Coming into the NBA Playoffs series between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, we knew one factor would tilt heavily in favor of the challengers from South Beach: free throw. Miami finished the regular season No. 3 in free throw rate, per Basketball Reference. Boston was No. 19 in foul rate. That adds up to a lot of free throws for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Sure enough, there have been a lot of free throws for the Heat through two games.
In Game 1, the Heat took 32 free throws to Boston's 18. That comes out to Miami hitting a free throw for every 2.6 field goal attempts. For Boston in Game 1, that figure was a free throw for every 5.3 field goal attempts. In Game 2, the disparity remained: Miami had 36 attempts, and Boston had 22. The Heat had a free throw for every 2.7 shots, and the Celtics had one for every 4.65 shots.
Game 2 saw Miami collect their foul shots among the Big Three; James, Wade and Bosh took 32 of the team's 36 free throws. In Game 1, James Jones led the team with 10 and Bosh was unable to draw many whistles. Boston's free throws have been dispersed in each game.
We'll see if the disparity keeps up -- as it should, given the styles of basketball the teams play -- or if Boston's home court advantage will sway the referees in Games 3 and 4. Studies have shown that visiting teams are called for more fouls than expected, possibly due to subconscious referee bias or players simply being out-of-sorts on the road.