Toronto Coach Darko Rajakovic Slams “B.S.” Officiating as Lakers Shoot 23 Free Throws in Fourth Quarter

LOS ANGELES – Toronto coach Darko Rajakovic expressed strong dissatisfaction with the officiating after the Los Angeles Lakers shot 23 free throws in the fourth quarter to secure a narrow 132-131 victory over the Raptors on Tuesday night.

Rajakovic, in his first year as head coach of the Raptors, voiced his frustration with the significant difference in free throw attempts between the two teams. The Lakers’ Anthony Davis scored 20 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter, going a perfect 11-for-11 at the free throw line during the final period. Davis alone took 14 free throws, while the entire Toronto roster only attempted 13.

“This is completely unacceptable. It’s a shame for the referees and a shame for the league to allow this,” said Rajakovic. “To give them 23 free throws and for us to only get two in the fourth quarter? How is that fair? We have star players on our team as well, like Scottie Barnes, who consistently attacks the rim without flopping and still only gets two free throws for the entire game. How do you explain that?”

Davis delivered an exceptional performance, securing 11 rebounds and connecting on 13 of his 17 field goal attempts. He sealed the victory by scoring 10 points in the final 1:01, including eight free throws without a miss, and making a crucial block.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham praised Davis for his ability to read the game and draw fouls. Rajakovic, however, maintained that the officials did not give his team a fair chance to compete.

“They had already decided they wanted the Lakers to win tonight. If that’s the case, just let us know so we don’t waste our time playing the game,” Rajakovic argued. “This kind of unfairness has happened to us many times before. Scottie Barnes is going to be an All-Star and the face of the league, but he faces this kind of treatment the whole season. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Despite the discrepancy in free throws, Toronto’s Barnes scored 26 points and Pascal Siakam contributed 25, but it was not enough to overcome the Lakers.

Rajakovic’s impassioned comments may result in a fine from the NBA, although his players expressed their gratitude for his support.

“It shows that he’s fully behind us as a family and a team,” said Thaddeus Young, who scored 10 points while starting at center in place of injured Jakob Poeltl. “We know we can always count on him to defend us. We think highly of Coach and appreciate him standing up for us.”

The game initially saw a relatively even distribution of free throws, with the Lakers and Raptors taking 13 and 11 attempts, respectively, through the first three quarters. However, the Lakers’ total escalated significantly in the final period.

Rajakovic’s criticism highlights an ongoing issue in the NBA regarding officiating consistency and fairness, leaving players and coaches frustrated. The league may need to address this concern to ensure every team has an equal opportunity to compete.

Restating key facts: The Toronto Raptors head coach, Darko Rajakovic, expressed outrage over the officiating after the Los Angeles Lakers attempted 23 free throws in the fourth quarter, securing a close victory. Rajakovic criticized the significant disparity in free throw attempts between the teams and argued that the referees showed favoritism towards the Lakers. Despite the unfairness, Anthony Davis delivered a stellar performance, contributing 41 points and securing the win for the Lakers. Barnes and Siakam performed well for the Raptors, but their efforts fell short. Rajakovic’s comments may lead to a fine, but his players appreciated his support. The discrepancy in free throws reflects a larger issue of inconsistency in NBA officiating that needs to be addressed.