Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla received criticism after trailing the Miami Heat in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals 3-0. Mazzulla then received some praise after Boston made things interesting and tied the series up. Now, he's receiving a bit of backlash following Boston's Game 7 defeat versus Miami. However, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN believes Mazzulla deserves praise following the Celtics' resilient effort in the series, per First Take on Twitter.
“Here's the thing about Joe Mazzulla,” Smith said. “They (Celtics) were down 0-3 and it was inexcusable. From a talent perspective, they were considered the team with more talent. They were getting thoroughly out-played… I got that. But if we're going to give him that criticism when he's down 0-3, we've got to give him some love for coming back from 0-3.”
Mazzulla did everything he could to lead the Celtics in the NBA playoffs. Head coaches are destined to receive blame when a team doesn't reach their expectations. Boston had their sights set on returning to the NBA Finals this season, but did not meet that goal. For a young coach though, Mazzulla did a respectable job.
The Celtics' front office has questions to answer this offseason, Mazzulla's future being one of them. Additionally, Boston needs to decide if they want to continue with the Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown duo. Tatum and Brown have performed well alongside one another, but moving on from one of those stars is a possibility.
It will be an interesting offseason for this Celtics team following their Game 7 loss against the Heat.