Controversy always seems to follow the Los Angeles Lakers, whether it be on the court or the off-the-court trade rumors that circle the team. Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Raptors caused quite the stir as the Lakers rode a 23-2 free throw disparity to beat Toronto, 133-132.
This caused an outburst from Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic after the game that is definitely going to result in him getting a fine. Raptors fans are furious as they feel like the game was downright stolen from them by the referees.
This has caused many fans to echo the same sentiment that Rajakovic shared during his post-game presser: that the referees wanted the Lakers to win. That the NBA "needed" the Lakers to win on Tuesday night. Sorry to any Raptors fans reading this, but it doesn't go that deep.
Raptors fans' conspiracy about Lakers and Ben Taylor is silly
Don't get us wrong, Tuesday night's game was painfully officiated. The Lakers definitely got some questionable calls to go in their favor while there were a handful of calls that the Raptors should have gotten throughout the game. To try and say that Tuesday night's game was well officiated would be deceptive. It was a bad game from the referees.
But was it this blatant screw job where the refs were so obviously rooting for the Lakers? Not at all. Raptors fans love to throw out the free throw disparity in the fourth quarter while leaving out the fact that a big chunk of those free throws were self-induced. Of course, the numbers will look inflated when you are committing obvious fouls to get the Lakers to the line.
One play specifically that Raptors fans are pointing out is the moving screen call that negated a game-tying three late in the fourth quarter. Did Anthony Davis sell the call a bit? Absolutely. But anyone who has ever played hoops can see that this is a blatant moving screen. Just because Davis sold it doesn't mean that it isn't a foul!
Raptors fans are familiar with the referee from Tuesday night's game, Ben Taylor. Fred VanVleet infamously dug into Taylor last March after a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Taylor has become a villain in Toronto and a game like this does not help his standing with the fanbase.
There is absolutely a case to be made that Taylor is a bad referee. After all, Taylor was demoted by the NBA after VanVleet's rant last season. But the idea that he has some sort of agenda against the Raptors is quite silly. In fact, the Raptors have the sixth-best winning percentage of any team in games that Taylor officiated. The Lakers rank 20th.
Tuesday night's game was poorly officiated. It isn't the first time this has happened in a game and it certainly won't be the last. Heck, the Lakers have had to deal with poor officiating that hurt them more often than they have dealt with officiating that has helped them.
This isn't some kind of anti-Raptors agenda, it isn't some kind of pro-Lakers agenda. Trying to suggest otherwise is nefarious.