This Aspect Of Celtics’ Overtime Loss Greatly Irked Joe Mazzulla

Boston got killed on the boards in crunch time in Cleveland


Mar 7, 2023

There were countless sources of frustration for Green Teamers watching Monday night as the Boston Celtics were dealt another devastating loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Grant Williams missing two free throws in a tie game with 0.8 seconds left in regulation might be the single-most haunting image, especially since Williams talked trash to Donovan Mitchell right before stepping to the line.

And the fact the Celtics blew a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter, especially given that Monday was the third straight game they’ve blown a double-digit advantage, might be the biggest annoyance for others.

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, however, pointed to a different deficiency immediately after Boston’s 118-114 overtime defeat at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

“Their offensive rebounding at the end of the game made the difference,” Mazzulla told reporters, per CLNS Media.

“We haven’t learned about late game offensive rebounding yet. And this might be the fifth or sixth loss — and so that part pisses me off,” Mazzulla said. “Other than that, it’s just part of it.”

The Celtics allowed the Cavaliers to record 16 offensive rebounds in the contest, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime. In the biggest moments of the game, Cleveland consistently came up with loose balls and offensive boards to have an opportunity at second-chance opportunities. The fact the Celtics were without Al Horford and Robert Williams played a role in that, sure. But nevertheless, those 10 rebounds in crunch time matched what Cleveland has recorded per game this season.

“You have to talk about them, you have to make sure that they’re important,” Mazzulla said of improving offensive rebounding.

Unlike some Celtics fans, Mazzulla isn’t yet sounding the alarms. But there’s no debating that fixing that aspect will be critical as Boston tries to shake off its slump.

The Celtics, who now have dropped to the second seed in the Eastern Conference after losing four of their last five games, return to TD Garden on Wednesday night where they’ll host the Portland Trail Blazers.

Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images
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