Toronto loves new Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic following passionate rant after loss

Like a few of you, I was glued to the couch for a very late night Toronto Raptors game versus the Los Angeles Lakers, which finished up some time before 1 a.m. And like most, I was frustrated by the refereeing especially in the fourth quarter of a tight game, which ended up as a loss for the Raps, but could easily have been a win with some better calls from the officials.

What I didn’t see was Toronto Raptors’ head coach, Darko Rajakovic let loose an epic rant that somehow combined a diatribe over poor officiating that saw his team take just two free throws to the Lakers 23 in the final quarter. A wildly improbable figure. But the rant also had the added bonus of supporting his star player Scottie Barnes, and his bid for an All-Star Game appearance, and get the team motivated for its game tonight versus the better Los Angeles team, the Clippers.

Rajakovic did not mince words, stating, “What happened tonight, this is completely B.S., this is shame. Shame for the referees and shame for the league to allow this.”

The coach emphasized his concern for fair treatment, saying, “I understand respect for All-Stars and all of that, but we have star players on our team as well.”

Rajakovic questioned the disparity in free throw opportunities, pointing out the case of Scottie Barnes, whom he referred to, for good reasons, as an All-Star caliber player.

“How [is it] possible that Scottie Barnes, who is an All-Star caliber player in this league, goes every single time to the rim with force, trying to get to the rim without flopping and not trying to get foul calls, he gets two free throws for the whole game?”

Rajakovic punctuated his point by hitting his fist against the table.

“How is that possible? How are you going to explain that to me?” he added. “They had 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.”

The rant is reminiscent of another great Raptors rant feature former star Fred VanVleet now with the Houston Rockets directed at referee Ben Taylor who, coincidentally, was part of the officiating team in last night’s game as well.

The NBA analyses the performance of officials over the last two minutes of close games, and publishes its findings each day, although the Raptors game was late and at the time of publishing this article, was not yet available. It will be interested to read.

Meanwhile, although it’s one in the loss column for the Raptors, it is good to see that passion, which will surely translate to the guys in the locker room who have to get up for another game tonight.