By Ben Golliver
Raptors coach Dwane Casey unloaded on the referees and questioned the NBA's officiating review system following a 93-92 loss to the Hawks on Wednesday night.
The Toronto Sun reported that Casey pulled no punches in his post-game comments after a no-call denied his team a chance to attempt potentially game-winning free throws in the closing seconds.
“I’m tired of losing games because of missed calls at the end of games. I know the league is going to come down on me, but I don’t care,” said a seething Casey, smoke practically billowing out of his ears.
“These guys have fought their hearts out, played their hearts out and at the end of the game, we get cracked, (league sends out an) apology, go back to Canada. I’ve been in this league 18 years and I’ve never seen so many missed calls at the end of the game to cost us the game. We’ve got great officials in this league, and too good to miss calls and short-change young men like this. It’s not right. I watched the replay three or four times, hoping that they (somehow made the right call) but they didn’t,” he said. “This is fourth time this year that we’ve been in this situation."
The Raptors have been the NBA's only franchise in Canada since the Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001.
Casey's reference to an "apology" concerns the league office's system for formally announcing when officials miss key calls late in games. Earlier this month, the NBA league office announced that its referees blew a late call in a Jan. 16 game that ended with the Bulls beating the Raptors in overtime. The NBA league office also admitted its referees missed a late foul that wound up costing the Raptors during a Nov. 21 loss to the Bobcats.
The no-call that upset Casey on Wednesday occurred on a putback attempt in the game's closing seconds. DeMar DeRozan grabbed an offensive rebound in traffic and attempted to go up with a shot, only to receive contact from Hawks center Al Horford. No call was made on the play, Horford was awarded a block on the play, and time expired. Video of the sequence is above.
A fine here for Casey is virtually unavoidable given his criticism of both the individual referees and the league's review process. That won't play well with commissioner David Stern, who has assessed fines to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Mavericks forward Shawn Marion in recent weeks for criticizing the league's officials.
The loss dropped the Raptors to 16-30 on the season. DeRozan finished with a game-high 23 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Horford finished with a team-high 22 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
It was a busy day for the Raptors, who traded for Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay in a three-team deal. Check out The Point Forward's trade grades as well as a lengthy look at what the move means for Toronto and GM Bryan Colangelo.
Video via YouTube user raptorsrepublic