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Do timeouts hurt offenses at the end of close games?

Feb 21, 2012, 5:44 PM EST

LeBron James, Kane Fitzgerald AP

HoopIdea’s Beckley Mason has been taking a hard look at late-game situations recently, and one theory he’s been playing with is that calling a timeout in late-game situations actually makes the offense less likely to score. The evidence is in, and it supports Mason’s hypothesis: in a late-game situation, teams have a better chance of scoring when they simply let their players go to work in the flow of the game than they do when they call time-out and try to set up an elaborate play to generate a game-tying or game-winning shot opportunity, even when fast-break points are excluded.

All the evidence is over on HoopIdea, along with disclaimers, and the entire article should be read in order to be responded to properly, but Mason lets the Heat’s Shane Battier explain why time-outs may be counter-productive in crunch-time:

Miami Heat forward Shane Battier cites lessons learned from Coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, telling Heat Index’s Tom Haberstroh: “I was born and raised in the Coach K school of ‘in closing situations, never take a timeout,’” says Battier. “Defenses aren’t as prepared after a late bucket to tie or take the lead because emotionally teams aren’t as prepared to get that stop. If you call timeout you allow a team to set their defense, focus in. Everyone knows exactly what everyone runs anyways.”

Again, the full article is worth reading; head over to HoopIdea to check it out.

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