How humble Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla’s first game day was like few others


BOSTON — The work Boston Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla, 34, did before earning his first career win on Tuesday night is something few head coaches — if any — can. reproduce.

In preparation for his first NBA coaching clash on opening night — against Doc Rivers and the Philadelphia 76ers no less — Mazzulla left his home for a shootout around 7 a.m. with no intention of returning. that late in the evening.

When filming wrapped, which officially began at 10 a.m., he drove straight to the TD Garden, arriving at 12:30 p.m. From his office, he watched hours of additional film about the opponent of the evening.

And he even began to look to the future, choosing to dissect the film of the Miami Heat, which the Celtics face on Friday.

After a movie breakdown, he met his coaching staff for some lighthearted camaraderie. This is where the trash-talk ensues, and it leads to hardwood.

At 4:00 p.m., Mazzulla and his team entered the field to play 4-on-4 basketball. They played for 45 minutes, and it was a series of physical games.

Boston Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla looks on during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden on October 18, 2022 in Boston. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Mazzulla, a lefty, presented a nice sweater.

They were all going out. There were hard screens, raging power fouls, big shots in the paint, and at one point Mazzulla dove to the ground for a loose ball.

And all this was done a few hours before the denunciation.

Members of the Sixers coaching staff began to pour in. They immediately noticed how the Celtics coaches were doing it, and the majority response was “Shit.”

Drenched in sweat at the end of the games, Mazzulla went to freshen up to prepare for the real game.

Mazzulla playing ball with the staff is something he has always done since joining the Celtics in 2019. But he was an assistant during those years. He is now the active head coach after the team suspended Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season for a workplace conduct violation.

Although Mazzulla is the youngest coach in the league, actually play a pre-game ritual that can be performed 82 times before each game?

“It’s my therapy,” Mazzulla told Yahoo Sports. “It keeps me sane. It’s something that I appreciate. I don’t take a nap. This is how I relax.

He would later lead the Celtics to a 126-117 win. His team handed him the match ball in the locker room.

A lot of work was put in by Mazzulla ahead of the win, but the humble coach is quick to pass the credit and acknowledge his shortcomings.

This is one of the main reasons why the transition has been so smooth for the organization.

“Right now, I have to rely on my players. They are currently better at their job than me at my job,” Mazzulla told Yahoo Sports. “It’s going to be a learning experience for me. But we will do it together and I will improve. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish as a group.


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