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Sunday, October 26, 2014

NYT: Why Fouls Are a Major Factor in Heat-Knicks Series

Over at the Timeses, I kvetch statistical about the role fouls — and aggressiveness — have played in the series thus far:

Through the first two games of the playoffs, there has been much consternation about Miami’s notable free throw advantage over the Knicks, with the Heat having twice as many foul shots (60) as New York (30), which included a 33-11 deficit in Game 1. Not surprisingly, such a deficit was reflected in a 48-34 foul disparity.

But while it’s easy for Knicks fans to contemplate conspiracy theories, a quick glance at the numbers (provided by NBA.com) reveals how the Heat’s aggressiveness has helped contribute to the series’ scoring chasm – at the free throw line and beyond.

That one hurt to write.

89 comments on “NYT: Why Fouls Are a Major Factor in Heat-Knicks Series

  1. ruruland

    Nice job, Jim.

    It should be noted that a favorable whistle is not just the result of aggression– it has a compounding effect– it encourages the team receiving that whistle to be even more aggressive and the team getting called for fouls to lose some of its defensive aggression.

    Moreover, the team that’s called for multiple offensive fouls in a short period — some of which are 50/50 charge/block calls — also (often) lose their aggression driving to the basket. And when they don’t get calls at the basket???

    To me, what we’ve seen is a higher proportion of calls received for Heat players than Knicks players driving to the basket and towards contact — increasing the Heats confidence in going to the basket and decreasing the Knicks desire to go the basket.

    The exact opposite has happened to the Knicks — I see a team that loses its desire to go to the basket because of the extremely high rate of offensive fouls and the comparably lower proportion of defensive calls on the Heat when the Knicks drive to the rim.

    Without getting into why officials get caught up calling one-sided games, there’s no doubt that it’s a vicious cycle that’s amplified when you have a team that plays like the Heat.

    if it happens again at the Garden tonight, there very well could be something going on that has nothing to do with the players playing the game.

  2. cgreene

    I agree with exactly what Ruru said in @1.

    Jim, I think you miss your point here:
    “Through the first two games, 35 percent of the Heat’s shot attempts have come from nine feet or less from the basket (50 of 153), with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and their teammates hitting at a gaudy 68 percent clip from that range (34 out of 50). While the Knicks have similarly attempted 35 percent of their shots in and around the paint (55 of 147), they’ve only converted on 53 percent of them.”

    This shows that Knicks are being exactly as aggressive as the Heat not less so. And THE REASON they are only converting at 53% is potentially because they are getting fouled and not having those fouls called??? It would be more interesting too see where shots in the paint where there was contact created and the foul disparity there.

  3. TheRant

    They can remedy the whole thing by waiting for the first Heat drive to the basket tonight, calling a Flagrant Two, and then throwing the relevant Heat player out of the game.

    Then I’ll believe the series isn’t a fix.

    Otherwise I’ll think that someone at HQ thinks LeBron’s bad acting is the economic future of the league. And we’ll just have to max out Jeremy Lin’s contract and wait for further Chinese economic ascension, so that Lin can drive to the basket next season and David Stern will cower each time he does so.

  4. ruruland

    Anyone else have theories as to why, with the exact same ratio of shots in the paint, the Heat have shot twice as many free throws and have been called for two offensive fouls to the Knicks 7??

    Lebron James has been called for a total of 3 fouls in the series, this despite tackling JR Smith and other egregious follies — how many flops have been rewarded?? How many light-contact plays at the rim have been called for Lebron??

    What about the taunting technical on Chandler?

    It’s quite clearly been very one-sided, and it’s had a substantial effect on the series.

  5. d-mar

    LeBron is getting the ultimate star treatment when it comes to fouls, and I guess he “deserves” it since he is the best player in the game. But the man has THREE TOTAL FOULS in the first 2 games, and he’s not exactly guarding Steve Novak. I think the one that made me the most insane was when he tackled JR Smith after an outlet pass and then scored, at that point I started throwing things around the room.

    Will be interesting to see if things change at all tonight

  6. Jim Cavan Post author

    cgreene: This shows that Knicks are being exactly as aggressive as the Heat not less so. And THE REASON they are only converting at 53% is potentially because they are getting fouled and not having those fouls called??? It would be more interesting too see where shots in the paint where there was contact created and the foul disparity there.

    I had the same thought. Unfortunately, without going back over and watching both games again — was on a deadline, so that was impossible — it’s hard to say where, exactly, those fouls were called. But if memory serves, a vast, vast majority of them were within 15 feet and / or in the paint.

    Truth be told, I agree that the refs have been far too easy with the whistles when the Heat drive. That is, I’ve been more upset by the bevy of calls against the Knicks, than I have the lack of calls against the Heat; the Knicks just aren’t being aggressive enough to warrant them.

    Which gets back to the “conventional wisdom” that aggressive teams get the calls. Which of course is bullshit, and shouldn’t be the case.

    I actually have a piece in the works that outlines a new system by which players (or teams) call their own fouls. Can’t divulge too much in the way of details, but suffice it to say this series was the impetus for writing it.

  7. thenamestsam

    Interesting numbers. I think Miami has gotten a friendly whistle so far, but they’ve been at home and they’re the title favorites. With home court tonight the whistles should turn somewhat in our favor. I also think though that part of the distinction has to do simply with the quality of the players rather than anything to do with the refs.

    In resposne to Ruru I’d say, They’ve drawn more offensive fouls because they have players who are better at drawing them (especially with Jeffries out), and they have players who can challenge shots without fouling (we have only Chandler in this category and he hasn’t played much yet).

    The stats begin to tell a story, but as with all other basketball stats they can’t prove anything alone. To me the series has been reffed slightly in their favor so far, but no more than what I’d expect given the situation. People crying conspiracy are complete fools. This is the marquee 1st round matchup, and you think the NBA wants to make it into a one-sided blowout? Asinine.

  8. Knicks4Eva

    Toward the end of game 2 I remember Lebron being frustrated with the officials because he tried to foul Melo (they had a foul to give) and it wasn’t called.

    That says a lot.

    In addition to the frustration caused by the foul-during-play discrepancy, I’m extremely irritated by the T on Chandler for taunting…when Wade and James could be called for that after about 50% of their scoring plays.

    Then again I’ve hated the Heat for so long that I know I’m not even close to objective.

  9. Kikuchiyo

    There are some signs that point to a more favorable outcome in this respect tonight. The change in venue should help, and flu-ridden Chandler was certainly a problem in both finishing on offense and preventing fouls/baskets on d. He’ll be a lot better tonight, especially without El Matador D himself, Amar’e, at the 4. (I’m not so rosy about the offense without STAT.)

