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.