I Boston Celtics seem close to bowing out in the Eastern Conference finals, where they find themselves down 3-0 to the Miami Heat.
While there is still a remote chance to turn things around, the processes to identify the culprits for this unexpected result seem to have already begun. At the center of the controversy is coach Joe Mazzulla, promoted head coach after Ime Udoka’s stormy farewell.
Udoka, in fact, was dismissed a few months ago after a “scabrous” relationship” with a Celtics employee. Affair that has always remained shrouded in mystery. Now it emerges that the separation from the coach (recently hired by the Rockets) would not have been well received by the locker room, especially since the players were given very little explanation, virtually nothing more than the official versions, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Boston Celtics locker room never got over the shock of Udoka’s dismissal. Many players did not accept the explanations given by management, and I think the measure was overblown. The athletes also never received thorough clarifications from the front office, which gave them the same version that was exposed in public. This is not to say that the players did not accept Mazzulla but it is a fact that the team was very attached to the previous coach and believed strongly in him.
A choice, that of the Celtics, probably dictated by the desire to avoid a leak but which may have ultimately affected the sporting aspect. So did the decision not to pair a senior assistant with Mazzulla, again in the opinion of Woj.
The fact is that for the Boston media, the coach’s fate seems to be virtually sealed. Mazzulla himself would be the scapegoat of not making it to the Finals, especially in the event of a sweep. Meanwhile, newspapers, radio and TV stations in the Celtics environment emphasize the mental breakdown of the team in the face of difficulties and endorse the idea of a group that arrived unprepared for the big date. For this very reason, in the absence of at least a reaction in Game 4 and any subsequent challenges, the summer could even bring a “refounding” in Boston, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.