Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla was willing to go to whatever length necessary — within the NBA rulebook — to ensure Boston would advance to the quarterfinal round of the In-Season Tournament.

If it’s within Boston’s best interests, Mazzulla’s all in. That became abundantly clear when the Celtics pulled out all the stops in need of a 23-point win over the Bulls on Tuesday night. Chicago didn’t take too kindly to Boston’s push to meet the point differential requirement, especially when utilizing the “Hack-A” strategy on Bulls center Andre Drummond.

However, that didn’t — and still doesn’t — matter to Mazzulla moving forward.

“As long as it’s within the rules, I will do whatever you have to do to win,” Mazzulla told reporters during Thursday’s practice, per CLNS Media video. “But the point differential has opened up the perspective of why teams blow leads and why the difference in basketball here in America is different in Europe. Because the expectation of point differential makes teams have to keep playing. Like, the things that you’re seeing in the In-Season Tournament this year go on on a daily basis in Europe.”

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Keeping an opposing team’s feelings into consideration hasn’t been among Mazzulla’s top priorities this season. During Boston’s matchup with the Raptors in early November, a fourth-quarter challenge triggered Toronto’s bench. The Celtics were already ahead 27, and as Mazzulla’s philosophy suggests, Boston saw no reason to stop playing just because the Raptors couldn’t keep up.

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Mazzulla explained postgame that regardless of who’s on the floor for Boston, each player will receive the same level of support whether the Celtics are ahead big or down big. Yet, as straightforward as Mazzulla’s approach might be, it does challenge the norm of the NBA’s unwritten rules.

It might create potential Celtics enemies like Raptors guard Dennis Schröder or Bulls head coach Billy Donovan, but again, Mazzulla’s primary objective centers around Boston and Boston only.

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Featured image via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images