Derrick White's absence was glaring at the end of Sunday night's loss to the New York Knicks.
Despite being one of the Boston Celtics' best all-around players this season, White was benched during crunch time in the double-overtime defeat. As our Chris Forsberg points out, that has been sort of a trend as White has played less than a third of the C's total crunch-time minutes this season.
Forsberg: Identifying four areas of concern for Celtics before playoffs
Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has received his fair share of criticism for benching White with the game on the line. Before Monday's game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers, he admitted his mistake.
"Yeah, it's probably a coaching fault of mine yesterday. Probably should have had him in at the end of the game," Mazzulla said.
"When we have the majority of our roster, balancing that out and trying to get the best players on the floor is important. And rewatching it today, definitely should have been moments where we could have had him on the floor. When he's on the floor, we're a really good team. We need him to be confident and aggressive on both ends."
Mazzulla was asked about allowing himself to make mistakes as a first-year head coach and the pressure that comes along with the job.
"Whether I coach for one year or 20 years, I'm still going to make mistakes at year 20," he answered. "So it's not really whether I'm a first-time head coach or not. It's just, people who have been coaching a long time, they get a pass for the mistakes that they make and young guys don't.
"So I have to be a continuous learner, regardless of how long I coach in this game. And like I said before, no one will put more pressure and expectations than I put on myself and on our team and the guys put on themselves. At the end of the day, coach for the Celtics, the number one goal is to win and if you don't do it, then that's my fault. That's how you have to approach every day."
Boston has lost two consecutive games in excruciating fashion and three of its last four overall. It won't get any easier on the road Monday against a Cavs team that sits fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.
White should play an important role in the matchup as Jayson Tatum (knee), Robert Williams (hamstring), and Al Horford (back) each have been ruled out. Tip-off for Celtics-Cavaliers is set for 7 p.m. ET.