Joe Mazzulla Details Difference-Maker in Celtics’ Game 3 Rally vs Pacers

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On Saturday, the Boston Celtics took a 114-111 win against the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston entered the fourth quarter with a nine-point deficit and didn’t regain the lead until the last 39 seconds of regulation. 

Per Inside The Celtics, head coach Joe Mazzulla gave his perspective on Boston’s rally. 

“I never thought we couldn’t cut into the lead because of our offense. I thought we couldn’t cut into the lead because of our defense. And so, I liked our execution throughout the game. Our shot quality at half-time was like 1.22. Their shot quality was like 1.12. But we just couldn’t get a stop in the way that we needed to. It took us a little while to figure out what they were- It took us a little while to figure out how we were going to match up with them, in order to slow them down and put us in the best position. Without Haliburton, they went to some of the different stuff, and they had a lot of speed. So, I never thought it was our offense. I felt like it was our defense. And I thought we took it to another level in the second half.”

Mazzulla identified Boston’s fourth-quarter strengths. 

“Down the stretch, I thought we executed defensively and offensively. I mean, we made the right play at the rim, extra pass, good screening. I thought it was a high level of execution on both ends of the floor, especially in the fourth quarter. But the thing I liked the most was just, we talk about it all the time, it takes what it takes. Every game is going to be different, and I felt like, in the first half, it kind of caught us by surprise that we were down by that much. But I was like, I kind of told them, like, ‘Fellas, it’s going to happen. It might not be the last time we’re down by double digits.’ So, I liked the way we handled that, and it was just a test of mindset and toughness, and I thought the guys came through big-time.”

Mazzulla further praised his players’ winning mindsets. 

“Once we embraced the fact that we were down double digits on the road in a Game 3 against Indiana, I thought it was pretty fun. And so, I loved just the approach that we took. I loved the mindset that we had. I thought we executed well on both ends of the floor. And we made the plays that were necessary to win. That’s how games are going to go. You have to be able to win in different ways, you have to be able to get through certain stuff, and I thought our guys did a good job of getting through it.”

Game 4 is scheduled for Monday, May 27 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Tip-off is at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Eric Jay Santos


Eric Jay Santos covers the Boston Celtics for Sports Illustrated Media Group. He holds a BA in English from Bridgewater State University. Contact: