For seven-plus minutes within the third quarter in Memphis, head coach Joe Mazzulla began experimenting. Possibly he was shopping for time for Boston’s back-to-back in Charlotte tomorrow. Possibly he was taking the coaching wheels off to see what he had with the second unit. Mor probably, it was a motivational transfer on an evening he felt just like the opposing crew performed more durable. In a recreation that seesawed between convincing win to nailbiter, Mazzulla went away from his stars.
With 7:10 remaining and the Celtics up 3, Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, and Al Horford hockey-subbed for Jrue Vacation, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown. Two minutes later, Neemias Queta changed Kristaps Porzingis (noticeably leapfrogging Luke Kornet on the depth chart for the evening) and performed his first minutes of the common season.
“I used to be trying to develop one other id, to have the ability to play basketball with out these guys,” Mazzulla mentioned after the sport.
The Celtics had a three-point lead at halftime after getting it as excessive as 10 within the second half. And of their first 5 minutes of the second half, by no means actually made an headway to dominate the depleted Grizzlies. Memphis’ physicality pushed Boston’s stars out of their candy spots after the Celtics dominated the paint early. So, Mazzulla began pushing buttons.
“I didn’t suppose we have been enjoying very properly, so I wished to discover a lineup that might go on a run for us on the primary evening of a back-to-back,” Mazzulla mentioned. “I didn’t need the minutes to be too excessive. I knew we have been going to complete the sport with them, so I simply thought it was a chance to seek out some higher rhythm, discover a higher lineup, and appeared to go on just a little little bit of a run there.”
The Celtics bench plus White performed the Grizzlies even, 11-to-11. Their solely factors from the sphere got here from three-pointers from White, Hauser, and Pritchard. Nevertheless, within the larger context of the season and Mazzulla’s relationship along with his gamers, the transfer to bench his starters speaks louder than the outcomes on the ground.
“He’s an actual competitor,” Porzingis mentioned of an indignant Mazzulla throughout a timeout. “He has an edge to him. He needs to win every little thing. He needs to be one of the best. He needs to push us to be one of the best. He positively confirmed some emotion and we would have liked that in that second.”
13 video games within the season, he’s gained the belief of his bench, whether or not that was holding a movie session significantly with them or difficult a name throughout a blowout. In his post-game presser, he didn’t name out any of his stars particularly, however actions converse louder than phrases. As an alternative, he held them accountable and benched them.
“Each crew must be taught various things and undergo completely different stuff. It’s simple to say you wish to be a sure kind of crew after which it will get more durable and more durable to reside that approach,” Mazzulla mentioned of his crew’s lackadaisical efficiency regardless of the win. “The usual may be very excessive for us. The fellows within the locker room set a excessive customary for themselves and we’re not at all times going to satisfy it. I perceive why a recreation goes to go like this and it’s not going to be on a regular basis, however I don’t should be pleased about it.”