Trash-talk Toronto Raptors: Russell Westbrook and other in-game gaffes

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Welcome back to another edition of Trash-talk Toronto Raptors! Here we are going to discuss everything that happened with the Toronto Raptors except… basketball.

Okay, okay, so the Toronto Raptors have played in three games since the All-Star break. Two have been fairly uncontested while the second game was a pure shellacking of the Indiana Pacers, one in which Toronto steamrolled them by a franchise-high 46 points. The other was a potential preview of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, a game where the Bucks came away as the victors.

Yet, in terms of off-court hullaballoo, the Toronto Raptors have been fairly quiet this week. Perhaps it’s because of the ever-important matchup against the Bucks or maybe it’s because nothing may ever top the GIF-worthy moment of OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka arguing over scarves. Needless to say, this has had me in a panic while I’ve attempted to find worthy moments to giggle about.

That said, other teams haven’t let up on the gas, which has uncovered some classic on-court gaffes from the week. As always, I couldn’t do this without you, the readers, helping me along the way. So, if you find some good clips in the future, please make sure to send them to us on Twitter by tagging @HughesWithMe or @RaptorsRapture along the way.

In today’s edition of Trash-talk, we’re going to discuss Russell Westbrook versus the Golden State G-Leaguers plus a cameo from our now world-famous ball boy, a party foul from a referee, a woman bravely attempting a trampoline dunk, and Paul George and the officials disregarding the rules of basketball.

These may not have anything to do with the Toronto Raptors per se and, in a way, I’m quite happy about that. Without further ado, onto this week’s edition of Trash-talk Toronto Raptors!

Russell Westbrook versus everyone

The Houston Rockets are now touting an all small-ball squad. I heard a listener from the Bill Simmons Podcast call it micro-ball, which I now endearingly enjoy. The roster now puts Westbrook in a spot where his athleticism can shine because his shooting continues to fade to black.

Westbrook is also a fiery dude, and on Thursday night when he faced the unceremonious starting lineup of Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Damion Lee, Marquese Chriss, and Draymond Green, he used that fire to talk enough trash to earn himself two technical fouls and get kicked from the game.

There are a couple of things I’d like to highlight here. First, Andrew Wiggins is just adorable. I know he’s been on a bottom-feeder squad in the Minnesota Timberwolves up until recently and there are some legitimate qualms about his ability to play defense and play within a system that minimizes poor shooting, but the man is just straight smiling at Westbrook with a twinkle in his eye that says, “Hey, you’ve never won anything either, my guy.” That is an amazing way to get Westbrook to get in his way.

Westbrook now leads the league with 13 technical fouls. And while it didn’t matter in this game, he’s flying close to the 16 it takes to garner a 1-game suspension. For a team with a lot of aspirations come the playoffs, Westbrook is going to have to learn to walk away despite his ferocity. As a quick aside, our man Kyle Lowry is fourth in the league with 11.

Another thing to highlight is Klay Thompson‘s polar opposite approach when compared to Westbrook. Understandably, yes, Thompson isn’t even dressed for the game — who took on a look that I can only describe as funeral home operator — but he sits nearly unresponsive, hands in his pockets, with a smug shrug that completely defies Westbrook. Man, if only I could be as cool as Klay Thompson.

Lastly, I’ve just got to throw this out there: It is entirely useless to be barking at these Golden State Warriors. They’ve got some players surely, but they’re so banged up and down-in-the-dumps that it just looks silly to trash-talk them especially when up by an absurd amount of points. This is the equivalent of me taking on a preschool team, throwing up an uncontested lay-up, knocking a kid over, barking in his face, and then punting the ball as hard as I can across the court.

In short, it is utterly stupefying.

And, unfortunately for Westbrook, who was enjoying an early shower, he got to miss out on this:

There you have it folks — never leave a game until the final buzzer has sounded.

Down goes Frazier!

I can’t say that I’ve been ever lucky enough to sit courtside at a basketball game unless you count those times in high school when I led our student cheering section. But, I can assure you that if I ever am lucky enough, I am going to order 400 hot wings and a gallon-sized margarita.

