3 Reasons Why Celtics Should Foul Early And Hard

3 Reasons Why Celtics Should Foul Early And Hard

Red's Army

3 Reasons Why Celtics Should Foul Early And Hard

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by DRJ

Some of us have wondered about the disparity in the foul count between
the Cavs and Celtics in their first two playoff games. Specifically Game
2, which the Celtics won even though they took only 18 FTs to
Cleveland’s 38.

Turns out the Celtics fouled the Cavs on purpose, right from tipoff,
usually when that was the only way to stop a sure score – and that
accounted for much of the disparity in total fouls. There are 3 very
good reasons for the Celtics to continue this strategy, and even ramp
it up
:

(1) The most obvious purpose is that it stops the Cavs from
putting 2 points on the board. Since the Cavs are hitting their FTs at a
rate somewhere south of 70%, it makes mathematical sense to foul (and
even more so when the player being fouled is one of the bad shooters, a
la Shaq).

(2) There is sound physical and psychological purpose in fouling
rather than allowing easy scores. Momentum is killed. The Cavs’ budding
excitement, if present, is nipped. Confidence is kept on edge. The
crowd, if playing in Cleveland, doesn't get a chance to roar. If we foul
them HARD… the Cavs will hesitate just a little the next time. And
finally, the Celtics get some rest during the ensuing time out. All
these benefits are added to #1 above.

(3) Fouling early can have a dramatically positive effect on the
referees
. To understand how dramatic, first you must appreciate how
sensitive the Celtics are to certain referee misbehavior.


Of ALL the teams in the NBA, the Celtics are MOST HARMED by the ticky-tack
fouls
refs often start calling in the middle of games (for no
particular reason). We've all seen it… because it happens in most NBA
contests. Suddenly, and without warning, the refs will call some
ridiculous touch foul… then another one… and another… and soon –
especially if it's the Celtics they're hammering – the team is
completely off its game. Reason: the Celtics are the most
defense-centric team in the NBA. It's who they are. And defense is the
area most harmed by irrational referee calls, particularly those
nonsense ticky-tack foul calls we all hate. Players instinctively back
off, don't know what to do anymore, and confusion soon reigns.

In any given game, anything the Celtics can do to cut down on the refs
calling ticky-tack fouls – is good. Now… when the Cs commit several
obvious, intentional fouls… hard ones, preferably… early in the game
— what happens when the time comes when the refs would normally start
calling ticky-tacks? Well… they're all-too-human, as we well know…
so they look around, and they see that the Cs are ALREADY loaded with
fouls. They've been fouling conspicuously and hard at times, with no
attempt at argument. It makes NO SENSE for the refs to start ALSO
hitting them with ticky tack fouls. It would not only further unbalance
the two teams' foul counts, it would feel ridiculous, because the
pattern of foul-calling in the game has already been established – by
the Celtics
.

In a sense, by fouling early and hard (when necessary to stop scoring,
of course), the Celtics effectively take some control of the refs.
At least in terms of some of their foul calling. Now obviously, the
effect will vary from one referee group to another. But however strong
the effect is, it is a tremendously valuable and important
accomplishment. One that is exceedingly hard to do! You can imagine how
every team in the NBA would LOVE to be able to control the refs' foul
calls… to ANY extent, however small. By doing what they did in Game 2,
the Celtics are effectively achieving just that. It's a beautiful
thing.

I don't know if they've thought all this through. Don't know if the team
even REALIZES how valuable their early, intentional fouling really can
be. I think they do… I think they planned it this way. But it doesn't
matter – so long as they CONTINUE their fouling strategy while they can,
while it still works. Because, remember… the Celtics are the one team
in the NBA that is most sensitive to the BS referee calls we see
in almost every game. Now they've found a way to control the BS. More
power to them. God know, there's way too much BS in the world already.

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