NBA referees reveal Lakers were disadvantaged in 4th quarter, not Raptors

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

The officiating at the end of the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Toronto Raptors drew a significant negative reaction from the Raptors coach, but in fact the NBA report on the contest revealed that it actually was the Lakers who were dealt a disadvantage.

Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic went on a postgame tirade regarding the officiating, especially in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 132-131 victory. Los Angeles shot 23 free throws in the fourth quarter while Toronto shot only two.

“That’s outrageous. What happened tonight, this is completely B.S.,” Rajakovic said. “This is shame. Shame for the referees. Shame for the league to allow this. Twenty-three free throws for them, and we get two free throws in the fourth quarter? Like, how to play the game? I understand respect for All-Stars and all that, but we have star players on our team as well.”

The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report showed the Lakers actually were denied two other calls that would have benefitted them.

For Lakers star Anthony Davis, 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter came from the free-throw line. He made eight straight free throws without a miss in the final 1:01 of the game and finished with 41 points. LeBron James contributed 22 points with four points coming from the foul line.

The Lakers had 36 free-throw attempts in the game while the Raptors had just 13 in the one-point decision.

It was the second straight win for the Lakers and allowed them to get back to .500 with a 19-19 record. They had not won consecutive games since capturing the first NBA Cup as champions of the inaugural In-Season Tournament on Dec. 9.

An extended slump that included nine losses in 11 games before this modest winning streak has raised a lot of questions around the team, most notably about the future of head coach Darvin Ham.

While he was perceived to be in the hot seat and perhaps in danger of being fired, recent reports have emerged that said the organization plans to be patient with the 50-year-old and allow him to grow into the role. The longtime NBA assistant is in his second season as an NBA head coach.

The Lakers sit in 10th place in the Western Conference entering play on Wednesday. They will try to continue their recent momentum when they face the ninth-place Phoenix Suns on Thursday before playing their first road game of the 2024 calendar year at the Utah Jazz on Saturday.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.