The 2011 NBA Playoffs

Below I kept track of the number of free throws each team received during the 2010-11 NBA Playoffs. Why? Because if the NBA is controlling games through the referees, the number of free throws awarded will likely signify where the NBA's favors lie.

As "coincidence" would have it, the Eastern Conference representative, the Miami Heat, made more free throws in each of their three playoff series than their opponents even attempted. In total through the first three rounds, the Heat had 436 attempted free throws versus their opponents' 303. They made 349 compared to their opponents' 228--a difference of 121 more points for the Heat on the charity stripe alone. Average-wise, that gave the Heat over 8 points more per game in the 15 playoffs games leading to the Finals.

In comparison, the Western Conference representatives, the Dallas Mavericks, played the same total number of playoff games in their three playoff series (15 games). They attempted 378 total free throws, making 310 of them, compared to their opponents' 364 attempts with 289 made. The Mavericks were only up 21 points on their opponents in three series thanks to free throws (that's 100 fewer points than the Heat in the same number of games). This gave the Mavericks an average of only 1.4 more points per game than their opponents.

Nope.

Free Throw Totals

Winning team is in bold. Difference of 10 or more Free Throws in blue. More than 15 in green. More than 20 in red. An * designates home team.

Round One - Eastern Conference

Bulls-Pacers

Game 1 - Bulls (26 of 32)*  - Pacers (11 of 17)

Game 2 - Bulls (27 of 34)* - Pacers (20 of 27) This doesn't include 4 horrible traveling calls against the Pacers following a Bulls turnover.

Game 3 - Bulls (23 of 27) - Pacers (17 of 18)* For some reason, the NBA upgraded two "hits" Pacers' Center Jeff Foster dished out in this game to "flagrant 1 fouls." What purpose this serves, as Foster will not face a suspension, is unclear.

Game 4 - Bulls (19 of 24) - Pacers (22 of 34)*

Game 5 - Bulls (22 of 27)* - Pacers (24 of 26)

---Bulls win 4-1. Totals: Bulls (117 of 144) - Pacers (94 of 122)---

Heat-76ers

Game 1 - Heat (31 of 39)* - 76ers (12 of 15)

Game 2 - Heat (23 of 29)* - 76ers (13 of 20)

Game 3 - Heat (24 of 30) - 76ers (13 of 19)*

Game 4 - Heat (17 of 21) - 76ers (14 of 16)*

Game 5 - Heat (21 of 25)* - 76ers (11 of 17)

---Heat win 4-1. Totals: Heat (116 of 144) - 76ers (63 of 87)---

Note in this series that the 76ers greatest number of free throw attempts in a game was 20, while the Heat's least amount of free throw attempts in a game was 21.

Celtics-Knicks

Game 1 - Celtics (12 of 18)* - Knicks (11 of 16)

Game 2 - Celtics (12 of 16)* - Knicks (21 of 27)

Game 3 - Celtics (15 of 17) - Knicks (21 of 28)*

Game 4 - Celtics (18 of 24) - Knicks (21 of 28)*

---Celtics win 4-0. Totals: Celtics (57 of 75) - Knicks (74 of 99)---

Magic-Hawks

Game 1 - Magic (19 of 30)* - Hawks (21 of 29)

Game 2 - Magic (29 of 36)* - Hawks (11 of 17) Dwight Howard had more free throw attempts (19) than the entire Hawks team.

