Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors had it all going for them. They had come from behind to take a six-point lead over the Golden State Warriors and had all the momentum. Then, inexplicably, Nurse called two timeouts with 3:05 left and suddenly everything changed.
The Raptors were on a 12-2 run and had the ball after a missed Stephen Curry 3-pointer with 3:12 left. Rather than allow his team to build on its momentum while leading 103-97, Nurse called timeout, then called another, doubling it up.
The consequences were disastrous. A rabid hometown crowd was largely neutralized and the air was taken out of the building.
In his post-game comments, Nurse claimed that he wanted to get his team some rest before the final push. He would have lost those two timeouts once the clock went under three minutes anyway, so he figured he had better use them:
Boy, talk about your all-time backfires.
After that timeout, the Warriors settled down and wound up outscoring the Raptors 9-2 over the final 3:05.
Draymond Green seemed to think the timeouts helped the Warriors tremendously:
He’s right, it allowed them to settle down and refocus. And the rest is history. The Raptors blew their chance to close out the defending champs in five games in front of a home crowd. All because a first-year head coach iced his own team.
If the Raptors can’t close this series out, that decision by Nurse will be second-guessed for years.