Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle made a commendable decision on Tuesday night, sitting upon a dais at TD Garden and taking full responsibility for his team’s loss to the Celtics in Game 1.

It was something that probably needed to happen.

Carlisle is a veteran coach, having been at the forefront of a championship run back in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks. He’s been around enough to know that, despite his team blowing things on the court, he couldn’t allow their confidence to waver. He needed to build them back up.

It should come as no surprise that the 64-year-old was praised for his decision to shoulder the blame, but it seems to have taken away from the real coaching-based story in this series.

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Joe Mazzulla is doing laps around his counterpart.

Mazzulla started off hot, challenging a play less than one minute into Game 1 to firmly swing the momentum into the Celtics’ direction to start things out. He closed just as impressively, drawing up the play that got Jaylen Brown open for his double-bang inducing three to tie the game just before time expired in regulation.

It was a tremendous start to the series, with the 35-year-old surprisingly being given credit for setting the tone for his team — his ultimate goal throughout the season.

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“It’s about the mindset and the approach that we bring, and it’s within the rules of the game,” Mazzulla said back in March, just hours after trying to block the shot of Phoenix Suns forward Royce O’Neale. “It’s about setting a tone, and it’s just that, one of the biggest pet peeves is thinking that a guy’s gonna get a free shot and that’s not the way it works. If we’re gonna hold our team to a standard, we hold our staff to the same thing.”

Mazzulla’s relationship with… well, everyone outside of Boston’s locker room, has been a weird one.

He’s an odd guy, with his love of Ben Affleck flicks and Brazilian jiu-jitsu perhaps keeping people on their toes about his mental state. He also hasn’t been perfect, with criticism of his love for the three-point shot just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how his actual coaching abilities are viewed.

You can’t really argue with what he’s done to this point in the Eastern Conference finals, though.

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Mazzulla was good in Game 1, great even, but Game 2 might be just as impressive when it comes to overall decision-making.

The Celtics ended up running away with things Thursday night at TD Garden, but there were stretches where the Pacers looked like they’d put up just as much of a fight as they did two nights prior. Indiana was shooting the lights out early, running a smaller lineup with T.J. McConnell and Tyrese Haliburton running the most annoying (yet effective) pick-and-pop you’ll ever see.

Boston’s bench boss adjusted.

Oshae Brissett, fresh off playing zero minutes across the Celtics’ previous three games, entered to provide some energy off the bench. He ended up being the most valuable player on the court if you look at things on a minute-by-minute basis.

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Brissett was a plus-16 in his short time on the court, grabbing three rebounds and three steals in slightly over 12 minutes. He also held opponents to 1-for-4 shooting as the primary defender.

It was a tremendous decision to put Brissett into the game, if not slightly aided by Luke Kornet’s wrist injury. Mazzulla deserves the credit though, as he helped win those “margins” he always talks about. It was his decision to have Derrick White trigger the offense in OT of Game 1. It was his decision to run Tatum with three ball-handlers to get him going in Game 2.

Mazzulla isn’t the reason the Celtics are winning these games, but he’s found ways to impact what’s happening on the court, and that’s all you can ask for out of a coach during the postseason. If there was ever a time for Mazzulla to come into his own, and get some credit for it, the Celtics likely are happy it’s now.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images