The end of Tuesday night's Suns-Raptors game in Toronto featured a hilariously odd moment involving a star player and a mascot.
After making the first of two free throws to give Phoenix a 94-92 lead in the final seconds of regulation, All-Star guard Devin Booker started complaining to the referees about something going on behind the basket. That initially seemed a bit strange, as the Raptors have been playing home games at Scotiabank Arena without any fans in attendance since Dec. 31 due to capacity limits set by the Ontario government.
But there turned out to be one observer behind the hoop who Booker took umbrage with: the Raptor, Toronto's mascot.
Despite just making a harmless attempt at trying to throw Booker off at the line, the Raptor was told by the refs to move before the second free throw attempt, which Booker went on to make.
Booker shouldn't have gotten his way here. Why can't the Raptors, who are the only NBA team playing home games behind closed doors, even have their mascot act like a fan?
And Booker has to deal with thousands of opposing fans trying to distract him during all other road games, so what was his issue with the Raptor's antics?
"I was trying to get him out of the way," Booker told reporters following Phoenix's 99-95 victory (h/t Kellan Olson). "I'm glad to be shooting it without him down there. We play a shooting game every day and [Suns teammates Chris Paul and Jae Crowder] do the same thing and I complain then. That's just me."
Booker added that he and the Raptor "hashed it out."
"We homies now," the Suns guard said.
The incident was reminiscent of an infamous offseason video from 2019 where Booker complained about being double-teamed during a pickup game with other NBA players.
"We're not doubling in open gym," Booker said in the video. "Let's work on our game."
But ex-NBA All-Star Joakim Noah pushed back on Booker's complaints, saying double-teams are "part of the game."
The refs on Tuesday night should have taken notes from Noah.