Raptors timeout mishaps vs. The Celtics cost them in disappointing losses

The Toronto Raptors have lost 27 games already this season, but Saturday’s loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics was unique even in a season full of disappointments. In the final 14.1 seconds, Boston needed two jump balls, and perhaps more importantly, two unusual timeout calls, to escape Toronto with a win.

Things heated up with just 14.1 seconds left. Boston, leading 106-104, had just rebounded a Gary Trent Jr. miss. and attempted to get the ball past the halfcourt mark so it could start running out the clock and force a foul. Instead, a poor Payton Pritchard pass gave Toronto possession with a clear advantage in numbers. But instead of taking advantage, Raptors coach Nick Nurse called timeout.

It was a questionable call, to say the least. Pritchard was on the ground and four Raptors were behind the half court line. In all likelihood they would have gotten a good look at the rim. Instead, they ran a play from the timeout that resulted in Al Horford blocking Pascal Siakam. A bouncy ball was called afterwards, but the nurse disagreed with the call. He took a time-out to challenge the ruling, but no report came.

After the match, the nurse explained what happened. “My thought process was to challenge it,” he explained to journalists. “It didn’t look like a jump ball to me, it looked like the ball was knocked away and Pascal got it back. I asked the ref if I could challenge it, he said, ‘If you take a timeout you can,’ so I said, “OK, timeout.” And then Ed Malloy came over and said, “You can’t challenge a jump ball,” so I said, “OK, no timeout.” Then the original referee, Michael Smith, said, “You take your timeout , you called it.”

The nurse received the wrong information before calling his timeout, but at the same time, as a coach, he is responsible for knowing the rules. The fact that he didn’t come back to haunt him. A second jump ball was called after the first, but when the dust settled, Jaylen Brown was fouled with 3.8 seconds left. Toronto got new life when Grant Williams was fouled before the inbound pass, which turned two likely free throws into a Raptors possession. But with the timeouts he used, Nurse was unable to advance the ball or make a play. Without a timeout, the Raptors could not take advantage of their luck and turned the ball over without making a shot.

Boston escaped with the 106-104 victory, and the Raptors, in a season full of heartbreaking losses, may have had their worst yet.

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