Joe Mazzulla knows what it took for the Boston Celtics to reach the NBA Finals and ultimately claim the long-awaited Banner 18. Those building blocks were started long before he arrived just two seasons ago.

Shortly after the Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 at TD Garden on Monday night, Mazzulla acknowledged those who laid the foundation before his tenure started.

“I think the most important thing, something that’s really been going through my mind throughout this process, is you can’t lose sight of the people that came before us,” Mazzulla told reporters to begin his postgame press conference, per ASAP Sports.

… You can’t lose sight of the people that came before us.

Celtics second-year head coach Joe Mazzulla

“And I want to make sure every person that’s worked for the Celtics, that’s played for the Celtics that didn’t win, knows that their work and what they have done has not gone unnoticed or it doesn’t play a part in where we are at today.

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“It can be so easy when you work for this organization and you don’t win that the work that people put in just gets brushed over or gets ignored. And when I first got here, the staff, you know, Brad’s coaching, the staff that they had, the foundation that they built with these guys when they were young, the foundation of what we have, is one of the reasons why we’re here today.”

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“So I think that’s one of the first things that came to mind, was just because we won this doesn’t mean what the people have done before us isn’t just as important.”

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While Mazzulla didn’t name-drop anyone in particular, Green Teamers likely will point to longtime president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and former Celtic Marcus Smart as two who fit that billing. Ainge, who now works for the Utah Jazz, was at the helm of the organization when the Celtics selected NBA Finals MVP Jaylen Brown and superstar Jayson Tatum in back-to-back drafts. And Smart, who was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies this past offseason, spent nine seasons in Boston and played a key role on the team that was on the doorstep for so long.

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Mazzulla shouting out the former members of the organization was not the only shouting out that occurred in the Celtics locker room. Mazzulla himself was the recipient of praise from players who agreed that they couldn’t have done it without him.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images