BOSTON — The Celtics obviously are accustomed to winning. After all, they have the clear-best record in the NBA at 46-12.

But Boston’s 117-99 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night at TD Garden followed a different blueprint, and nobody was more ecstatic about that than Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla.

The 3-point-happy Celtics didn’t settle for shots from beyond the arc like they usually do. Boston attempted 22 3-pointers, which was by far a season low, and instead, the Celtics bullied their way to the basket to score 64 points in the paint and tie a season high with 37 free throws.

The change of pace from the Celtics and showing they could win in a different fashion was crucial for a team with championship aspirations.

Story continues below advertisement

“This game was probably one of our best games of the year,” Mazzulla said. “From the standpoint of we we’re able to win a different way. This game showed a template of how teams are going to guard us and gives us another thing to practice. I thought our guys did a great job.”

76ers head coach Nick Nurse has had plenty of battles with the Celtics over the years and knows what they do best. Nurse threw defensive wrinkles at Boston, trying to take away the long-range shots and force the Celtics into dribble-drive action.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

Mazzulla believed Boston’s offense was “unorganized” at times due to Philadelphia’s defensive pressure. But the way the 76ers guarded the Celtics’ high-octane offense will only serve Boston well in the future, especially when it is in the middle of a seven-game series this spring.

“From the information that we’re able to extract from it,” Mazzulla said of why the win stood out. “We were guarded differently than we’ve had (been) throughout the year and how we were able to execute in it. So, it gives us something to work on.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mazzulla has put a big emphasis this season on the Celtics winning the shot margin. They didn’t come close to doing that Tuesday with the 76ers getting up 20 more attempts.

The 76ers flipped the script in a multitude of areas on the Celtics, and Mazzulla saw that as being the best outcome for his team.

“It’s beautiful,” Mazzulla said. “It just gives us something to study, it gives us something to work on and grateful we were able to play that game.”

Featured image via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images