Joe Mazzulla on Celtics’ Recreation 5 loss at TD Backyard: ‘That was our first actually, actually unhealthy sport of the playoffs’


“Every little thing went mistaken for us that may go mistaken.”

A referee signals that Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla (left) has just called for a first quarter time out. The Boston Celtics hosted the Philadelphia 76ers for Game Five of their NBA Eastern Conference Semi Final basketball series at the TD Garden.
Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics might want to win two straight in opposition to the 76ers to maintain their season alive. Jim Davis/The Boston Globe

The optics that performed out Tuesday night time on Causeway Road had been removed from very best.

Because the Celtics made their means off the parquet flooring, the scattered followers nonetheless current inside the TD Backyard stands stuffed the air with a discouraged refrain of boos.

It was a becoming stamp on a 115-103 loss to the 76ers in Recreation 5 of the Japanese Convention Semifinals.

As ugly as these closing minutes had been for Boston, the results within the wake of a pivotal residence defeat are way more grave.

Tuesday’s capturing woes (39.8 p.c from the sphere), sluggish begin, and defensive lapses in opposition to Philadelphia’s pick-and-roll now have Boston only a sport away from elimination.

Boston must win two straight in opposition to the Sixers to maintain their season alive, together with Thursday’s Recreation 6 showdown at Wells Fargo Middle.

However the Celtics have repeatedly didn’t capitalize in opposition to the Sixers this collection. Be it a Recreation 1 residence loss with out Joel Embiid in Philly’s lineup or a Recreation 4 time beyond regulation defeat marred by an absence of urgency and execution, Boston has had many failed probabilities to take management of the collection.

However for Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, Tuesday’s defeat stands because the lone outlier up to now in Boston’s playoff push.

“That was the primary sport of the playoffs that we didn’t play effectively, in my view,” Mazzulla stated postgame. “So we are able to’t lose our perspective of we performed actually good basketball. And that was our first actually, actually unhealthy sport of the playoffs. Doesn’t come at essentially the most effective time. However we simply must shift our perspective and prepare for the subsequent sport.”

Mazzulla is correct that the Celtics will seemingly wish to burn the tape following Tuesday’s disappointing efficiency.

Whether or not it’s Al Horford failing to sink a number of wide-open seems to be from deep (0-for-7 from 3-point vary), Malcolm Brogdon (3-for-9) lacking layups within the paint or Jayson Tatum going 0-for-5 in a sleepy first quarter, Boston’s offense struggled to achieve its footing on the Backyard.

A few of that may maybe be chalked as much as the streaky nature of Boston’s capturing tendencies. 

However lacking 9 free throws and letting Embiid persistently sink mid-range jumpers are irritating examples of Boston each failing to regulate and sabotaging its personal gameplan.

“Every little thing. Every little thing went mistaken,” Marcus Smart said. “They made each proper play. They made each hustle play. Every little thing went mistaken for us that may go mistaken.”

Mazzulla would possibly attempt to solid apart Tuesday’s end result as a one-off, choosing a clear slate forward of a do-or-die Recreation 6 in Philadelphia.

However the margin of error afforded to Boston is now razor skinny. It’s an unenviable state of affairs to be in for the Celtics, and it’s one primarily of their very own doing.

“I assumed our intentions had been good,” Mazzulla stated. “I assumed we tried to play arduous. I assumed we tried to play the correct means, particularly on the offensive finish. I assumed we acquired loads of attractiveness early that didn’t fall. And theirs did. After which I feel if you’re in that state of affairs, you’re simply attempting to win it again. Like I stated, it’s the primary time that we simply didn’t play effectively, and we simply acquired to regroup and prepare for the subsequent sport.”

As disheartening as one other loss on residence court docket could be, the Celtics are in the identical spot they had been in final Could.

After dropping a 110-107 end result to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in Recreation 5 of the 2022 Japanese Convention Semifinals, Boston wanted to win the subsequent sport at Fiserv Discussion board to maintain its title hopes intact.

The Celtics bested Milwaukee in Recreation 6 on the street, 108-95, after which promptly dispatched them again at TD Backyard in a 109-81 blowout in Recreation 7.

A 3-2 collection deficit is way from a demise sentence, particularly for a Celtics roster with loads of postseason mettle.

However that doesn’t imply that Boston can simply relaxation on their laurels and anticipate an analogous script to play out on Thursday night time in Philadelphia.

“Final yr’s over with,” Jaylen Brown said. “This yr we gotta come out and be higher than we had been tonight or we’ll have a unique ending. Clearly, we’re nonetheless on this collection and we gotta muster up no matter we’ve acquired left to be higher for Recreation 6.”