Last night, the Warriors were down two to the Blazers, with the clock dwindling. Jamal Crawford launched a jumper (no surprise there), and Udoh grabbed the long rebound, his momentum carrying him towards GSW’s basket. From this point, the Warriors had no plan. There were less than ten seconds to go, Ekpe looked ambivalent as a possibly open Brandon Rush streaked to the hoop. Timeout, from the bench. You probably know the result, coming out of the TO: Nate Robinson flubbed the play, Brandon Rush shot a corner three literally at the buzzer, Warriors lost. I prefer to let the action play out, like when D’Antoni allowed Lin to hit a game winner unfettered. When you call TO, the opposing defense also has time to set up, and planning tends to favor the defense.
ESS: Why was the timeout called, what was the thinking behind that?
Mark Jackson: Getting my offensive guys back in the game.
Though I disagree with Jackson’s decision here, I can certainly understand the logic. The Ekpe Udoh to Dominic McGuire connection is not exactly Lob City. Of course, I can quibble with the execution after the timeout. Nate Robinson is not my preferred crunch time performer, and he caught the inbounds–with six seconds left–while running towards the opposite basket.
In general, what I take is this: GSW calls timeout. A few days before, against the Suns, Jackson called a TO that ended a 5-on-3 Warriors transition opportunity. When I asked after the play, Jackson said that he wanted to “slow it down.” GSW went on to win that game, for all I know due to a pace change that came at the expense of that squandered opportunity. Many coaches try to exert full control over the action, and fear unplanned chaos. The Warriors coaches are of that mindset.
I’m more asking than arguing here: In crunch time situations, do you prefer detailed control with frequent timeouts? Or do you prefer to just let it all unfold?