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Time Out: Mazzulla reverses course as Celtics prep for Game 5

By The Associated Press - | May 9, 2023

Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden (1) reacts after scoring past Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown (7) during overtime of Game 4 in an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Sunday in Philadelphia. Game 5 is tonight at TD Garden. (AP photo)

Joe Mazzulla knows he made a mistake. Now he’s hoping his Boston Celtics can help rectify it with a Game 5 win tonight (7:30, TNT) at TD Garden in their Eastern Conference semifinal series vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.

Upon further review Mazzulla said he would have taken a timeout following Harden’s go-ahead 3-pointer in Boston’s 116-115 overtime loss in Game 4. “Hindsight is 20/20. I should have called (a timeout) to help us get a 2-for-1 or a couple more possessions,” Mazzulla said Monday. “Obviously, with (18.2 seconds) left, down one you want to get as many chances as you can. So I definitely learned from that.”

Both teams have lost one home game so far in the matchup, while also claiming a win on the road.

Keep an eye on the 76ers’ rotation. Coach Doc Rivers acknowledged fatigue contributed to the Celtics being able to fight back from a 16-point deficit in the third quarter. But he plans to stick to an eight-man rotation. Harden (47) and Joel Embiid (46) led Philadelphia in minutes played in Game 4, with four starters logging 40 or more.

Embiid’s minutes were the most he’s played since returning in Game 2 from a sprained right knee. He acknowledged the extra time affected him late in Game 4.

Meanwhile, Mazzulla says it’s a lesson learned.

“I think the two lessons that you learn from that is call (a timeout) right away,” he said, “get a 2-for-1, get two shots, get a couple extra possessions. Or we have to hae a clearn understanding as a team that we hae to go faster to get a shot.

“We’ve done both over the course of the season. We ust didn’t execute either one in that particular situation.”


Series tied 2-2. Game 5, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT

NEED TO KNOW: The Nuggets have gone 39-7 at home this season, including 5-0 in the playoffs. “We did our job. They did their job,” Denver’s Nikola Jokic said. “In the end, it’s going to be an interesting game.”

KEEP AN EYE ON: Denver’s defense. “The two games in Denver, I felt our defense was great. We left it somewhere in the desert. It didn’t arrive in Phoenix,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “That’s got to be paramount. If we’re going to go up 3-2 and get control of the series again, it’s got to start with defense again.”

INJURY WATCH: Paul remains day-to-day with a left groin strain, but has been getting in some work. “He’s just getting his shots up and more than likely just seeing where he is,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But I haven’t gotten one official report on Chris. So nothing’s changed for me.”


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