Joe Mazzulla‘s position as the Boston Celtics head coach has been garnering a lot of interest throughout the team’s Eastern Conference Finals struggles.
Currently, the Celtics are on the brink of being eliminated from the postseason after losing three straight games to the Miami Heat. During those games, it has been clear that Mazzulla has been outcoached by Erik Spoelstra.
However, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, it would appear as though the Celtics will be sticking by their head coach regardless of what happens during the playoffs.
“The sentiment around Boston as recently as last week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, sources said, was that the Celtics would afford Mazzulla, 34, quite a bit of runway to grow into an elevated role on the team’s sideline,” Fischer wrote. “Stevens himself was 36 when Danny Ainge anointed the former Butler head coach as Boston’s steward, to the tune of a six-year contract that awarded Stevens all the support and opportunity to develop.”
Yet, should the Celtics continue to freefall out of the playoffs, in a season where many expected them to challenge for a championship, the front offices’ stance could take a drastic turn in regards to their support for Mazzulla. Nevertheless, Brad Stevens signed Mazzulla to a long-term deal in February, which could make it difficult to move on from the rookie head coach so soon.
Joe Mazzulla is Taking Too Much Blame
According to an Eastern Conference scout, who spoke with Heavy on Sports Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, Mazzulla is shouldering too much of the blame for Boston’s implosion.
“Joe seems to be taking most of the abuse, and I’m not saying he doesn’t have things that he could be better at, but these patterns have happened with Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka, as well,” he said. “Same types of issues down the stretch of games — sharing the ball, ball movement, just dribbling out the clock, lot of isolation basketball, defensive lapses. All these things have existed for years. The difference between this year and last year is that last year these things didn’t catch up with them fully until The Finals. This year it’s happening a series earlier.”
Despite Boston’s struggles during the playoffs, Mazzulla did impress throughout the regular season, helping guide the Celtics to a 57-25 record en route to the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
Magic Johnson Accuses the Celtics of Quitting
On May 21, Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson took to Twitter to share his belief that the Celtics quit during their game three contest against Miami.
“In my 44 years of being associated with the NBA, I never thought I’d see a Boston Celtics team, a franchise with 17 Championships, quit. I know Celtics fans all over the world must be disgusted and devastated. The Miami Heat blew them out 128-102 in Game 3,” Johnson Tweeted.
The Celtics will now play a win-or-go-home contest against the Heat on Tuesday, May 23, as they face Miami at the Kaseya Center, where the Heat haven’t lost a game all the way through the playoffs.