Joe Mazzulla praised Celtics’ mentality after Game 4 win, expects ‘more aggressive’ Heat in Game 5

"Before any game plan or any adjustment, the most important thing is having trust."

Joe Mazzulla Celtics Heat
Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla during the second half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Less than 12 hours after the Celtics avoided elimination with a 116-99 win in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Joe Mazzulla kept it simple and straightforward during his Wednesday morning press availability.

Reflecting on Boston’s belated first win of the series, the embattled Celtics coach underscored the value of his team’s mentality.

“Before any game plan or any adjustment, the most important thing is having trust,” Mazzulla told reporters. “When we’re at our best, that’s what we do.”

Boston still trails Miami 3-1, and will again face the possibility of elimination when Game 5 tips off at TD Garden on Thursday night (8:30 p.m.).


Asked about the adjustments he expects from the Heat, Mazzulla re-emphasized the need for a collective approach.

“I expect them all to be more aggressive and look to attack us in different ways,” he said of Miami. “We just have to be ready to answer that with the physicality and the detail on the defensive end. We have to guard 5-on-5.”

Having entered the series as clear favorites, the Celtics’ subsequent trio of defeats led to a cacophony of speculation about the possible issues within the team. Yet with the Game 4 win, Boston not only kept its season alive but offered a riposte — albeit a potentially temporary one — to its critics.

What exactly did Mazzulla see from his team’s demeanor in between Games 3 and 4?

“Just our togetherness and communication. These guys have been around each other for a long time,” he replied, noting that — despite still being a relatively young roster — many of the players have now gone through several playoff runs together over the years.

“They have an understanding and perspective about the situation that we’re in and what it takes. They just stick together.”


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