Joe Mazzulla Defends Celtics Strategy In Game 7 Embarrassment

'We missed shots and they came down and hit shots'


May 30, 2023

BOSTON — The Celtics lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat on Monday, but they went down firing.

No, literally, they would not stop shooting the ball.

Boston was one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the NBA over the course of the regular season, ranking sixth in three-point percentage (37.7%) and second in threes made (16) on an average of 32.6 attempts per game. The C’s numbers slipped against the Heat, however, as they made just 10.2 per game on the same average number of attempts.

That’s more attempts with less makes, which isn’t exactly a recipe for success. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla isn’t so sure it should necessitate a change, however.

“No,” Mazzulla responded to a question about whether the Celtics were too reliant on the three. “… (The Heat) made shots, we weren’t as efficient in transition. We just didn’t play well. We just didn’t play well.”

The Celtics’ inability to effectively shoot the ball made it easy for the Heat to hold off any comeback attempt in Game 7. Boston was effective in the paint, but Miami’s ability to answer seemingly every punch was the difference in a game where the C’s shot an abysmal 21.4% (9-for-42) from beyond the arc. Al Horford and Derrick White were the only two Celtics to make more than one shot from three, but combined to go 4-for-14, while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continued to struggle and role players like Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon and Sam Hauser were complete no-shows from that area of the court.

The Celtics would expound on their horrid night from three, but never went as far enough as saying something needed to change.

“I think that’s it. We missed shots and they came down and hit shots,” Smart said. “We weren’t making ours… they made a lot of shots tonight and we didn’t.”

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla and guard Marcus Smart
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