May 25, 2006

A Timeout To Kill: The insidious clock-stopping menace that's destroying the NBA.

Fans who slept through Monday night's Mavericks-Spurs game will wake up to read that Dallas pulled off a "thrilling" victory in a series that was "as good as basketball gets." I'll give it to you straight, sleepyheads: Reading about it was a lot more fun than watching it.

posted by justgary to basketball at 01:39 AM - 14 comments

or they may read that the Suns pulled off the thrilling victory.

posted by Ricardo at 04:12 AM on May 25, 2006

He's talking about Monday's game against the Spurs. I can put up with timeouts in the postseason, but they're a huge snore in regular season games. There are definitely too many of them in the NBA and NFL, where TV timeouts are ridiculously common. One of the biggest reasons I'm getting into soccer is the lack of stops in play.

posted by rcade at 06:28 AM on May 25, 2006

I'm with Bill Simmons in that coaches hoarding these timeouts merely to advance the ball up the court is stupid. Just because you saved a timeout you don't have to bring the ball up? The other team should have a chance to force the issue. A timeout should merely be a TIMEOUT, a stoppage of play. There should be no advantage gain from it.

posted by corpse at 07:03 AM on May 25, 2006

Absolutely, totally agree. This is the single thing that kills basketball as a spectator sport (for me I mean).

posted by Amateur at 07:11 AM on May 25, 2006

Is this the first time this issue has been raised in the media? Because its been common knowledge of fans of NCAA ball who have issues with the NBA for a long time. One of the biggest reasons I'm getting into soccer is the lack of stops in play. And soccer still somehow manages to pay the bills. Amazing how they pull off that magic revenue trick. The NHL has gotten alot better in this regard this season as well, often going 6, 7, 8 minutes in between whistles. Wait, is this a basketball thread....I shouldn't be here.

posted by garfield at 08:26 AM on May 25, 2006

Yeah, the ends of NBA games can be so ugh ugh ugh. More time can be spent watching commercials or watching players in the huddle than watching game action or arguably the only important part of the whole game. What can ya do though. That's sort of the way it goes and I think it's seemingly always been a part of the game as long as I have watched.

posted by gspm at 10:30 AM on May 25, 2006

It's just a way to allow the other team to never be completely out of the game. I think it makes the game more likely to be a nail-biter... which is fine, in fact that should be good. So I am OK with how it is.

posted by Snikastyle at 10:55 AM on May 25, 2006

Announcer: ...the windup and a 2-2 pitch. Oh, no, wait a minute, the batter is calling for time. Looks like he's going to get himself a new bat. And now there's a beach ball on the field, and the balls boys are discussing which one of them's going to go get it. Homer: I never realized how boring this game is.

posted by Skot at 11:02 AM on May 25, 2006

I've heard the same complaint about football, from my wife. Once she asked how much longer the game was going to be on because she wanted to go somewhere and I told her that they were almost to the 2 minute warning. She said "Oh great! Another half hour at least!" I can't say she was wrong.

posted by commander cody at 12:15 PM on May 25, 2006

I couldn't agree more; the NBA sickens me, and has, for a long time. I've always enjoyed soccer but now with the WC coming up it's at the front of my mind.

Quick side-note: Is it just me or has Slate increasingly (over the past 1-2 years) become a better and better resource for sports news/analysis/opinions?

posted by redsnare at 01:13 PM on May 25, 2006

TiVo. Start recording the show, chill for 20-30 minutes, then start watching and skip the commercials.

posted by kirkaracha at 01:38 PM on May 25, 2006

I think one could have less of a problem with the endless timeouts if not for the ridiculousness of the 10:30 p.m. (EST) tip-offs. Last I checked, most of our television sets came with remote controls. Last I checked, most of us with cable subscriptions get both Turner channels and every ESPN channel except for ESPNU. Thus, you would think you'd be able to overlap some of these games in the conference semis. An orgy of timeouts goes over much better if it's not happening at 2 a.m., as was the case in one of the Suns-Clippers games. As C. Cody mentions, this does happen in football (U.S.) just as often, but unless you're a follower of the Pac-10 (USC-Fresno State anyone), it's not quite the pain in the ass when it's happening at a decent hour.

posted by jackhererra at 02:25 PM on May 25, 2006

The biggest problem I have is when there is really no way for a team to win the game, but they still are calling a time out every possesion and setting up plays. Its basically delaying the inevitable and makes the game go much longer than it should.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 07:34 PM on May 25, 2006

Here's an interesting bit from Sports Law Blog inspired by the same Slate story discussing whether the NBA actually could ban timeouts, or whether this would have to be collectively bargained with the players' union.

posted by Amateur at 07:55 PM on May 25, 2006

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