Reports: Raptors officially protest controversial loss to Kings

Reports: Raptors officially protest controversial loss to Kings

SACRAMENTO -- The Toronto Raptors have decided to file an official protest with the NBA over their 102-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday afternoon, according to multiple reports.

The protest stems from a last second 3-point shot by Terrence Ross that was initially ruled a basket by on-court officials.

Upon further review with league officials in the replay booth in Secaucus, New York, the initial call was overturned after it was ruled that Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins tipped the ball coming from the inbounder, which should have triggered an earlier start of the official game clock.

“I knew I tipped it, I knew he didn’t get it off in time,” Cousins said following the game. “I knew the clock didn’t start on time. I also knew we were going into overtime. That’s how things usually work for us, meaning the Kings.”

The ruling handed Sacramento the win, instead of extending the game into a five minute overtime session.

Following the contest, the NBA backed up their call of the game in the game’s official “last two-minute report,” stating:                                                                        

“The on-court referees noticed a clock malfunction on the inbounds play and correctly triggered an instant replay. After communicating with the Replay Center, it was determined that the clock should have started when Cousins (SAC) tips the ball and run to 0:00.00 before Ross’ (TOR) shot was released.”

A closer examination of the play shows that Cousins’ tip of the ball should have added slightly more than .1 of a second to the play, which put the release of the ball from Ross’ hand after the expiration of the clock by .1 of a second.

The controversy forced the NBA to release a second statement, once again backing the ruling of the final play, which they released on Monday.

“After review at the league office, we have concluded that the end of the game was officiated correctly by NBA rules.  We reviewed all aspects of the final 27.4 seconds and below is a summary of our evaluation.

Toronto inbounded the ball with 2.4 seconds remaining in the game, and the clock did not start when the pass was deflected by Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins.  Per the NBA’s precision timing system, the clock can be started by either the referees or the clock operator.  The referees noticed the clock malfunction immediately which triggered a replay review under rule 13.1.a.5, which states that a review must occur if ‘a play concludes (i) with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any period or (ii) at a point when the game officials believe that actual time may have expired in any period; and the officials are reasonably certain that the game clock malfunctioned during the play.

Per rule 13.2.e.1, the Replay Center was then tasked with determining ‘the proper time (if any) on the game clock following the clock malfunction by determining how much time on the game clock actually expired.’  To determine how much time actually expired, Replay Center referee Zach Zarba used a digital timer on the Replay Center screen. The determination was that 2.5 seconds expired, thus negating the basket.”

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the NBA has only overturned a protested call once in the last 33 years, making the protest a longshot at best.

Following the report, Raptors president Masai Ujiri gave his opinion of the situation to the Toronto Star:

“Mistakes in basketball are inevitable, we deal with them on a daily basis no matter the team or player. But wins and losses in the NBA are finite and last night goes down as a loss on our record. At some point, these calls start piling up and matter at the end of the season. Calls like these are demoralizing to our players, coaches, staff, and even our fans. We all expect better than this.”

"When Terrence caught the ball near half court,” Ujiri added. “He knew he only had a couple of seconds to shoot the ball before time expired, but he also knew he had a clock above the backboard to glance up at as time winded down. Unfortunately, the clock he needed to look at was in New Jersey."  

Unfortunately for Ujiri and his club, the league is well within its rights to review the final play and they have made their ruling known multiple times.

The video replay clearly shows Ross change direction to recover the ball after the tip by Cousins. While he relied on the game clock above the basket, Ross also should have taken into account that there was potential for replay and that the timeline of the game could be altered.

Sacramento found themselves in a similar situation during the 2014-15 season. In a Nov 13 contest against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Kings held a 110-109 lead with .4 remaining on the clock. Memphis’ attempt to inbounds the ball appeared to tip off the fingers of Sacramento’s Ryan Hollins before ending up in the hands of Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee.

Lee hit a game-winning layup as time expired, sending the Kings to a heartbreaking 111-110 loss. Like Toronto, Sacramento filed a protest with the league, but the NBA failed to overturn the loss, sighting a lack of visual evidence.

The Raptors have five business days to present their case to the NBA, after which the league has five business days to respond with a ruling.

Bogdanovic, Kings look to beat Warriors at Oracle for second time this season


Bogdanovic, Kings look to beat Warriors at Oracle for second time this season

No rest for the weary. The Kings hit game four of their five games in seven nights stretch. They’ll draw a beat up, but dangerous Golden State Warriors team Friday night at Oracle Arena.

Sacramento is coming off a wild overtime win against the playoff bound Miami Heat on Wednesday. De’Aaron Fox hit a floater as time expired to push the game to overtime and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic drilled a late 3-pointer to put the game away late in the extra session.

Golden State trails the Houston Rockets by two games for the top overall seed in the Western Conference playoff chase. They’ve already clinched another Pacific division title, but they are at risk for missing out on the top seed. Every game counts as they hit the stretch run.


