ESPN analyst loves that Joe Mazzulla fired back at his criticism of Boston Celtics head coach

Boston Celtics v Sacramento Kings
Boston Celtics v Sacramento Kings / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Former 2007-08 NBA Championship center Kendrick Perkins loves the fire Joe Mazzulla showed in firing back after the Boston Celtics center-turned-ESPN analyst criticized the head coach for stats that weren't even true regarding the C's post-up frequency.

“I haven’t spoken to Joe Mazzulla, but let me say this: I actually love Joe Mazzulla and him firing back,” Perkins said (h/t NESN). “It’s a good thing. He’s actually embracing that. And all I’m doing right now is prepping him for what’s to come. You hit adversity in the city of champions: Boston. I played there eight and a half years. They’re gonna hit adversity. The media is going to attack him, the fan base is gonna attack him throughout a seven-game series and he needs to be prepared for that. I actually love it.”

As NESN's Jason Ounpraseuth pointed out, Perkins' truth bomb on The Pat McAfee Show that he hadn't been invited to Celtics practice by the Jiu-Jitsu master Mazzulla.

"The dynamic between Mazzulla and Perkins also is strange given the head coach welcomed past Celtics players with open arms at practices," Ounpraseuth wrote. "The ESPN analyst alleged on the 'Pat McAfee Show' that the invite never arrived in his inbox. He admitted that put him 'in his feelings.'"

Joe Mazzulla trolled Kendrick Perkins after Boston Celtics' win over Nets

Before the C's pre-All-Star break win over the Brooklyn Nets -- not the 50-point blowout at the TD Garden on February 14 that marked win No. 100 for Mazzulla, but the night before in NYC -- the head coach trolled Perkins for his gaffe.

“We talked over the last week or so,” Mazzulla told reporters in Brooklyn (h/t MassLive). “We definitely think we need to post more. I don’t think we’re posting enough.” As MassLive's Souichi Terada wrote, after a reporter asked a follow-up on why they needed to emphasize post-ups more, Mazzulla said: “I was joking. We’re second in frequency and first in efficiency."

Mazzulla showed that he'll stand up for his himself and his team. That's leadership right there. So is the league's No. 1 record at the All-Star break with a healthy lead over second place.