freaky fans

Editor's note: Due to some serious technical difficulties, I can't check email or use Blogger's editing functions (i.e., I can't insert links and such). So sorry for the lack of references and I apologize if I missed any cool submissions. Hopefully Al Gore will fix the Internet soon.

The Lakers for the first 40ish minutes: They were flat and stagnant on offense. They were listless and lazy on defense (a fact that was highlighted by Leon Powe's coast-to-coast -- and completely uncontested -- fourth-quarter slamma-jamma). They whined and flailed around after every call and no-call that didn't go their way (more on that below). In short: They were a complete embarrassment to the sport of basketball. And, not surprisingly, they found themselves down 95-71 with 7:55 remaining.

Kobe Bryant, quote machine: At some point during the fourth quarter, Kobe waded through the flotsam and jetsam of what was turning into a historic ass-whupping and went curse-crazy on his 'mates in the team huddle. And Mamba described his Matt Foley-esque motivational speech like this: "Get our bleep in gear. Play bleep harder, a bunch of other bleeps. It's beep, beep, beep, beep. 'Eddie Murphy Raw' times 10."

The Celtics for the last 7ish minutes: On paper, Boston played the perfect game: They shot 53 percent from the field and 9-for-16 from three-point range, won the freethrow battle by a lot (more on that below), won the rebounding battle by a little, registered an amazing 31 assists on 36 baskets -- how is that not a record? -- and took a 2-0 series lead in the NBA bleeping Finals. But as hollow victories go, this one feels about as empty as my grandpa's wooden leg. The Celtics were up by 24 with just under eight minutes to go. They were still up by 16 with 3:38 remaining. Yet that overpowering lead was cut to only two with 38 ticks left on the clock. And there wasn't a Celtic fan on this planet or any other who wasn't pissing him or herself.

How? Why?! Well, the Lakers got fired up, obviously. They got hot, too (L.A. outscored Boston 41-25 in the fourth by shooting 14-for-21 from the field and hitting seven three-pointers). But the biggest reason is that the Celtics just went to sleep. You could see it on offense, where they were simply trying to eat up as much clock as they could. You could see it on defense, where they stopped aggressively pursuing L.A.'s long-distance shooters. It was obvious they simply expected the Lakers to roll over and die quietly. You could read it on their faces, especially Paul Pierce's, with the way he was grinning and giggling all over the court (especially after he got called for travelling on a three-point attempt and nearly started humping the referees leg).

Doc Rivers certainly recognized what was going on. "We've got to play through the game for 48 minutes, and I didn't think we did that. I thought we got cute when we got the lead." True enough. But there's one problem with that statement: Isn't Doc, above anyone else, supposed to keep all that cutesy-pie stuff from happening? The Celtics might have decided to take the rest of the night off, but Doc was the one who let 'em do it.

And it's not like this is a one-game aberration. Boston twice frittered away big leads against the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. And, like last night, they won both of those games...but it's still a disturbing trend. Because if they keep screwing around, one of these nights they're going to lose that way. Hopefully, Game 2 was a wakeup call.

Update! Evil Ted thinks that the almost-comeback might actually benefit the Celtics: "From a psychology standpoint, Game 2 worked out about as well as it could have for the Celtics. After building a huge lead, the Celtics had an enormous competitive letdown (which, in my estimation, began when LEON POWE went coast-to-coast uncontested) that nearly allowed the Lakers to steal the game. For the Celtics: they learned a valuable lesson about 'losing your competitive edge' and let still managed to win the game. For the Lakers: instead of going into game 3 with an 'us against the world' and a 'we must prove ourselves' attitude that would naturally come from being decisively blown out, they crawled back into the game and nearly pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Finals history. Instead of making the Lakers feel "comfortable" for Game 3, it could just as easily strip them of the fury (and of Phil Jackson's potential 'bulletin board material') that would have come from a more humiliating loss."

