Joe Mazzulla Gives ‘Analytical’ Answer To Troubling Celtics Trend

'They beat us in every analytical category possible'


March 3

The Boston Celtics suffered perhaps their worst loss of the season Friday.

Despite building a 28-point lead in the first half, Boston went on to suffer a 10-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets. The blown lead is the biggest by any NBA team this season, and prompted a chorus of boos throughout TD Garden as the Celtics left the floor.

It has become a troubling trend over recent weeks, as the Celtics have shown they are incapable — or perhaps just unwilling — to play with full effort and protect a lead across 48 minutes. The blown leads and poor third quarters were enough to prompt questions for head coach Joe Mazzulla about Boston’s effort Friday.

He thinks it’s much simpler than that.

“I think in moments like that, when the other team starts to play well and changes their mindset, you just have to adjust to your environment. It’s hard,” Mazzulla admitted postgame, per NBC Sports Boston. “More importantly than that, they beat us in every analytical category possible.

“If we don’t commit to the margins when we play, we’re not going to win. They got more threes up, they got more shots up, they got more free throws, they got more offensive rebounds and they turned it over less. You can play as hard as you want, you’re not going to win. You let your foot off the gas, they make a couple of shots and start to feel good, you have a couple of empty possessions and they see that they’re back into the game.”

The easy thing to point to when watching the loss to Brooklyn was Boston’s effort. Things came easily early on which seemingly gave the Celtics a false sense of security. They started fooling around, throwing ill-advised lobs off the backboard, and found themselves in a tightly contested game.

Mazzulla’s argument seems to favor the reason the Celtics couldn’t bounce back from their blown lead, as the Nets seized momentum and started the process on turning it into laughter.

In the grand scheme of things, the semantics of why the Celtics are blowing these leads doesn’t really matter. They will need to put a stop to it almost immediately if they hope to keep up with the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Image
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