Blame the Celtics for last night, not the refs | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Blame the Celtics for last night, not the refs

Dirk game winner
Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

I'd like to say that I was surprised by the reaction to a Celtics loss in which they shot 7 free throws and their opponent shot 20.  But I wasn't.  

Many C's fans slipped into full conspiracy-theory, "the refs hate us" mode.  "20 free throws!!!  to SEVEN!  Of course the refs hate us.  There's your evidence!!"

So I asked around.  Is it me?  Did I miss something?  I watched that game and not once did I think "wow, there is an avalanche of calls going against us.  We're gonna be in trouble here."  So I went to the numbers. 

In the first quarter, the C's shot three ft's (one tech) to Dallas' two.  Pretty even.  C's ended up down four.

In the second quarter, each side shot two free throws.  Dallas outscored the C's by six and took a 50-40 halftime lead.

The THIRD QUARTER… now THAT'S where the refs really had it in for the C's.  The Mavericks shot a whopping 14 free throws to the Celtics NONE!  Of course, this is why the Mavericks extended their lead to an insurmountable…. ummm… uhhh… 

Oh… the Celtics outscored the Mavs 29-20 in that quarter.

In the fourth quarter, each side shot two free throws.  Dallas outscored the C's by one and they won by two points. 

So in the ONE quarter where the refs "CLEARLY" targeted the C's… the Celtics whipped off a huge run to come back and ended up having their best quarter of the game.  They scored 29 points… which means their offense was clicking.  They held Dallas to 20 points… a pace of 80 per game… a fantastic defensive number.

To recap:  In quarters one, two and four… the Celtics took seven free throws to Dallas' six.  The Celtics were outscored by a seven points in those quarters.  The Celtics outscored Dallas by nine in the quarter where Dallas shot 14 ft's to Boston's zero.  Makes perfect sense.

Did officials miss calls here and there?  Sure.  They always do.  Was there some inconsistency?  Yep, just like there always is.  But there was nothing egregious. 

The Celtics were outscored by 10 in the first half because they played horrible D and they were lazy on offense.  They gave up 50 points because they didn't get their hands up and they jogged instead of ran out to perimeter shooters.  They only scored 40 points because they didn't execute their offense and they had guys taking plays off.  

The Celtics lost in that fourth quarter because they turned the ball over, and they ran perhaps two of their most poorly executed out-of-bounds plays in the Big 3 era.  It looked like the days of Sebastian Telfair and Gerald Green out there in the last minute. 

THAT'S why the Celtics lost.  To pin this on officiating glosses over some horrible play by the C's last night.  It lets the Celtics off the hook in a game they could have easily won.  It insinuate the C's played well enough to win last night and it was taken away by home-crowd-influenced zebras… when they didn't play well enough to win at all.

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  • NateDiP

    I don’t know why teams don’t F-up dirk with a hard foul to start the game.
    How pathetic does Jermaine O’Neil look. The dude can barley run or jump.
    Vin Baker 03-04 5.7 RPG, 11.3 PPG, 1.5 APG, .6 BPG
    J O’Neal 10-11 3.6 RPG 5.6 PPG, .4 APG, 1.4 BPG,

  • Onions

    Jermaine O’Neal had no training camp and that interior defensive presence will be crucial for this team vs. the Heat, Lakers, and Magic. Comparing him to Vinnie Baker makes no sense.

  • bananas

    I think conspiracy theories are true… but it depends on the game… this game was inconsequential. the refs could have been inconsistent but the celtics just simply played like crap… however, the fact that there are a lot of mysterious calls in the postseason or big important televised games still remains…

  • Double P Reppin the B

    Never once did the refs enter my mind last night watching the game. People who claim the refs were the reason we lost clearly didn’t watch the actual game that was played and probably just looked at the box score and made a huge assumption. Give it the eye test, watch the actual game. I have no gripe with officiating last night, just poor, poor play by the guys in Green. Mainly in the first half.

  • NineSevenEight

    I agree. The Celtics put themselves in the penalty early in the third which led to the Mavs getting so many FTA. If there’s any blame to be placed it’s on the players that committed silly late quarter fouls in that quarter, particularly Nate on a bump and Semih fighting for a rebound. That’s at least four free throws for fouls that could have been avoided. Margin of victory: 2.
    Although, like I said before, I was really impressed with the bounce back in the second half when they could have all but given in being down 12 points on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. They turned what started off as a crappy game into one that was fun to watch coming down the stretch. When the bench finally comes together in full form, we won’t remember this loss.

  • Lee in Oregon

    well said about the refs. the Mavs got some calls cause they took it to the rack. The C’s shot jumpers.
    Not cool to compare Jermaine to Vin Baker.

