Rick Carlisle Defends No Last-Second Timeout After Game 3 Loss

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Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle made a questionable decision in the final seconds of Indiana’s Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

With eight seconds left and the Pacers trailing 112-111, Carlisle opted not to take his final timeout. Instead, Carlisle allowed Indiana guard Andrew Nembhard to race up the floor in transition with Jrue Holiday the primary defender. Al Horford, Derrick White and Jaylen Brown all were there to help Holiday, proving the Pacers didn’t exactly have numbers in transition.

Holiday ultimately got to a spot as Nembhard went to his right and earned a game-sealing steal with four seconds remaining.

When Carlisle was asked why he chose not to call his final timeout, he defended the decision by saying he had trust that Nembhard and the Pacers would get a better shot in that moment than if he was to draw up a play after a timeout.

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“Well, with eight or nine seconds left and you’re in transition after a miss, I trust our players to be be able to create a better shot than calling timeout and having them set their defense,” Carlisle told reporters after Indiana’s 114-11 defeat, as seen on NBA TV.

“It’s more of a play basketball type situation. And we’ve done well this year trusting our players.”

Hindsight is obviously 20/20, but given Nembhard was getting out of control as the Celtics recovered in transition, it felt like it would have been a wise stoppage.

The defeat means Carlisle and the Pacers are now on the brink of elimination. Indiana will have to earn a Game 4 win Monday night in order to prolong its season.

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