    LeBron and Wade are simply incredible at diving toward the basket and avoiding obvious charges. How many times did Jeffries himself stop a team’s momentum this year by taking a charge? LeBron or Wade seem to rarely give refs the easy charge call. (That said, I’ve always been disappointed by Wade’s preference for getting to the FT line with dubious calls. I was very happy that Dallas avenged the tainted Finals of ’06.)

  10. ruruland

    thenamestsam:
    Interesting numbers. I think Miami has gotten a friendly whistle so far, but they’ve been at home and they’re the title favorites. With home court tonight the whistles should turn somewhat in our favor. I also think though that part of the distinction has to do simply with the quality of the players rather than anything to do with the refs.

    In resposne to Ruru I’d say, They’ve drawn more offensive fouls because they have players who are better at drawing them (especially with Jeffries out), and they have players who can challenge shots without fouling (we have only Chandler in this category and he hasn’t played much yet).

    The stats begin to tell a story, but as with all other basketball stats they can’t prove anything alone. To me the series has been reffed slightly in their favor so far, but no more than what I’d expect given the situation. People crying conspiracy are complete fools. This is the marquee 1st round matchup, and you think the NBA wants to make it into a one-sided blowout? Asinine.

    NBA “conspiracies” are real. But not getting into that.

    Dick Bavetta is still in the league. That’s all you really need to know.

  11. thenamestsam

    Knicks4Eva:
    Toward the end of game 2 I remember Lebron being frustrated with the officials because he tried to foul Melo (they had a foul to give) and it wasn’t called.

    That says a lot.

    In addition to the frustration caused by the foul-during-play discrepancy, I’m extremely irritated by the T on Chandler for taunting…when Wade and James could be called for that after about 50% of their scoring plays.

    Then again I’ve hated the Heat for so long that I know I’m not even close to objective.

    The Chandler one was frustrating, and it shouldn’t be a tech in my opinion, but it’s not really comparable to what Lebron and Wade do. Those guys do plenty of celebrating, but essentially none of it is aggressive towards the other team. If Chandler had given a massive fist pump or pounded his chest or done Wade’s weird crouch thing there is no way he gets t’ed up. But Chandler’s was way more aggressive. He wasn’t celebrating as much as staring down Miller like he wanted to fight him and while I love the attitude, that is undeniably the kind of thing that leads to a series getting chippy and potentially results in fights. Refs are much quicker to put a stop to that than they are with ordinary celebration.

  12. ruruland

    thenamestsam:
    Interesting numbers. I think Miami has gotten a friendly whistle so far, but they’ve been at home and they’re the title favorites. With home court tonight the whistles should turn somewhat in our favor. I also think though that part of the distinction has to do simply with the quality of the players rather than anything to do with the refs.

    In resposne to Ruru I’d say, They’ve drawn more offensive fouls because they have players who are better at drawing them (especially with Jeffries out), and they have players who can challenge shots without fouling (we have only Chandler in this category and he hasn’t played much yet).

    The stats begin to tell a story, but as with all other basketball stats they can’t prove anything alone. To me the series has been reffed slightly in their favor so far, but no more than what I’d expect given the situation. People crying conspiracy are complete fools. This is the marquee 1st round matchup, and you think the NBA wants to make it into a one-sided blowout? Asinine.

    Oftentimes one-sided officiating has nothing to do with anything conscious or any ulterior motives.

    In this instance, at least so far, I don’t think it has anything do with a conspiracy — either from the individual officials and their connections or the league.

    But if it happens again tonight I’ll likely change my mind.

    When we talk about “conspiracies” let’s avoid the fallacy that the league is always operating as a monolith, trying to increase ad revenue — though that has happened and the most obvious cases are well….. ridiculously obvious.

    Whenever there is a huge amount of money going into something and a few people operating under the guise of objectivity can alter the outcome and swing huge amounts of money one way or another, you’re always going to be susceptible to “conspiracies.”

  13. Nick C.

    ruruland: Anyone else have theories as to why, with the exact same ratio of shots in the paint, the Heat have shot twice as many free throws and have been called for two offensive fouls to the Knicks 7??Lebron James has been called for a total of 3 fouls in the series, this despite tackling JR Smith and other egregious follies — how many flops have been rewarded?? How many light-contact plays at the rim have been called for Lebron??What about the taunting technical on Chandler? It’s quite clearly been very one-sided, and it’s had a substantial effect on the series.

    This is more or less my take. Game two was less egregious but still had some head scratchers in the first quarter. Maybe someone should do like Christy Mathewson did in Eight Men Out and keep track of the dubious plays/calls.

  14. ruruland

    Nick C.: This is more or less my take. Game two was less egregious but still had some head scratchers in the first quarter. Maybe someone should do like Christy Mathewson did in Eight Men Out and keep track of the dubious plays/calls.

    I have a couple of video projects in the off-season with how Melo improves his teammates and how interaction effects work. If this keeps happening I’ll definitely add it to the list.

  15. johnlocke

    Reputation clearly matters a lot in this league as it relates to getting a favorable whistle. Fields can drive in there and he’s not going to get called for a foul on the drive unless he gets mauled (maybe he needs to act more?) whereas Lebron would get the call on that same play. One of the main issues is we don’t have any folks on this team, that aren’t injured, that have a good reputation as slashers. In either case, reputation has something to do with it, I’d like to think home cooking also played a role (since that would be more fair). Like Jim said we’d probably have to go back and count the # of dubious calls for/against both teams to really see what the impact was, versus just pointing out that the Heat had a wide foul disparity, but don’t really have time to do that. Hopefully we get some home cooking tonight.

    ruruland:
    Anyone else have theories as to why, with the exact same ratio of shots in the paint, the Heat have shot twice as many free throws and have been called for two offensive fouls to the Knicks 7??

    Lebron James has been called for a total of 3 fouls in the series, this despite tackling JR Smith and other egregious follies — how many flops have been rewarded?? How many light-contact plays at the rim have been called for Lebron??

    What about the taunting technical on Chandler?

    It’s quite clearly been very one-sided, and it’s had a substantial effect on the series.

  16. ruruland

    johnlocke:
    Reputation clearly matters a lot in this league as it relates to getting a favorable whistle. Fields can drive in there and he’s not going to get called for a foul on the drive unless he gets mauled (maybe he needs to act more?) whereas Lebron would get the call on that same play. One of the main issues is we don’t have any folks on this team, that aren’t injured, that have a good reputation as slashers. In either case, reputation has something to do with it, I’d like to think home cooking also played a role (since that would be more fair). Like Jim said we’d probably have to go back and count the # of dubious calls for/against both teams to really see what the impact was, versus just pointing out that the Heat had a wide foul disparity, but don’t really have time to do that. Hopefully we get some home cooking tonight.

