The NBA fined Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic $25,000 for his fervent criticism of the officiating in his team’s 132-131 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Rajakovic launched a vehement rant in which he scrutinized a 23-2 free-throw disparity in the Lakers’ favor during the fourth quarter and suggested the referees conspired to help Los Angeles win at home.
“How is that possible? How are you going to explain that to me? (The Lakers) had to win tonight? If that’s the case, just let us know so we don’t show up for the game,” the first-year head coach said. “Just give them a win. That was not fair tonight.
“And this is not the first time it happened to us … It’s complete crap.”
It’s Rajakovic’s first fine of his head coaching career.
Despite being outscored in the paint 70-50 by Rajakovic’s squad, the Lakers shot nearly three times as many free throws as the Raptors on Tuesday, going 28-of-36 from the line compared to 8-of-13 for Toronto. The Raptors were also arguably undone late by multiple controversial calls, including Immanuel Quickley’s disqualifying sixth foul: an offensive foul with 3:52 left to play that was upgraded to a flagrant 1 following a review.
With just over 24 seconds left and the Lakers up 124-121, Raptors wing RJ Barrett was then whistled for a moving screen on Anthony Davis as Scottie Barnes shot what would’ve been a game-tying 3-pointer.
Toronto was unable to contest the call on Barrett after unsuccessfully using its coach’s challenge on Quickley’s fifth foul earlier in the game.
Lakers star LeBron James, who finished with 22 points, 12 assists, and five rebounds in the victory, said he didn’t believe there was anything dubious about the officiating.
“I felt like they fouled and we didn’t,” James told reporters postgame.