an unanticipated consequence of
Jack M. Balkin
Jack Balkin: jackbalkin at yahoo.com
Bruce Ackerman bruce.ackerman at yale.edu
Ian Ayres ian.ayres at yale.edu
Mary Dudziak mary.l.dudziak at emory.edu
Joey Fishkin joey.fishkin at gmail.com
Heather Gerken heather.gerken at yale.edu
Abbe Gluck abbe.gluck at yale.edu
Mark Graber mgraber at law.umaryland.edu
Stephen Griffin sgriffin at tulane.edu
Bernard Harcourt harcourt at uchicago.edu
Scott Horton shorto at law.columbia.edu
Andrew Koppelman akoppelman at law.northwestern.edu
Marty Lederman msl46 at law.georgetown.edu
Sanford Levinson slevinson at law.utexas.edu
David Luban david.luban at gmail.com
Gerard Magliocca gmaglioc at iupui.edu
Jason Mazzone mazzonej at illinois.edu
Linda McClain lmcclain at bu.edu
John Mikhail mikhail at law.georgetown.edu
Frank Pasquale pasquale.frank at gmail.com
Nate Persily npersily at gmail.com
Michael Stokes Paulsen michaelstokespaulsen at gmail.com
Deborah Pearlstein dpearlst at princeton.edu
Rick Pildes rick.pildes at nyu.edu
Richard Primus raprimus at umich.edu
K. Sabeel Rahmansabeel.rahman at brooklaw.edu
Alice Ristroph alice.ristroph at shu.edu
Neil Siegel siegel at law.duke.edu
Brian Tamanaha btamanaha at wulaw.wustl.edu
Mark Tushnet mtushnet at law.harvard.edu
Adam Winkler winkler at ucla.edu
In Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner pointed out that asymmetries in payoffs could lead to collusion in sumo wrestling. But in the current NBA Finals, there is a different kind of asymmetry in payoffs that should lead the Lakers to try to have their own players called for technical fouls. Specifically, the Lakers should try to instigate double technical fouls.
I have been a bit surprised that Lakers coach Phil Jackson hasn’t had his center, Andrew Bynum, try to get in the face of Celtics center Kendrick Perkins and start a clenching and shoving match.
Double technicals are routinely awarded to both players involved in such an altercation early in a game, regardless of who instigated the altercation. (An example occurred in the first game when the refs called double techicals on Ron Artest and Paul Pierce.)
Double technicals for Bynum and Perkins would be disproportionately costly for the Celtics because:
Celtics center Kendrick Perkins is on the threshold of a one-game suspension after accruing six technicals — five of which are of the double-technical variety (two opposing players being called for technicals on the same play) . . .
The same tactic might also pay Laker dividends with respect to the Celtics bigs, Rasheed Wallace (who now has five technicals) and Kevin Garnett (who has four). It’s not impossible to believe that with a little Laker help, these Celtics could be double-T’d into suspension.
In the second game, the referees in one sequence showed a reluctance to call double technicals involving Perkins. Still the instigation strategy seems like a risk worth taking. At worst, one of the Lakers would be called for a solo T and the Celtics would get to shoot a free throw. A 50% chance of that bad outcome might be worth a 50% chance of a suspension for the Celtics center.
The rationality of trying to get technical fouls called on your own team is an example of what Steve Salop and David Sheffman call “raising rivals’ costs.” Sometimes it makes sense to increase your own cost of production, if you can raise the cost of your rival’s even more.