June 25, 2024

Joe Mazzulla outmaneuvers Rick Carlisle in Celtics Game 3 win | Robb

INDIANAPOLIS — Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics have taken their lumps throughout the regular season, particularly in crunch time situations. Whether it was predictable play calling or timeout mismanagement, more than a handful of Celtics losses this year came with second guesses.

Boston entered Game 3 with a 2-0 record in clutch games this postseason but one of those wins included just a brief period of a tight ballgame (Cleveland). The other was in Game 1 against the Pacers where Indiana gift wrapped a victory for Boston with some crucial late-game turnovers.

The equation was different this time around. Boston was on the road and trailing by 18 points in the second half and eight points with just 2:38 remaining on the clock. The Celtics were going to have to take this win themselves rather than have it handed to them and they would need some help along the way. Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Jrue Holiday all made big plays when it counted as Boston closed the game on a 13-2 run. However, Joe Mazzulla also bested Rick Carlisle in the crunch time game management department to ensure Boston got one more step closer to the NBA Finals.

The Pacers shot the lights out in the first half particularly from inside the arc but Joe Mazzulla was credited by both his stars postgame for keeping morale up.

“Joe just kind of told us stop feeling sorry for ourselves and whatever situation we in, that’s the situation that we’re in and, uh, showing us to, to figure it out,” Jayson Tatum said.” We kind of felt lucky that we were playing as bad per se, as we were and how well they were shooting the ball and we were only down 13, 14 points on the road and we still had a lot of time left to win the game. So it was one of those time outs maybe with like five minutes left in the third where we kind of turned it around.”

Boston closed out the third quarter on a 15-6 run, setting the stage for them to be within striking distance for the fourth quarter. The Pacers suddenly got tight with their shooting while the Celtics chipped away within single digits.

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