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Abby Chin, NBC Sports Boston Celtics Reporter

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May 30, 2023 8:43 pm

Abby Chin, NBC Sports Boston Celtics Reporter

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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May 30, 2023 8:43 pm

Abby Chin joined Zach to discuss if the Celtics should move on from Jaylen Brown this offseason and if Joe Mazzulla will be back as head coach. 

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$10 minimum per order. Additional terms apply. Yeah, how about the emotions? Because when they're down 0-3, everyone's thinking that series is over and then they're like, all right, don't let us win tonight. They win that one game. And after that, that was just mayhem from being down 3-0 and then almost but not doing so complete in that comeback. Yeah, seriously. It was shades of the 2004 Red Sox and they were calling on that epic comeback against their rival in the New York Yankees.

And so I agree with you. I really believed that it was possible that the Celtics could be the ones to make history and be the first NBA team to overcome that kind of deficit. And then especially after the way things ended in Game 6, just how dramatic that was.

The Derek White shot. You felt like the Celtics were just destined to be that team. And then unfortunately, last night was just, it's not what I expected.

I can tell you that. I really thought we were going to get a good game. Unfortunately, I don't know how much Jason Tatum's ankle injury played into it from the beginning. Jaylen Brown told us it was swelling from the moment it happened and Jason was really trying to fight through the pain. But clearly, Jaylen, trying to do a little too much after that and it was just devastating from there on out.

Well, that's the thing to me. My biggest takeaway from the game last night is just Jaylen Brown just not stepping up in the moment on the biggest of stage when you have the Jason Tatum injury. And he just didn't have like a no-show. That's an all-time bad performance at home where he just never got comfortable in the game.

You're around him on a daily basis. Was it surprising to you to see how bad Jaylen Brown was last night? I don't think anyone expects more from Jaylen Brown than he does from himself. So there's no question talking to him post-game last night. He was devastated in himself and understands what happened. But I think he just, he did. He put too much on himself.

I don't want to say that I'm not surprised. Jaylen is a guy who plays with the utmost of best intentions. And I think when things don't go your way and repeatedly don't go your way, especially in a game of that magnitude, it's understandable.

You can see how mentally draining that can be. And to me, what is clear from this season is that Jaylen Brown, evidenced by the All-NBA nod, is one of the 10 best players in this league, particularly at the wing. And he is a guy who can come through. He is a guy who, while he and Jason have been through more than their fair share of postseason battles, he is still a guy who is not in his prime yet. He is 25, 26 years old, just 26 years old, still developing his game. And the thing that I really appreciate about Jaylen is that every single summer, no matter how long or how short of a time he has, he works so hard in his game and comes back better with something that he clearly worked on. And the handles are something that has plagued him throughout his career. He knows that.

He works on it. And I just have to believe that eventually it's going to get better. All that being said, Abby Chin, when you were in that locker room last night, did it feel like an end of an era? Because for so many years, you know this, covering the team on a daily basis, there's always that question, are they going to break up Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown? And you know Tatum's not going anywhere. I don't believe it's the end of an era.

And I don't think that those questions linger in the locker room or in the front office for the Boston Celtics. They know exactly what they have in the Jays and how special that is, the fact that they are homegrown, the fact that they are two of the top talents in the league who played both ways. And this is not a group and an organization that is going to make a split second decision based on emotions of one playoff run. So no, I don't believe it's the end of an era, particularly because Jaylen made all NBA. And I think that this is an organization that has proven they can win.

They just haven't been able to get over the hump and you continue to give yourself chances. And if you surround the Jays, which is what Brad Stevens since the moment he ascended to the president of basketball operations has said, that is the one goal of the organization is to prop up and create the best team around their foundational pieces who are Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown. And that eventually that should be good enough. I mean, this team was good enough on paper. No question was a title championship contender.

And so I think that there will not be any snap judgments. And while some fans may be looking for a lot of change, I just don't see that coming on the horizon. Well, if they're going to move forward with this team, my next question would be, where's the killer instinct? Because even in that Hawks series, I didn't see it against Philadelphia at series should have never gone to seven games that it did. And right out of the gate in this series, they put themselves in a huge hole down.