Game 3 - Magic (14 of 21) - Hawks (14 of 19)*

Game 4 - Magic (21 of 29) - Hawks (12 of 20)*

Game 5 - Magic (22 of 29)* - Hawks (22 of 32)

Game 6 - Magic (18 of 22) - Hawks (14 of 15)*

---Hawks win 4-2. Totals: Magic (123 of 167) - Hawks (94 of 132)---

Round One - Western Conference

Spurs-Grizzlies

Game 1 - Spurs (36 of 47)* - Grizzlies (21 of 33)

Game 2 - Spurs (22 of 32)* - Grizzlies (14 of 20)

Game 3 - Spurs (24 of 32) - Grizzlies (21 of 29)*

Game 4 - Spurs (11 of 14) - Grizzlies (17 of 21)

Game 5 - Spurs (25 of 32)* - Grizzlies (18 of 23)

Game 6 - Spurs (12 of 14) - Grizzlies (22 of 30)*

---Grizzlies win 4-2. Totals: Spurs (130 of 171) - Grizzlies (113 of 156)---

Lakers-Hornets

Game 1 - Lakers (26 of 33)* - Hornets (23 of 33)

Game 2 - Lakers (15 of 22)* - Hornets (20 of 32)

Game 3 - Lakers (19 of 24) - Hornets (18 of 24)*

Game 4 - Lakers (22 of 30) - Hornets (23 of 27)*

Game 5 - Lakers (25 of 30)* - Hornets (14 of 21)

Game 6 - Lakers (25 of 26) - Hornets (17 of 18)*

---Lakers win 4-2. Totals: Lakers (132 of 165) - Hornets (115 of 155)---

Mavericks-Trailblazers

Game 1 - Mavericks (25 of 29)* - Trailblazers (9 of 13)

Game 2 - Mavericks (19 of 26)* - Trailblazers (18 of 27) This after it's reported the Mavs had lost 17 of the last 18 times ref Dan Crawford worked one of their playoff games.

Game 3 - Mavericks (13 of 23) - Trailblazers (17 of 21)*

Game 4 - Mavericks (10 of 10) - Trailblazers (22 of 23)* Mavericks owner Mark Cuban publicly claimed that two late calls were "blown" by officials in this game and that these calls were a contributing factor to the Mavs blowing a 23-point lead in this game. These comments will likely lead to a fine for Cuban.

Game 5 - Mavericks (26 of 35)* - Trailblazers (14 of 19) Is Cuban still whining now?

Game 6 - Mavericks (19 of 22) - Trailblazers (21 of 26)*

---Mavericks win 4-2. Totals: Mavericks (112 of 145) - Trailblazers (101 of 129)---

Thunder-Nuggets

Game 1 - Thunder (22 of 28)* - Nuggets (21 of 33)

Game 2 - Thunder (24 of 28)* - Nuggets (28 of 37)

Game 3 - Thunder (33 of 43) - Nuggets (30 of 45)*

Game 4 - Thunder (24 of 31) - Nuggets (31 of 44)*

Game 5 - Thunder (34 of 42)* - Nuggets (17 of 21)

---Thunder win 4-1. Totals: Thunder (137 of 172) - Nuggets (127 of 180)---

Round Two - Eastern Conference

Bulls-Hawks

Game 1 - Bulls (13 of 16)* - Hawks (16 of 20)

Game 2 - Bulls (15 of 18)* - Hawks (18 of 24)

Game 3 - Bulls (15 of 18) - Hawks (15 of 25)*

Game 4 - Bulls (21 of 27) - Hawks (16 of 20)*

Game 5 - Bulls (21 of 28)* - Hawks (14 of 17)

Game 6 - Bulls (8 of 10) - Hawks (18 of 25)*

---Bulls win 4-2. Totals: Bulls (93 of 117) - Hawks (97 of 131)---

Celtics-Heat

Game 1 - Celtics (14 of 18) - Heat (26 of 32)* Plus Paul Pierce was ejected in the 4th Quarter after two technical fouls

Game 2 - Celtics (17 of 22) - Heat (27 of 36)*

Game 3 - Celtics (14 of 17)* - Heat (14 of 19)

Game 4 - Celtics (25 of 29)* - Heat (25 of 28)

