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Raptors aim to shake off controversial loss tonight against Clippers on TSN

Paul George Scottie Barnes Los Angeles Clippers Toronto Raptors Paul George Scottie Barnes - Getty Images

Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic went on quite the rant after Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, calling out the free throw disparity between the two teams in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers shot 23 free throws in the final frame during a 132-131 win, compared to two attempts for the Raptors.

"It's outrageous. What happened tonight, this is completely B.S.," Rajakovic said. "This is shame. Shame for 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 all-star-calibre 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?"

The Raptors’ first-year head coach didn’t let up.

"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 going to be [an] all-star. He's going to be the face of this league, and what's happening over here during whole season ... it's complete crap."

Rajakovic and the rest of the Raptors won’t have much more time to reflect on the officiating as they’re right back at it Wednesday night against Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers on the same court at Arena.

Watch the matchup LIVE at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT across the TSN Network, on and the TSN App.

Free throws aside, the Raptors struggled mightily containing Lakers’ big man Anthony Davis, who finished with a season-high 41 points on just 17 field goal attempts.

Davis scored 20 in the fourth quarter – including going 11-of-11 from the line – and pulled down 11 rebounds. The Raptors lost starting centre Jakob Poeltl to an ankle sprain Sunday against the Golden State Warriors and he’s since been announced as out indefinitely. His absence was evident against Davis, with 6-foot-8 Thad Young getting the start at centre.

“It was all of us,” Davis said Tuesday. "It wasn't just me. Big-time stops. We got rebounds, and they wanted me to get the ball as far as free throws, but the team was just making the right reads and trying to finish.”

The Raptors take on a Clippers team that has figured things out over the last couple months after a 3-7 start to the season.

James Harden has settled in since arriving in a Nov. 1 trade, scoring 17.4 points per night on his most efficient shooting season in years. Leonard and Paul George continue to be one of the NBA’s best two-way duos and more importantly have only missed a combined total of six games so far in 2023-24. Last year, they combined to sit out 56.

“Right now we're playing at a high level and everyone is confident,” Clippers centre Ivica Zubac said after Monday’s win over the Phoenix Suns, their sixth in seven games.

The Clippers announced later on Wednesday they had signed Leonard to a contract extension. The Athletic's Shams Charania reports the deal is for three years and $152.4 million.

Wednesday will be the first meeting between the Raptors and Clippers this season. They will face off again on Jan. 26 in Toronto.


Sixers, Hawks kick off NBA Doubleheader

Before the Raptors take on the Clippers Wednesday evening, the Philadelphia 76ers head to Atlanta to take on Trae Young and the Hawks.

Watch that game LIVE at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT on TSN1, TSN3, and the TSN App.

The Sixers (23-12) are coming off double-digit losses to the New York Knicks and Utah Jazz over the weekend and will be without last year’s MVP Joel Embiid Wednesday because of a swollen left knee.

The Hawks (14-21) have also lost two straight and sit one game out of the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference. Young’s 27.8 points per game sit seventh in the NBA and 76ers' guard Tyrese Maxey isn't far behind in 13th at 25.9.