The Boston Celtics’ postseason struggles person formed uncertainty complete Joe Mazzulla’s early pinch nan team.
The Boston Celtics promoted Joe Mazzulla to nan domiciled of caput coach earlier nan season, past extended his statement aft nan team’s red-hot start. Guiding nan reigning convention champs done stormy waters aft Ime Udoka’s abrupt exodus, Mazzulla’s regular play capacity earned him a top-3 decorativeness successful Coach of nan Year voting.
That’s not excessively shabby for a rookie caput coach, particularly 1 thrust into specified a difficult position. Boston players intelligibly loved and respected Udoka. Meanwhile, Mazzulla didn’t coach successful nan NBA until he joined nan Celtics’ chair successful 2019. Not galore assistants make nan jump to caput coach arsenic quickly arsenic Mazzulla did. He besides faced extreme, contiguous unit to win. The Celtics were coming disconnected a Finals quality and nan anticipation was that Boston would repeat, sloppy of who sat successful nan coach’s chair.
Now nan Celtics find themselves successful uncharted waters. After finishing nan regular play pinch nan second-best grounds successful basketball, nan Celtics scrapped their measurement to nan Eastern Conference Finals. Despite bumps successful nan road, it appeared — for a clip — that Mazzulla was astir to get Boston backmost to nan Finals. Then came nan Miami Heat — nan No. 8 seed Miami Heat, led by Jimmy Butler. All of a sudden, nan Celtics find themselves successful a historically insurmountable hole, down 0-3.
Will nan Boston Celtics occurrence Joe Mazzulla?
Mazzulla has been a lightning rod for disapproval during nan Celtics’ illness against Miami. The squad looked wholly unprepared and uninspired connected nan roadworthy successful Game 3, getting blown retired 128-102 down beardown performances from Miami domiciled players for illustration Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, nan Celtics’ implosion could place Joe Mazzulla connected nan basking seat. While Mazzulla has nan respect of Celtics President Brad Stevens, it will beryllium difficult for Boston to repair its image if/when nan Heat adjacent retired this series. If awesome unit changes aren’t possible, nan only way to meaningful advancement could beryllium a caller sound connected nan sideline.
.@WindhorstESPN isn't shutting down nan thought of nan Celtics moving connected from Joe Mazzulla 😳
"When you person a illness for illustration this … It's dangerous. … I tin nary longer opportunity that I don't deliberation it's imaginable that [the Celtics] would make a alteration [at caput coach]." pic.twitter.com/MYpXLvvEfP
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 22, 2023
It cannot beryllium overstated really disastrous a blowout nonaccomplishment to nan 8-seed would beryllium for this Celtics team. Boston has nan astir complete roster successful nan NBA, brimming pinch value extent and winning experience. We cognize this squad is tin of performing connected this shape because we person seen them do it before. The only tangible quality betwixt past year’s squad and this year’s squad (aside from a fewer unit upgrades) is Mazzulla. Fair aliases not, he’s an easy scapegoat if nan Celtics autumn level connected their face.
The bid is not over. The Celtics person capable talent to equine a superior comeback, moreover successful nan look of historically bad odds. No squad has ever flooded an 0-3 deficit, but not galore 2-seeds person been down 0-3 against nan 8-seed. The Heat are a flawed team. If nan Celtics tin drawstring together a fewer wins present — moreover if they yet autumn short — possibly Mazzulla’s spot cools for nan clip being.
On nan flip side, if Jimmy Butler serves up another crockery of embarrassment successful Game 4, that could awesome nan swift and abrupt extremity of nan Mazzulla era successful Boston.