Raptors’ Fred VanVleet blows official after loss to Clippers

Ohm YoungmisukESPN staff writerRead for 3 minutes

LOS ANGELES — Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet taunted umpire Ben Taylor for his performance during the Raptors’ 108-100 loss to the LA Clippers on Wednesday night at the Crypto.com Arena.

VanVleet did not hold back during his post-game press conference and is likely to receive a hefty fine from the NBA.

“I don’t mind, I’ll accept a fine, I don’t really care,” said VanVleet. “I thought Ben Taylor was terrible tonight. I think you know about the three most nights [officials], there are one or two that just ruin the game. That’s been the case for several games in a row.

“[Losing on Monday at] Denver was obviously tough. You come out tonight, fight pretty hard, and I get a bulls— technology that changes the whole dynamic of the game, changes the whole flow of the game.

“Most umpires do their best. I like a lot of the umpires, they do their best, they’re pretty fair and communicate well. And then you have the others who just want to be d—s and just kind of f– – the game on. And no one comes to see that s—. They come to see the players.”

The Raptors got 23 fouls to the Clippers’ 18, but LA had 31 free throw attempts compared to Toronto’s 14. VanVleet was called for a technical foul by Taylor with 7:02 left in the third quarter. The Clippers were up by seven at the time.

As Toronto came within 70–68 later in the quarter, the Clippers pushed the lead back to 12 shortly before the start of the fourth.

The technical third quarter was VanVleet’s eighth of the season.

The Raptors have played two straight games with technical fouls in the second half. During their 118-113 loss in Denver on Monday, official Scott Foster called Scottie Barnes for a technical foul before ejecting him with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets were ahead by one at the time.

Foster said in the postgame pool report that Barnes was ejected on one technicality because “he used words that directly questioned the crew’s integrity.”

Three of VanVleet’s eight technical comments are from Taylor, and one other came from another official in a game Taylor was working on. VanVleet said that “as a player at some point you feel like it’s personal and it’s never a good place to be.”

He was asked if something he said Wednesday night led to him receiving a tech.

“There have been certain times this year where I feel like our team is preoccupied with the way the whistle blows,” said VanVleet. “Especially after the night we just had in Denver, the way that ended, so there were a few calls before that we all disagreed with. And when I say to my team, ‘Come on guys, let’s keep playing’ [through] the bull —-‘ and that justifies a technology, I think that’s a little crazy. Like what are we doing? Do you know what I mean?

“And of course there’s a fine line, I understand that. But I think the jurisdiction and the power trip we’ve had this year with some of our officials in this league is getting out of hand and I’m taking my fine for talking about it, but it’s ridiculous.”

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