Stevens’s confirmation of Mazzulla staying in Boston comes after speculation surrounding his job security after the Celtics’ disappointing 103–84 Games 7 loss to the Heat on Monday. At one point, the Celtics trailed the Heat 0–3 in the series before winning three consecutive games to tie the series at 3–3.
However, Miami dismantled Boston in the series finale, keeping the NBA’s longstanding fact that no team has ever come back to win a playoff series after facing a 3–0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. But despite the frustrating end to the season, Stevens said Mazzulla will be the franchise’s coach and believes he is best person for the job.
“Was he perfect? Would he like to have some moments back? Every coach would,” Stevens said, per Jay King of The Athletic. “… And at the same time, our players, our staff, everybody around him believe in him.”
Stevens also credited Mazzulla’s leadership and his willingness to continue to growth in his craft.
“He’s a terrific leader,” Stevens said. “He’ll only get better at anything that he can learn from this year because he’s constantly trying to learn. And, he’s accountable.”
Mazzulla led the Celtics to a 57–25 regular-season mark in his first season as head coach. Boston entered this year’s playoffs as the No. 2 seed.
The Celtics defeated the No. 7 seeded Hawks in six games and knocked off the No. 3 seeded 76ers in a grueling seven-game series to earn an appearance in the 2023 Eastern Conference finals.