Thought Celtics coach/RI guy Joe Mazzulla was in over his head? How do you like him now? (2024)

John Rooke| Special to The Providence Journal

Thinking out loud … while wondering if nothing is impossible, how do I manage to do nothing every day?

Johnston's Joe Mazzulla, the one-time Hendricken Hawk, has taken his fair share of criticism as coach of the Celtics this season, sure. When you have much, much is expected in return.

Does he have flaws? Of course. He’s 35. He’s learning. And he’s also had some brilliant moments against his counterparts in Miami, Cleveland, Indiana and Dallas this year. Despite the Celtics being blown out Friday night in Dallas, the Green are on the cusp of Banner 18, with Game 5 back in Boston on Monday night. So how you like him now?

∎ICYMI: Kyrie Irving is now 0-12 against the Celtics at TD Garden since his infamous "stomping" on the Lucky logo at midcourt, when he was playing in Brooklyn. Call it “Lucky Gets Even.” Just sayin’.

∎For my money — while Jaylen Brown has been MVP of late, the Celtics aren’t where they are without Jrue Holiday and Derrick White. Especially through that lost 21-point lead on Wednesday. They have proven they can win without a healthy Kristaps Porzingis, but could they have romped through the postseason without either of those two in the backcourt?

∎Speaking of Porzingis, with the latest injury that plagued him last week (his Curt Schilling moment?), I think of one word when I see him on the floor. Brittle.

∎And let’s give Jayson Tatum some credit; his shot wasn’t falling in Game 2. But his passing, rebounding and physicality were what was really required. It turned the series.

More: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum quieting the doubters as they push Celtics to brink of NBA title

∎X post of the Week I, from @GlobeBobRyan: “For the record, Larry (Bird) shot 11-38 for 9 ppg in Games 3-4-5 of the ’81 Finals. But no one complained because he also had 13 reb and 8 ast per. So lay off Tatum, please…”

∎The ESPN/ABC halftime analysis? They spent more time in commercials than with commentary, constructive or otherwise. If/when the network switch happens, we’re all going to miss TNT’s studio team of Shaq, Ernie, Kenny the Jet and Sir Charles.

∎Loved Jerry West. When I joined the San Antonio Spurs in 1982, he was one of my first interviews. After I tried to speak with then-Lakers’ coach Pat Riley, who yelled “can someone else please help this young man out, he wants an interview!” West volunteered.

More: NBA great Jerry West wasn't just the logo. He was an ally for Black players

He was known as “The Logo,” with his silhouette used to create the actual NBA logo. But for those of a certain age, West (who died at age the age 86 last week) was way more than just a silhouette. He was a nightmare for his silky shot-making and smooth playmaking ability — hence his nicknames “Mr. Clutch,” and “Mr. Outside.”

Ask the New York Knicks about that from, say, the 1970 NBA Finals? Go YouTube it.

West’s Lakers usually came up short to Bill Russell and the Celtics. But he was a team exec during the “Showtime” era, when the team won five titles in the 1980s. He’s a Hall of Famer as a player and a coach and will be inducted into Springfield for a third time as a "contributor to the game" this fall.

∎But the Laker Show wasn’t enough to lure Dan Hurley, was it? When it comes right down to it, Hurley’s decision to remain head coach at UConn wasn’t much of a decision at all.

Certainly there was some angst. Some family discussion, especially with his wife, Andrea. And yes, with the Los Angeles Lakers, too. But knowing Coach Hurley as many of us know him, his decision to stay to continue building upon the Huskies’ already blue-blooded foundation is true to who he is, and who we found him to be during his time at URI.

Coach. Builder. Creator. Loyal. Dedicated. Determined. Not brother Bobby. Chip on his shoulder. Always something to prove. And the New York Knicks’ job isn’t open yet.

∎X post of the Week II, from @NoEscalators: “In six years we went from ‘UConn lost a home game to conference opponent Tulsa’ to ‘the head coach of repeat national champion UConn weighing an offer to coach the Lakers for one of the highest coaching salaries ever…’ ”

∎Yeah, the Huskies and those who follow them need to enjoy this moment. It’s unlikely it — or anything close to it — will happen again anytime soon. College basketball is also a beneficiary, so is the Big East.