    I agree, the reputation calls to me are kind of a complex deal. I don’t think it’s jut about how good officials perceive players to be — though that’s significant.

  17. Frank

    I think the Heat have gotten a friendly whistle, but to be honest, I pretty much didn’t have a problem with all those offensive fouls called on the Knicks in Game 1. They were all either obvious or likely charges in my book. Truth is, the Heat have 3 above average defenders in Joel Anthony, Chalmers, and Battier, and 2 awesome defenders in Wade and Lebron. They are a half-step to a full-step faster on rotations, closeouts, etc. then any other team. They don’t NEED to foul.

    That being said – Melo is absolutely getting mugged on his post-ups. I know that is a tough call for the refs when both players are shoving each other, but this series would be COMPLETELY different if Melo was getting some of the calls that LBJ and Wade get.

    Re: techs – how in the world is Wade not T’d up for throwing Bibby’s shoe into the stands? That is about as unsportsmanlike as anything I’ve seen.

  18. TelegraphedPass

    We’ve discussed this already, but Melo isn’t getting as kind a whistle these days even when driving to the rim. We were talking about this well before the playoffs. That might be part of the reason he seems to be settling sometimes. Hard to keep commiting energy to those drives if you aren’t drawing fouls and are getting hammered under the rack.

    I wish JR attacked the rim more.

  19. TelegraphedPass

    Frank: how in the world is Wade not T’d up for throwing Bibby’s shoe into the stands? That is about as unsportsmanlike as anything I’ve seen.

    Was thinking that the whole time. Shump has gotten multiple ridiculous techs for short staredowns after dunks and KG choked Billy Walker to no repurcussion and Wade tossed Bibby’s shoe. Absurd.

  20. Frank

    That being said – Miami’s opponents had a free throw rate of 27.7 during the regular season (roughly middle of the pack). We have had a FTR of 17.6 and 24.7 in the first 2 games whereas Miami has been 35 and 37 (their regular season average was 30). Playoff basketball is clearly different than reg season basketball, but that does feel a little off.

  21. ruruland

    Frank:
    That being said – Miami’s opponents had a free throw rate of 27.7 during the regular season (roughly middle of the pack). We have had a FTR of 17.6 and 24.7 in the first 2 games whereas Miami has been 35 and 37 (their regular season average was 30). Playoff basketball is clearly different than reg season basketball, but that does feel a little off.

    One of the old studies of the good defenses showed that while they have low foul rates they probably fouled more than the average team. It’s funny that a lot of teams that let drives go and play off shooters get called for more fouls.

  22. TheRant

    I wish they would have mic’ed up the officials for the first game. I would have loved to hear the ref conference watching video after Chandler was whistled for a Flagrant after setting his hard pick on LeBron.

    (I think it was even a Flagrant Two, downgraded to a One?)

    The entire nation watched the video replayed again and again, with LeBron demonstrating his severe neck injury about two seconds after he heard the whistle. I practically expected him to play the remainder of the game in a brace.

    Before that, I could have imagined it was just poor officiating. Once the refs watched the same video we did, they either needed to admit the error and waive off the Flagrant, or assume that we assume they are biased at the very least. Chandler was clearly setting a hard pick with zero sign of malice.

  23. TheRant

    I wish they would have mic’ed up the officials for the first game. I would have loved to hear the ref conference watching video after Chandler was whistled for a Flagrant after setting his hard pick on LeBron.

    (I think it was even a Flagrant Two, downgraded to a One?)

    The nation watched the video replayed again and again, with LeBron demonstrating his severe neck injury about two seconds after he heard the whistle. I practically expected him to play the remainder of the game in a brace.

    Before that, I could have imagined it was just poor officiating. Once the refs watched the same video we did, they either needed to admit the error and waive off the Flagrant, or assume that we assume they are biased at the very least. Chandler was clearly setting a hard pick with zero sign of malice.

  24. JC Knickfan

    If it’s about ratings, then I pretty sure 2nd rd Knicks with feel-good story of the year Jeremy Lin would produce higher ratings then Miami. He seem lock return for 2nd rd. I don’t see how this could be NBA conspiracy.

    The other factor he human nature of refs. Obvious their is the home court advantage call. Someone posted it and study show by human nature the ref favors the home crowds.

    Also I think I’ve watch 1000 games of basketball and my perception is star players seem get more foul calls. They also seem to get less travel and carry calls. Does anyone not have the same perception? Question is do ref consider Melo a star? This year he doesn’t seem to get the star treatment. Who know I’m sure Ref read paper also and Melo got his share negative press. Killing Linsanity to trying get MDA fired is not going to help his reputation in league.

  25. Owen

    I guess someone should fire up Synergy….

    I would expect the balance to shift back to neutral with the Knicks playing in the Garden….

    I would agree though that I don’t really see a conspiracy in this. I don’t think the NBA wants this series to be anything other than close and exciting.

  26. ruruland

    JC Knickfan:
    If it’s about ratings, then I pretty sure 2nd rd Knicks with feel-good story of the year Jeremy Lin would produce higher ratings then Miami.He seem lock return for 2nd rd. I don’t see how this could be NBA conspiracy.

    The other factor he human nature of refs. Obvious their is the home court advantage call. Someone posted it and study show by human nature the ref favors the home crowds.

    Also I think I’ve watch 1000 games of basketball and my perception is star players seem get more foul calls.They also seem to get less travel and carry calls. Does anyone not have the same perception?Question is do ref consider Melo a star? This year he doesn’t seem to get the star treatment. Who know I’m sure Ref read paper also and Melo got his share negative press. Killing Linsanity to trying get MDA fired is not going to help his reputation in league.

    Melo’s never gotten a great whistle. But the thing is that guys like Kobe don’t either — Kobe might get a worse whistle than Melo.

    But then you have guys like Durant, Duncan, Lebron, Harden, Billups, Kevin Martin, who get great whistles.

    It’s not just about the the stars or pedigrees. I think it’s about ability to show contact, and after that I think it would take a lot of skilled professionals trying to interpret the relationships and the body language to figure out how the rest of it worked.

    I mean, Melo doesn’t whine that much about calls, and Duncan whines all the time and always has. is it their approach? Is it how they look or sound?

    Kobe has one of the most intimidating presences of a competitor you’ll ever be around, and it’s almost like the officials are trying to prove their manhood by not calling fouls for him…..

  27. Frank

    Bosh sounds like he’ll be back in time for the game – apparently getting a private plane. That means Teterboro, most likely. If we were real fans, we would create a traffic jam outside that airport. Who’s with me!?

