SAN FRANCISCO – Stephen Curry thought he had a perfect plan, until it backfired.
The reigning NBA Finals MVP called a timeout the defending champions didn't have — and nearly cost Golden State a crucial playoff game.
The Warriors held on to beat the Kings anyway.
“I ain't gonna lie, I thought it was the smartest play in the world,” Curry said after a 126-125 victory that evened the best-of-seven first-round series with Sacramento at 2-all.
“When I grabbed the ball and turned around and saw the trap, realized there was no real outlets instead of turning it over, it's kind of the heady play but it turned out not to be. I looked over at the bench and everyone was shaking their head, so it was an unfortunate situation in that respect.”
Coach Steve Kerr took responsibility for the ill-advised timeout.
“We took the challenge and when the challenge was unsuccessful, as we were exiting the huddle, it’s on me,” Kerr said. “I’ve got to remind the guys, we’re out of timeouts and I didn’t say that, and so Steph wasn’t aware. That’s on me for not making that clear.”
The most famous excessive timeout in basketball history came in the NCAA championship game on April 5, 1993, when Michigan's Chris Webber called a timeout the Wolverines didn't have late in a loss to North Carolina. Webber went on to star for the Kings.
Curry — who scored 32 points — called the timeout with 42.4 seconds left and Malik Monk made the technical free throw to pull Sacramento within 126-122 then De'Aaron Fox hit a 3 with 28.7 seconds remaining. Harrison Barnes missed a 3 at the buzzer that would have won the game for the Kings.
“Thankfully we came away with the win but good learning lesson on how important all those details are,” Curry said. “We know it but knowing timeouts, knowing the situation, it was just an unfortunate sequence right there.”
Golden State had unsuccessfully challenged an offensive foul called against Kevon Looney with 2:14 remaining, losing a timeout.
Looney rebounded a miss by Monk and passed the ball to Curry before the miscue. Looney said nobody was aware of the timeout count.
"I was actually surprised like everybody else," Looney said.