It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that it occurred to me that the Los Angeles Lakers might not make the playoffs. It just didn’t seem like a possibility for a team with Kobe Bryant (pre-injury) and Dwight Howard to not be at the top of the Western Conference.
The Lakers have gone 7-3 over their last ten games, and are fighting for the #8 seed going into the playoffs. If the Lakers win their next two games against the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets, they will get in.
Over the last month, though, a conspiracy has arisen, one that claims the NBA is “helping” Los Angeles get into the playoffs. It would make sense- who wants to watch the Utah Jazz in the first round? Bryant is a Hall-of-Famer with the best center in the league on the same roster; how could they not get in?
I didn’t really think twice about that theory, but then I saw the video (updated just 12 hours ago) that can be seen below. It shows highly questionable foul calls (or non-calls) that the Lakers received over the course of the last few months. Many of them are downright ridiculous, and were made at the end of close games. This made me think that there was something going on.
After seeing that, I took a look at the numbers. Against the Portland Trailblazers on 2/22/13, the Lakers attempted 34 free throws. The Blazers on the other hand, attempted 12. That’s nearly three times as many attempts that Los Angeles received.
When LA took on the Toronto Raptors on 3/8/13, the Lakers took 36 free throws in comparison to Toronto’s 16. 27 personal fouls were called on the Raptors, but just 14 were called on the Lakers.
Noticing a trend? Against teams the Lakers are expected to beat, they seemed to have an advantage. It’s no coincidence that Los Angeles won both games, 111-107 against Portland and 118-116 against Toronto.
Against the Dallas Mavericks on 4/24/12, Los Angeles took 33 free throws to the Mavs’ 12, with Dallas having 8 more fouls called on their team than on LA.
Last night was the final straw for me- it turned me into a believer. I now have no doubt that the Lakers are receiving help from NBA officials. The team took on the Golden State Warriors and, although Bryant’s injury was the biggest story, the officiating was nearly as notable.
The Warriors took 16 free throws. The Lakers took 50. There is absolutely no logical explanation for a team to attempt 34 more free throws than their opponent. Golden State was whistled for 33 personal fouls in comparison to LA’s 17.
The Lakes are receiving an unfair advantage, and they don’t deserve to win anything this season. Here’s hoping they get bounced by Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.
Los Angeles will, without a shadow of a doubt, get into the postseason due to the help from the NBA.