Magic Johnson has questioned Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla’s decision not to call a timeout prior to the final play of their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The decision, or lack thereof, came after James Harden hit a three from the corner to give the Sixers a 116-115 lead – en route to 42 points after two disastrous performances the games prior – with 19 seconds to play in overtime. The Celtics had a timeout available, but Mazzulla let his team play. The end result? They didn’t get a shot off.
Mazzulla has often shown a penchant for putting the confidence in his team in these situations, but having failed to give themselves a chance in this situation, disagreements about the decision were always going to come. Magic Johnson was one of the first to join the chorus.
In the wake of the loss, he tweeted: “I thought Celtics Head Coach Mazzulla made a mistake not calling a timeout and setting up a play in the final seconds of the game.”
It’s hardly a scathing assessment from the Los Angeles Lakers legend, but the somewhat robotic tweet certainly leaves no doubts about where Magic sits in the discussion.
Of course, had Joe Mazzulla taken the timeout it seems unlikely that the Celtics would have failed to get a shot off. It’s also highly unlikely a Marcus Smart three-point attempt would have been the shot that Mazzulla looked to get, which is what the Celtics ended up with – albeit slightly too late.
Somewhat ironically, given he missed a game-winning three-point attempt in regulation, Smart’s shot went down. Unfortunately for the Celtics, however, the buzzer had sounded with the ball still in his hands, and the series will now head back to Boston locked at two games apiece.