  28. johnlocke

    Looks like starting lineup for tonight is Baron, JR, Fields, Melo and Chandler… thoughts?

  29. Peter87

    Didn’t have time to read the whole blog, so this may already have been mentioned, but for me the giveaway was this?

    Near the end of the first half of the second game, the Heat had a foul to give; LeBron tried to intentionally foul Melo, wrapped him up…and didn’t get called for a foul!

    Melo made the off-balance shot anyway, but no and-1. The refs are just conditioned to not call fouls on James. I think it really stinks.

  30. PC

    Lots of great points being brought up. The league has a lot of issues here:

    (1) Flopping is at an all-time worst. The fact the most physically gifted specimen the league has maybe ever seen is flopping in the first round against a 7-seed is evidence that the refs are easy to fool. Teams rarely go on big runs anymore because of the amount of TV and timeouts and the easy flop to stop momentum.

    (2) In light of #1, there are no true charge takers anymore. Its really about the flop. On every slo-mo replay (besides the true wild charges that people do commit), the defender always begins his descent early and is never truly charged into and knocked over. In full speed, it looks that way but the reality is most of these “charges” should be no calls, like the charge on Chandler in game one.

    (3) Conspiracies do in fact exist. Donaghy taught us that quite explicitly. Is there one present here? Likely not, but we’ll never have a clue until someone sings 10 years down the road. But I think this series is more of crappy refs in a bitch-filled era. The game is so soft.

    (4) The idea that we’re protecting a player by calling a flagrant one or two. Flagrant fouls in the playoffs are rarely called right. The standard is ambiguous and susceptible to subjective views of referees. What Chandler did was a no doubt foul. But that’s it.

  31. johnlocke

    a couple things in his favor age and hard work / dedication (remember those awesome videos he put out over the summer). Baron tore his ACL as a freshman and was dunking over Kirilenko years later. Unfortunate he only got a 1/2 game of playoff experience, but I think he’ll be OK.

    Frank:
    Not to post links to other sites here, but I thought this was a very well-thought out post on Shump’s future prognosis –

    http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2012/4/30/2987683/what-an-acl-repair-will-mean-for-shumperts-career-some-positive-news

  32. johnlocke

    Kobe goes to the line at a pretty high clip…most FT attempts of any guard in the NBA this past season and #4 overall. He also complains about practically everything and I’m not biased, he’s one of my favorite players to watch. Carmelo is #7. Given their games surprising that Durant is #5. Duncan was #40 this past season… I’m sure he’s been much higher during his prime…however

    ruruland: Melo’s never gotten a great whistle. But the thing is that guys like Kobe don’t either — Kobe might get a worse whistle than Melo.

    But then you have guys like Durant, Duncan, Lebron, Harden, Billups, Kevin Martin, who get great whistles.

    It’s not just about the the stars or pedigrees. I think it’s about ability to show contact, and after that I think it would take a lot of skilled professionals trying to interpret the relationships and the body language to figure out how the rest of it worked.

    I mean, Melo doesn’t whine that much about calls, and Duncan whines all the time and always has. is it their approach? Is it how they look or sound?

    Kobe has one of the most intimidating presences of a competitor you’ll ever be around, and it’s almost like the officials are trying to prove their manhood by not calling fouls for him…..

  33. ruruland

    johnlocke:
    Kobe goes to the line at a pretty high clip…most FT attempts of any guard in the NBA this past season and #4 overall. He also complains about practically everything and I’m not biased, he’s one of my favorite players to watch.Carmelo is #7. Given their games surprising that Durant is #5. Duncan was #40 this past season… I’m sure he’s been much higher during his prime…however

    FTA rates don’t mean much when you can’t quantify contact.

    Kobe takes a ton of shots, first, and plays against the top perimeter defenders and plays into a lot of contact. Same with Melo.

    First we need to look at free throw attempts to ratio.

  34. TelegraphedPass

    I’m thinking about the fit the triangle offense would be for this team. It inspires a lot of 3-4 PnRs which would be great for this team. I’m more than a little concerned about Chandler’s lack of post skill. Melo and Amar’e are both good and willing enough passers to make it work, if they buy in. Is Amar’e a good enough post and iso scorer to work in that read and react offense, though?

    I understand triangle far less than various horns offenses, so can anyone else shed light on how the offense would fit this team moving forward?

  35. ruruland

    ruruland: FTA rates don’t mean much when you can’t quantify contact.

    Kobe takes a ton of shots, first, and plays against the top perimeter defenders and plays into a lot of contact. Same with Melo.

    First we need to look at free throw attempts to ratio.

    attempts to shots ratio.

  36. johnlocke

    Bosh is definitely playing, Lebron was talking up how he had the same experience during the finals and played, so there is no way Velociraptor isn’t at least going to give them some good minutes off the bench, if not start

    Frank:
    Bosh sounds like he’ll be back in time for the game – apparently getting a private plane. That means Teterboro, most likely.If we were real fans, we would create a traffic jam outside that airport. Who’s with me!?

  37. yellowboy90

    Peter87:
    Didn’t have time to read the whole blog, so this may already have been mentioned, but for me the giveaway was this?

    Near the end of the first half of the second game, the Heat had a foul to give; LeBron tried to intentionally foul Melo, wrapped him up…and didn’t get called for a foul!

    Melo made the off-balance shot anyway, but no and-1.The refs are just conditioned to not call fouls on James.I think it really stinks.

    Another interesting non call was the bump out of bounds by Lebron. When earlier Haslem was called for a similar foul and Haslem was less of a push. Wade gets away with pushing JR or holding Novak but if you barely touch Chalmers it’s a foul.
    Look at Lebron getting cheap fouls on STAT yet Melody was pushed in the chest on his dunk over Joel without a foul being called

  38. TelegraphedPass

    PC: This is a really basic breakdown of the triangle. It makes me seem that Lin would flourish in this offense attacking the hoop off of cuts and whatnot. Don’t watch the clipper part.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALeAu_dBjds

    Ooh that’s a great vid, thanks!

    I’ve studied a lot of triangle playbooks but seeing video of it in motion is helpful.

    Side note: What in god’s name convinced Rambis that Minny had the personnel to execute the triangle. They don’t have anyone capable of breaking down the opponents off the dribble in isolation. Their players were young and clearly wanted to run the break rather than slow down into a read and react halfcourt set. WTF was the idea there???

  39. 2FOR18

    To me, game 1 was ridiculous, while game 2 was a typical home team/superstars-get-the-favorable-whistle game. I’m glad you broke down the numbers between the 2 games above, rather than just lazily just citing the total over the 2 games.
    I know I’m in a minority of 1 here, but I think complaining about the refs while we’re being outplayed by a superior team is loser talk. I bet if you went to every team blog on the internets, the losing side’s fans are complaining about the refs. The superstars and home teams always get the calls, and every year we complain about it; I just don’t think there’s anything new here.

