“No.” That’s it. That’s all Joe Mazzulla had to say when asked if the Celtics are too reliant on the 3-point shot and if that has to change.
It’s been established Mazzulla is a man of few words, and getting real analysis from a coach who just got embarrassed in a Game 7 isn’t likely to happen. But, really? That’s what you want to go with? Just, “no”? After you nearly lost a Game 6 where no one but Derrick White and Marcus Smart hit a 3-pointer, then had a collapse of epic proportions in Game 7 because your team only made 9 of 42 3-point attempts (21.4%), all you have to say to that question is, “no”?
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This isn’t about Mazzulla giving the media a good quote or whatever. Actual quality analysis usually doesn’t get that type of buzz. It’s just something that has to be elaborated on when you have Caleb Martin knock down more 3-pointers (22) over the course of a series than your two stars (18) combined.
Look, no team can survive in this league without 3-point shooting. But where statistically driven baseball analysts slowed down the game with the “walks are as good as a single” approach, the statistically driven basketball analysts have made it easier for teams to self-paralyze. Why start settling for 2-pointers when we can afford to miss more threes? Eventually, they’ll start falling, right?
This is what happens when they don’t. There needs to be a contingency plan for nights where the three-ball isn’t there.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this with this era’s Celtics, but this series went too far. And this doesn’t come down to mid-series adjustments. The Celtics made some good ones after going down 3-0. This is about planning better from Day 1 of the season.