THE ANGELS- Toronto manager Darko Rajakovic went on a furious tirade against the referees after the Los Angeles Lakers They made 23 free throws in the fourth quarter of a 132-131 victory over the Raptors on Tuesday night.
Rajakovic, Toronto’s first-year Serbian coach, criticized the game’s free throw disparity after Anthony Davis scored 20 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter and was 11 of 11 at the line in the fourth quarter. Davis shot 14 of the Lakers’ 36 free throws in the game, while Toronto’s entire roster shot only 13.
“It is outrageous. “What happened tonight is completely nonsense,” Rajakovic said. “It is a shame. A shame for the referees. It’s a shame the league allows this. Twenty-three free throws for them and two for us in the fourth quarter? How to play? I understand the respect for All-Stars and all that, but we also have star players on our team,” he insisted.
“How (is it) possible for Scottie Barnes, who is an All-Star caliber player in this league, to go to the rim hard every time and try to get to the rim without falling over and without trying to get fouled? “He gets two free throws in an entire match?” Rajakovic added, banging the table repeatedly for emphasis. “How is that possible? “How are you going to explain that to me?”
Davis grabbed 11 rebounds and was 13-for-17 as he led the Lakers down the stretch against the Raptors, who were missing injured starting center Jakob Poeltl. Davis completed his masterful performance by scoring 10 points in the final 1:01, including eight free throws without a miss, and making a key block on Barnes.
Rajakovic apparently felt the referees never gave his team a chance.
“Did (the Lakers) have to win tonight? If that is the case, please let us know so we don’t show up to the match,” Rajakovic said. “Just give them a win. But that wasn’t fair tonight. And this does not happen to us for the first time. Scottie Barnes will be an All-Star. “He’s going to be the face of this league, and what’s going on here all season… is complete bullshit.”
Barnes scored 26 points and Pascal Siakam scored 25 for the Raptors, who lost for just the second time in five games since acquiring RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley from New York for OG Anunoby. Barrett scored 23 points and Quickley scored 21 with four 3-pointers for the Raptors, who lost to the Lakers on the road for just the second time in their last nine trips.
Rajakovic’s rant will probably earn him a hefty fine from the NBAbut his players seemed to appreciate his verbal combativeness.
“It just says he’s all for us as a family, as a team,” said Thaddeus Young, who scored 10 points as Toronto’s starting center. “We will always remain united. We will always be behind each other as a family, as a team. We will always be united and he has always been behind us since the first day he arrived here. We love Darko to death. We thought a lot about the coach and definitely appreciated him hitting for us.”
LeBron James had 22 points and 12 assists for the Lakers, who won consecutive games for the first time in a month. They went 3-10 immediately after winning the inaugural NBA Season Tournament in December, but held off the Clippers on Sunday before outlasting the Raptors to get back to .500 (19-19).
“It was all on us,” said Davis, who had none of his frequent late-game problems making key free throws. “It wasn’t just me. Great stops. We got rebounds and they wanted me to get the ball to the free throws, but the team was just making the right reads and trying to finish,” Davis insisted.