  • Nora

    Points in pain Dallas 32
    Boston 38
    Seems incorrect to say Dallas went to the rack more based on the box score

  • NateDiP

    Why not?
    Vin Baker put in little to no effort and was a raging alcoholic at 32 years old and was still better than JO. What’s JO’s excuse? Crucial Interior defense? If Howard, Gasol, or Lebron decide to take it to the basket you think JO has any chance in hell of stopping them?

  • Cam

    Watching the game I didn’t notice that Dallas was shooting more free throws than us. It looked like the refs weren’t calling much at all to be honest either way. I also remember at least a few fouls where we intentionally were fouling as to not give up a layup. I think Pierce did this a couple times against Dirk. In any case it wasn’t like the Game 7 Lakers game where they just kept going to the free throw line while we were getting hammered with no calls.
    We had this game and choked it away in the last 2 minutes. Poor defensive execution (the Jason Terry 3) and poor offensive execution (our last possession of this game) were what really cost us this game

  • Nora

    Well I think if we had more then 7 FTs it would have made a big difference in the outcome considering how it turned out.

  • Nora

    7 FTs is a small amount that is less then most teams have in a HALF of a game

  • Mike Munger-Return to the Rafters

    Seeing as it’s obvious this is a shot at me I’ll take the time to respond. You made some good points. BUT, in the 3rd quarter where the Mavs only scored 20 points, getting that many FT’s shows they scored the majoity of their points in that quarter from the line. Which means our defense was great. Which means their offense sucked. So a team not playing well, not shootng well, shooting jumpers gets 14 FT’s and the teamj playing lights out, driving to the rack, being the aggressor gets 0?? Not buying it. If you want specific plays, how about KG’s last drive to the hole where he was CLEARLY fouled with no call?? yet Dirk drives into four C’s, FLOPS, and gets the call?? That right there is a 4 point swing which changes the outcome. Also, any team that shoots twice as many threes as us isn’t being aggressive.
    And if you think it’s not a trend of us getting screwed with regards to FT’s let’s look at some numbers. The Celtics are DEAD LAST in the NBA in 3 point shots attempted. Which means THEY ARE NOT SHOOTING AS MANY LONG JUMPERS!! In turn, OKC leads the NBA in 3 Pointers attempted. Would you like to guess which team has shot more FT’s this year?? OKC is #1 in the NBA in FTA’s per game. Boston is DEAD LAST in FTA’s per game. Funny logic how the more aggressive team gets less FT’s isn’t it??

  • shayseph

    I’d like to point out that the aggressive team usually gets the foul calls, not that getting lots of foul calls means you’re not being aggressive. Nor does the other team getting lots of ft’s mean that the Celtics are playing great defensively, because putting people on the line is not a great defensive strategy versus a team who is amongst the leaders in ft% every year.
    The Point Forward article by Zach Lowe of SI yesterday read that the Mavericks’s are 4th in the league in opponent’s points per possession(5th today after the Bucks destroying the Knicks last night). Which is higher than the Celtics currently(and yes, they haven’t played the same level of competition, etc., but it still means they’re pretty good.) The Celtics took 31 shots from between 16-23 feet (1/3rd of their shots) and made only 12. And, to quote the Zach Lowe article, “— a contested, mid-range shot — has been the basis of Dallas’ stinginess so far. Only five teams are allowing opponents to take more shots from the “floater” region between the rim and 10 feet out, and none are holding teams to a lower percentage on those shots than Dallas (33 percent). Boston was 5-of-18 on Monday.”
    So, 31 shots at long range, only 18 shots at close range. That blows the Celtics were the aggressors theory.
    I think the Celtics weren’t prepared for the Mavericks to be decent defensively, because there is no reason to assume that would be the case based on previous years.
    If your argument is that Celtics need to get more foul calls, that is the same kind of excuse the Mavericks made when they couldn’t win the championship in 2006. Is that how you want to appear?

  • Not necessarily a conspiracy theory but that was piss poor officiating. Regardless of runs made, the differential should NEVER be that far off in any 12 minute period.
    The celtics shoot very few 3 point shots and yet always fail to rank any where even close in f/t attempts to the rest of the league.
    It’s ridiculous to think David Stern hates Boston but it’s not unrealistic to think that most officials do!
    It’s also totally reasonable to think that the officiating is totally ruining professional
    basketball. It’s choppy, distracting to watch at times and on many occasions, the
    referees actually bring more attention to themselves than any fan would care to see.
    Fans get crazy w conspiracy theories but that’s what crazed fans often do when their team loses. Regardless, I think it’s the duty of every fan to ask questions– especially when humans control outcomes as directly as NBA officials do.
    Nice read.