The 6ix Vs Everybody
A few days after the Raptors dethroned King James and the Cavs, they faced the number one team in the Association, the Golden State Warriors. They played home at the ACC Saturday night in one of the craziest games of the year. This game featured one of the most impossible comebacks in sport, that was put to a halt, due to multiple controversial calls ending in the away team's favour. An issue that has become a trend against the Raptors.
In everybody's defense, this was a big week in Toronto filled with some major distractions. On Wednesday night, Drake unofficially opened his brand new restaurant Pick 6ix and hosted the Cleveland Cavs for Dwayne Wade's birthday. The 6ix God also attended both games against Cleveland and Golden State court side, sharing 50% of the camera time with the basketball game that was going on during Drake's appearance.
With this kind of star presence, pressure and nerves will naturally kick in. It was a little understandable for the Raps to be nearly down by 30 at the half. However, the multiple controversial calls by the officiating, followed by no explanation other than "Nah I didn't see it, it wasn't my call," is unacceptable.
Besides a handful of questionable calls earlier in the game, the most significant calls came towards the end of the game, after the Raps climbed back from a 27 point deficit. 2 time MVP, Steph Curry, beat his man and drove uncontested to the rim. Only to run into Sophomore Center, Jakob Poeltl, who spiked his shot into a terrified Warrior's bench. But to everyone's surprise, the ref called a foul on a block cleaner than a nun. As we all know, the ball don't lie, and Steph the 90 percent career free throw shooter missed both shots. However, momentum was already killed. After the block, the Raps were on a fast break with Golden State's defense scrambling, followed by the foul call. The refs weren't done there and they decided to double down on an out of bounds call, originally called against Golden State for the final possession. The call gets reversed and it's Warrior's ball with 2 more seconds added to the clock. As Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, points out in a tweet posted below, you can not go back in time for a call.
Demar Derozan took to the media after the game to voice his displeasure, saying "It’s frustrating being out there, feeling like you’re playing five on eight.”
Those seem like difficult circumstances to play under, especially when 4 of those 8 guys you're metaphorically playing against are future Hall of Famers.
If the Raptors choose to protest this call it will be the second time in less than two seasons. An issue no other team has had to experience. The start of last year saw Terrence Ross drain a 3 pointer at the buzzer to tie the game against the Sacramento Kings. The call was then overruled saying that there was a "clock malfunction" and the game was actually over before the shot was taken. Despite what video replay showed everybody.
This isn't a great look for the NBA, a league that has developed a reputation the last few years for being against Canada's only team. A popular hashtag on twitter has been trending for far too long #NBAHatesCanada and this is exactly why. Everything from referee calls to scheduling the games, Toronto never seems to be a priority. To add to this conspiracy theory, the best NBA teams are usually granted the Christmas Day games. But the second place team in the east was given the day off to spend time with their families. This may excite any other athlete but in basketball, ball is life, and this was considered the ultimate snub.
As optimistic as I am with the Raps, the realistic side of me knows nothing will change. Whether the Raps protest this call or not, it will end up just like the call with the Sacramento Kings. We will receive a meaningless apology and the loss will still stand. But we will leave these decisions to the NBA Commissioner. So do the right thing Adam Silver.