Boston Celtics

This season has been up and down so far for the Boston Celtics through 11 games. Many wondered how interim Head Coach Joe Mazzulla would handle the pressures and responsibilities of being a head coach. So far so good to say the least….but some bad.

  • Mazzulla Not Afraid To Bench A Veteran

    (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 28: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics and Jayson Tatum #0 look on from the bench during a timeout in the first half of the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on October 28, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    A bold decision from last Friday night’s game versus Chicago has stood out in these first games. With about six and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a back and forth game against the Bulls, Mazzulla took out Marcus Smart and put in Derrick White. Before being taken out, Smart had an offensive foul, turnover, and a shooting foul. The last time we saw Smart get taken out was against the Warriors in Game 1 of The Finals. Yes, Smart had back to back threes, but beforehand Jaylen Brown and Derrick White caught fire. The Celtics picked up a victory on Friday, and the subbing out of Marcus Smart tells you Mazzulla wants to win games rather than win with the same players on the floor. 

  • Frontcourt Has Given Mazzulla Flexibility

    (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 28: Blake Griffin #91 of the Boston Celtics dives for a loose ball during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on October 28, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    At the beginning of the season, Noah Vonleh’s hustle stuck out as a bright spot for this team. After a couple more games, we can see Mazzulla’s confidence has grown for Vonleh, Luke Kornet, and Blake Griffin. With Horford and Kornet out against the Knicks on Saturday, Blake Griffin started in Horford’s place and had a solid 7 points in fifteen minutes played. Vonleh had similar stats with 7 points in sixteen minutes played at MSG. With Robert Williams still out, the Celtics need a full team effort to replace him on both sides of the ball, and so far, the trio of Kornet, Vonleh, and Griffin has been a bright spot. 

  • “Playing Through” Timeouts

    (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 28: Boston Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla looks on during the second half at TD Garden on October 28, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Joe Mazzulla has had several positive points in the first part of the season, but there is has been a concern for many people, and that is the Celtics Head Coach’s use of his timeouts. It seems as if Mazzulla has the “Play through it” mentality that all coaches want in their players, but there comes a time where it does not work. In Wednesday’s matchup against the Cavaliers, Mazzulla called his first timeout of the game in the third quarter. Yes, the third quarter. That game was about runs and finally, after a 10-0 Cavalier run, Mazzulla called one. In the NBA, playing through runs is a sign of a good team, but in the beginning of the NBA season, teams want to find their identity, and the Celtics must be defensive minded like last year, to compete and win.  

  • Three Pointers Can Be Unreliable

    (Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 30: Sam Hauser #30 of the Boston Celtics shoots a three point field goal against the Washington Wizards during the third quarter at TD Garden on October 30, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images)

    Right now, the Celtics are a solid offensive team, and an above average defensive team. To be a championship team, you need both, and last year we saw after the Knicks game that almost ended the Celtics season. On Saturday night, the Celtics set the franchise record for most threes made in a game (27). While that is an exciting stat, if your offense is about making threes, and if you are having a bad three point night, what next? Can the Celtics adjust during a bad shooting night? With the MVP potential of both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, I’d like to think so. Last year, the Celtics were ranked first in defensive rating, and this year, they are towards the bottom of the league at twenty three. Ime Udoka instilled a defensive mindset in this team that propelled them to the finals, and for the Celtics, that must be on the top of their “Banner 18” list: Winning on the defensive end of the floor.  

    Joe Mazzulla will be learning as the season goes along and the players will be too. The players have consistently said how much they love and admire Mazzulla, with Tatum discussing his impact back in June. Yes, it is only a couple of weeks into the 2022-2023 season, but the Celtics, along with probably every team in the NBA, have work to do to get back to the top of the Eastern Conference, and the NBA.