When Paul George and the Indiana Pacers lost to the Miami Heat, 102-90, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, he didn’t think the better team won.
“You can’t tell me we don’t attack the basket as much as they attack the basket,” George said after the game. “You can’t tell me we’re not aggressive. Maybe we’re too aggressive. We’re just as aggressive as they are attacking the basket and making plays at the rim. Maybe this was just home cooking.”
According to swishanalytics.com, two of the three referees that worked the game that night, Danny Crawford and James Capers, had higher instances of the home team winning in their games than what we would expect in terms of the league average.
That’s not to say the “fix” was in, but the Heat (34 free throw attempts) did go to the line twice as often as the Pacers (17) in Game 4.
Turning our attention to Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, don’t be surprised if the Spurs get some “home cooking” of their own. All three officials working tonight’s game have a home team win percentage much higher than the league average and two of the three have officiated games where the point total for both teams combined has been significantly lower than average.
There is a lot at stake. According to WhoWins, teams taking a 3-2 series lead in the conference finals have gone on to win the series 80.6 percent of the time.
”We have to make it happen,” Spurs foward Tim Duncan said of Game 5. ”We’ve played all year to have this home-court advantage. It’s a three-game series now, and we get to play two of them at home at least. So we’re going to go in there and try to right the ship a little bit.”