Officiating became a big topic the day after the Portland Trail Blazers lost their second straight game to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 101-98. The Blazers attempted 9 free throws during Wednesday night’s loss, the Thunder 25. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander accounted for 13 of those on his own, more than the entire Portland roster.
In his post-game press conference, Trail Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups said this of the officiating:
Yeah, in the first half he (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) had more free throws than we had in the whole game. That really doesn’t happen with us. Nine free throws for the whole game. We attack all night, you know, we attack all night, but I guess we didn’t get fouled tonight.
For the season, the Blazers rank 11th in the NBA with an average of 24.2 free throw attempts per game. They also rank 10th in free throw attempts allowed to opponents with 22.8. That’s a +1.4 attempt per game average for the Blazers. The margin has shrunk considerably from the opening weeks of the season, when the Blazers averaged more than four extra attempts at the foul line over opponents.
A few aberrant games can be expected during the course of an 82-game season. The Oklahoma City result probably isn’t significant in isolation. Narrowing the overall edge might be more concerning.
How do you think the officials are doing this season, in general and with the Blazers? Do you think there are legitimate reasons why the Blazers aren’t drawing as many extra fouls over their opponents as they used to? Does it worry you?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.