BOSTON — Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla only worries about what directly impacts where his team stands, and that’s become increasingly evident as the 2023-24 season has unfolded.

Most recently, Mazzulla broke an unwritten NBA rule in playing for Boston’s point differential target in the NBA In-Season Tournament. The Celtics hosted the Bulls and with a chance to seize a quarterfinal spot in a late November matchup against a non-competitive Chicago team, Mazzulla did the unexpected. He leaned on the classic “Hack-A” strategy on Bulls center Andre Drummond, with no remorse — inadvertently unveiling his level of care for relationships with fellow NBA head coaches.

“How do I say this nicely? I don’t care,” Mazzulla said before Friday’s Celtics-76ers battle at TD Garden. “But I also have respect for people. Like, I learn from every coach, I think they’re a lot of great coaches in the league. I’ve studied what other teams do, but as far as having an off-court relationship with a coach? I don’t. That’s like last on the list.”

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Blunt, but on-brand for what Mazzulla’s shown since taking over at the helm.

When the opportunity presents itself, Mazzulla has never failed to unleash his best Drake “No Friends In the Industry” impression, regardless of Boston’s opponent. To the traditional basketball player, coach or enthusiast, that might be controversial, but then again, Mazzulla’s always had Boston’s best interests in mind.

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On Nov. 11, while hosting the Raptors and ahead 27 points with 3:39 left in the fourth quarter, Mazzulla challenged an out-of-bounds call. That triggered Toronto’s bench, as the norm in that situation would be to lean back alongside the starters on the bench and watch the clock run out. Well, Mazzulla doesn’t believe in coaching players differently just because the opposing team can’t hit shots.

The Celtics are in a situation that few teams in the NBA can claim; positioned to compete for an NBA title with a roster that’s arguably the best in the league.

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Mazzulla clearly doesn’t wanna squander seeing the full potential of Boston’s offseason front office work play out, even if it means ruffling a few feathers.

Featured image via Petre Thomas/USA TODAY Sports Images