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.

Buddy Hield breaks mentor Peja Stojakovic's record in 'special' moment

Buddy Hield breaks mentor Peja Stojakovic's record in 'special' moment

SACRAMENTO -- Buddy Hield opened as the starting shooting guard for the Sacramento Kings this season as a replacement for the injured Bogdan Bogdanovic. 72 games later, Hield has not only cemented himself as team’s starter, but he’s the Kings’ leading scorer and now a record breaker.

It’s not often you see a player seize an opportunity like Hield has. He hit a 3-pointer less than five seconds into the the Kings’ win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday to move within one of Peja Stojakovic’s franchise record for most makes from behind the arc in a single season.

After heading to the bench to finish the first quarter, Hield returned in the second and in a span of 30 seconds tied and then surpassed Stojakovic’s mark of 240 makes.

“Getting the record from Peja, he left a mark on this franchise, it’s pretty big,” Hield said. “It’s something special. Hope I can keep it for many years, but who knows. There’s always going to be some other kid that’s going to come up and break records.”

Stojakovic works in the Kings front office as an assistant general manager supporting Vlade Divac. He’s also taken a vested interest in Hield and worked behind the scenes as a mentor to the 26-year-old shooting.

“He’s just calm and collect and I didn’t see it coming this year, but that’s how God works, when you don’t expect things, it just happens,” Hield said. “He’s been a big part of my success this year and hats off to him. He’s still going to continue to help me grow.”

A notorious trash talker, Hield will likely never let Stojakovic live down him passing his record. And with 10 games remaining in the season, Hield has a chance to push the record considerably higher.

“He finds them. We’re looking for him. He’s getting them up," head coach Dave Joerger said. "We’re happy about it and maybe the best part is, that everyday we all come to the gym, Buddy’s going to give it to Peja from now until never. I couldn’t be happier for him and he deserves to have that big smile that he has. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

Hield finished the game with 25 points and seven rebounds in the win. He knocked down 7-of-14 from deep and now has 245 makes on the year.

Following his record breaker, Bogdanovic fouled Devin Booker in the act of shooting, allowing the game to stop for a moment and the fans to show their appreciation.

Hield received a standing ovation from the Golden 1 Center crowd and then play resumed.

“It’s definitely cool to see what he was able to do for the team this year and to break a record like that,” rookie Marvin Bagley said. “It was definitely cool, to see the reaction of the fans and everything. I was happy for him.”

With the win, the Kings moved back to the .500 mark on the season at 36-36. This is a team that was predicted to win just 25.5 games this year by the Vegas oddsmakers and Hield is a huge reason the Kings were in the playoff race until recently.

“He’s having a terrific year and a large part of our success has been his ability at different points in games when we’re struggling to score, he can just go and create his own offense,” Joerger said.

Hield has another mark to focus on now. With 245 makes this year, he now has 569 makes through his first three season in the league. Damian Lillard owns the NBA record for most makes over the first three seasons of a players career with 599. If Hield continues on his current pace, he has a chance to crest the 600 mark.

Kings takeaways: What we learned from Kings' strong win over Suns

Kings takeaways: What we learned from Kings' strong win over Suns


SACRAMENTO -- Needing a victory to finish the road trip strong and move back to .500 on the season, the Kings struggled with their shot and it almost cost them.

A big finish by rookie Marvin Bagley gave Sacramento some breathing room late, and an emphatic windmill dunk from De’Aaron Fox put the Phoenix Suns away.

Devin Booker put up a game-high 32-points and 10 assists and Deandre Ayton notched a double-double, but it wasn’t enough to shift the outcome in the Suns direction.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings pick up the 112-103 win to move to 36-36 on the season. 

Record Breaker

Buddy Hield loves to shoot the 3-ball. He loves it so much, he set a record doing it Saturday evening at Golden 1 Center.

Hield came into the night trailing Peja Stojakovic by two 3-pointer for the Kings’ all-time record for most makes in a single season. It took him just five seconds to knockdown his first triple and then he hit a pair in the second quarter to surpass the Kings legend.

Sacramento’s leading scorer didn’t stop there. He finished the night 7-for-14 from long range for 25 points on the evening.

The starting forwards

Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica are starting to figure out how to play together. Against the Suns, they both made major contributions.

Barnes got hot from long range, hitting 5-of-8 from behind the arc for 25 points. He added six rebounds and was responsible for slowing Booker for stretches.

Bjelica always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He struggles with quickler fours, but he seems to find a way to help the team. The veteran finished the evening with 13 points, a career-high 17 rebounds and five assists on the evening. 

Shooting woes

Sacramento pulled out the win, but it wasn’t easy. A big reason why was because of their shooting percentage. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic went 2-of-11 from the floor, with both makes coming from 3-point range.  Fox hit just 3-of-12, although he still managed to score 13 points and dish out nine assists.

As a team, the Kings recovered late to shoot 42.4 percent on the evening. They let the Suns hang around and it almost cost them.