The Toronto Raptors were down by 7 points in the 4th quarter against the Sacramento Kings on the road, when an away from the ball foul committed by Ben McLemore with 29 seconds left on the clock—in an attempt to deny Steve Novak the ball, allowed Novak to cut it to a 2 possession game, knocking down the free throw.
The ball was then inbounded to Demar Derozan at the top of the arc, passed into the hands of Kyle Lowry, who proceeded to knock down a 3-pointer while being knocked down by oncoming defender Ben McLemore….a blown whistle with 25.5 seconds left followed, signalling a foul call. But who was the foul on?
To everyone’s surprise—except for referee blowing the whistle, Michael Smith—the whistle was blown to signal an offensive foul call on Kyle Lowry. Ruling that Lowry had stuck his right foot out and initiated the contact with McLemore. Lowry was in immediate disbelief, popping right up off the hardwood and sprinting to the Raptors bench on the opposite end of the court. This drew a second whistle from the referee in the form of a technical foul call—Lowry’s 2nd of the game, leading to an automatic ejection.
The Sacramento Kings jumped out to a commanding 92-72 lead after 3 quarters, and held on to win 109-101. But the bigger story after the game was the perceived blown call by the referees. All this took place with the new NBA commissioner, Adam Silver in attendance at Sleep Train Arena.
Raptors’ personnel commented post game on the controversial call, with Dwane Casey and Kyle Lowry both taking the classy route and choosing not to criticize the officials, but rather themselves for having another slow start—that lasted all the way until the 4th quarter.
“I can’t say what I really want to say, simple as that.” Lowry said, fully aware that he would be fined for any verbal criticism of the referees. “We just gotta go out there and fix it [referring to the slow start the Raptors had]“.
And when asked specifically about the play that ultimately resulted in his ejection from the game, Lowry simply said,
“I don’t even remember. I don’t even remember what happened. I don’t even remember what happened, I just opened my eyes and I was in the locker room.”
Coach Dwane Casey also took the high road when asked about the controversial call, “I didn’t—I’m just watching it now on the replay. I don’t know. Again I’ll have to watch it on replay, but again you don’t let one call decide the game. It started in the first quarter.” Casey Said.
“I just thought our whole disposition, we’re out hugging, hanging, giving five, all that. This is a business. I didn’t think our disposition from start to finish was in fight mode. The hungry team mode.” Casey said about the slow start. “We haven’t done anything and I’ve been repeating this. We haven’t done anything in this league yet to come out and play in 2nd gear until we try and turn it on. We’re not that good. And until we have that disposition from start to finish, we’re going to be disappointed a lot. I’ve said that warning, I’ve given that warning. And like I just told them, they’ve got to decide how they want to live.”
The video footage of the play can be viewed below: