The NBA-best Celtics have every reason to be confident, but Joe Mazzulla doesn’t want even an ounce of complacency to creep into Boston’s locker room.
The C’s looked like a legitimate contender Saturday night in Philadelphia, but not by overpowering the 76ers. The Celtics rolled with the punches in a hostile, playoff-like environment, and they managed to pull out a win on a night when their go-to guy was far from his best. It was a stark reminder that Boston can still come away with victories on nights when it’s not firing on all cylinders.
Mazzulla was proud of his team for dealing with adversity and persevering. The first-year head coach hopes the C’s learned something from Saturday night’s game and strives to get even better.
“Hey, way to respond. We have to win games like that,” Mazulla told the Celtics in the locker room, per a clip shared by the team. “We’ve gotta go through (expletive) like that to get to where we want to go to. What I want you guys to understand is you’ve got to have a mindset of you can’t be surprised by (expletive) as the game goes on, all right? (Expletive) is not gonna go our way, but we have to maintain a level of poise. My only job is to hold you to the standard of how good this team can be. It’s not to let you stay there. That’s my only job — to bring you to where you can be. That’s the most important thing, all right? You guys did a great job in the second half. I’ll leave you with a question: What separates greatness? That’s what we have to constantly be in search of. What separates greatness?”
The Celtics’ upcoming stretch of games should help the team in its quest for greatness. Boston’s next five contests will be against teams currently in the top six of the Eastern Conference standings.