Kevin Hassett on whether NBA refs are crooked

In case you don’t know, Kevin is an economist at AEI.  Here is where things stand:

Hassett found no smoking gun.

But he did find some weird stuff in elimination games, when calls seemed to favor extending the series more than in other games.

He also found that home court advantage was much more important in the playoffs than in the regular season, which is a bit odd.

findings are consistent with what you’d find if you wanted to have as
many money-making playoff games as possible. Basically, if every series
ended in a sweep, there’d by very little opportunity to make money.
However, if every series gets to Game 7 — which happens when home
teams win every game — the teams and the League have not only three
more chances to make money, but the three most exciting games of the

Here is further explanation.  Here is the Hassett piece.  Note that fouls called on a team are often a measure of how tired that team is or how sloppy it is on defense.  So if teams play better with their back to the wall, at home, or if stamina matters more toward the end of the year, these correlations could potentially arise through natural means.


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