  40. PC

    Totally agree about Minny. It was nonsensical.

    Doesn’t the triangle get you excited about the fact that bailout opportunities are built into it? Melo would be in such a better position (back to the basket 15 feet away) to get a late shot in the clock. Instead of dribbling in from 25 feet away.

    But, the straw that shakes the triangle cocktail is the big man like Pau or Shaq. If there is no reason to crash or double, we would have a lot of chandler and amare in iso back to basket situations. BUT, Amare could turn qucik and explode or Chandler could quick pass to Lin for a quick PnR.

  41. johnlocke

    That’s a fair point, context definitely matters — with you on that. FT per Shot attempt doesn’t really taken into account the kinds of shots players are taking either. Kobe is more a midrange jump shooter these days than the slasher he was in his youth and he’s still getting to the line quite frequently. Perhaps he should be getting more whistles…but my argument was that I’m not sure I would say the guard who leads the NBA in FTA on a fairly consistent basis gets a ‘poor’ whistle. He only got .3 FTAs less this season than Lebron who drives into contact a lot more than Kobe does these days. Anyway, you raise a good point about context…you’d have to look at both quantity and type of shot attempt to determine the quality of whistle.

    ruruland: FTA rates don’t mean much when you can’t quantify contact.

    Kobe takes a ton of shots, first, and plays against the top perimeter defenders and plays into a lot of contact. Same with Melo.

    First we need to look at free throw attempts to ratio.

  42. Brian Cronin

    Looks like starting lineup for tonight is Baron, JR, Fields, Melo and Chandler… thoughts?

    Sounds about right. Fields will be on Anthony, I presume? Or will they try to let him guard Bosh?

  43. 2FOR18

    ruruland: I have a couple of video projects in the off-season with how Melo improves his teammates and how interaction effects work. If this keeps happening I’ll definitely add it to the list.

    Not trolling you, but curious – this is something you will be doing on you’re own time? You won’t be compensated for it? If not, I’m not criticizing you – we all have hobbies. If you are, then that helps me understand you better.

  44. PC

    I really think it is impossible to judge the future of this team without watching a season of healthy players and Jeremy Lin. I am confident Lin will be a beast next season. He’s really good. Nobody puts together his string of game and is not above average. Im sure there are advanced stats to prove me wrong, but any lineup statistic about people playing with Lin is WAY TOO small of a sample size. At the end of next season (82 games), if we suck with Lin and the others, then they don’t mesh, but I don’t see that happening with a health non-fat Melo (which are the reasons I believe why he couldn;t hit a simple jumper or FT during those sample size time periods).

  45. 2FOR18

    Brian Cronin: Sounds about right. Fields will be on Anthony, I presume? Or will they try to let him guard Bosh?

    Man, melo can’t catch a break!

  46. 2FOR18

    2FOR18:
    To me, game 1 was ridiculous, while game 2 was a typical home team/superstars-get-the-favorable-whistle game. I’m glad you broke down the numbers between the 2 games above, rather than just lazily just citing the total over the 2 games.
    I know I’m in a minority of 1 here, but I think complaining about the refs while we’re being outplayed by a superior team is loser talk.I bet if you went to every team blog on the internets, the losing side’s fans are complaining about the refs.The superstars and home teams always get the calls, and every year we complain about it; I just don’t think there’s anything new here.

    Just to test what I said, I figured I would find a Clippers blog to see if they’re blaming the refs for last night’s loss, and the top blog post is exactly that:

    http://www.clipsnation.com/2012/5/3/2996524/the-daily-clipper-for-may-3-2012#comments

  47. JC Knickfan

    PC:
    I really think it is impossible to judge the future of this team without watching a season of healthy players and Jeremy Lin.I am confident Lin will be a beast next season. He’s really good. Nobody puts together his string of game and is not above average. Im sure there are advanced stats to prove me wrong, but any lineup statistic about people playing with Lin is WAY TOO small of a sample size. At the end of next season (82 games), if we suck with Lin and the others, then they don’t mesh, but I don’t see that happening with a health non-fat Melo (which are the reasons I believe why he couldn;t hit a simple jumper or FT during those sample size time periods).

    This written while ago, but odds are favor Lin being above average vs below average.

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/jeremy-lin-is-no-fluke/

  48. jon abbey

    we had the same problem last year in the first two games in Boston, pretty lopsided officiating in favor of the Celtics, and everyone said “wait until we get back to NY”. then game 3 at MSG was just as unfairly officiated in the first half, and NY never recovered.

    so, yeah, some fair or even biased in favor of NY officiating would be welcome tonight for once.

  49. johnlocke

    If they’re smart I’m thinking Melo guards Haslem…and Fields guards Lebron. Save some of Melo’s energy for the offensive end and mitigate his trotting back on D. Although Fields was equally guilty along with Amare at several points in game 2.

    Brian Cronin: Sounds about right. Fields will be on Anthony, I presume? Or will they try to let him guard Bosh?

  50. ruruland

    johnlocke:
    That’s a fair point, context definitely matters — with you on that. FT per Shot attempt doesn’t really taken into account the kinds of shots players are taking either. Kobe is more a midrange jump shooter these days than the slasher he was in his youth and he’s still getting to the line quite frequently. Perhaps he should be getting more whistles…but my argument was that I’m not sure I would say the guard who leads the NBA in FTA on a fairly consistent basis gets a ‘poor’ whistle. He only got .3 FTAs less this season than Lebron who drives into contact a lot more than Kobe does these days. Anyway, you raise a good point about context…you’d have to look at both quantity and type of shot attempt to determine the quality of whistle.

    Yeah, exactly
    So Kobe actually gets hit a lot on his jumper– he gets some calls for it, but not as many as he should– certainly not as many as Lebron gets on contested jump shots (which are few and far between).

    how many of Lebron’s shots, compared to Kobe, are breakaway dunks?

    What is the difference between the normal Kobe and Lebron jump shot, the normal Kobe and Lebron drive?

    Kobe shoots the ball a lot more than Lebron in foul-situations.

  51. ruruland

    2FOR18: Just to test what I said, I figured I would find a Clippers blog to see if they’re blaming the refs for last night’s loss, and the top blog post is exactly that:

    http://www.clipsnation.com/2012/5/3/2996524/the-daily-clipper-for-may-3-2012#comments

    There are issues with officiating. just because people whine when those issues are minor doesn’t mean they don’t exist, doesn’t mean that certain teams and players get better whistles than others, and doesn’t mean that there haven’t been officiating “conspiracies.”

