Celtics Coach Joe Mazzulla Admits He Made Key Mistake Vs. Knicks

Mazzulla wished he had this back


Mar 6, 2023

A day after the Boston Celtics dropped a double overtime thriller to the New York Knicks, Joe Mazzulla put his hand up and blamed himself for a key decision he made in the loss.

The young Celtics coach elected to go with Grant Williams over Derrick White for the large majority of the fourth quarter and both overtime sessions. White, who has been one of Boston’s most consistent players, didn’t even see the floor in the first extra frame.

With the luxury of hindsight, Mazzulla admitted it was a mistake not to have White on the court during critical situations in the 131-129 defeat.

“It’s probably a coaching fault of mine yesterday. Probably should have had him in at the end of the game,” Mazzulla told reporters prior to Boston’s road contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, per NBC Sports Boston. “When we have the majority of our roster, balancing that out and trying to get the best players on the floor is important. Re-watching it today, definitely should have been moments where we could have had him on the floor. When he’s on the floor, we’re a really good team. We need him to be confident and aggressive on both ends.”

White scored all 12 of his points in the first half and only made his way onto the floor in the second overtime after Marcus Smart fouled out.

Mazzulla, who at 34 years old is the youngest head coach in the NBA this season, has been under the microscopic since taking over at the helm of the Celtics, especially for some of his unconventional methods, like holding onto timeouts late in games.

Mazzulla understands making errors is part of the job, but believes they get amplified due to his inexperience at the position.

“Whether I coach for one year or 20 years, I’m still going to make mistakes at year 20,” Mazzulla said. “So, it’s not really whether I’m a first-time head coach or not. It’s just people who have been coaching a long time they get a pass for the mistakes that they make and young guys don’t. I have to be a continuous learner regardless of how long I coach in this game.

“Like I said before, no one will put more pressure and expectations than I put on myself and in our team and the guys put on themselves. So at the end of the day, coach for the Celtics, No. 1 goal is to win and if you don’t do it, then that’s my fault. And that’s how you have to approach every day.”

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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