Bob Delaney, Dan Crawford, Ken Mauer: Ah, once again the Officiating Menace rears it's ugly heads. Let it be known far and wide that the Celtics got a 38-10 freethrow advantage last night. Leon Powe -- who was amazing with 21 points in 15 minutes -- got more free throws than all of the Lakers combined (13-10). Not, it isn't as though Powe or the Celtics didn't earn their trips to the line; they were aggressive and they were clearly getting hit. The Lakers were getting hit too...they just weren't getting the calls. And in case you were wondering, the answer is: Yes, it had an effect on the game.

It's a damn shame, too, considering that Game 1 was so officiated so fairly. As I've said about a jillion-kazillion times before, all I want as a fan of the game is consistency in how the game is called. And when there isn't any, even when it favors my team, it makes me a little sick to my stomach.

Update! Vladimir Radmanovic's "breakaway dunk": This was an unforgivable omission by me on the first go-around. Thanks to Josh for the following reminder: "I can't believe you didn't mention the unfathomable no-call on Radmanovich's steal/breakaway dunk with a few minutes left...dude walked halfway to L.A. on that play." You're so very right, Josh. My bad. Here's the video:

The Lakers' bitching and moaning: There's no question they deserved more calls than they got (although probably not as many as they think they should have gotten). One terrible no-call that springs to mind was a Kevin Garnett "block" on Pau Gasol that was all forearm. The problem is, after suffering a handful of uncalled thwacks and watching Powe put on a freethrow shooting exhibition, the Lakers totally lost their composure. They started complaining and overreacting after almost every miss, regardless of how much contact was or wasn't made. Kobe was cursing at the officials and eventually got T'd up for it.

Quick lesson, kids: Yelling at the refs is not going to win them over to your way of thinking. And it didn't do the Lakers any good last night. I wouldn't be surprised if their whining actually cost them some calls they might otherwise have gotten. Because that's what happens, just like makeup calls happen.

Phil Jackson, never one to shy away from blasting anyone in his path, had plenty to say about the officiating. "I'm more struck by the fact that Leon Powe gets more foul shots than our whole team does in (Powe's) 14 minutes of play. That's ridiculous. You can't play from a deficit like that; that we had in that half, 19-2 in the first half. I've never seen a game like that in all these years I’ve coached in the Finals. Unbelievable. I think my players got fouled, I have no question about the fact my players got fouled and didn't get to the line. Specifically I can enumerate a few things, but I'm not going to get into that." Oh, heavens no. Clearly he doesn't want to get into that.

The Lakers coach wasn't the only one riding in the wah-mbulance last night. Kobe did it do, although subtly ("Guys were getting hit going to the basket and not always being called.") while Sasha Vujacic stated his case a little more clearly ("You can't do anything because if you do anything they're going to go to the line. We went to line 10 times. It will be a different story in L.A.").

That's an interesting excuse for L.A.'s lackluster defensive effort (presumably that's why none of the Lakers wanted to so much as wave a red cape in front of Powe during his last mad dash to the basket). But in my experience, showing up the refs during the game and blasting them in the press doesn't really benefit a team. At least, not immediately. I kind of expect the officiating to be fairly even in Game 3 and then tilt pretty far in the Lakers favor in Game 4. But we'll see.

Sam Cassell: E.T. was in the game for about half a second before he forced up his first shot. The dude has become a straight-up gunner. And he was shooting blanks last night (0-for-2 in 6 minutes). It's gotten so bad that even Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are making fun of him (one of them, I forget which, responded to a rare Cassell non-shot by saying, "Look, Sam actually passed the ball this time" or something to that effect).

Mark Jackson: Listen to Mark lose his bleeping mind and compare Leon Powe to...well, just listen for yourself.

The NBA: Notice how they added a center line to the court for Game 2? How is it they didn't think of that any earlier?

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Blogger Wild Yams said...
I'm pretty much with you on all of this.

The officiating - I just want consistency, and even though it was somewhat inconsistent last night for both teams, I really worry that suddenly we'll see a 38-10 advantage in the Lakers' favor once it switches to LA. I'm almost of the opinion that there's no doubt something like that will happen, and that's a pretty sad commentary on the NBA.

