The Toronto Raptors have had a tough few days. On Monday, they lost a heartbreaker to the Denver Nuggets that was of Scottie Barnes. Official Scott Foster tossed Barnes for questioning the integrity of the officials, but his ouster came with 30 seconds left in a one-point game, and the ensuing technical foul effectively clinched the victory for Denver.
On Wednesday, the Raptors attempted to rebound against the Los Angeles Clippers. They led by as many as 10 points early on, but the Clippers regained control as the game progressed. With his Raptors trailing by seven, Fred VanVleet was assessed a technical foul for his reaction to a soft foul called on Barnes.
The Raptors eventually lost the game, and VanVleet absolutely unloaded on the officials afterward, even mentioning Ben Taylor by name.
"I thought Ben Taylor was f---ing terrible tonight," VanVleet said (expletive-laden video here). "I think that most nights, you know out of the three, there's one or two that just f--- the game up. It's been like that a couple of games in a row. Denver was taught, obviously. You come out tonight, competing pretty hard and I get a bullshit tech that changes the whole dynamic of the game, changed the whole flow of the game. And you know, most of the refs are trying hard, I like a lot of the refs, they're trying hard, they're pretty fair, and communicate well.
"And then you got the other ones who just want to be dick and just kind of f--- up the game. And no one's coming to see that shit. They come to see the players. And I think we're losing a little bit of the fabric of what the NBA is and was and it's been disappointing this season. You can look it up: most of my techs this year have been with Ben Taylor officiating. So at a certain point as a player, you feel it's personal, and it's never a good place to be. That's not why we lost tonight, we got outplayed, but it definitely makes it tougher to overcome."
The relationship between players and officials has always been somewhat strained, but players have begun to express more and more frustration in recent years. Anthony Davis suggested that referees be fined for poor calls earlier this season, and there are likely players who agree. But such criticism typically comes with hefty fines, and given what VanVleet said, he's probably going to draw a big one.