Mar 17, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla instructs players during the second half of the game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no mistaking Charles Barkley’s feelings on Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics.

The incident that sparked the latest bit of criticism from the TNT Sports analyst occurred during a stoppage in play late in the Celtics’ game against the Suns last week. Phoenix’s Royce O’Neale attempted a shot, but Boston’s head coach, Joe Mazzulla, took an unorthodox approach. He ran onto the court and tried to block the shot after calling a timeout for his team.

Barkley wasn’t having any of Mazzulla’s antics.

And he didn’t hold back. Barkley actually threw some serious shade at Mazzulla, even suggesting that he would’ve decked the Boston Celtics head coach had he tried those tactics with him in his playing days. Mazzulla, known for his unconventional coaching style, defended his decision. He explained it as a strategy to disrupt the opponent’s rhythm, particularly someone like O’Neal, who was having a rough game.

Chess, not checkers.

That’s not how Barkley saw it.

“I would’ve knocked the hell out of him,” said Barkley. “That’s like a fan coming out of the stands. You should be able to whoop the hell out of them. I wish he would try to block my shot. Hell nah — hell nah, y’all know better. C’mon, Kenny.”

Kenny Smith concurred, implying such tactics wouldn’t work on a fiery competitor like Barkley in his heyday in the 1990s.

“He shouldn’t have tried to block anybody’s shot,” Barkley continued. “Ernie, listen, man, I’d knock the hell out of Joe Mazulla.”

Please make no mistake about it: Barkley would’ve hit him. And we shouldn’t doubt that for a second.

On 98.5’s Zolak and Bertrand on Wednesday, Mazzulla addressed Barkley’s comments.

“I’m always up to get knocked out,” Mazzulla said. “I think that’s important, too. … If you can’t go through the day hoping you don’t get knocked out, I don’t know what do you do.”

Mazzulla’s response was interesting. According to Mass Live, he acknowledged that he’s been informed this tactic won’t be tolerated moving forward, so Barkley can rest assured he won’t need to defend players from Mazzulla’s antics anymore. And Mazulla won’t have to be worried about being decked by Chuck.

[Mass Live]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.