The Lakers' reaction to the officiating - Whether they really felt that they simply had to play lax defense due to the way things were being called, or whether they were simply taken out of their mental approach to the game by the whistles, neither one is acceptable. If the refs are gonna call things closer than you'd prefer, you absolutely can not just lay down on defense and then whine later. Make them keep calling those fouls, and if you foul out, then so be it. Whining about having most of your team foul out is preferable, to me anyway, than whining that you didn't want to play defense cause you were afraid of being called. If it was just that the refs threw off your concentration, then grow up. You're a professional and you can't be expected to win a championship without overcoming some adversity. Suck it up and do what you need to do.

The Lakers' lack of defense - I've long felt the Lakers have the ability to play good D, they're just inconsistent about it. Last night they mailed it in on that end. This is the difference between a team like the Celtics, who have made a full commitment to playing D, and a team like the Lakers who feel like they can play it when they need to. Missing Bynum and Ariza for the last 4 months or so definitely hurt their ability to play defense, but that doesn't excuse the half-assed mindset they've had to that end of the floor.

I have a feeling the attention paid to the officiating in this series is going to get ugly by the time it's all said and done.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- You said: "I have a feeling the attention paid to the officiating in this series is going to get ugly by the time it's all said and done." Yeah. And just like the one thing I want is consistency, the one thing I don't want is to have to worry about watching, discussing, or thinking about the officiating. I thoroughly enjoyed Game 1, partly because Boston won, and partly because it was one of the best officiated games in the entire playoffs this year. Sure, there were a handful of bad calls or no-calls, but nothing egregious; it was consistent and fair both ways.

Last night? Not so much.

And we both agree that the Lakers responded poorly. Note that they didn't start making their run until they shut the hell up and just played the game. The Celtics may have learned a lesson on the need to finish a game, but the Lakers might have learned a lesson just as valuable.

Blogger Justin Tenuto said...
Forget Dr. J; does anyone else think Leon Powe looks like Jason Richardson's little brother? I do. And when I said this last night, my buddy said it made me a racist. So now I think Leon Powe looks like David Spade.

Joe Dirt can ball it up.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@justin - haha I can see a small resemblance between Powe and J-Rich. It's not that much but I kinda see what you mean. If anything, I always thought Rodney Stuckey looks a little like 50 Cent and Kevin Garnett looks a little like DMX.

For officiating: I know I read somewhere that what seperated Popovich from many other coaches was that Pop understands how the games were being called by the Refs and he makes adjustments so that his team can maximize toughness/hitting if the Refs are calling a relaxed game, or he will have his players be careful about contact if the Refs are calling a tight and controlled game. Does Phil Jackson not have this quality? I did some research on Jordan for fun and apparently he has only fouled out 10 times EVER, though he is still up there for total # of personal fouls.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
What's really most bothersome about the officiating last night and the threat of a reverse happening in LA is that this is supposedly the Finals matchup that will draw in all these fringe basketball fans who haven't been watching much the last few years. Add to that, this is the first Finals since the Donaghy scandal. Those two things mean this is really the worst time possible for the NBA to suffer some wild outcry over unbalanced officiating. The league finally gets its dream matchup and it's threatening to turn into one long illustration of one of the major problems with the league and its opacity regarding officiating.

I can't express my frustration adequately enough when the damn officiating is what dominates the talk on the day after a game. Will the league ever do anything to address the concerns people have with it? Even if there really is no problem with the officiating, the overwhelming opinion of most true fans is that there is; so if the league really, truly believes there isn't and have their own metrics to back it up then they need to disclose those things to us. How great would it be to not have to look at a free throw difference like last night's and know for sure that the game was basically called correctly (or at least to know that whatever bad or missed calls evened out)? Instead all we're left with is looking at that difference and just feeling like something must have been amiss.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
It certainly doesn't hurt the assist/field goal ratio when they credit Rondo with an assist on Powe's coast-to-coast dunk.

