It’s been funny, and by that we mean nauseating, to listen to Boston Celtic fans cry and whine about the officiating during the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Miami.
Through the opening pair of games, the Heat has attempted 20 more free throws than the Celtics and Miami’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the only two players to have attempted at least 100 free throws during the postseason.
Following Game 2, Boston general manager Danny Ainge stopped Joe Borgia, the NBA’s officiating supervisor, in an attempt to get an explanation for the clear-path foul call against Mickael Pietrus on LeBron James early in the fourth quarter.
Grantland’s Bill Simmons took to Twitter to cry about the officiating after Game 2, with the best one being this: “Last point: it’s not about favoring teams, but favoring STARS. That’s what the NBA does.”
Gee, you think so?
Interesting that Simmons fails to point out that Boston’s Paul Pierce is third on the list of most postseason free throw attempts with 98.
The thing is, the Celtics have been getting the calls to go their way for decades, as Cavs fans know all too well.
In the 1976 Eastern Conference Finals, the Miracle of Richfield Cavs took on the Celtics. The Cavs were the better team that year as the Celtics were an aging team that would see its win totals drop over the next three seasons before bottoming out with 29 victories in the 1978-79 season.
The Celtics won the series in six games thanks in large part to shooting 35 more free throws over the course of the series, including taking 25 or more in five of the six games.
The Cavs were only outscored by a total of five points in the series, so that free throw discrepancy clearly had an impact.
Now fast forward to 1985, when a 36-win Cavs team took on the 63-win Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
In winning the series in four games, the Celtics took 25 more free throws than the Cavs, including a ridiculous 39 attempts in Game 1 and an even more ridiculous 46 attempts in Game 4.
As the teams both scored 449 total points in the series, those free throws were pretty important.
Basically, it’s time for Boston to stuff it (although we’d feel a lot better if it were a team other than the Heat that was getting the better of the Celtics).