∎The chase for a John Wooden-esque three-peat is on. And the regional rivalry with Providence gains a whole notha level of ‘can you top this?’

∎That PC Mohegan makeup we talked about not long ago? Dec. 14th in Uncasville, Conn., against long-ago rival St. Bonaventure, which should be a contender in the Atlantic 10.

Is it a Power 5 matchup? No, but PC didn’t have much sway in this since it stood up Mohegan Sun and the Hall of Fame to take the scheduling opportunity in the Bahamas. And what an opportunity. This is a win-win. Especially if you win.

∎Oh, and Late Night Madness at PC is scheduled for Oct. 1 at the AMP, featuring five-time Grammy Award winner Khalid. The game of “Can You Top This?” continues season to season.

∎The Athletic’s Andrew Marchand reported NBC and TNT may be adding the Big East to their TV inventories, along with Fox for the 2025-26 season. CBS is also still in the picture, but this would be a way for those channels/networks to work in their streaming partners (Peaco*ck and Max) so they gain eyeballs.

Rhody’s Archie Miller plucked a big for the Rams, with ex-UConn 7-footer Javonte Brown (at Western Michigan last year) headed for Kingston. Miller also told College Chalktalk the Rams expect to have old rival Temple on the schedule for next season, possibly at a neutral site.

∎And I realize women’s basketball has got it going on right now, largely due to the presence of Caitlin Clark playing in the WNBA. Its numbers are UP — attendance is up 156% over last year, arenas are filled to 94% capacity; TV games are tripling last year’s coverage.

But USA Basketball couldn’t figure out a way to include the ONE player casual fans care about for the Olympic team? Talk about short-sightedness. Or stupidity. Take your pick. Sure, she’s a rookie. Others are likely more deserving, but this is a missed chance to keep the casual fan, and summertime attention spans, squarely on women’s hoop.

Other WNBA players are jealous over the attention Clark is getting? Sad. And funny, since much of mainstream America has been buzzing about her for several weeks. Which means women’s pro hoops may be finding its niche in a very crowded marketplace, including the category of “spoiled, entitled, and egomaniacal professional athletes.”

∎An All-American week at Providence College last week. Two track athletes in Kimberly May and Shannon Flockhart earned first team All-American honors for their finishes in the NCAA 1500-meter finals — the third A-A honors for each of their careers. Senior swimmer Will Leyden also nabbed A-A honors for his freestyle finishes.

∎We’re less than a week away (June 19-22) from one of the nation’s premier amateur golf tournaments teeing off again at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford — the Northeast Amateur. This is the second in a series of seven tournaments in the Elite Amateur Series and will include one of the strongest fields in the 62-year history of the event.

What is the Elite Amateur Series? Players earn points based on their finishes, which can then lead them to exemptions on the PGA Tour and into USGA events. Jackson Koivun and Gordon Sargent are two of the top amateurs in the world and they should find a test on some of the slickest greens this side of the Amica Mutual Pavilion ice surface.

Not for nuthin’, but someone in that field at Wannamoisett could be the next Scottie Scheffler. His season thus far — even with the traffic kerfuffle at the PGA Championship — has seen him set a single-season record in PGA Tour earnings for a third straight year. And he has three months left in this season, with $24 million already in his bag.

Scheffler, you might recall, played in the Northeast Amateur four times, from 2014-17, finishing third twice and fourth once.

TB12’s induction into the Patriots’ Hall of Fame last week at a sold-out Gillette was everything we thought his televised roast last month might be. A ton of great memories, stories, teammates, some tears, a superb production and musical guests (Jay-Z, Kenny Chesney) included.

If the Patriots can’t win on the field, they sure can win the pregame/halftime/post-career celebration shows.

