The Boston Celtics would likely want a mulligan on their second-half performance vs the Utah Jazz on Saturday night after dropping the tilt 118-117, and perhaps no one more than Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, who inexplicably did not play Derrick White in the entire fourth quarter on a night the team did not have starting point guard Marcus Smart available.
“It’s probably a coaching fault of mine yesterday,” said Mazzulla after the game via MassLive’s Brian Robb. “I probably should have had him in at the end of the game. And so when we have the majority of our roster, balancing that out and trying to get the best players on the floor is important.”
“Rewatching it today there were definitely moments when we could have had him on the floor,” he added. “So, when he’s on the floor we’re a really good team, and we need him to be confident and aggressive on both ends.”
Boston at Utah: Celtics fizzle vs. Jazz, lose 118-117 after flat second half https://t.co/oOC9AaAI24
— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) March 19, 2023
White, for his part, seemed not to mind the lack of floor time, at least in his public comments. “I’m just trying to have the right perspective on things, but just understand that it’s a team game,” he suggested. “Any time I’m out there, I just try to help us win games, and even if I’m off the court, just be a good teammate and trust that the people out there are going to help us win.”
As much as that perspective softens the blow of not having one of the team’s best closers on the floor in the final frame (never mind crunch time), the Celtics — and Mazzulla — are running out of time to find the right mix of minutes and effort a championship-caliber team ought to be making use of.
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