The Boston Celtics suffered an ugly Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers by a score of 115-103. While head coach Joe Mazzulla has been taking a lot of heat for how the Celtics have looked in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, starting point guard Marcus Smart vehemently defends him, reports Heavy Sports' Steve Bulpett.

“We [the Celtics] still believe in our coach. We believe in Joe [Mazzulla] to the fullest. We haven’t lost faith in him and we won’t. He has a game plan; it’s on us to go out and execute it. We’re the ones out there playing, so we’ve got to help him. He’s been doing great.”

Marcus Smart does not shy away from the criticism directed at his head coach, instead denying it head on. Smart emphasizes that Mazzulla has been doing his job as the head coach, and that it is on the Celtics players for not executing his game-plan to the top of their potential.

The Celtics now find themselves on the brink of elimination after the Game 5 loss. They are down 3-2 and heading to Philadelphia for a pivotal Game 6 against the Sixers. If they can take Game 6, they will at least guarantee one more contest at the TD Garden for the 2023 season.

Although there are many areas to point to in order to explain why the Celtics are down, a lot of credit has to be given to the Sixers as well. Their main three of James Harden, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all played very well in Game 6, the primary reason they now have a lead in the series. Looking ahead to Game 6, all eyes will be on if the higher seeded Celtics and Joe Mazzulla can slow down the Sixers scorers.