Boston Celtics HC Joe Mazzulla’s mindset labeled ‘worrisome’

Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

Sleepwalking or freefalling? That's the question swirling around the Boston Celtics' after they dropped a pair of games this week to Eastern Conference foes. The latter defeat against the New York Knicks was particularly worrisome to some, as the team appeared lethargic and disinterested. 

Boston virtually locked up the top seed in the Eastern Conference weeks ago and faced no resistance to their standing. Their games have become little more than a formality as the playoffs are fast approaching.

Joe Mazzulla admitted as such, blaming those losses on playing "highly, highly desperate teams" and dismissing the result's importance. Daily Knicks' Jordanna Clark took umbrage at the coach's laissez-faire demeanor. 

"On Wednesday, New York clinched a playoff berth, but the rest of the East is so tight that the Knicks aren't locked into a seed yet," Clark said. "Maybe that's why Mazzulla referred to the team as desperate. If desperation means doing everything possible to win basketball games, that isn't bad. Do you think a Tom Thibodeau team will step on the floor and not compete?"

"The second-year head coach shouldn't be sweating a loss to New York at the end of the regular season, but his mindset should be a bit worrisome to Celtics fans. Meanwhile, Thibodeau said he wasn't happy with his team's play down the stretch."

The Boston Celtics' are the title favorite for a reason

The desperation comment from Mazzulla wasn't a slight, but rather a simple truth. It's the feeling a group should have when they are fighting for valuable positioning in the standings with only a few games left. If the Knicks could leap into the second seed, they'd have home-court advantage throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs. For a franchise that hasn't made the Conference Finals in over two decades, they should be looking to secure every advantage they can get. 

The Celtics are in a different chapter. They have already closed the book on their regular season, as there is nothing left to accomplish. The starters were treating the contest like pick-up basketball. Transition defense was almost non-existent, closeouts were lazy, and the offense looked like chaos. They aren't allowed to admit this, but it was evident the players weren't trying.

The mentality isn't worrisome; it's encouraging. Boston's sole focus is raising Banner 18 in the TD Garden. What's the point of playing their hearts out in a meaningless game and risking injury? There's no need to fake urgency when it doesn't exist.

Boston's only desperate for one thing: a title.