  52. ruruland

    PC:
    Totally agree about Minny. It was nonsensical.

    Doesn’t the triangle get you excited about the fact that bailout opportunities are built into it?Melo would be in such a better position (back to the basket 15 feet away) to get a late shot in the clock. Instead of dribbling in from 25 feet away.

    But, the straw that shakes the triangle cocktail is the big man like Pau or Shaq. If there is no reason to crash or double, we would have a lot of chandler and amare in iso back to basket situations. BUT, Amare could turn qucik and explode or Chandler could quick pass to Lin for a quick PnR.

    Triangle built for Melo, which is probably a big reason Phil wants to coach here. But you’re right, another big man who can see over the defense and has the skills to take advantage of it in the triangle seems pretty necessary.

  53. johnlocke

    If / when he learns to use his off-hand effectively, I think he could be really good. I think his ceiling / mold of player is Tony Parker.

    PC:
    I really think it is impossible to judge the future of this team without watching a season of healthy players and Jeremy Lin.I am confident Lin will be a beast next season. He’s really good. Nobody puts together his string of game and is not above average. Im sure there are advanced stats to prove me wrong, but any lineup statistic about people playing with Lin is WAY TOO small of a sample size. At the end of next season (82 games), if we suck with Lin and the others, then they don’t mesh, but I don’t see that happening with a health non-fat Melo (which are the reasons I believe why he couldn;t hit a simple jumper or FT during those sample size time periods).

  54. ruruland

    TelegraphedPass:
    I’m thinking about the fit the triangle offense would be for this team. It inspires a lot of 3-4 PnRs which would be great for this team. I’m more than a little concerned about Chandler’s lack of post skill. Melo and Amar’e are both good and willing enough passers to make it work, if they buy in. Is Amar’e a good enough post and iso scorer to work in that read and react offense, though?

    I understand triangle far less than various horns offenses, so can anyone else shed light on how the offense would fit this team moving forward?

    Like the flex, Layups are built into it without penetration. It’s a nice balance of motion and shot creation — you’re not overly-reliant on either one.

    I actually think Chandler could be ok– he’s a decent passer. But his offensive rating would plummet as he’d be put into more shot creation situations — even though it would improve hte overall offense quite a bit. Taking out the high screen and roll and 4 out stuff would really hurt Amar’e, IMO.

  55. 2FOR18

    ruruland: There are issues with officiating. just because people whine when those issues are minor doesn’t mean they don’t exist, doesn’t mean that certain teams and players get better whistles than others, and doesn’t mean that there haven’t beenofficiating “conspiracies.”

    I agree with all that. Let me do Hubie Brown here:
    You’re an NBA referee. Every time you call a foul or award a team possession, the other team’s players and coaches jump up and yell at you. So subconsciously, or maybe even sometimes consciously, your calls are going to lean towards the home team so at least the crowd isn’t screaming at you as well.

  56. johnlocke

    Yeh I can see how the triangle would benefit Melo…but don’t see how it helps a PF whose weaknesses are passing and back-to-the-basket posting. But maybe I’m missing something

    ruruland: Like the flex, Layups are built into it without penetration. It’s a nice balance of motion and shot creation — you’re not overly-reliant on either one.

    I actually think Chandler could be ok– he’s a decent passer. But his offensive rating would plummet as he’d be put into more shot creation situations — even though it would improve hte overall offense quite a bit. Taking out the high screen and roll and 4 out stuff would really hurt Amar’e, IMO.

  57. TelegraphedPass

    ruruland: Taking out the high screen and roll and 4 out stuff would really hurt Amar’e, IMO.

    True, but we underutilize both as it is already. Our roster doesn’t make the most out of STAT’s talents. The triangle creates opportunities for the 3-4 screen and roll when Chandler, Shump, and Lin make the weakside triangle. Lin makes himself open for the corner 3 (which he needs to learn to knock down with regularity in that offense) and Shump’s ball-handling abilities make him suitable to facilitate the offense.

    But yeah, my early though was the devastation this would do to Chandler’s efficiency.

    I’m sure we could work a few horns plays in there. Double PnR options with Lin and the 4 and 5. Lin’s midrange shooting has been pretty strong; he could do some real damage coming off those screens.

  58. ruruland

    johnlocke:
    Yeh I can see how the triangle would benefit Melo…but don’t see how it helps a PF whose weaknesses are passing and back-to-the-basket posting. But maybe I’m missing something

    I think it would really hurt Amar’e.

    I think there are latent skills in CHandler that could be used some in the triangle. His wide frame allows for a lot of good-screening and movement around him which is essentially for the triangle.

    Amar’e doesn’t do those things well, either. He’d be a total mismatch.

  59. BigBlueAL

    Triangle though does lead to alot of open spot-up mid-range jumpers for the PF/C so Amar’e could benefit from those if he remembers how to shoot again.

  60. BigBlueAL

    Anyway all the Knick beat writers are tweeting that Woodson didnt say who is starting for Amar’e so I guess we wont find out until tip-off. A couple of them did say it sounded like he was leaning toward starting Novak.

  61. ruruland

    TelegraphedPass: True, but we underutilize both as it is already. Our roster doesn’t make the most out of STAT’s talents. The triangle creates opportunities for the 3-4 screen and roll when Chandler, Shump, and Lin make the weakside triangle. Lin makes himself open for the corner 3 (which he needs to learn to knock down with regularity in that offense) and Shump’s ball-handling abilities make him suitable to facilitate the offense.

    But yeah, my early though was the devastation this would do to Chandler’s efficiency.

    I’m sure we could work a few horns plays in there. Double PnR options with Lin and the 4 and 5. Lin’s midrange shooting has been pretty strong; he could do some real damage coming off those screens.

    There are some “horns” plays that are created out of the triangle. Horns is good for elbow action– unfortunately AMar’e doesn’t seem to operate at a high level in the horns plays the Knicks run outside of the side pick and roll action.

    See: http://www.hoopsplaybook.ca/horns/horns_1_backdoor_triangle.html

    On the surface it’s nice to think of using all of them but in the triangle it’s all about reps. and finding rhythm in the offense.

  62. max fisher-cohen

    With Melo, it’s the Shaq issue. He’s a big body and has a very weighty and strong base (thick hips and legs), so when you hit him, he’s not going to bounce off the same way beanpoles like Ginobili, Kevin Martin, or Durant will.

    There’s also the rationale with regard to guys like Melo (and Shaq) that, due to his bulk, he delivers as much punishment as he receives.

