Raptors Coach Goes off After Anthony Davis-Led Lakers…

Raptors Coach Goes off After Anthony Davis-Led Lakers Win..

Toronto Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic was fuming mad after Anthony Davis powered the Los Angeles Lakers to a 132-131 victory on Tuesday, January 9, at Crypto.com arena for their second straight win.

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Rajakovic went after the officials in a table-pounding postgame press conference.

“It’s outrageous. What happened tonight, this is completely B.S.,” Rajakovic said. “This is a shame. Shame on the referees. Shame for the league to allow this. Twenty-three 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 [is it] possible that Scottie Barnes, who is an All-Star-caliber player in this league, he 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 a whole game?” Rajakovic added, slapping the table repeatedly for emphasis. “How is that possible? How are you going to explain that to me?”

Davis scored 10 of his 41 points in the final 61 seconds, including eight straight free throws to will the Lakers.

A game-tying 3 by Scottie Barnes with 24 seconds left was not counted after Davis drew a moving screen from RJ Barrett which infuriated the Raptors bench.

“They had to win tonight? If that’s the case, just let us know, so we don’t show up for the game,” Rajakovic said. “Just give them a win. But that was not fair tonight. And this is not happening first time for us. Scottie Barnes is gonna be [an] All-Star. He’s gonna be the face of this league, and what’s happening over here during the whole season … it’s complete crap.”

Anthony Davis’ Steady Hands

Davis added 11 rebounds, six assists and one block as he exploited the absence of Raptors center Jakob Poetl, a late scratch due to an ankle sprain that will sideline him indefinitely.

After Barrett’s moving screen, Davis sank the two free throws for a 126-121 cushion and the Raptors went on a fouling spree to stop the clock. An 80% free throw shooter this season, Davis cooly sank 10 of 11 foul shots.

The Lakers made 28 of 36 free throws. The Raptors only had 13 attempts at the line and hit 8 of them.

“We knew we had an advantage on the interior tonight, and we just tried to get it to (Davis) early and often and late,” LeBron James said via House of Highlights.

James added 22 points and a game-high 12 assists.

Their second straight nail-biting win brought the Lakers back to .500 (19-19) and 10th in the Western Conference.

Darvin Ham Calls for Bull Session After ‘Disconnect’ Report

The Lakers improved to 2-1 since beleaguered coach Darvin Ham called for a bull session following The Athletic’s report of disconnect in their locker room.

“Hell yeah, I open the floor,” Ham told The Athletic. “Give me some feedback. I don’t have pride. My pride is not crazy. My ego — all that. We had a couple (players) speak up. I’ll just leave it there, but we had a few guys speak up. And right or wrong, I love it. I agreed with most of it, and I disagreed with some.”

Ham’s job is safe, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

“League sources say Ham continues to enjoy very strong support from Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka,” Stein wrote in his January 8 substack newsletter.

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