/Boston Homers

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ Justin- that's "Dir-TAY", it's French, you nationalist.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
justin -- Holy crap. Ha!

johnny drama -- Don't forget that Jordan knew how to work over refs like no other. His methods are described at length (with actual quotes from Jordan himself) in the book When Nothing Else Matters. Jordan knew ever ref individually. He knew which ones needed to evil staredown, he knew which ones he had to joke with, he knew which ones he could debate with, etc. And NO ref ever wanted to foul Jordan out of a game. David Stern has one of those Dr. Evil button displays on his desk, and he can just tap a ref's button to drop him into a fiery pit.

wild yams -- You know what I think would work? Remember when Henry Abbott interviewed that ref several months ago (I forgot his name). Bennett Salvatore I think. Anyway, he went on to explain things that went on in the 2006 Finals and proved that certain disputed calls were on the money (this was the now-infamous Dwyane Wade gets 20 FTAs a game series). I think it would be great if the NBA would select a handful of "disputed" games, like last night's Lakers-Celtics game, and break it down play-by-play to show us what mistakes were and weren't made. That way, we might get a better perspective on when Kobe actually got hit and when he was acting to get the foul (which happens plenty). Then, they could explain how they go about fixing the mistakes that did happen.

I think that seeing it on film would go a long way toward easing the minds of the fans.

anonymous #1 -- Crap. Really??

Blogger Unknown said...
I can't believe you didn't mention the unfathomable no-call on Radmanovich's steal/breakaway dunk with a few minutes left...dude walked halfway to L.A. on that play.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
After the Donaghy scandal (which Heir Stern has done nothing tangible to fix), the fact that everyone has been talking about officiating during these playoffs more than anything else is bad news. The officiating in almost every series has been nothing short of terrible. Fans of one team can cite a credible case of terrible officiating that went against their team, and another fan can retort with 2 examples re: their team. And neither is wrong or bitter - they're just stating facts!

My interest in the NBA has taken a big hit this year due to this. I was so excited for the playoffs, yet so many games have been gifted to one team or another by the refs. It's gotten to the point where I truly believe the biggest X factor in any game is the officiating crew. Game 1 was great because, while not perfect, there was no way any fan could complain about bias for one team over another.

NBA refs are more like figure skating judges than actual sporting officials. And Heir Stern is way too arrogant to admit to a problem, let alone fix it.

Blogger Justin Tenuto said...
Basketbawful: Your invocation of the dread 2006 Finals is apt. Wasn't that a series in which a physical, aggressive Eastern team bullied a favored West squad out of their game, into passivity, and into a strategy that can best be described as "petulant whining"?

Now, I hates me some Kobe, but Kobe's no Dirk. I don't expect the Lakers to go down like the Mavs did (and continue to). But LA fans need to wash the homer soap out of their eyes and realize that Boston D'ed them up for seven quarters. Beyond the comeback-that-almost-was, I can't remember the Lakers or Kobe (two different entities to be sure) getting any uncontested shots. Was the foul disparity large? Sure. But the Lakers were swiping, pulling, and slapping while the Celtics were playing something basketball types call "defense." The Lakers were playing pick-up ball D.

That said, Game 3 is set to be a travesty of all things holy. Who's ready to see Jack Nicholson 4,000 times in three hours?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ basketbawful - i remember watching a handful of shows on nba tv (might have been called nba daily) a few years back where ronnie nunn would come in and dissect plays to explain why they were called they way they were. granted, none of the plays in question were highly controversial, but you could tell the nba was trying to create faith in the system

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Maybe it's just me, but I always find myself far, far more irritated with the refs when rather than neglecting to call a foul when there clearly is one, they instead call a foul where the replay shows there wasn't one. Whenever I see the refs blow the whistle and then the replay shows there was nothing there I can't help but feel the refs are just making anticipatory calls, or they're just assuming there must have been contact. I think a lot of times when a guy drives the lane and gets surrounded by a bunch of players, it's not even that realistic to think the refs could have clearly seen everything, so if they see a guy flail on his way to the hoop they'll just assume he got hit and call the foul. I would prefer the refs err on the side of not making a call rather than calling something that isn't there. I understand the refs are under pressure to call something as soon as it happens (late whistles always infuriate everyone), but better to call something late and get it right than to make an incorrect assumption.