    Lastly, I think there’s the psychology issue: When you’re a ref, and you know a guy is good at finishing at the rim, and you see him miss, you’re expectation is that he was fouled, so you’re more likely to make a call. For the Knicks, refs have that expectation about STAT, Melo, Smith and Chandler, but Chandler’s been sick and Stoudemire has been entirely marginalized on offense. That means you have guys like Baron Davis (4/5 at rim), Landry Fields (2/3 at rim), Jared Jeffries (0/4 at rim), Iman Shumpert (0/1 at rim).

    Ratio of FTAs:FGAs @ rim for stars:

    Lebron: 2.1 FTAs/FGA @ rim
    Wade: 0.67/FTAs/FGA @ rim
    Bosh: 2 FTAs/FGA @ rim
    Melo: 1.3 FTAs/FGA @ rim
    Stoudemire: 1.9 FTAs/FGA @ rim

    Those #s don’t really surprise me at all especially considering Melo had 7 o-rebounds, many of which came off his own misses, meaning he probably only went to the rim 7-8 times (meaning a real ratio close to 2 FTAs/FGA @ rim), and considering Miami was at home.

    The surplus free throws came mostly in game 1 anyway when our rim protector was sick and our defense was a joke. We ended sending guys like Chalmers to the line 5 times because we just couldn’t protect the paint.

  63. johnlocke

    On the Knicks blog they mentioned JR would be starting so I assumed that Fields would remain in the starting lineup also…but guess it could be Novak or Jeffries at the 3/4. I think Woody is waiting to see if Bosh starts. If Bosh starts..expect Jeffries. If he doesn’t expect Novak. I think Fields is quickly eroding any trust the coaching staff has for him. — This means Melo guarding Lebron which I hate….Melo needs to conserve some energy for offense in the 3rd and 4th quarters… grrr

    BigBlueAL:
    Anyway all the Knick beat writers are tweeting that Woodson didnt say who is starting for Amar’e so I guess we wont find out until tip-off.A couple of them did say it sounded like he was leaning toward starting Novak.

  64. Doug

    ruruland: Triangle built for Melo, which is probably a big reason Phil wants to coach here. But you’re right, another big man who can see over the defense and has the skills to take advantage of it in the triangle seems pretty necessary.

    lol how’s Jerome Jordan’s passing?

  65. johnlocke

    @ 64 — thanks for the data Max!
    I’m beating a dead horse with this–but our defense was sub-par in both games 1 and 2. If we have any prayer of winning we need to step it up and keep Miami under 100 .

  66. nicos

    I’m not very confident in Chandler’s prospects in the triangle. Woodson has tried running motion off of him in the high post and hasn’t got much out of it. He tends to make himself about six inches shorter every time he catches the ball with his back to the basket with his wide-legged stance. People forget what a good passer Shaq was and Gasol’s passing goes without saying, throw in Odom (who I wouldn’t be surprised shows up on our doorstep if Phil becomes coach) and you have the reasons why the triangle was so successful in L.A. Neither Chandler nor Amar’e are close to those guys. Hopefully, if Phil does come, he wouldn’t insist on running the triangle every time down the court and run a little pnr for Amar’e and some straight up iso’s for Melo but I doubt he would- they don’t call him Big Chief Triangle for nothing.

  67. ruruland

    Doug: lol how’s Jerome Jordan’s passing?

    Damn. I didn’t even think of how that could kid would fit. I so want to see him play more.

  68. ruruland

    max fisher-cohen:
    With Melo, it’s the Shaq issue. He’s a big body and has a very weighty and strong base (thick hips and legs), so when you hit him, he’s not going to bounce off the same way beanpoles like Ginobili, Kevin Martin, or Durant will.

    There’s also the rationale with regard to guys like Melo (and Shaq) that, due to his bulk, he delivers as much punishment as he receives.

    Lastly, I think there’s the psychology issue: When you’re a ref, and you know a guy is good at finishing at the rim, and you see him miss, you’re expectation is that he was fouled, so you’re more likely to make a call. For the Knicks, refs have that expectation about STAT, Melo, Smith and Chandler, but Chandler’s been sick and Stoudemire has been entirely marginalized on offense. That means you have guys like Baron Davis (4/5 at rim), Landry Fields (2/3 at rim), Jared Jeffries (0/4 at rim), Iman Shumpert (0/1 at rim).

    Ratio of FTAs:FGAs @ rim for stars:

    Lebron: 2.1 FTAs/FGA @ rim
    Wade: 0.67/FTAs/FGA @ rim
    Bosh: 2 FTAs/FGA @ rim
    Melo: 1.3 FTAs/FGA @ rim
    Stoudemire: 1.9 FTAs/FGA @ rim

    Those #s don’t really surprise me at all especially considering Melo had 7 o-rebounds, many of which came off his own misses, meaning he probably only went to the rim 7-8 times (meaning a real ratio close to 2 FTAs/FGA @ rim), and considering Miami was at home.

    great post but what is the data set for the ratios??
    Just the playoffs it looks like as you talked about in your last paragraph.

    How many more uncontested transition rim shots have Lebron and Wade had? Has Melo had one of those yet?

    EVen his dunk on Joel Anthony should have been a foul.

    Secondly, Melo gets a lot of contact on his second misses. Just because he has great second jumps doesn’t really change the kind of rim shots he’s taking — those are all high-traffic shots.

  69. ruruland

    nicos:
    I’m not very confident in Chandler’s prospects in the triangle.Woodson has tried running motion off of him in the high post and hasn’t got much out of it.He tends to make himself about six inches shorter every time he catches the ball with his back to the basket with his wide-legged stance.People forget what a good passer Shaq was and Gasol’s passing goes without saying, throw in Odom (who I wouldn’t be surprised shows up on our doorstep if Phil becomes coach) and you have the reasons why the triangle was so successful in L.A. Neither Chandler nor Amar’e are close to those guys.Hopefully, if Phil does come, he wouldn’t insist on running the triangle every time down the court and run a little pnr for Amar’e and some straight up iso’s for Melo but I doubt he would- they don’t call him Big Chief Triangle for nothing.

    It would seem logical to assume that Phil coming over would be contingent on trading Amar’e.

    The idea of putting Lamar back into the triangle for pennies on the dollar and STARTING him at the 4 is extremely intriguing.
    let’s remember that when right he not only does so many great things on offense he’s a very good defender.

    That would be a coup for sure, unless the Odom issues aren’t just psychological.

  70. BigBlueAL

    Only problem I see with Novak starting is I assume Melo still has to cover LeBron. If JR started instead he could cover Wade and Fields LeBron although not sure that would be much better lol

  71. Brian Cronin

    How the heck is Smith on the bench to start??! Obviously, Fields is going to have to guard Wade at some point, but why would you start him on Wade? If Novak is going to start, he needs to be paired with Smith. Bad decision by Woody.

