Don’t blame the officials when the Toronto Raptors lose a game

Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors may be on the losing side of the whistle some nights, but don’t blame the referees for the team’s shortcomings.

The Toronto Raptors are coming off a road loss to the Boston Celtics. In the game, they took 28 personal fouls compared the Celtics 20. While it is easy to point to a discrepancy and use it to attribute blame, it’s a terrible metric for determining a ball game.

There is no denying that a missed or wrong call can help swing the outcome of a matchup, but it should never be the primary focus when breaking down a game.

Some fans may watch a game and analyze the officiating on every play. Basketball may be the easiest sport to do so thanks to the fine line that exists whenever there is contact on the floor. Some may believe that a play should be called a charge, while others argue for a block. In-game officials may see that same bump and decide to put the whistles away and let play carry on.

Because there are so many close plays that occur throughout a game, it can raise the ire of fans when they disagree with multiple calls. For the Raptors, their broadcasters often help perpetuate these feelings.

The Raps broadcasters are some of the best in the league, but they have a tendency to include their biased opinions on the way a ballgame is being officiated. In particular, colour commentator, Jack Armstrong will identify for viewers when he disagrees with the referees’ decisions. This practice doesn’t also include all the instances where he believes that the officials correctly made difficult calls that benefit the Raptors. This may lead viewers to come away with the opinion that the referees cost the Raptors a win.

Fans may take to the echo chamber of basketball twitter, where criticizing referees is always in vogue. Having opinions legitimized by other like-minded fans helps create a reality in which, referees become the focus of their blame.

There was a great deal of that after the Raptors’ loss in Boston. Nick Nurse may have been visibly unhappy with the crew in Boston, Ed Malloy, Michael Smith, and Derek Richardson, but that doesn’t mean that they cost the Raptors the game.

This early in the season, Nurse expressing his displeasures could be more than what it seems on the surface. He hopes to get more favorable calls in the future and may not want to appear too passive about fouls. Part of Nurse’s job is to work officials. He will see many of these same refs throughout the season so holding them accountable may benefit him and the team down the line.

There were many factors that led to Toronto’s inability to get the job done against the Celtics. The Raptors were badly outrebounded. The Celtics not only secured ten more boards, but they were far better on the offensive glass. The Raptors grabbed just five offensive rebounds compared to Boston’s 21.

Turnovers were also a big problem for the Dinos in the game. They needed to be more careful with the ball. The Raptors turned the ball over 23 times, more than double the Celtics nine. Together with being outrebounded, Toronto gave up far too many field goal opportunities.

The Raptors had two second-chance points compared to the Celtics 21. The Raps also had 18 fewer points off turnovers. These stats help prove that the referees didn’t tilt the floor against Toronto. The Raps managed to make winning less attainable due to the deficiencies in their play.

There’s nothing wrong with fans being angry, disappointed or even critical of NBA officiating. They obviously have that right and should enjoy the game in whatever fashion they desire. Fans may just want to reconsider blaming referees for the results of any particular game.

Next. Stock Up - Stock Down after Game 1. dark

Fans could take a cue from Nurse. His histrionics on the sidelines demonstrate his feelings, but when he huddles with players, the topic never appears to be the officials, but rather what needs to be done to get come out on top. Hopefully, the Raptors manage to rack up many wins this season even when it appears that they aren’t getting the whistle they desire.