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Irish Coffee: Celtics, Heat, fouls, free throws & facts

05.31.12 at 9:43 am ET

Let’s take a page out of Doc Rivers‘ book and tread lightly on this matter. Two nights after declaring his technical foul — one of five called on the Celtics as a team — “the worst I’ve ever had,” the coach took umbrage with the officiating in their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Heat once again.

“It is what it is,” he said in the aftermath of a stomach-punch, 115-111 overtime loss. “LeBron James took 24 free throws tonight and our team took 29. Paul Pierce fouled out of a game where he was attacking the basket.”

You can’t get fined if you stick with the facts. You can’t come across as blaming the referees if you shoot straight. At least that’s the hope. Here are 15 more facts about the Game 2 officiating.

  • The Heat committed 18 fouls and took 47 free throws. The Celtics were whistled for 33 fouls and attempted 29 foul shots.
  • In the final five minutes of regulation and OT, the Heat attempted 18 free throws. The Celtics took two.
  • Five Celtics committed four or more fouls. One Heat player had four fouls. His name was Norris Cole.
  • James and Dwyane Wade combined for 35 foul shots and four personal fouls. Their counterparts, Pierce and Ray Allen, combined for seven free throws and eight personal fouls.
  • The Celtics attempted 25 shots at the rim. The Heat took 26 within three feet. Both teams made 14.
  • Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass got to the rim 21 times and took 28 free throws.
  • James, Wade, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem got to the rim 23 times and took 45 free throws.
  • In the second quarter, the Celtics leading by 11, Rondo dove for a loose ball, James landed on top of him and Rondo was whistled for a foul. James earned two free throws.
  • Wade raked Rondo’s face with 1:35 remaining in overtime and the game tied, 105-105. No whistle.
  • In the last 10 years, three players have taken 24 FTs in a playoff game. James and Wade are two of them.
  • Since 1986, seven players have taken 24 free throws in 11 separate playoff games. Nine were by players from the home team. James was also involved in one of the remaining two.
  • This season, a team attempted 47 free throws in five different games. Four involved the home team. The other involved Dwight Howard‘s NBA-record 39 free throws, almost all part of a Hack-A-Howard strategy.
  • The Celtics and Heat have played seven playoff games in the last two seasons. Miami attempted more free throws in six of them. The other was a Celtics home game.
  • In those seven meetings, the Heat have been whistled for 141 fouls and attempted 223 free throws. The Celtics have committed 165 fouls and taken 156 free throws.
  • In their last two head-to-head playoff series, James and Wade have attempted 150 free throws. The two Celtics who get to the rim most often, Pierce and Rondo, have taken 50.

This is not a conspiracy theory. If anything, the NBA would have wanted the Celtics to win Game 2. That’s the only way this series was going to go seven games. Alas, the C’s trail the Eastern Conference semifinals, 2-0, and teams that capture the first two games of a series win 94 percent of the time.

This exercise just illustrates how NBA referees are swayed by home crowds and superstars, and the Heat have home court advantage and the game’s two brightest stars. Those are the facts.

(Have a question, concern or conception for the next Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: 2012 Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James
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