Warriors by 12


Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Zaza Pachulia -- It might not be the matchup people bought tickets to see, but it’s the matchup they’re going to get. With the Warriors banged up, Pachulia has stepped up and filled a valuable role in the middle. He’s strong as an ox and does all the dirty work. Cauley-Stein is getting his legs back under him after missing 10 days with a back strain. He’s improved in year four, but still needs to work on his consistency.  


Kings: 22-47, fourth place in Pacific

Warriors: 52-16, first place in Pacific


Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (hip contusion) questionable, SF/SG Iman Shumpert (knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.

Warriors: PF Jordan Bell (ankle) probable, PG Quinn Cook (hand contusion) probable, PF David West (arm cyst) probable, SF Kevin Durant (ribs soreness) out, PG Steph Curry (ankle) out, SG Klay Thompson (thumb) out, SG Patrick McGaw (wrist) out.


Wounded Warriors -- Golden State will play without three of their four All-Stars. The Kings took advantage of the Warriors early in the season when they were the similar situation of missing All-Stars. Sacramento needs to stay the course and continue to play with effort as they finish the schedule, regardless of who suits up for their opponent.

Big Moments -- If there is one thing that stands out in the 2017-18 season for Sacramento, it’s the clutch plays by the young players. Fox has four shots in his rookie season that either won or tied a game in the final seconds. Bogdanovic, Skal Labissiere and Buddy Hield have come through with big shots as well.  

Come Out Firing -- The best way to beat the Warriors is to make them work for their shots. The best way to make them work for their shots is to score baskets and set up the defense. If the Kings can put up an efficient offensive night, they have a shot of dethroning the shorthanded champs.


The Kings and Warriors are all knotted at one game apiece in the season series. Golden State holds a 201-187 lead in the all-time series and a 73-66 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

After another clutch shot, De'Aaron Fox pulls back curtain on mindset in big moments


After another clutch shot, De'Aaron Fox pulls back curtain on mindset in big moments

SACRAMENTO -- You can’t teach clutch. Either you got it or you don’t. De’Aaron Fox has it.

In his rookie season in the NBA, the 20-year-old out of Kentucky has found himself in plenty of big moments already.

Who can forget his 18-foot game-winning jumper over the outstretched arms of the Sixers Robert Covington back in November that gave the Kings a 109-108 win.

On the road in Miami on January 25, he went over the top of the Heat defense with a putback dunk to snap the Kings’ 15-game losing streak at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Two weeks ago against the Brooklyn Nets, Fox went baseline and hit a high arching floater over the top of a defender as time expired to push the game into overtime.

Wednesday at Golden 1 Center, the Kings blew a 16-point lead to the Heat, but again, it was Fox that saved the day.

With just three seconds remaining, Fox took the inbounds pass from fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic. He instantly got into the body of veteran Goran Dragic, riding the All-Star guard right down the middle of the lane.

With four defenders converging on the play, Fox used his left hand to maneuver through a sea of arms and hit a 9-foot floater. The replay shows the ball leaving the 6-foot-3 guard’s hand just before the clock hits zero. The ball cut through the net and Golden 1 Center exploded.

“I feel like guys that want those moments, want to play in those close games, those guys are the ones who thrive,” Fox told media members following the Kings’ 123-119 overtime win. “You don’t usually see the guys that want the shot, miss the shot a lot. It’s the basketball gods just rewarding us for wanting to do it.”

Fox’s jumper extended the game by five minutes and the young Kings kept charging forward. The speedy guard came through with two big stops on Dragic down the stretch, showing that he is more than just an offensive weapon.

“I feel like I can be one of the best two-way players in this league in some time,” Fox said. “That guy, he’s an All-Star. He’s good. You just try to get him out of rhythm, try to make it tough. He had a great game, but down the stretch, I just tried to make it tough on him.”

Dragic finished the night with a game-high 33 points, but he shot just 1-of-3 from the field in the extra frame as Fox put the clamps on him.

Fox wasn’t the only player to come up big for Sacramento. Buddy Hield chipped in 12 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and he added four points in the overtime session. Zach Randolph chipped in 22 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes and Bogdanovic hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:03 remaining in the extra session to put the game away.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that aren’t scared,” Fox said. “Once we sent it to overtime, it’s pretty much crunch time the whole five minutes and we have a whole bunch of guys that can make plays and make shots.”

Injuries to Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere have forced Randolph back into action full-time for Sacramento. Despite a 22-47 record, the 36-year-old big sees major improvement in the team’s young core.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in my young guys,” Randolph said. “They play hard and they put the time in and they work hard. When we get on the court, it applies on the court and that’s what they’re doing. I’m proud of them.”

Fox isn’t the only young player to come up clutch for the Kings this season. Skal Labissiere drilled a 3-pointer against the New York Knicks on March 4 to give Sacramento a win and both Bogdanovic and Hield have come through plenty of times with the big shots.

The Kings return to the floor Friday in Oakland where they face the Golden State Warriors on the first night of a back-to-back. While out of the hunt in the Western Conference playoff race, they continue to play hard, posting a 4-4 over their last eight games.