The Boston Celtics were 7.5-point home favorites ahead of Game 5 vs. the Philadelphia 76ers; they lost by 12.
The Sixers led by as many as 21 points and out-hustled them and outworked them on both ends of the floor, exposing the Celtics’ lack of effort again.
However, per Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, this was actually their first bad game of the playoffs.
"That was our first really, really bad game of the playoffs."
Joe Mazzulla on Game 5 loss to Sixers pic.twitter.com/bjQ2eXleqW
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 10, 2023
Mazzulla claimed that they didn’t come out with intensity and failed to pick that effort up throughout the game, but he didn’t look quite worried about that.
Truth be told, inconsistency and lack of effort have been the only two issues for his team throughout the whole campaign, so this isn’t something new.
The Celtics should’ve closed the Atlanta Hawks out in just five games, and some might argue they should’ve swept them, but that wasn’t the case.
Then, they failed to contain James Harden against a Sixers team that was missing its best player and reigning NBA MVP, and then they dropped the ball again on their home court.
As talented and deep as this Celtics team is, sometimes it feels like it’s lacking direction.
Obviously, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are their 1A and 1B, and they’ve played mostly well throughout the playoffs.
But what about in-game adjustments, lineup tweaks, and those plays coming out of a timeout?
Mazzulla’s numbers in charge of the team might be good, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Brad Stevens go in a different direction in the offseason if they don’t beat the Sixers in this series.NEXT: Derrick White Earned A Massive Bonus Thanks To His Hard Work