Unfortunately, someone had the same idea during the New Orleans Pelicans versus Portland Trail Blazers game on Friday night.

While this clip shows the party foul, it doesn’t do it justice compared to watching it in real-time; they literally replayed this moment as much as they replay a tip-in in the last second of a game.

First, the official has the best tiptoe away from the problem that I’ve ever seen as if he opened a door to an occupied bathroom and he’s attempting to escape undetected. Next, the woman’s face went tomato-red and she put her hands all over her face in disbelief. Also, watching her trying to get the order again is a classic “I don’t know what I should do, so I’m going to just act as if nothing happened” moment.

And yet, the best part, which isn’t shown above is that LeBron James ran into this woman earlier in the season and he helped her up and gave her a hug mid-game.

I’d like to see her in her next interview when they ask the pointed question, “How do you deal with adversity?” This lady has earned a 2-week paid vacation to anywhere that doesn’t serve margaritas or has basketball for that matter.

Leave the trampoline dunking to the professionals

I’m sure we’ve all seen mascots and gymnasts take a puncher’s chance at slamming home a basketball mid-game. But, I’ve never, NEVER seen them outsource the feat to someone from the crowd. Let’s have a look:

First, I have to get one thing off of my chest: This woman is insanely brave. I mean, I wouldn’t have given half this effort in front of a likely sold-out crowd. I’d probably start running, look at that trampoline, stop suddenly in my tracks as if I was saying “Hell, no,” then shoot just beyond the trampoline, brick the crap out of the shot, and finally shrug and wave to the crowd. For this woman to even go for it — in a fresh pair of low-heeled boots, might I add — is undeniably courageous.

But, I’ve got to ask the question: Who even thought this was a good idea?

Look, I know we’ve got some of the world’s greatest athletes gracing the floor, but the likelihood of pulling one out of the crowd is probably like one in a million. What if it would have been a toddler? What if it would have been someone immensely overweight? What if it would have been me?

Whoever decided “Hey, you know that thing we do where we jump off trampolines and dunk? Let’s do that with someone randomly picked from the crowd” is probably licking his chops right now and submitting his resume with the Trail Blazers because even he wouldn’t have the audacity to bring 55 margaritas courtside during basketball play.

The steps heard around the world

Alright, we’ve had this debate like a thousand times before (especially when we watch James Harden play), but the boldness of both Paul George and the officials to let this slide is just about as low as we can go in terms of officiating.

Here’s the play:

George clearly gets caught up looking back to ensure that no one is nearby on his dunk attempt. But all the while, he clearly forgets that dribbling is an essential part of playing basketball. I forgive George some, he has been out as of late so remembering the rules can sometimes be difficult. But, I certainly do not forgive the official as this was so blatant even a fourth-grader could have told you that it was a walk.

Luckily for this official, this game ended up being a blowout as the LA Clippers went on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies by 2,000 points. But, if it wasn’t a blowout and the game came down to one or two points, there would have likely been another protest among the NBA teams.

Now, I’m not asking for officials to get everything because that is downright impossible. But, I am asking for them to tighten up the officiating when it comes to traveling, a fairly easy call to make from the outside looking in.

Remember that phrase, “Give a man an inch and he’ll take it a mile” or something like that? Look, all I’m saying is the lack of traveling calls even when a basket is all but guaranteed deteriorates the game and says to others, “Do what you want.” An official has to be able to hold boundaries — even when those boundaries suck and you get complaints. Only by holding everyone accountable to the same rules over a long period will you get the desired results. Believe me, I’m an educator.

Hopefully, with another egregious miscall by the officials, that Adam Silver is already dreaming up of a way to reinvigorate officials and players alike to being bound by the rulebook. Otherwise, we’re all just pawns in a fixed game and I don’t need this turning into the Houston Astros fiasco.

Next. Does Matt Thomas deserve a larger role with the Raptors?. dark

That’s all for this week’s edition of Trash-talk Toronto Raptors! Tune in next week as we’ll be putting more people under the microscope in search of scarves and other winter garments.