Patrick Patterson on the officiating: “Is that something new? In regards to calls not going our way…it has been taking place all year long."— devin kharpertian (@uuords) April 26, 2014
No respect for the Raptors? Patterson's qualm is difficult to assess to be sure. Claims about officiating trends are notoriously difficult to quantify. Most teams tend to see things in a fairly one-sided light, believing they're getting the raw end of the deal when things turn south.
When all was said and done Friday night, both the Nets and Raptors attempted 37 free throws apiece. The Nets were tagged with 32 personal fouls (to Toronto's 31). Of course, that doesn't mean the game was officiated well—but it may caution against particularly outlandish conspiracy theories.
The comments may say more about Toronto's psychology than the officiating itself. As the National Post's Eric Koreen put it, "The Raptors feel disrespected — by the NBA, by the referees, by the Nets — and that the Nets are part of the league establishment."
And while the perceived officiating slight is nothing new, neither is the team's willingness to say something about it. Complaints also emerged after Game 1. The Globe and Mail's Cathal Kelly explains:
Officiating bias is an evergreen topic with the Raptors, though it had faded during the team’s strong run through the 2014 calendar year. It’s a problem again now. 'I’m not going to comment on the officiating, except to say I went back to look at the calls [on tape] and we didn’t get any. That’s unusual,' coach Dwane Casey said.
Kevin Garnett actually responded to the complaints, according to ESPN.com's James Herbert, saying, "In the playoffs you're not going to get calls. If you do, then you're fortunate. Playing on the road is very difficult. We know that. Some of us do. And that's just expected to come with the series."
Apparently Toronto was expecting something different.
There's always the possibility that the Raptors are attempting to put pressure on officials to make more favorable calls in future games throughout the series. The grievances could be posturing designed to paint a picture of injustice in need of rectification.
Either way, the Raptors must put distractions to the side in order to stay in this series. They've managed to keep games close and can't afford to get sidetracked—especially with a young roster susceptible to just that.
Brooklyn hosts the Raptors for Game 4 on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. The Nets currently lead the series 2-1.