DeMar DeRozan was visibly frustrated with NBA officials after his Toronto Raptors suffered a 132-125 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday in a game that dissolved into a chaotic mess of technical fouls and Raptor ejections.
Russell Westbrook scored 37 points and recorded his 102nd career triple-double, helping the Thunder snap the Raptors' 11-game win streak, which had tied the franchise record.
Six Raptors scored in double figures, led by DeRozan's 24 points. The Raptors all-star was slapped with a technical foul and ejected with eight seconds remaining in the game, as were Serge Ibaka and coach Dwane Casey, as the Raps lost their cool over the officiating.
"We're used to going against the odds every step of the way, it's been like that," DeRozan said. "We fight through it, but as soon as we say something, we're the bad guys, we get fined, we get criticized. Every single night when we play, we fight against all the odds. We still prevail, but we've all got a breaking point and it's frustrating. You seen it tonight."
DeRozan felt he was fouled by Oklahoma City's Cory Brewer on a key late-game layup attempt, but it wasn't called.
"He smacked me," DeRozan said. "He tried to smack me because I had a layup. Period. I got fouled."
Casey suggested the Raptors will be complaining to the NBA.
"All we want to ask for is fairness and consistency," Casey said. "We're going to complain the proper way, how the game got out of hand at the end. We just watched the calls; we're going to it the right way. I'm not going to stay up here and criticize officials, because we made enough mistakes down the stretch, also. We shot ourselves in the foot, missed easy shots, layups, free throws, turnovers.
"Officials are going to miss calls, but at the juncture of the game when some of the calls were made, we've got to get it right around the league. Not just this game, the entire league."
Kyle Lowry was back for the Raptors after taking Friday night off while the team took on the Mavericks. Norman Powell was back, too, after missing two games with an ankle injury, but steely backup point guard Fred VanVleet was sitting on Sunday with a right-hand injury.
The Thunder, the fourth-place team in the Western Conference, arrived in Toronto in the thick of a tough stretch against playoff contenders. Their 7-foot New Zealand big man, Steven Adams, was having his way with the Raptors in the paint and scoring big. OKC shot a smoking-hot 75 per cent from the field in the first, earning a 40-34 lead.
The Raps' highly touted bench – first in the NBA in scoring since Jan. 1 – brought fresh energy into the second quarter. A rare combo on this occasion of Lucas Nogueira, Powell, C.J. Miles, Delon Wright and Pascal Siakam opened with a 13-4 run to take the lead.
But the Thunder rolled right back behind Westbrook's stellar rebounding and a burst of scoring from Paul George, taking a 66-64 lead into the half.
The teams arm-wrestled over the lead throughout the second half.
Carmelo Anthony was shooting hot. Westbrook, who leads the NBA in assists (10.2 a game) and triple-doubles (a whopping 22 this season), was barnstorming toward his 23rd. Adams kept dominating, despite a brief exit after taking an incidental Ibaka knee to his groin.
Behind a 10-point third quarter from DeRozan, Toronto went up 98-97 heading into the fourth.
A frenzied final quarter included Lowry fouling out, Ibaka picking up a foolish foul on Adams, Anthony slapped with a technical and more lead trading.
The missed call on DeRozan seemed to unhinge the Raptors, and then came the three ejections. Toronto fans booed the refs off the floor after the game.
"It was a four-point game, we got frustrated," Casey said.
"DeMar got hit on the layup, it's a four-point game, you can't allow it to get out of hand like that."
The Raptors hit the road for games in Orlando and Cleveland.
The Canadian Press