Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro was unwavering when asked Tuesday about his use of timeouts in Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven series with the Boston Celtics. The Bulls were without timeouts in the final seconds of both games. In Game 2, Del Negro called his last timeout with 20 seconds left. Ray Allen hit a three which proved to be the game-winner with two seconds left. If the Bulls had a timeout left. they would have been able to take the ball out at half court rather than going full court. The coach would have also been able to get Ben Gordon, who scored 42 points, back in the game for the last possession.
Here's the exchange with Del Negro about his use of timeouts in the first two games:
hard to judge timeouts?
Del Negro: ``You always want to try and keep a timeout, but you always want to try to keep yourself in the game. There's no need to save your timeouts if you're down 15 points, or 10, or 12. At certain times, when they're making runs like that, and we get the ball with 20 seconds to go in the game and we're down two, I want to make sure we get a good shot and have an opportunity to tie. Because if we don't execute well and set something up--especially with a young team--then they're shooting free throws and the game's probably over.
``So I would have liked to have had one at the end, but sometimes you can keep them and sometimes you have to use them to stay in the game.''
But those [were] one-point [differences] in a game with 18 lead changes and Ben Gordon's on the bench. And you're not getting the ball at half court. A lot of people second guessing today, or first guessing when it happened.
Del Negro: ``People are going to second guess and first guess. So what? I don't care. They can guess. I'm the coach. I'm going to make the decisions. That's the way it is. In two seconds or whatever we've got to take the ball out of bounds. The ball is going to go to Derrick, because he's our fastest guy to get it up the court. We set up a play in the time out. We didn't execute it because the Celtics did a good job with their execution. And that's the end of the game. I mean, two seconds, I don't second guess that.''
So no regrets?
Del Negro: ``No not at all. Not a second.''