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Joe Mazzulla on Celtics comeback over Pelicans: ‘we can’t lose sight of the fact that you gotta earn a win every night’

The Celtics just can’t blow everyone out. They just can’t.

Jayson Tatum & Al Horford, Boston Celtics.
Jayson Tatum & Al Horford, Boston Celtics.
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

After trailing by as many as 17 points on Monday, the Celtics rallied for a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

They found themselves in a similar predicament to the one that they’d been in two days prior when they were on the wrong end of a beatdown from the LA Clippers.

Unfortunately, that’s something that head coach Joe Mazzulla believes needs to happen to not only keep his team in check, but also remind the general public that the Celtics are human, and are going to make mistakes.

“I just hope it happens 10-12 more times & we can get rid of the entitlement that we’re always supposed to be winning, “Mazzulla told reporters after his team’s 118-112 win over New Orleans. “I hope we have to blow leads. I hope all that happens. I really do. That’s what I think. I think, at times, we’re supposed to be winning all the time, and that’s just not the case. We have to stay the course.”

Instead of suffering the same fate as they did on Saturday night, the Cs flipped the third-quarter script and came out of the halftime break ready to battle — just like how Mazzulla believes it should be in the NBA, regardless of what the fanbase may believe about the league-best Celtics.

“Being down 10 in the NBA is really not foreign to the 99th percentile of the NBA,” he said. “That happens all the time. I said at halftime, ‘What are you doing? It’s a 10-point game’... It’s like, ‘The Celtics have to earn a win tonight?’ Yeah. It’s the NBA.”

His guys certainly did that.

They managed to erase their 10-point halftime deficit by the time there were just under five minutes left to play in the third.

The play that they took the lead on?

Earned — for sure.

Multiple (home) white jerseys hit the floor to recover a loose ball, which eventually found the hands of the sharpshooting Sam Hauser.

Boston’s second-half surge was kickstarted on the defensive end, where they forced the Pelicans into eight turnovers.

It was clear that the Cs had shifted their focus to shutting down New Orleans’ offense after they gave up 36 first-quarter points rather than trying to get it all back on the other end of the floor.

For the remainder of the game, Boston went on to allow 24 points in the second, 27 points in the third, and then 25 points in the final frame.

“Yeah. That, to me, is perfect. The lesson of, like I said, you just have to earn it. Tomorrow (against the Indiana Pacers) is going to be just as hard of a game in a different way. We just can’t think that it’s going to go a certain way all the time... It’s ‘what’s our mindset going to be when we get into all these situations.’”

Mazzulla emphasized that things aren’t always going to go exactly the way that everyone would like, but was certain to ensure that his team has the mindset to be mentally tough.

“I don’t think it’s the team personally. I just think it’s this general narrative of this is supposed to go our way the whole time... it just happens.”

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