Tuesday night was a serious blow for Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics’ chances to chase down the Milwaukee Bucks for the top spot in the East. They fell 130-111 to a Washington Wizards side that has been sitting both Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma.
The Wizards led by 22 points early into the fourth quarter. While the deficit was sizable, hardly any lead is truly insurmountable in today’s NBA. But Joe Mazzulla opted to pull all his starters following a Deni Avdija dunk and kept them glued to the bench for the remainder of the game.
Joe Mazzulla never waves the white flag but has taken all of the starters out of this game with nine minutes left. Pritchard, Hauser, Grant Williams, Muscala and Kornet on the court.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 29, 2023
The Celtics’ bench mob managed to cut into the lead a bit, getting it down to 13 with just under five minutes left in the game. But timely buckets from Kristaps Porzingis closed the door for good.
Joe Mazzulla rode with the lineup that moved the Celtics in the right direction, but the call to keep Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and the rest of the starters on the sidelines proved to be a talking point for the game.
Tatum spoke out on the decision from his Celtics coach.
“You gotta be honest with yourself,” said Jayson Tatum. “We weren’t playing well. It was one of those nights. You’ve got to take it in the chin.”
“You gotta take it on the chin.”
Jayson Tatum talks Joe Mazzulla pulling the starters early in the 4th quarter pic.twitter.com/P7mASjMr96
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 29, 2023
Tatum was the lone Celtics scorer to eclipse the 20-point mark as their defense couldn’t force stops against an undermanned Wizards side. The loss is Boston’s third over the last 10 games and the only defeat by more than two points. They’ll need to erase the sour taste of the loss right away as they pay the Bucks a visit in Milwaukee up next.
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