I don't really know what would solve things via the officiating. I would like to see the league maybe release a tape of each game the next day whereby all the questionable calls are highlighted and the league states whether the calls were made correctly or not. Then based on those tapes I'd like to see "scores" kept on every ref so we can all see definitively who the best refs are. The NBA claims they do something like this anyway, they just don't release the results to the public. If the NBA addressed it like "we know this is a problem, and we're going to attempt to fix it. This is just a first step" then I think that would go a long way to calming down a lot of the criticisms. I just feel like they need to admit that there is a problem first and begin widespread, open dialogue about it before any real clear resolution can become available. I do know this: burying their heads in the sand and pretending everything is fine is not helping the league one bit.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
van gundy was hysterical at the end

"that could be the most embarassing statement uttered on the ABC airwaves"


Blogger 80's NBA said...
Phil Jackson: "I've never seen a game like that in all these years I’ve coached in the Finals. Unbelievable."

Yeah, it's unbelievable he has the balls to bitch like that. Shaq basically steamrolled over anyone who got near him in the paint in all the Finals games he was in with the Lakers. The ratio of "charges" to "blocking fouls" was about 1-in-276 when Shaq had the ball around the basket.

And several others have already mentioned Jordan. A defensive player couldn't even get near (let alone touch him) without the whistle blowing during the Bulls championship run.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Van Gundy was going on--I think in the first half--about how one of the biggest problems in the NBA is the consistency of officiating from night to night.

Say what you want about Van Gundy, but he was calling out the NBA there. I couldn't believe my ears. Did I really hear it?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
if stu jackson has anything to do with the ref situation then expect it to snowball until he walks away from his post. pretty much what he did with the grizz but on a slightly bigger scale

Blogger Wild Yams said...
80's NBA, due to extreme boredom, I actually went back and looked at the box scores of all 57 Finals games that Phil Jackson has been a part of, and it turns out that he's right: last night was the largest free throw difference between any of the teams involved in any of those games. The closest two other examples I could find were Game 3 of the 1993 Finals where the Bulls were on the wrong end of a big discrepancy, with Phoenix getting 31 FTs to only 9 by the Bulls (a 22 FT difference), and then Game 4 of the 2002 Finals when the Lakers had a 21 FT advantage over New Jersey, 37 to 16. Another game of note was Game 2 of the 2000 Finals where Shaq alone had 39 FTs, which equaled Indiana's total (the Lakers finished with 57, for an 18 FT disparity). Also of note is the last time the Lakers were in the Finals, when they didn't hold a FT shooting advantage in any of the 5 games that year, and where they were on the wrong end of a 17 FT disparity and a 19 FT disparity in consecutive games against Detroit.

In looking at all those box scores, what jumped out at me was how close the FT totals usually were. There was the occasional game like the ones above where there was a big discrepancy one way or the other, but for the most part the calls were pretty close. To put last night's 28 FT discrepancy in the proper context, one only need look at the infamous Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals in which the Lakers defeated the Kings, thus prompting Ralph Nader to request an inquiry into the NBA's officiating. In that game the Lakers held a 40 to 25 FT advantage, for a difference of 15 free throws, or just about half of the advantage Boston had last night. Last night's 28 FT disparity between the teams was also greater than the disparity was in any of the Lakers-Jazz games in the 2nd round this year, so if you can remember how outraged you were after some of those games, keep in mind that this was even worse.

Phil Jackson wasn't lying when he said he'd never seen a Finals game called that way.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
re: game 2 of the '00 finals - FYI the pacers were using the hack-a-shaq throughout the game, wrapping him up at midcourt and such. silly strategy considering kobe was out in the 1st with an ankle sprain

this whole issue is really unfortunate for everyone except the celtic fanboys (die hard fans excluded). as much as i'd like to see LA climb out of this whole, i'm not willing to settle for a run of officiating similar to the heat's run in '06. if i'm not mistaken, the lakers were in the penalty with about 10 mins to go in the 2nd quarter, and powe shot FTS for the fouls that got them to that point too.

justin - i can't believe i'm siding with sasha on this but it really seemed like LA wasn't allowed to D up anyone, let alone powe. if kg's going to ride gasol on layups then that same contact should be called on the other end. i'm not taking anything away from powe but it's clearly taking more contact for anything to be called on the celtics. i suppose those are the perks of being a DPOY as the offsetting fouls are called on brown & perkins instead (and yes, i do love me some KG in spite of this - but i prefer the fun police version)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
No true Laker fan who watched that game really has a problem with the 38 fts the celtics shot. They may not have liked it but we fouled them, a lot.