  72. johnlocke

    Agreed. Should have put Fields on Lebron, JR on Wade. Melo on anyone not named Lebron or Wade.
    Woody’s match ups and rotations have definitely not helped things.

    Brian Cronin:
    How the heck is Smith on the bench to start??! Obviously, Fields is going to have to guard Wade at some point, but why would you start him on Wade? If Novak is going to start, he needs to be paired with Smith. Bad decision by Woody.

  73. ruruland

    Brian Cronin:
    How the heck is Smith on the bench to start??! Obviously, Fields is going to have to guard Wade at some point, but why would you start him on Wade? If Novak is going to start, he needs to be paired with Smith. Bad decision by Woody.

    Makes no sense. Getting less athletic when Lebron and Wade are both in the game is moronic.

    The lack of in-game adjustments, subbing melo and Amar’e at the same time, resting Chandler and Melo against Cleveland.

    He’s a big upgrade but things are startign to add up.

  74. Brian Cronin

    Should have put Fields on Lebron, JR on Wade. Melo on anyone not named Lebron or Wade.
    Woody’s match ups and rotations have definitely not helped things.

    Agreed, that’s how I would have started it – Fields and Smith, with Smith on Wade and Fields on Lebron (obviously doubling if need be).

  75. Brian Cronin

    Although, perhaps they’ll actually make a concerted effort to get Novak some looks. I’m a big proponent of doing what the other team doesn’t want you to do and Miami obviously does not want Novak shooting threes.

  76. ruruland

    Brian Cronin:
    Although, perhaps they’ll actually make a concerted effort to get Novak some looks. I’m a big proponent of doing what the other team doesn’t want you to do and Miami obviously does not want Novak shooting threes.

    It’s very difficult to do without dribble penetration and double teams.

    He’s taken 5 shots in 45 minutes, every time I recall him catching the ball he’s been absolutely smothered. There’s only so much you can do for an immobile guy against an extremely mobile defense

    Melo is going to have to dominate Lebron and battier and force their defense to adjust so when can start getting guys easy looks. I think he’ll be special at least once either today or Sunday. let’s hope it’s today so that Sunday can be easier.

  77. Brian Cronin

    Agreed, so let’s hope we actually see some dribble penetration tonight! They could also try to set picks for him. Jeffries seems like he’s the only guy who ever sets picks to free up Novak.

    But yeah, their best bet right now is that this is one of those games where Melo goes off big time. Knocking on wood as I type!

  78. Z

    Basketball is really the only team sport I watch anymore because I find it head and shoulders above the others with regard to style, pace, intimacy, and aesthetics. The only fundamental flaw to the game is that refs have 100% control over the outcome, not to say they exert 100% control over the outcome, but they have the ability to. It requires a huge investment of faith by the fans that the refs AREN’T exerting that control. When refs play a pivotal role in determining outcome, it invites conspiracy theories. The league really is based on an unwritten fan-ref contract, which the NBA hasn’t done a good job of holding sacred. I am, frankly, surprised that the Dounaghy scandal didn’t destroy the league.

  79. Z

    That said, I can see no plausible ereason for there to be conspiracy against the Knicks in this series. NY in the playoffs is a great thing for the league.

    Unless Stern hates Dolan so much that he told him straight up 12 years ago: “Jim, if you don’t sell that fucking team I promise you you’ll never win a playoff game as long as I live!”, in which case, I am all for the conspiracy :)

  80. johnlocke

    when you say ‘special’ you’re talking about Melo not Novak right? just checking…

    ruruland: It’s very difficult to do without dribble penetration and double teams.

    He’s taken 5 shots in 45 minutes, every time I recall him catching the ball he’s been absolutely smothered. There’s only so much you can do for an immobile guy against an extremely mobile defense

    Melo is going to have to dominate Lebron and battier and force their defense to adjust so when can start getting guys easy looks. I think he’ll be special at least once either today or Sunday. let’s hope it’s today so that Sunday can be easier.

  81. johnlocke

    The NBA uses the infallibility approach, where they are scared to admit their refs are wrong. Can you imagine having a former head of referees as one of the announcers at the game, that chimes in on how the game is being officiated and calls out bad calls? Similar to what happens in NFL games?

    Z:
    Basketball is really the only team sport I watch anymore because I find it head and shoulders above the others with regard to style, pace, intimacy, and aesthetics. The only fundamental flaw to the game is that refs have 100% control over the outcome, not to say they exert 100% control over the outcome, but they have the ability to. It requires a huge investment of faith by the fans that the refs AREN’T exerting that control. When refs play a pivotal role in determining outcome, it invites conspiracy theories. The league really is based on an unwritten fan-ref contract, which the NBA hasn’t done a good job of holding sacred. I am, frankly, surprised that the Dounaghy scandal didn’t destroy the league.

  82. max fisher-cohen

    ruruland: great post but what is the data set for the ratios??Just the playoffs it looks like as you talked about in your last paragraph.

    How many more uncontested transition rim shots have Lebron and Wade had? Has Melo had one of those yet?

    EVen his dunk on Joel Anthony should have been a foul.

    Secondly, Melo gets a lot of contact on his second misses. Just because he has great second jumps doesn’t really change the kind of rim shots he’s taking — those are all high-traffic shots.

    I’m not saying it has been fair, just not CONSPIRACY! level unfair. The stats for FTA/FGA are from the playoffs.

  83. ruruland

    Z:
    I am, frankly, surprised that the Dounaghy scandal didn’t destroy the league.

    It was barely a blip on the radar. The FBI’s investigation basically revealed that there were quite a few other officials involved — a lot of those guys are still in the league.

    The way large entities sweep conspiracies under the rug, even the ones without patsies or false flags, is by first calling/labeling it a conspiracy — such a loaded word with strong negative connotations….. Because they have such command of the message and its tone, and because investigative journalism is spread so thin (with a much lower percentage of eyeballs reading it), you don’t have to do much more than slander the messenger and poison the well for anyone who argues on behalf of the messenger.

    Baseball tried to do that with steroids, but journalism eventually won that round.

  84. ruruland

    johnlocke:
    when you say ‘special’ you’re talking about Melo not Novak right? just checking…

    We’ll take anyone have a special game of course. But I think the way Novak can be special is by Melo being special first.

  85. ruruland

    max fisher-cohen: I’m not saying it has been fair, just not CONSPIRACY! level unfair. The stats for FTA/FGA are from the playoffs.

    I said I didn’t think it was a conspiracy and I won’t start thinking that unless the pattern repeats tonight.

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