Joe Mazzulla Gets Defensive Over Celtics’ Shot Selection Vs. Trail Blazers

Mazzulla had his guard up yet again


Mar 8, 2023

The Boston Celtics had a clear strategy in mind from the outset in their 115-93 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

If the Celtics weren’t launching a 3-pointer, which they did with regularity as they shot 49 of them in the contest, they were making sure to get good looks at the rim.

The approach paid off for the Celtics with 10 of Boston’s 11 made field goals in the first quarter coming from either beyond the arc or in the paint.

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla was asked about that shot selection following the win, but the 34-year-old, as he has become prone to do during his postgame press conferences, got defensive and was annoyed that missed 3-pointers have become a point of emphasis from the media but not missed layups.

“I always had a question, when we shoot a lot of threes and miss, everybody asks me questions. But when shoot a lot of layups and miss, nobody says anything,” Mazzulla told reporters as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “Know how many layups we missed today? I don’t understand. Just because your close to the basket doesn’t mean it’s easier to score. So, we missed a lot of layups. We have to do a good job making those.

Mazzulla added: “I’ve always wondered that. No one asks like, ‘Missed 10 layups tonight, how come?'”

Mazzulla was then asked the question he wanted on why the Celtics had at points a tough time finishing at the rim, but he didn’t deliver any insight.

“I don’t know,” Mazzulla said. “That’s what I want to find out.”

While the Celtics, who came into the contest averaging the second-most 3-point attempts per game in the NBA with 42.1, knocked down 36.7% (18-for-49) of their triples against the Trail Blazers, they shot an even better 61.5% on their attempts from inside the arc.

“I thought our shot profile was really good,” Mazzulla said. “I thought on that stretch where we didn’t shoot the ball well, we continued to guard. I thought when we missed layups we did a decent job of sprinting back in transition.”

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
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