The grip that Phil and everyone else has is how on earth does an entire team shoot 10 fts. Half their shots came from the paint. 38 to 20 would be servicable. Give them something out there.

No one is going to want to watch LA shoot 50 fts in game three because that is going to happen. This is ruining the credibility of the sport.

Blogger Evil Ted said...

1.) As I pointed out in last game's comments, that center line-less logo was an issue. Thanks to me, they fixed it.

2.) How come when I gripe about officiating, everyone yells at me, and when the rest of you do it, you're all nice-nice with each other? I guess being evil invites anger. My view:

My assertion that officiating is consistently horrible stands, but I don't feel as vehemently as Bawful that there was some grand disparity due to ref incompetence. There were a few calls that didn't go the Lakers' way (the KG "block" on Gasol being obvious in slow mo), and the first 2 or 3 fouls called on Kobe were ticky-tack foolishness, but other than that, I didn't see much (I realize that saying "other than that" is practically an admission that I have grown sadly tolerant of bad officiating...). Anyway, other than the above stated items, I didn't see much else that should have gone the Lakers' way. And I look. I am the first passenger on the "Where did the officials mess up?" train, and what I saw was a deflated Lakers team get sledgehammered. And Leon "Pow" Powe got a lot of foul shots because he was the most aggressive player on the floor. And there was a large discrepancy in free throws because the Celtics played aggressive offense and very sound defense that kept Kobe out of the paint. Thanks to Justin for pointing that out.

NBA officiating is still a mess, but the better team won last night.

3.) I truly have no idea what to expect out of either team or out of the officials for Game 3. I agree with the last anonymous about what refereeing has done to the credibility of the sport, but instead of "is ruining," I would say "has ruined." The NBA has a deep hole out of which it must crawl.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
You really think the officiating will be even for Game 3? I highly doubt it, with the whole 2-3-2-must-make-series-goto-atleast-6-games thing going on.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
ET - The main issue ultimately does come down to the free throw disparity. I checked the infamous 2006 Finals in which everyone seems in agreement that the refs pretty much gifted the championship to Wade and the Heat, and the biggest FT disparity in any one of those games was +24 attempts for Miami in Game 5, so even in that series the difference wasn't as pronounced as it was in Game 2 the other day. Phil Jackson was absolutely right in pointing out that in 14 minutes of play Leon Powe had 13 FT attempts on only 7 field goals, yet in 246 minutes of play the entire Laker team had only 10 free throws on 83 field goals. There really is no defense for that. If you personally don't remember seeing much that you disagreed with, keep in mind that you're a Celtics fan, so it's less likely that you would see calls going Boston's way that you'd disagree with. While I definitely agree that the Lakers needed to be professionals and just play through that, you can't deny that such a large free throw disparity definitely had an effect on the outcome of the game.

You are definitely right that the NBA has an enormous hole to dig out of as far as the officiating is concerned, and it's been in that same hole for a long time now. For once I'd like to see them actually try to dig themselves out of the hole rather than just digging it deeper. There better not be any more of these officiating shenanigans in the Finals, otherwise they're going to ruin yet another championship the way they did in 2006.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I find it extremely ironic that the Lakers are a team that has to complain about officiating. Aren't they the ones that almost always get the good end of the stick with the officiating? Against the Jazz, the Lakers were getting what the Celtics got in game 2 almost every single game. Against the Spurs they got there fair share of calls too. Oh wait, they now are playing the Celtics, a team that actually means just as much or a little more than the Lakers to the Association. Just goes to show you show pathetic (corrupt, maybe?) officiating is in this league. I hate it when a sport can be almost completely controlled by the guys in the stripes.

Blogger Brad Bogner said...
The Lakers for the first 40ish minutes: They were flat and stagnant on offense. They were listless and lazy on defense (a fact that was highlighted by Leon Powe's coast-to-coast -- and completely uncontested -- fourth-quarter slamma-jamma). They whined and flailed around after every call and no-call that didn't go their way (more on that below). In short: They were a complete embarrassment to the sport of basketball. And, not surprisingly, they found themselves down 95-71 with 7:55 remaining.