Oh, three. It's it seems like they kind of thrive putting themselves with their backs up against the wall. But that's a dangerous formula to play with as we've seen throughout this postseason.

No question. They got burned clearly here in this series. Um, and, and to me, it's not a lack of a killer instinct because we saw what they can do in game seven against Philadelphia, Jason Tatum coming out, putting up 51 points.

And I mean, never wavering from the jump in that game. To me, there's no doubt this group has an inability to manufacture a sense of urgency in a game that is not do or die. And that if they knew what it was, why that was happening, they would have fixed it.

Cause it has been something that has plagued them for the last two seasons at least. Um, but it's, it's from my, what I can tell and being around these guys, it's just human nature. All of, I mean, I am guilty of it more than almost anyone is just procrastinating. If I have to do something, if I need to do the dishes before we have company, you're right.

I'm going to do it five minutes before anyone gets there. And so, um, it's human nature. I think that it's absolutely something that they want to fix and we'll work on the mentality of that, but you can't question who they are in those moments of adversity.

And more often than not, they come through. So many people have been talking about Joe Missoula all throughout the year, Abby chin. How do you evaluate in the moment, uh, 24 hours since their season did come to a close that the job that Joe Missoula did this year. I think Joe Missoula was thrust into a situation that no one could have seen coming or even comprehended being in. It was two days, 36 hours before the opening of training camp for a team that was expected to win a championship in a town of Boston. That is that expects championships, anything less is a complete and other failure. And so to thrust a guy into that position, I don't think that you can question the job that he did.

He, he was phenomenal and, and did everything that was asked of him. The shortcomings were obviously showcased and came up in this postseason run, but it was, I will say last night and this group is so good about not making excuses for themselves, but it was the first time really since that first couple of weeks to start the season that that was talked about and brought up. And not necessarily as something that hung over them all year, but just, just a, the fact that this team and the runway to the season had a colossal.

Shattering of just what they were expecting to have. And so to lose a head coach who everyone really loved and respected and believed in to have that right before the start of a season, that is a level of adversity that I don't think many teams have faced. And I think that they did the best possible under those circumstances for me, Abby chin, the story last night is Brown, not showing up, but I know afterwards, MBN, TNT, they went right away to asking about is Joe Missoula going to be back. I think he's going to be back. Would you be surprised that the Celtics move on from him this off season?

I would be surprised. I think it's a really tall ask to put a fourth new head coach in front of this group. I also, I think that we forget that the Celtics were without three assistants. They never replaced Joe Missoula on the back of the bench. They did not replace Damon Sotomayor when he left in April and they did not replace Will Hardy who was hired by the Utah Jazz. And so this staff well did as well as could be expected and everything that was asked of them.

I think that there's no question that you can get Joe some more support and that will be the number one priority. I think in this offseason for the Celtics last thing I'll ask you does the approach with this team that need to change because we've seen throughout this playoffs just how reliant they are. I know it's part of the league these days, but how reliant they are on the three-point shot and that's what a lot of the discussion was last night is after the game that and what kind of lost them those first three games in that series of the Eastern Conference Finals was that they got away from the defensive identity. That really is what drove them to the NBA Finals a year ago and in those three games on the comeback we saw flashes of it. We saw flashes of it during the Philadelphia series as well where it's all five guys who have incredible length and athleticism and basketball IQ working together. All five guys on a string, everyone covering for each other, having each other's backs and you saw that in flashes you just didn't see it for a full 48 minutes. And I think that absolutely the Celtics know, the players know, the organization knows that that is where their identity needs to start and they understand they need to get back to that.

But I mean this is a season that started out, this Celtics team was historic, on historic pace offensively and so there's no question they were going to fade back, but it is something that will be a focus I'm sure for the start of next season is getting back to that defensive identity. Abby Chin from NBC Sports Boston, we really do appreciate you carving out some time for us today right after, unfortunately for your case, the Boston Celtics season coming to a close of Miami Heat off to the NBA Finals up against Denver. Thanks so much Abby. Thanks Zach, have a good night.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-30 22:54:34 / 2023-05-30 22:59:27 / 5

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