Following a 128-102 blowout loss against the Miami Heat Sunday night, Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla got pretty candid during his postgame press conference. In a game where Boston fell behind by as many as 33 points, and star players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for just 26 points, the Celtics looked like a complete disaster in a must-win situation. The Heat came out on a mission, while the Celtics were playing like a team with extra lives to spare.
As a result, Boston not only faces elimination, but the potential of getting swept on Tuesday is a very real possibility. It's reached disaster levels for the Celtics, and after the game, when asked if he thinks there's a disconnect between himself and his players, Mazzulla gave a pretty surprising answer.
"Yeah, it's why I need to be better to figure out what this team needs," Mazzulla said.
When asked a follow-up question about why he thinks there's a disconnect, Mazzulla responded with "I'm not sure."
That's certainly not what you want to hear from your head coach. Even if it is true, that Celtics players have begun to tune Mazzulla out, it's not something you admit to the media, especially after an embarrassing loss like that in the postseason.
Mazzulla's answer also doesn't exactly bode well for his job security beyond this season. While the Celtics removed the interim tag during the regular season and signed him to a long-term contract, that doesn't mean that Boston will be content to keep him around if players are already beginning to sour on the guy. This Celtics team has gotten incredibly close to winning a championship highlighted by last season's trip to the NBA Finals, and keeping a guy around who has already lost the locker room in Year 1 isn't a valuable use of time for a roster that is a steady championship contender.
While Mazzulla's answer could just be chalked up to another brutally honest response in a line of many similar answers this season, having that lingering in the air as his team tries to stave off elimination isn't great. Now he's put his players in a position to respond to what he said, which pulls focus away from trying to extend this series against the Heat as long as possible.