Eddie House: Celtics ‘quit on their coach’ in Game 3 loss to Heat originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics needed a win Sunday night to stay alive in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Instead, they waved the white flag.
The Miami Heat outplayed Boston from the jump in Game 3 at Kaseya Center, rolling to a 128-102 victory that gave them a 3-0 series lead and pushed the Celtics to the brink of elimination. Simply put, this was an embarrassing loss for the Celtics, who didn’t come close to matching Miami’s energy in a game they had to win.
POSTGAME POD: Celtics pushed to the brink after blowout loss in Game 3 | Listen & Subscribe
Former Celtics guard Eddie House didn’t hold back in his criticism of Boston on Celtics Postgame Live, observing that it felt like the C’s “quit” on head coach Joe Mazzulla.
“I feel like the Celtics have quit on their coach,” House said. “Let’s call it what we really see. I feel like those guys out there don’t believe in what their coach is doing. We’ve seen that done in many other places. I don’t believe that they really believe in Joe Mazzulla. I just feel that.”
Mazzulla guided the Celtics to the NBA’s second-best record during the regular season, but he’s looked overwhelmed at times in his first postseason as a head coach, taking heat for his aversion to calling timeouts when the opposing team is gaining momentum.
As House pointed out, Mazzulla didn’t seem to have his team ready to play Sunday night in Miami.
“Lackluster efforts, not getting out in transition, not getting back in transition defense — to me, it looks like a team that’s already defeated,” House added. “I hate to say it like this, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if we go in and lay another egg (in Game 4), because we’ve been laying them this whole series.”
You could argue the players deserve plenty of blame for how Game 3 unfolded; they shot just 26.2 percent from 3-point range and tallied fewer made threes (11) than turnovers (15). But Mazzulla took full ownership for the lopsided result after the game.
“I just didn’t have them ready to play,” Mazzulla said in his postgame press conference. ” … I have to get them in a better place, ready to play. That’s on me.”
If the Celtics don’t come ready to play Tuesday night in Miami, their season will be over. NBC Sports Boston’s coverage of Game 4 begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.