Dallas Mavericks fans and conspiracy theorists have been screaming “rigged” for the past 15 years. This started back during the 2006 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavs. The controversial series was won by the Heat in six after being down 2-0. It was so bizarre, Mavs owner Mark Cuban even hired a former FBI agent to look into it years later.
As a fan of the Miami Heat I’m not going to complain about the results or complain about Dwyane Wade attempting as many free throws as the Mavs (25) in Game 5 or Wade attempting 21 more in Game 6.
I’m not going to say the league is rigged but I will say a lot of money can be made in Vegas if the refs just make an extra call or two in the first half of regular season games. Determining the winner of a game is way too risky and hard to do but slowing the game down with extra foul calls to make a sure a team doesn’t score a certain amount of points in a half wouldn’t be that difficult.
Again, I’m not saying the league is rigged but I do want to point out that the average NBA team is worth less than a billion dollars and global sports gambling is worth trillions of dollars; Fantasy Sports is even a $7 billion industry. I’ll also mention Joey Crawford, Mike Callahan and Ed Malloy all went to high school with shamed former referee Tim Donaghy.
Here is a few examples of how the NBA could have rigged this series that went into six games.
Remember The Mavericks are up 2-0 in this series
Game 3: Mavericks up 83-71 with 8:30 left. People claim that the refs took over here and helped guide Wade and the Heat to victory. Up to the 3rd quarter Wade had shot 15 free throws. In the 4th quarter, Wade shot only 3 free throws, and only 1 free throw within the 8:30 left. So the two other free throws he shot were before the 12 point lead the Mavs had.
Not to mention the game score was 97-95 in favor of the Heat with 3 seconds to go and Dirk gets given 2 free throws. So the Mavs were given a chance to tie the game, and Dirk only hit 1 of 2 free throws to make the score 97-96 in favor of the Heat.
Mavs up 2-1 in the series now.
Wade got no free throws in that 8:30, due to the free throws he received being out of desperation and the Mavs hacking to be able to get another shot off. So a total of 0 shooting fouls were called for Wade in the 4th.
Game 4: 98-74 win for the Heat. Mavs shot 31% and Wade had 9 free throws. Nothing to talk about really. Mavs completely outplayed.
Now the series is tied at two a piece.
Then things start getting interesting in Game 5
This is the game where Wade goes onto shoot as many free throws as the whole Dallas team. 21-25 went Wade and 21-25 went to the Mavs. The Game did go into overtime as well. Wade had 22 points going into the 4th quarter. Wade scored 17 in the 4th quarter with the last 6 points all coming from jumpers. Even the game tying shot was a jumper to tie the game at 93-93 with 2 seconds left. No free throws needed. 7 of Wade’s 17 points came from FT’s. So he has maintained his average foul shot per quarter rate in the 4th.
Then in the overtime, the score was 100-99 in favor of the Mavs with 2 seconds left and Wade was given 2 free throws
The Heat go on to win game 5 101-100
Then game 6 Heat win 95 to 92 en route to their first championship.
Dirk Nowitzki sets a record for must FT’s hit during the playoffs shooting 209-229. Wade on the other hand shoots 202-250 with both players playing 23 games in the playoffs that year. For a player who is more of a slasher, Wade only managed to get 21 more free throws? Is it really rigged?
Furthermore, Wade shot 10 and 14 free throws in the first two games, so its not like he just got more free throws the next few games. He was already getting to the line a lot.
The total foul count in the series was 146 fouls committed by the Miami Heat and 160 fouls committed by the Mavericks. Fairly equal if anything. Furthermore, it’s amazing it was close considering the Heat have Shaq and Wade on their team. Wade is a driver who gets a lot of free throws anyway, and Shaq is a guy who teams love to send to the line. Also, the Mavericks were more of a jumpshooting teams that season.
Miami outrebounded the Mavs in 4 of the 6 games in the series. In the 4 games Miami won, they shot better in 3 of those matchups, with the only time they shot worse being by .8 of a %. Miami shot less threes then the Dallas team in 5 of the 6 games. The one time they shot more threes then the Dallas team, they lost.
So just for you wacky conspirators hopefully you come through and realize that the NBA is not out to make one team win and one team lose.