....The Lakers were winning after the first quarter.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Anonymous - I find it extremely ironic that the Lakers are a team that has to complain about officiating. Aren't they the ones that almost always get the good end of the stick with the officiating? Against the Jazz, the Lakers were getting what the Celtics got in game 2 almost every single game. Against the Spurs they got there fair share of calls too.

A couple points here:

#1 - As I pointed out above, in the Lakers-Jazz series there was never once a free throw disparity as great as what we saw in Game 2 of this series. While the Lakers did generally get more (even much more) free throw attempts in that series, in Game 4 the Jazz attempted 20 more free throws than the Lakers did. It should also be noted (as it has, endlessly) that the Jazz led the league this year as they have the last couple years in fouls and free throw attempts allowed, so it's not surprising when they're on the short end of free throw attempts.

#2 - In the Lakers-Spurs series it was San Antonio who actually shot more free throws than LA did. People who bring this series up as evidence that LA is always bolstered by the refs are clearly uninformed and are letting their bias against the Lakers do their thinking for them. Keep in mind that Kobe Bryant, "the protected one", only shot ten total free throws in that series. If the refs were trying to help the Lakers advance last round, they were rather lazy in their efforts.

#3 - This is the most important point: Laker fans pointing out unjust or unbalanced officiating is not "ironic" and just because the Lakers are the ones who aren't receiving the benefits of this poor officiating doesn't somehow make it right. Bad officiating is bad officiating and any true NBA fan should be upset with it, regardless of which team it helps or hurts. If you see a Laker fan saying something like "the refs better make up for it by calling everything LA's way in these next three games" then they're an idiot. All any true fan should hope to see is fair and consistent reffing. Anyone who wants to see their team propped up by biased or just generally crappy officiating is not a good fan. Bad officiating, whether it helps a glamor team like the Lakers, or whether it hurts them, is always bad for the NBA. It is especially bad when the league is hoping to lure back disgruntled fans who haven't been watching the last few years with this "marquee matchup" of Lakers-Celtics. Nothing is going to turn off fans (fringe and diehard alike) faster than the impression that the games are either fixed, or that the officiating is so bad that the players don't really control the outcomes of the games.

I am hoping that Game 2 will be the sole aberration of this championship round so that we can all just go back to discussing the basketball play itself, rather than the guys with the whistles and/or Stern twirling his mustache as he hatches insidious plots and manufactures drama.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yeah right. Joe Crawford and Bennet Salvatore are doing game three. no chance in hell david stern loses.

shit, that should say no chance in hell the lakers lose. but you could really say both of those sentences and be correct though.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Yams - I'm not a huge "free throw differential" guy. I try to watch the game to see if I notice anything egregious on any given play. I will grant, however, that my focus may have been in the wrong place: rather than focusing on Lakers' no-calls, I could have paid a tad more attention to Celtics calls. I do think the Celts were getting foul calls on the offensive end a little too often, which may be where a guy like Powe has a game like he did.

I think at some point in this string, you indicated you'd rather see a no-call on a foul than a call on no foul. In other words, "let 'em play." I'm in that same boat. In other words, absent any muggings, I'd rather see a 16-12 free throw differential than a 42-38 free throw differential. And if things go in the opposite direction (i.e. 50 Lakers' free throws to Celtics' 10) in L.A., then I think it will "dig the officiating hole" deeper for sure. The disparity in game two was certainly too large, but the Celtics were far more aggressive, plain and simple. If the Lakers get a lot of calls in Games 3 through 5, I can only hope that they earn it with solid, aggressive offense and not with acting jobs that sucker officials.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
ET - I most definitely would rather see a game with as few whistles and free throws as possible, for both sides. The game is always just more fun to watch when it's not constantly being stopped by the refs (or the players trying to induce the refs into calling something). A game with less than 30 free throws total for both teams would be heaven-sent. IMO refs should always be under the strictest of instructions to not call anything unless they absolutely, 100% sure saw a foul. There is nothing more frustrating than the game being stopped when it didn't need to be.

