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The Toronto Raptors were fossilized, trailing the Golden State Warriors at halftime of their game Saturday night at Air Canada Centre, 81-54.
However, thought to be extinct, the Raptors scratched, clawed and dug deep in the second half, only to come up on the short end of a 127-125 verdict.
Which only served to crank up the frustration meter for Toronto.
What had its coach and players seeing red after the game?
Several 50-50 calls did not go Toronto’s way down the stretch and afterward, the Raptors could not help themselves when asked about the officiating.
Get your checkbooks out and starting writing those checks, fellas. (OK, fines are deducted from paychecks in the NBA, but you get the point).
“It’s frustrating being out there feeling you playing 5-on-8,” DeMar DeRozan, who game a game-high 42 points to go with five rebounds, three assists and shot 17-of-31 in 38 minutes, said.
“That’s just what it feels like. Period.
“Some of them calls was terrible. Period.”
With one second remaining in one of the wildest, most-entertaining games of the 2017-18 season, in the balance with the Warriors leading, 125-122, all things came to a head on a replay review.
In real time, referee Tony Brothers whistled a play dead, ruling the basketball went out of bounds of Steph Curry of the Warriors with one second to play.
On review, though, the officials ruled the ball actually went out of bounds off DeRozan and put three seconds back on the clock.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, never one to hold back when it comes to the NBA and its officiating, was watching from home and, like the Raptors, could not help himself.
Watching end of Warriors Raptors. Refs can't go back in time for a review. They can only review the out of bounds event. #protestable
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 14, 2018
Of all people, Curry’s younger brother, Seth, agreed with Cuban.
I was thinking the same thing
— Seth Curry (@sdotcurry) January 14, 2018
To Cuban’s point, the officials should have been looking at only the Curry portion of the play and not DeRozan’s involvement.
“I thought you couldn’t even do that,” DeRozan said. “I’m not even a referee, and I know that rule.
“Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.”
Joe Borgia, the NBA’s senior vice president of replay and referee operations, clarified what transpired on the play.
“Instant replay review was used because the officials were unsure who should be awarded possession after the ball went out of bounds,” Borgia said postgame. “During replay, we checked the loose ball sequence at the sideline and we determined that Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan caused the ball to go out of bounds with three seconds remaining. The Warriors were awarded the ball and the clock was reset to three seconds.”
Raptors coach Dwane Casey didn’t attempt to temper his remarks in his postgame interview with reporters.
“There was just so many calls down the stretch, I’ve got to look at them and see,” he said. “It’s just mind-boggling that you ask the official, ‘Did you see it?’ ‘Nah, I didn’t see it, wasn’t my call.’ I’ve got to have an explanation.
“I have all the respect in the world for our officials, but when you’re in and have that situation — our guys fighting their hearts out and again maybe they thought we didn’t deserve it the way we played in the first half, I don’t know. But the way they scraped in the second half. It blows my mind, and I think we have the best officials in the world.”
The debatable calls by referees are sometimes difficult to play through. But play on, they must.
“Yeah, definitely,” Toronto’s Fred VanVleet said. “But, you know, that’s a part of the game. There’s ups and downs to it. There’s times where you get them and times where you don’t. You’ve got to be able to adapt and adjust. And, obviously, you can’t give a team like that that type of lead. But, coming down the stretch, you’d like some of those [calls] to go your way.
“In the mix of the game, you don’t really have time to dwell on it. But you come to the locker room after and you start adding them up — you start looking back at some that could have went your way. But that’s the way the game goes sometimes.”