The Worst Timeout in NBA History Brings the Warriors Back from Valhalla

Congratulations Andy Reid, you have company on the Mount Rushmore of Clock Mismanagement! And the newest addition joins you for the polar opposite reason. The Jolly Red Giant of Kansas City (and Philadelphia) is, of course, known for his complete and utter inability to call a timeout to preserve time. Nick Nurse, the first year coach of the Toronto Raptors, might go down as the anti-Andy Reid. A man who called such a completely unnecessary timeout it torpedoed his team’s chances to clinch an NBA Championship. If the Toronto Raptors fail to win one of the next two games, Nick Nurse’s timeout with 3:05 left in Game Five will go down as the worst timeout in NBA history.

Belonging on the Mount Rushmore of Clock Mismanagement is a double-edged sword. Bad coaches will never make it. In order to even be considered for the Mount Rushmore of Clock Mismanagement, you actually have to be a good coach. Andy Reid is one of the top ten coaches in NFL history. A man who constantly changes and alters his offenses to best suit his personnel. He is also a coach that is so good his teams are routinely vying for championships, either conference championships or league championships. The man is a damn good coach.

Nick Nurse is in his first year with the Raptors and is excelling in almost every facet of his job: in-game and in-series adjustments, balancing the always precarious emotions of his players (or lack thereof in Kawhi Leonard’s case), and–up until Game Five–reading the tempo of the game. But all that hard work and dedication came crashing down with one of the worst timeouts you will ever see.

After Draymond Green hit an extremely tough left-handed hook shot to cut the Raptors’ lead to 98-97, Leonard–coming off of his first three of the game last time down the court–faced up with DeMarcus Cousins one-on-one at the top of the key with the shot clock winding down. The basketball cyborg drilled a three right in Cousins’ eye. 101-97.

The Scotia Bank Arena erupted. Andre Iguodala failed to respond, missing on an elbow jumper. Leonard, with the ball just inside the half court line, took a look at Klay Thompson guarding him, drove hard into the paint, shed Thompson like an annoying younger sibling and plopped in an awkward right-handed push-shot floater. 103-97. All the momentum was on the side of the Raptors.

Steph Curry tried to answer with a deep quick-trigger three, but the dead-eye shooter was on tired legs and came up short. Raptors’ ball with 3:14 left, up by six, and a full shot clock. Then… history… the worst timeout in NBA history.

That is the Toronto Raptors calling a timeout, up by six with 3:04 left in the game. Leonard had just scored his team’s last 10 points. The Raptors are the deeper team in this series, they have the fresher legs. Thompson and Curry are noticeably tired and their shots are falling short. As Mike Breen said, “the building is shaking.” EVERYTHING is going right for the Raptors… and then… a timeout… by the Raptors!?!?


There is no logic to this timeout that holds water. Kyle Lowry is seen calling a timeout on the court. There was a dispute about where people should be trying to set up the offense. The Raptors are visibly tired. Even with all of those issues… IT STILL DOES NOT MATTER!!! No timeout here. Keep the flow of the game going. Do EVERYTHING in your power to avoid whistles.

The Warriors only have ONE TIMEOUT LEFT!!! They need that timeout for an END OF THE GAME POSSESSION!!! The Warriors, cannot, under any circumstance, do anything to slow the game down, the one thing they desperately need.

And yet… A timeout. The worst timeout in NBA history.

The insanity goes deeper. The Raptors called ANOTHER timeout after this one. Extending the break. Against a team who is at its most dangerous when their shooters are feeling fresh. Curry and Thompson. Wheezing on the court. On their last legs. Tired legs. Lead legs. AND YOU CALL A DOUBLE TIMEOUT?!?! 

This is the worst timeout in NBA history and it brought the Warriors back from the dead.

The Warriors were on life support. The doctor was checking his watch. There was a priest saying some things in Latin. A child in the corner was asking his mom, “what’s wrong with the man on the bed Momma?”

But Kyle Lowry called a timeout on the floor–either of his own accord or via his head coach. Nick Nurse exacerbated the issue and extended the timeout.

Suddenly the doctor’s eyes grow wider. A missed jumper from Leonard. A nurse rushes in to check a pulse. A three from Thompson. The EKG machine starts beeping a little faster and a little stronger. Turnover by Lowry. Everyone begins stirring and looking at the old Warrior on the bed. Curry drains a three to tie the game. A finger begins to move off of the bed sheet. Leonard misses a three. A groin escapes from deep in the bed. Curry drills a three! The Warrior’s eyes pop open scaring everyone in the room. Both teams fail to covert, but Lowry gets a goaltending call on a layup to make it 106-105 Warriors. The eyes flutter back down. Cousins gets called for a moving screen… The EKG MACHINE IS FLATLINING… LEONARD PASSES THE BALL OFF AND LOWRY’S CORNER HEAVE HITS THE SIDE OF THE BACKBOARD…