Setting the scene - the Nets play a home and home (a stupid moniker if I ever heard one, but nonetheless...) vs Indiana, a team just out of the playoffs, looking to make a move. Sweep both games and the Nets really help themselves and hurt Indiana, with 26 to go.
So here we are - about 3 mins into the 2nd half, and the Nets are up 5, 63-58. By the 6 minute mark, Indiana is up by 6, 73-67, a 15-4 swing. LFrank belatedly calls timeout, after his team has just allowed several drives while launching futile 3s on O. Okay. I would have called time a possession or two earlier (as I believe most coaches would), but being down by 6 with 18 minutes of basketball left is not insurmountable.
Unfortunately, the timeout call is ill placed for another reason - RJ is shooting foul shots. No way to call a play in the huddle, because most probably the other team will get the ball. This little fine point of in game strategy seems to always go over Frank's head.
RJ makes the second one of two, and the deficit is 5. Again Indiana slashes thru and makes a layup, and goes up by 7.
Now, this team has not been able to come back well from giving up two digit leads in the second half. If the Nets fall behind by 9, it's time to call a LONG timeout, set up a play, throw some water on the home teams OBVIOUS momentum and give a boost to your own team's OBVIOUS struggling play.
Bad shot by Nachbar (2nd in a row) and then he fouls (as my wife has noticed is often the case after a bad shot). Pacers sink 2. Nets down by 9.
Aha! Now we have the situation where coaching makes a difference, what we just identified above. The Nets are the road team. They have been outscored at this point 19-5 over the last 5 minutes. You can't get down double digits and expect to close the quarter under 10. And this team cannot win being down 10 on the road, largely because Lawrence Frank has no clue how to help them. You have to call timeout here. I know, it's been only a minute since the last one (which was called in an inauspicious situation, foolishly), but it is not a mortal sin to do so. You have to call timeout here.
Frank wants to hoard as many timeouts as he can for his patented foul and go for 2 desperation strategy which has NEVER worked in the last several years. But there won't be an opportunity to exhibit such brilliance if you're already out of the game by the mid 4th...
You have to call timeout here.
End of three. Nets down 13.
End of game - Nets lose by 10.
Closest Nets get in the 4th - 9.
Frank doesn't get the opportunity to use those precious timeouts. The Nets are outscored from that 9 minute mark in the third 26-9.
What galls me is that this boy wonder has not figured out some very, very important things:
- The endgame of foul and go for 2 NEVER WORKS.
- Some games are WAY more important than others, standings be damned.
- A coach who knows what he's doing coaches each game to that game, NOT to some predetermined master plan.
Can he learn?