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Mountaineers in the Pros

Joe Mazzulla, Celtics Force Game 7 After 3-0 Deficit



Celtics HC Joe Mazzulla

After Miami’s Jimmy Butler hit a trio of free throws to gain the lead, Boston HC Joe Mazzulla called timeout with three seconds left to draw up a play. Celtics needed a basket or else they were heading home.

Off the inbound pass, Marcus Smart’s three-point attempt was missed but was miraculously recovered by Derrick White, who got the second shot off at the very last tenth of a second. Boston stole the game 104-103 and will host game seven against the Heat.

Mazzulla caught a lot of fire after falling 3-0 earlier in the series but has calmed down the Celtics as they have taken this series one game at a time. Celtics are looking to become the first NBA team in history to win a series after trailing 3-0. 151 teams have tried and failed.

“It is what it is. I think we just feed off of each other in that standpoint, like these are the circumstances,” Mazzulla said following the win. “What do we have to do to figure it out? And it starts with [the players]. Each one of those guys goes into a different level of who they are as a person and as a player. It starts with them in the locker room.”

Mazzulla, who is in his first season as Boston’s head coach, is the third coach in NBA history to win five elimination games in a single postseason. Celtics will host the Heat on Monday night in Boston, with the winner heading to the NBA Finals.

Boston appeared in the finals last season as Mazzulla served as an assistant under Ime Udoka. The Celtics fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games but look to finish business this summer.

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