom calls I've ever seen. I don't think Joel Pryzbilla (aka The Human Foul) would get called for that. The MVP couldn't get any zebra love all night. Later in the game he was getting mugged repeatedly and getting no calls whatsoever. I'm sure the petulant, whiny expressions he kept making at the referees didn't help his cause any but still, that was ridiculous. That kind of disparity, whether generated by bias or crowd influence or whatever, is not good for the game.

And its not just Laker fans who ought to be bothered. Its all fans. Because you KNOW there will now be a huge trampoline "makeup call" effort undertaken by the referees in Los Angeles. Its going to be a joke. I fully expect to see a huge free throw disparity in favor of the Lakers. You are going to see a parade of Gold uniformed foul shooters. I say, why not just call the games straight? Then there's no need to balance anything out.


At June 9, 2008 at 4:41 PM, Blogger Mac G said...

I love the Joel, human foul line. Awesome. I counted at least 5 and ones that were not called when the Lakers scored.

The officiating was almost as bad as the Lakers D.

At June 9, 2008 at 5:52 PM, Blogger Treego said...

The refereeing in this game was similar to that of the Finals in which Dwayne Wade was anointed by the refs as untouchable and without fault. Wade carried (literally, due to his constant carrying/palming the ball routine) his team to victory on the shoulders of the refs in that series.

The curious thing about this is that I would expect Kobe to get a boat-load of calls, but the refs were just so blind that they didn't notice the superstar who is supposed to get the calls.

The NBA does not help itself with this sort of thing ... duhh!

That crowd in Boston can be intimidating, I guess.

At June 10, 2008 at 8:53 AM, Anonymous TND said...

some of the calls were missed...but on both ends...what people like to forget is the play right before bryant was called for a bogus offensive foul...ray allen was called for a phantom defensive foul guarding Bryant on the baseline off the ball...first play of the game? perkins was called for a phantom screen violation and then later on kg was called for a bogus offensive foul that he argued and rightly received a technical...total fouls? 28-Lakers 21-Boston does that seem super lopsided?


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