At the 2:21 mark of the second quarter the Dallas Mavericks took a timeout, up 66-48. They would not use an in-game timeout again until the fourth quarter, once they were down 97-92 with 7:48 to go.
During those minutes — including stoppages at the half, Warriors timeouts, and at the end of the third quarter — the Dallas Mavericks were outscored 49-26. In the third quarter alone Dallas was held to just 13 points while the Warriors scored 25, to close the Maverick lead to just two points before taking it away for good minutes into the fourth.
After the game, head coach Jason Kidd was asked, “what goes into the thought process, especially there in the third quarter, they make their big run and get back in the basketball game, how do you evaluate when to call a timeout and when not to? When do you try to use that or perhaps not use that to stem the tide in that situation?”
Here’s Kidd’s answer in full:
You only have so many timeouts. I can’t burn them all in the third. So just understanding we’ve gone through runs. This is a team about runs. Also, this is a great learning experience for a young team to go through to understand what it means to stop a run. Can’t ask the coach to always call a timeout. We believe in one another to be able to execute on the offensive end and get a stop or get a basket and get a stop.
So we took timeouts. But just sometimes you’ve got to put the ball in the basket to stop a run.
Here’s the thing though: according to both ESPN’s and NBA’s play-by-play, the Mavericks did not call a timeout at all in the third quarter. While his goal of having the players work through their problems without micromanagement is admirable, this is the Western Conference Finals we’re talking about. It’s not a teaching moment for a “young” team (the Mavericks are not young, but that’s a story for another day). They were outscored 25-13 in this quarter when even a few more points might have been the difference in the game.
Jason Kidd has been excellent all year calling plays out of timeouts and making defensive adjustments. The Mavericks desperately needed both during the quarter which defined the game. He should have called a timeout.
Between his answer on timeouts not being the solution to the Warriors run, and his other postgame comments focusing on shot selection of the team he coaches, he’s placed himself in more of a bystander role. That’s disappointing as Kidd has been so important to the Dallas team success all year. He plays a role in their mistakes as well, and his coaching decisions were a significant part of why this game slipped away.