The Toronto Raptors are alive and kicking in the Eastern Conference Finals after a 99-84 game three win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, but head coach Dwane Casey still feels his team is not getting a consistent whistle from the officials.
Speaking after the game, Casey repeatedly pointed to the officiating, citing the free-throw discrepancy between the teams (86-51 in Cleveland’s favour) so far in the series and fouls on Bismack Biyombo that he feels are going unpunished.
Still, in the face of a 2-0 series deficit, the Raptors came up with the perfect response to the doubters who had already marked these conference finals down as a Cleveland sweep – and Casey continued the fightback post-game.
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“We’ve got the greatest officials in this league but how can you miss fouls like that and calls like that?” Casey said, likely earning himself a fine from the league in the process. “We shot zero free throws in the fourth quarter. Zero.
“I’ve got to go back and watch it, but there’s got to be some consistency. I’ve been in this league a long time, and there has to be consistency. The same foul on one end has to be the same foul on the other.
“Our guys are resilient and they’re playing through a lot of physicality. We’re getting hit and fouled. I’ve been on both sides of it. For whatever reason, and I understand we have great officials and it’s a hard game to call, some of those calls are unbelievable.
“He [Biyombo] is getting fouled so much, but he’s not getting the calls. There was one play where we almost had a brawl and he got killed on that play. I think he gets hit almost on every rebound or putback there is.”
Casey also questioned the first foul called on Kyle Lowry, who battled foul trouble throughout the first half. Lowry was whistled for a block, but the Toronto head coach saw a charge from his angle.
NOT DONE YET
After the Raptors’ struggles on the road in Cleveland, this was a do-or-die game for their season. The fact that Toronto rose to the occasion suggests that there may be life in this series after all.
“There’s a sense of toughness; a sense of togetherness,” Casey explained. “People have written us off all year. It’s a long series. It’s not over yet.”
The level of physicality is only going to intensify as the stakes get higher in the games ahead. Casey’s comments will put the game four officiating crew under increased scrutiny when this series continues in the early hours of Tuesday morning.