Game 5 - Celtics (14 of 20) - Heat (26 of 38)*

---Heat win 4-1. Totals: Celtics (84 of 106) - Heat (118 of 153)---

Round Two - Western Conference

Grizzlies-Thunder

Game 1 - Grizzlies (23 of 28) - Thunder (25 of 32)*

Game 2 - Grizzlies (28 of 34) - Thunder (27 of 33)*

Game 3 - Grizzlies (30 of 44)* - Thunder (21 of 23)

Game 4 - Grizzlies (37 of 40)* - Thunder (42 of 50)

Game 5 - Grizzlies (14 of 23) - Thunder (16 of 21)*

Game 6 - Grizzlies (18 of 22)* - Thunder (17 of 24)

Game 7 - Grizzlies (15 of 19) - Thunder (20 of 23)

---Thunder win 4-3. Totals: Grizzlies (165 of 210) - Thunder (168 of 206)---

Mavericks-Lakers

Game 1 - Mavericks (9 of 11) - Lakers (17 of 20)*

Game 2 - Mavericks (17 of 21) - Lakers (11 of 20)*

Game 3 - Mavericks (24 of 29)* - Lakers (11 of 14)

Game 4 - Mavericks (14 of 19)* - Lakers (19 of 26)

---Mavericks win 4-0. Totals: Mavericks (64 of 80) - Lakers (58 of 80)---

Eastern Conference Finals

Heat-Bulls

Prior to the start of this series, the Heat have had the advantage in Free Throw Attempts over their opponents in two series by a margin of 104 total attempts. That's an average of 10.4 more attempts per game - keep it in mind.

Game 1 - Heat (15 of 15) - Bulls (17 of 20)*

Game 2 - Heat (18 of 24) - Bulls (16 of 26)*

Game 3 - Heat (25 of 29)* - Bulls (16 of 21)

Game 4 - Heat (32 of 38)* - Bulls (17 of 22)

Game 5 - Heat (25 of 33) - Bulls (15 of 21)*

---Heat win 4-1. Totals: Heat (115 of 139) - Bulls (81 of 110)---

Western Conference Finals

Thunder-Mavericks

Game 1 - Thunder (37 of 43) - Mavericks (34 of 36)*

Game 2 - Thunder (21 of 26) - Mavericks (21 of 24)*

Game 3 - Thunder (32 of 36)* - Mavericks (14-18)

Game 4 - Thunder (19 of 25)* - Mavericks (34 of 39)

Game 5 - Thunder (21 of 25) - Mavericks (31 of 36)*

---Mavericks win 4-1. Totals: Thunder (130 of 155) - Mavericks (134 of 153)---

NBA Finals

Mavericks-Heat 

In all three of their playoff series this season, the Heat have made more free throws than their opponents have attempted.

Game 1 - Mavericks (25 of 32) - Heat (19 of 26)*

Game 2 - Mavericks (17 of 21) - Heat (16 of 24)*

Game 3 - Mavericks (22 of 27)* - Heat (12 of 15)

Game 4 - Mavericks (24 of 30)* - Heat (17 of 24)

C'mon, NBA, do you really take us for saps? Three games determined in the final seconds, and a Finals series guaranteed to go at least six games on the verge of a player lockout likely to be as ugly as the NFL's. Sheer luck on the NBA's part, right?

Game 5 - Mavericks (21 of 27)* - Heat (21 of 26)

Game 6 - Mavericks (12 of 18) - Heat (20 of 33)

---Mavericks win 4-2. Totals: Mavericks (121 of 155) - Heat (105 of 148)---

Notice that the Heat held the free throw advantage in only one game--Game 6--in the Finals. This was a complete reversal of fortune from their first three series in this playoff season. Think the NBA were using the Heat, then discarded them?

My guess was that giving the Mavericks the championship would bring Mavs' owner Mark Cuban to the owners' side in the then-looming NBA lockout. This proved to be true as the usually outspoken Cuban remained silent during the lockout even when it cut into the 2011-12 NBA season. The price for such silence? A long sought after ring.