Breaking News: Celtics’ Head Coach Joe Mazzulla Breaks Silence On Need To ‘Nut Up’ In Playoffs…

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla emphasizes that his team must do whatever it takes to win—even if it means playing ugly.

BOSTON, MA — Sacrifice has been the cornerstone of the 2023-24 Boston Celtics. Head coach Joe Mazzulla highlighted this after his team’s 113-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

This win secured the Celtics’ spot in their fourth Eastern Conference Finals in five seasons. Mazzulla noted that the journey to victory isn’t always pretty, but it’s an essential part of the process.

“At the end of the day, if you want to win, you have to do whatever it takes,” Mazzulla said during his postgame comments. “You have to be open-minded and humble enough to understand that it’s going to look different every night.

“Everyone says they want to win until it’s really time to win, and then you have to nut up and do a bunch of stuff that you don’t want to do,” Mazzulla continued. “Credit to the guys; they consistently do that. We just have to keep it up.”

Mazzulla, 35, used Celtics star Jaylen Brown to illustrate his point.

“Jaylen only took nine shots tonight, but he was tremendous defensively. He was locked in on his communication. I could hear him.”

Brown, who could be a top offensive option on many teams, often isn’t in Boston. His willingness to sacrifice personal stats for defense and other aspects of the game has significantly elevated the team.

Fellow star Jayson Tatum has also made sacrifices. Typically the go-to scorer, Tatum has focused more on passing and playmaking instead of strictly playing “hero ball.”

In the first round, Tatum wasn’t even Boston’s leading scorer but was their top passer and rebounder. Against the Cavs, he led the team in points, assists, rebounds, and steals.

“Every game and series will be different,” Mazzulla said. “We’ll have different sub patterns, matchups, and lineups. We just have to adapt, and the guys understand that, so credit to them.”

While there are moments when stars must take over, especially in the playoffs, the Celtics’ balance allows them to win in various ways. They don’t mind sacrificing personal glory if it brings them closer to a championship.

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla talks with guard Svi Mykhailiuk (50) and guard Payton Pritchard (11) from the sideline as they take on the Charlotte Hornets at TD Garden.

Mazzulla’s Impact on the Celtics This Postseason

Mazzulla, the league’s youngest coach, has often been overlooked by the media. This year, he placed fourth in the NBA Coach of the Year standings, missing out on being a finalist. Despite this, Mazzulla focuses on lifting his team rather than seeking personal accolades.

“Joe has been key to our success,” veteran center Al Horford said postgame. “He puts us in the right positions defensively and offensively, allowing us to grow as players.”

“As a leader, we follow him. He demands a lot from us, and we’re right there, working hard,” Horford continued. “We still have a long way to go, but he’s done a great job this year.”

Horford, who has spent several years with the organization and is slightly older than Mazzulla, offered these kind words.

“Since I got the job, he made a decision to trust me, which he didn’t have to do,” Mazzulla said about his relationship with Horford. “From day one, I felt his trust and support, and I’m grateful for that.”

Mazzulla and the Celtics aren’t satisfied with just reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. Most of the team has been there before, and the entire franchise is hungry for Banner No. 18. To capture that elusive championship, they’ll need to defeat either the Indiana Pacers or the New York Knicks.

Boston won the season series against both teams but didn’t sweep either. Regardless of who they face, which will be decided after Game 6 on Friday night, it’s sure to be Boston’s toughest challenge yet this postseason.

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