Joe Mazzulla Making Celtics Lineup Change For Game 3 Vs. Heat

Mazzulla is turning away from the double-big lineup


May 21, 2023

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is going back to the starting lineup he used for a majority of this season for Sunday’s pivotal Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat at Kaseya Center.

After trotting out the double-big lineup for four straight playoff games, including two straight losses to the Heat, Mazzulla told reporters prior to the contest that he is putting Derrick White back in the starting unit over Robert Williams. The Celtics are 6-5 with White starting alongside Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford this postseason.

Mazzulla showed signs he was moving away from the double-big lineup during the second half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Heat.

“I thought it gave us a different look,” Mazzulla said after Game 2, per MassLive’s Brian Robb. “I thought we were able to change the matchups a little bit. I thought we got off to a good start (in the second half).”

By getting White onto the floor with the starters, Mazzulla probably hopes an extra shooter will spread out the Heat’s defense and allow for more space for Brown and Tatum to operate.

White tailed off in the playoffs after a strong start in the first round against the Atlanta Hawks. In the final three games of the series versus the 76ers, White scored in single digits. But he has bounced back in the conference finals, averaging 11 points on 66.7% shooting, including 60% from beyond the arc.

And with some more minutes thrown his way courtesy of the lineup change, Mazzulla is looking for White to step up in a critical spot with the Celtics trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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