These stats show there's a clear referee bias against the Pacers

I hate complaining about the refs and say they are the reason the Indiana Pacers lose certain games. At the same time, these stats can't be ignored.

Mar 24, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) defends
Mar 24, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) defends / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Did you catch the game on Sunday night against the Lakers? If you did, you saw the Indiana Pacers get called for 17 more fouls than the Lakers did. You also saw the Lakers get to shoot 27 more free throws. Quite frankly, it was a disgusting display of officiating.

I hate saying that refs are the reason for losing games. They have a tough job. It's impossible for them to get every call right all the time. Yet, there are some calls that were made that were absolutely baffling, including the Pacers challenging a charging foul on Aaron Nesmith that had Taurean Prince clearly moving that they didn't reverse.

So I decided to dig into the stats to see if there is something going on against the Pacers. This isn't the first time the refs have decided a close game for Indiana. The Wolves game comes to mind recently. I found some stats that show the refs have a clear bias against the Pacers. All stats are courtesy of TeamRankings.

The Pacers have stats against them that show the refs treat them poorly

The Pacers drive the ball just over 56 times per game as a team, which is the second-most of any time in the league. Yet, they still shot 27 fewer free throws than the Lakers. Meanwhile, the Lakers drive the fourth-fewest times in the league. Explain to me how that works.

In addition, the Pacers attempt just 21 free throws per game despite driving it over 56 times per game. Their free throw rate is 22nd in the league. No other team drives the ball as often and takes fewer free throws than the Indiana Pacers.

Indiana is the team that has been called for the most fouls per game. They get called for almost 22 fouls a game. So not only do teams get more free throws because apparently teams aren't fouling the Pacers, but the Pacers are just a bunch of hacks who can't play defense.

In contrast, teams get called for just 18.5 fouls per game when they are playing the Pacers. That's 20th best in the league. The refs need to call the games more equitably because it's starting to cost the Pacers precious games in the standings.

If you're more of a visual person, take a look at this:

As you can see, the Pacers have the second-worst net free-throw disparity in the league. They are shooting a whopping 533 free-throws fewer than their opponents this season. That's an insane stat for how often they drive the basketball.


I'm not sure how this gets fixed, but the Pacers deserve more respect than they're getting from the refs.