(Credit: Bleacher Report)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better postgame rant about the state of officiating than what Darko Rajaković put on display following his team’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. While he stopped short of referring to what the league allows to transpire at the free throw line as “disgusting,” the Toronto Raptors head coach was clearly upset that the Lakers were awarded 23 free throws in the fourth quarter, compared to just two for the Rapotors, and boy, did he let his feelings be known.

Rajaković was highly critical of the officiating in his team’s narrow defeat of 132-131 to the Lakers, describing it as “completely BS” and “shameful.” He also raised concerns over the fact that Scottie Barnes, whom he considers to be an All-Star caliber player, was only awarded two free throw attempts throughout the entire game.

“That’s outrageous,” Rajaković said in response to a reporter’s question about the discrepancy in free throw attempts. “What happened tonight? That’s completely BS. This is shame; shame for the referees, shame for the league to allow this. 23 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. How’s (sic) possible that Scottie Barnes, whose All-Star caliber player in this league, goes every single time to the rim with force and trying to get to the rim without flopping and not trying to get foul calls; he gets two free throws for the whole game.

“How’s that possible? How are you going to explain that to me? 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 the win. That was not fair tonight. And this is not happening first time for us. Scottie Barnes is going to be (an) All-Star. He’s going to be the face of this league. And what’s happening over here during the whole season — I’ve been holding it back — it’s complete crap.”

Rajaković was asked a follow-up if he received an explanation for a questionable offensive foul call that went against the Raptors.

“No, no, there’s no explanation,” he said. “They just come up there, they review it, and they see what they want to see. They don’t hear us what we got to say. They don’t want to hear the players. They don’t just want to protect us. Over the game, they got 36 free throws — 23 free throws in the fourth quarter. What are we talking about? What are we talking about? How are we gonna (sic) suppose to play?”

Rajaković mentioned that his team is often subjected to unfair officiating, but he has advised his players to remain professional and continue to strive. However, Tuesday’s game appears to have been the final straw for the first-year head coach, who has grown tired of the poor officiating that his team has faced this season. Surely, he’s willing to face the consequences of his comments, which will likely include a hefty fine.

Rajaković’s rant is a masterclass in using postgame emotions to address more significant issues of officiating fairness. While some may call it unprofessional, others consider it a necessary call to action. Regardless of your stance, it’s a decisive moment that raises essential questions about refereeing in the NBA.

[Kayla Grey]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.