Update: Five Thirty Eight admitted an error in their calculations. The Blazers now rank in the middle of the pack. See more in their article:
CORRECTION (March 2, 7:05 p.m.): The analysis in this article originally miscounted “bad calls”/incorrect calls — in which refs made a call that shouldn’t have been made. Those calls were counted as disadvantaging the opponent of the team they were made against but should have been counted as hurting the team whistled for an infraction. The text and charts have been updated throughout. In correcting the analysis, the number of 2017-18 games that were included in the analysis was extended, from Feb. 15 to Feb. 28.
Our original article here:
The Portland Trail Blazers rank 6th in the NBA in calls missed during the last two minutes of close games and Damian Lillard has suffered from a quite few, according to a post from FiveThirtyEight.com aggregating results from the league’s Last Two Minute refereeing reports. Portland suffered through 20 incorrect calls and non-calls prior to the All-Star break, while Lillard had personally experienced 5. That total leaves Lillard tied for 6th in the league.
The obvious issue with the methodology is that some teams will become embroiled in more close games than others. During the closing moments of tight contests, stars like Lillard are more likely to be handling the ball—giving opportunities for whistles to blow—than your average role-player. With names like Spencer Dinwiddie, Will Barton, LeBron James, Kristaps Porzingis, and Demar DeRozan, the “most incorrect calls” players list reads like a Who’s Who of point guards, scorers, and superstars. James has the biggest claim to injustice; the Cleveland Cavaliers are tied for 23rd in most incorrect incidents as a team but James is 3rd in the NBA in that category personally.
Nevertheless, in aggregate numbers—no doubt buoyed by their propensity to play close down the stretch—the Blazers hold the 6th overall spot behind the Nets, Mavericks, Thunder, Hawks, and Bulls. Brooklyn takes the title with 29 missed calls and non-calls; the Orlando Magic have experienced the fewest, with 6. The Blazers and Mavericks are tied for most active bad calls (as opposed to missed non-calls) with 5 each.