I've seen the "the Celtics were more aggressive" argument, but I've also seen some people put up a whole bunch of stats that they say shows the Lakers shot just as many layups and dunks as the Celtics did (a telling stat for me in Game 2 was at halftime the Lakers held a 24-12 points in the paint advantage, while Boston held a 19-2 free throw advantage). I honestly don't know which is true. I thought the Lakers came out fairly aggressive, and even held a rebounding advantage for much of the first half, but at the end of the first quarter three Laker starters had two fouls, and at the half two Laker starters had three fouls each while four other Laker players had two apiece. Right or wrong, that is going to affect a team's aggressiveness. As I said above, if I was coaching the team I would have told them to keep being aggressive and if the refs decide to foul them all out, then I'd rather complain about that after the game than just the free throws. The reffing was bad, but so was the Lakers' reaction to it.

If the refs call a game (or two or three) equally bad in the Lakers' favor, believe me I'm going to be just as annoyed. I hope they call it fairly and consistently so I can believe that the correct team is winning the games based on the merits of their play. Without that belief, it makes it hard for anyone to be a fan.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yams- is your company hiring? I want to write 50 comment pages on a basketball blog per day and look up box scores from the 1993 finals and compare them to this year's games on a Monday too!

Seriously, bro- how do I get myself into a gig like that? Could you pass on my resume to your boss?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- You point out that the Lakers had a 24-12 advantage in the paint at halftime while Boston had a 19-2 FTA advantage.

But in a sense, that makes sense: The Celtics were getting fouled in the paint (particularly Powe). That would explain much of the discrepancy in the paint scoring (that and Boston got into the penalty early in the second quarter and ended up going to the line a lot).

Blogger starang said...
No mention of Paul Pierce pooping his pants a little bit!!! I thought for sure you would catch that!

If you look very closely, there was a slo-mo replay of the Radmanovic dunk in which he literaly took 4 steps. Well, to start the replay, the cameraman in is behind Pierce before he turns the ball over resulting in the dunk. If you look very closely, Pierce has a dookie stain right where I would naturally assume his anus is.

Which bring up some Highschool, our freshman team played Deer Valley Highschool at DV, and this poor freshman from DV crapped his pants bigtime while in the game. His shorts were no longer white in the back. And his face was red. He played a couple of possesions with dookie in his draws. Then the coach took him out.

I'm glad he wasn't boxing me out.

I will try to find photographic evidence that Pierce poo'ed his pants, and send it to you.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Anonymous - Look who's talking! I see you posting far more than anyone else all over the web! :)

Mr. Bawful - I thought about that but I wasn't sure how scorekeepers counted that. I know FTs count in the "points off turnovers" department, but I wasn't sure if they also get counted in "points in the paint" or "fast break points" categories. In any event, it's impossible to know how many of those free throws the Celtics shot in the first half were due to drives as opposed to away from the ball fouls, or in the penalty touch fouls on the perimeter or whatever. The points in the paint difference however does show that at the very worst if the Celtics were "more aggressive" it was by a rather small margin, and not the +18 free throws (one of the two Laker FTs in the 1st half was a technical) that there were.

My point is that to say that the Celtics were definitely more aggressive in the first half is wrong, and the stats back that up. You could make the case that the Lakers were overly aggressive in some areas, and that is why they had six players in foul trouble at halftime and were faced with a monumental free throw disparity; but 24 of their 42 first half points coming in the paint definitely shows that they weren't being passive on offense. For whatever reason the refs just seemed to be rewarding the Celtics on one end and letting them play on the other. Hopefully we won't see any more games officiated like this for the rest of the way.

Blogger 80's NBA said...
wild yams:
"due to extreme boredom, I actually went back and looked at the box scores."

Damn, I'm impressed. You can't argue with stats. Technically, yes, Jacko is right. I was just remembering the nearly "untouchable" status of his 2 main guns during their championship runs. When he looks back at those, he's gotta at least recognize their star power and what it did for them. Go back and watch games from 2000 and tell me Shaq didn't have twice as many fouls than he was called for.

One last thing...what site did you find those box scores on? (I hope it was a website you found them on, and not from a notebook that you keep and update every year. That would be scary.)