Former NBA Player Believes Joe Mazzulla Has ‘Lost’ Celtics Locker Room

'It feels like Joe Mazzulla is in over his head'


May 10, 2023

With back-to-back losses in the Eastern Conference semifinals and with the Boston Celtics now on the brink of elimination, constant criticism has been hurled at Joe Mazzulla.

The critiques started with Mazzulla not using a timeout on the final possession of overtime in Game 4, something Mazzulla later admitted was a mistake. They kept coming and only grew louder following a pitiful Game 5 showing from the Celtics on their home floor with it clear that Mazzulla didn’t have his team ready to play.

Former NBA player turned ESPN personality Jay Williams joined in the effort of bashing Mazzulla and took a shot at him Wednesday on “Keyshawn, JWill and Max,” believing the Celtics have turned on their head coach.

“It’s Game 5 at home. Your team was just in the NBA championship last year. How the hell does this team not come out with a sense of urgency?” Williams said. “This has been an ongoing theme. I’m going to say, I just feel it. I really feel like Joe Mazzulla has lost the locker room. I don’t know this from talking to players. I’m just trying to tell you how I feel and what I see. If that’s Marcus Smart talking about, ‘Yeah our offense has a lot of randomness toward it.’ … It feels like Joe Mazzulla is in over his head.”

Mazzulla certainly hasn’t shown well in his first run in the playoffs at the helm of the Celtics. Mazzulla, who is the youngest head coach in the NBA this season at 34 years old, has certainly cracked in pressure-packed situations in the postseason, showing he might not be ready for this moment. Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers has coached circles around Mazzulla as well, making the necessary adjustments that Williams keeps waiting for out of Mazzulla.

“You’re seeing counter after counter after counter,” Williams said. “Where’s the counters with Joe Mazzulla?”

He’ll look to answer that question Thursday when the Celtics enter a must-win situation in Game 6 against the 76ers. Tipoff from Wells Fargo Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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