14 Jan

Watch entire heated rant

The Toronto Raptors fell to the Los Angeles Lakers 132-131 on Tuesday night, and officiating was a major topic of discussion after the contest. Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic laid into the referees over the disparity in foul calls and free-throw attempts after the game, and the first-year coach did not pull any punches in a memorable and heated rant.

Rajakovic ripped the officiating, specifically in the fourth quarter of his team’s one-point loss, calling it a “shame for the league” and openly questioning if the officials just wanted the Lakers to win.

“What happened tonight, this is completely BS,” Rajakovic told reporters. “This is [a] shame. Shame for the referees. Shame for the league to allow this.”

The Lakers thrived at the charity stripe down the stretch and were awarded 23 free throws in the fourth quarter. The Raptors, on the other hand, only shot two free throws in the final frame. That differential was the largest in any quarter this season, per Sportsnet. Los Angeles attempted 36 free throws for the game (and made 28), while Toronto totaled just 13 attempts.

Rajakovic said he thinks the Lakers got special treatment because of their big-name stars.

“I understand. Respect for All-Stars. But we have star players on our team as well,” Rajakovic said. “How is it possible that Scottie Barnes, who is [an] All-Star caliber player in this league, he goes to the rim every single time with force and trying to get to the rim without flopping and not trying to get foul calls? He gets two free throws for the whole game. How is that possible? How are you going to explain that to me? They get to win tonight? If that’s the case, just let us know so we don’t show up for the game. Just give them a win. That was not fair tonight.

“[…] “And this is not happening [for the] first time for us. Scottie Barnes is gonna be [an] All-Star. He’s gonna be the face of this league. And what’s happening over here, during [the] whole season, I’ve been holding it back. It’s complete crap.”

Here are Rajakovic’s comments in full:

Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic with the rant of the year after losing to the Lakers: “What happened tonight is completely BS. This is shame. Shame for the referees. Shame for the league to allow this.”

“Scottie Barnes is gonna be All-Star. He’s gonna be the face of this league.” pic.twitter.com/PQi70uZfzl

— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) January 10, 2024
Arguably the most notable call of the game came with less than 30 seconds left. Toronto’s RJ Barrett was whistled for a controversial moving screen.

RJ Barrett was called for a moving screen before this game-tying three from Scottie Barnes.

Good or bad call? 🤔


— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) January 10, 2024
“There was no explanation,” said Rajakovic, who is surely going to be fined by the NBA for his comments. “They just come up there, they review it, and they see what they want to see. They don’t want to hear us, what we got to say.”

The loss kept the 15-22 Raptors in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, currently outside the play-in picture. The Lakers, meanwhile, made the most of all their fourth-quarter free throws and got back to .500 at 19-19 with the win. After a recent 3-10 stretch, the Lakers will take wins however they can get them.

The Bron video: “I felt like they fouled and we didn’t” 😂 pic.twitter.com/ISdvDkCnMI

— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) January 10, 2024
“I felt like they fouled and we didn’t,” said a measured LeBron James.

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