Celtics Desperately Seek Answers as Joe Mazzulla Takes Blame for Game 3

It wasn’t supposed to go this way for the Celtics. They’re the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are No. 8.Joe Mazzulla

Yet the Celtics trail the East finals by a 3-0 count, and look as if they’re just waiting for the Heat to put them out of their misery.

And guard/forward Jaylen Brown is OK with giving Miami the lion’s share of the credit. The No. 8 seed, the Heat have been lots of Jimmy Butler, and plenty of everyone else.

“To their credit, they’re playing well above their means,” Brown told reporters. “They’re ballin’ right now and I’ve got to give them respect. Gabe Vincent, (Caleb Martin), (Max Strus), Duncan Robinson, guys that we should be able to keep under control are playing their (butt) off.”

All of it has thrown the Celtics way out of sorts.

“I don’t even know where to start,” Brown said of the Game 3 blowout loss. “It’s an obvious letdown. I feel like we let our fan base, organization down. We let ourselves down. And it was collective. We can point fingers, but in reality, it was just embarrassing.”

Meanwhile, for Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, this is all new. At least, it is as a head coach. Last season, Mazzulla was an assistant under Ime Udoka when Boston made its run to the Finals.

But Udoka was suspended before the season, then eventually cut loose. Mazzulla was handed the reigns and did an admirable job in the regular season and early playoffs. Now, though, he sometimes looks overmatched.

“I just didn’t have them ready to play,” Mazzulla said after Game 3. “Whatever it was, whether it was the starting lineup or an adjustment, I have to get them in a better place, ready to play. That’s on me.”

But for Brown, Mazzulla and the Celtics, time is just about up.

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