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Raptors Respond to Criticism from DeMar DeRozan: 'All This is New for Everyone'

The Toronto Raptors say they were unaware they'd been eliminated from in-season tournament contention during Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls
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The Toronto Raptors want to make it clear: There was nothing nefarious behind their decision to run up the score against the Chicago Bulls.

Pascal Siakam had heard someone telling him to shoot in the final seconds of a 121-108 over the Bulls and that’s exactly what he did. With three seconds to go, he let fly a three-pointer that missed.

It immediately led to frustration from DeMar DeRozan who began arguing with the Raptors sideline before being ejected from the game with his second technical.

While the Raptors did know it was an in-season tournament game in which point differential matters, Toronto hadn’t realized the team had been eliminated from tournament contention before tipoff Friday night.

“I was getting ready for my game and I did not worry what was going on in the other games,” Raptors coach Darko Rajaković told reporters Saturday. “We wanted to win the game and I did not know what was going on. Maybe that was my fault.”

Siakam said he understood where DeRozan was coming from and admitted he didn’t even think about taking the shot until someone reminded him that point differential does matter in the tournament.

“I understand how he, in the moment, can be mad,” Siakam said. “All this is new for everyone. Everybody’s thinking, I’m trying to do the right thing. I don’t think anybody was thinking, I’m going to score one more point on the Chicago Bulls just to make it (worse). None of us are like that. I don’t think anybody’s like that. If anything happened and people got upset, it was good intentions. It wasn’t some(thing) malicious.”

Siakam said too did not realize the team had been eliminated prior to the game but would not say who was telling him to shoot on Toronto’s sideline.