Joe Mazzulla ‘Not Really Disappointed’ With Celtics Loss Vs. Suns

'We gotta do a better job'


February 3

BOSTON — The tables took a complete turn for the Boston Celtics when they hosted the Phoenix Suns for the first time since their 125-99 blowout win against the Western Conference squad back on Dec. 7.

On Friday, Boston opened the night with one of its coldest starts (8-for-22 FG) in the opening quarter and never managed to find the much-needed momentum necessary to overcome the Suns. Even when the Celtics cut a previous double-digit deficit — which reached as high as 20 points — to just one in the third quarter, they failed to flip the switch and put together the run that would’ve put them over the hump in the 106-94 loss Friday night at TD Garden.

While committing 14 turnovers with just five second-chance points against a Suns team without star Devin Booker could be concerning, Mazzulla didn’t see it that way afterward.

“I’m not really disappointed,” Mazzulla said. “We can’t be inconsistent with how we execute.”

The Celtics, who knocked down 48% of their 3-point attempts on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets, were virtually unrecognizable to their home crowd. Boston shot 26.3% on 33 attempts from beyond the arc while Phoenix, who only drained 12-of-32, didn’t need to be a whole lot better to muster up a double-digit win.

NESN 360 in-article asset

Mazzulla mentioned that the Celtics weren’t able to start or end quarters well, which highlighted just another note of Boston’s uncharacteristic offensive execution.

“We gotta do a better job when (Jayson Tatum is) screening, especially when teams are switching,” Mazzulla said. “… I think it’s about just managing the game. Second unit does a good job of ending quarters and starting well, which we didn’t do that. We didn’t end the quarters well, we didn’t start the quarters well.”

Boston’s second unit, which typically takes a great weight off the shoulders of the starters, came up like a flat tire. Boston?s bench, outside of Malcolm Brogdon, combined to shoot just 1-of-5 with seven points. That included three scoreless performances, four of which registered a negative plus-minus.

Mazzulla emphasized that he believes the Celtics are not coming up short in the toughness category. Mazzulla instead broke down his final takeaway from a much more simple standpoint and described the loss as a test.

“I don’t know if it’s a toughness thing as much as it’s a math thing,” Mazzulla said. “So you can’t get out-shot by 20, you can’t have 15 turnovers for 16 points. … You have to be able to live under those margins all the time and we got into a really good rhythm being able to do that. So we just have to understand that’s something that we have to do, night in and night out, which is hard. So that’s kinda the test for us.”

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers
Previous Article

Mo Bamba, Austin Rivers Duke It Out During Magic-Timberwolves Game

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum
Next Article

Celtics Go Through Mental Letdown In Surprising Loss To Suns

Picked For You