∎Got this little nugget on Gillette: it has been rated the safest stadium in the NF, in a survey put together by BetMassachusetts.com. Gillette presently holds the record for the lowest rate of violent crimes among all NFL stadiums.

That is, until they go 4-13 again.

Hope you’re not getting your hopes up. BetMassachusetts.com also sez the Patriots could come in under 4.5 wins total for next season, based on last season’s performance. Hate the Drake? Love the Drake.

∎Speaking of rookie quarterback Drake May, based on minicamp practice eyeballs, there’s a lot to like. But will it continue to be enough to put him in the line of fire when the season arrives? It should. Ride or die with the Drake.

∎Hey, did you see where the traveling, musical baseball act known as the Savannah Bananas sold out Fenway Park last week? More than 37,000 paid their way into the pahk for the show.

How come the Red Sox can’t sell out Fenway Park? They can’t provide a show, much less good baseball, every time out like the Bananas appear to do. Note to John Henry: Sell the team to someone who actually cares about winning and not-so-much about the portfolio investment first?

∎Did you know? The Red Sox are a .500 team since 2019, the year following their last championship. But how’s that investment coming along? Expenses are certainly low(er).

And fans still love to sing “Sweet Caroline,” so that’s gotta count for something, amiright?

Interested in having your questions on Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Think out loud and send your questions, comments, and local stories to jrbroadcaster@gmail.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/threads right here! Join me on Twitter/X, @JRbroadcaster…on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke, and on Instagram and Threads @JRbroadcaster.

Thought Celtics coach/RI guy Joe Mazzulla was in over his head? How do you like him now? (2024)

FAQs

Is Joe Mazzulla the head coach? ›

Joe Mazzulla has made history ever since he took over the Boston Celtics' head coaching role in 2022, and he secured the most historic win of his young coaching career Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Did Joe Mazzulla play basketball? ›

A native New Englander from Rhode Island, Mazzulla played at West Virginia, was an assistant for the Celtics' G League team before taking over at Fairmont State, and then got hired by the Celtics again in June 2019 to be part of Stevens' coaching staff.

Who is the Boston Celtics head coach? ›

Two days after beating the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla paraded the Larry O'Brien championship trophy around the neighborhood while thanking loyal fans.

What is Joe Mazzulla's salary? ›

While the specific details of Mazzulla's contract have never been revealed, various reports indicate that he receives around $4.7 million per season over the remainder of his contract, which has two more years to go.

Is the Celtics coach married? ›

Mazzulla and his wife have been married since 2014. The couple met in 2011 when both were coaching at Glenville State College, now known as Glenville State University, according to People.

Who is the youngest coach in the NBA? ›

Youngest NBA coaches in 2024
RankNameTenure
1.Joe Mazzulla2022-Present
2.Will Hardy2022-Present
3.Mark Daigneault2020-Present
4.Charles Lee2024-Present
2 more rows
2 days ago

What happened to Boston Celtics old coach? ›

In September 2022, however, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck announced that the franchise was suspending Udoka for the 2022-23 season after an investigation by an outside law firm found multiple violations of team policies. The Celtics named Joe Mazzulla interim head coach in Udoka's absence.

Who played for the Celtics and became a coach? ›

Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, Tom Sanders, Dave Cowens, K.C. Jones, Chris Ford and M. L. Carr have played and coached for the Celtics. John Russell, Alvin Julian, Heinsohn, Sanders, Carr, and John Carroll spent their entire coaching career with the Celtics.

Who has been the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens? ›

John Harbaugh
Baltimore Ravens
Head coaching record
Regular season:160–99 (.618)
Postseason:12–10 (.545)
Career:172–109 (.612)
17 more rows

Who is the Clippers head coach? ›

Tyronn Lue has posted a record of 184-134 over four seasons with LA. Tyronn Lue is the third-winningest coach in Clippers franchise history. LOS ANGELES (AP) — The LA Clippers have signed coach Tyronn Lue to a long-term contract after winning a division title in his fourth season.

Who is the head football coach for Ann Arbor Skyline? ›

Coach Broderick Smith (@coachBSmith27) / X.

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