Question: which team lead all teams in the 2010 NBA playoffs in free throw attempts?
Answer: the Boston Celtics.
In fact, they had 40 more free throw attempts than the Lakers through the playoffs.
Here are some other post game 7 observations.
- In the regular season, the Lakers committed the 3rd fewest fouls in the NBA, while the Celtics were among the worst fouling teams in the nba… 22nd out of 30 teams to be specific.
- Despite their poor shooting in game 7, the Lakers were still +2 on points in the paint.
- Kobe Bryant did not come out shooting. Other Lakers had already hoisted 11 shots, 10 of them misses, before Kobe shot his first attempt. Kobe concluded the supporting cast wasn’t going to be effective, THEN started to try to get the Lakers back in, but couldn’t make it happen thanks to Celtic defense. However, that game would never be a scorer’s game. The winner of game 7 was going to be the team who did the best blue collar work: defense, rebounding and hustle. Kobe eventually realized that, hence the 15 rebounds.
“I wanted it so, so bad,” said Bryant. “The more I tried to push, the more it kept getting away from me. I’m just glad that my teammates really got us back in the game.”
Teammates indeed. Teammates who dug in and did the blue collar work of rebounding and defending.
- Kobe Bryant shot just 25%, but Ray Allen shot 21%.
- Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic combined to shoot 9% (1 of 11).
- Ray Allen shot 11-for-20 in Game 2, but for the rest of the series Allen shot 22-for-70 (31%), including 4 of 30 (13%) from 3-point range.
- The Lakers were +20 in rebounds (46 to 66) in game 7.
- 20.8% of the Lakers points came off of second chance points.
- 8.8% of the Celtics points were second chance points.
- The Celtics seemed to run out of gas with 6:13 left in the game. Derek Fisher nailed a 3 pointer, tying the score at 64, and sparking a 9-0 run. In the next few minutes the Celtics missed their next 4 shots, and were out rebounded 7 to 1. Were it not for that lapse, the Celtics might have prevailed.
- After adhering to strict limits on minutes all season, Ray Allen (35.2 minutes per game in the regular season), Paul Pierce (34.0 minutes per game) and Rajon Rondo (36.6 minutes per game) played about 45 minutes each in game 7. In fact, compared to other games in the Finals, Doc Rivers didn’t play his bench much.
- Both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, who typically log heavy minutes, especially in important games, were rested more than the Celtics’ stars, and had more gas in the tank in the fourth quarter as well.
- Despite leading the vast majority of the game, the only quarter Boston won was the first quarter (23-14). The entire rest of the game, the Lakers outscored the Celtics each quarter, chipping away at Boston’s advantage.
- The Lakers have really learned to value defense over the course of the Finals. The Celtics won game 3 in Los Angeles by scoring 103 points. Game 6 the Celtics scored only 67 points, and in game 7 only 79.
- People are getting a bit carried away gushing praise on Ron Artest. He was the MVP of game 7 for sure, but had Artest played better in the previous games, it might not have come to a game 7.
- Rasheed Wallace was 1 of 4 from the arc, but 4 of 5 when posting up left of the key. Obviously, he hurts his team by not playing inside where he belongs.
Here is game 7’s shot selection:
|Game 7 Shot selection||Los Angeles Lakers||Boston Celtics|
|Dunks||0-0 (n/a)||1-1 (100%)|
|Layups||8-22 (36.4%)||11-19 (57.9%)|
|Jump shots||19-56 (33.9%)||17-52 (32.6%)|
Look at the difference in shooting percentage inside (layups and dunks). Given that the Lakers are the taller team, the Celtics would have to be quite physical inside to force such a low percentage, hence the high number of fouls called.
This morning, Internet comment boards are flooded with the conspiracy theories of disappointed Celtics fans and other Lakers haters.
Just as parents tend to see their kids as smarter or prettier or better than they are…
The vision of sports fans likewise tends to get a bit warped by our strong feelings. We very much tend to see what we are predisposed to see, and we miss seeing what we don’t want to believe.
The funny thing is, while everybody agrees with this theoretically, practically speaking, we feel like this it applies to everyone ELSE, because we ourselves have a special ability to see without the warping that emotions give our vision.
Not only was the officiating unbiased, it favored the Celtcis style of play.
I’m NOT saying the officiating favored the Celtics, I’m saying that because the officials allowed both sides to be physical, the more physical team benefited more. That benefit was evident all game long as the Celtics lead.
The trouble is, the bias in game 7 wasn’t in how the officials called the game, it was in how certain fans SAW the game.
During the regular season the Celtics had games where they ran out of gas and had trouble coming up with offense late in games. In game 7, this problem was made worse by Doc Rivers who didn’t trust his bench, and over played his key starters. Add to that, the intense desire which fueled the Lakers’ defense and rebounding, and THAT is what sparked the Lakers’ comeback in game 7, not some NBA officiating conspiracy.
Interestingly, the entire series, the team that rebounded the most always won the game. In 7 games there wasn’t one exception to that rule.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog article entitled, Champions Rebound, looking all the way back to 1999, the winner of the NBA Finals has ALWAYS been the team with the most rebounds.
At any rate, the Lakers fought hard enough to earn their win in game 7 of the NBA Finals, but they could not have prevailed had not the Celtics contributed to their own demise by not trusting each other and not rebounding.