Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla is the youngest head coach to go to the NBA Finals 

Dollita Okine June 03, 2024
Screenshot of video via Instagram/celtics/ufc

With his team making it to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years and his first-ever championship round, Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is securing his place in NBA history.

35-year-old Mazzulla is the youngest head coach to advance to the NBA Finals since Bill Russell in 1969. Russell was also 35 when he led the Celtics to a title over the Los Angeles Lakers. But there is one obvious distinction between Mazzulla and Russell — in addition to coaching the team, Russell was still active as a player, averaging 46.1 minutes per game. Mazzulla’s attention is only on coaching the team.

And he has improved significantly in his second year as Boston’s head coach, according to CBS. Notwithstanding a packed roster, the coach’s ability to keep everyone satisfied has helped. The team’s 11.6 net rating is tied for the third-best in NBA history.

The coach is now coming off a series in which he outcoached Rick Carlisle of Indiana, calling crucial timeouts when Boston needed a rest and determining the best substitutions to turn games around

Jayson Tatum, the Celtics’ power forward, credits Mazzulla with helping the team win Game 3 last month with an encouraging, game-changing statement when all seemed lost.

He told reporters during the post-game press conference, “Things weren’t going our way. It seemed like they were coming out and scoring every single time. Maybe we were slow to bring the ball up the court. When we get scored on, we might put our head down. It felt like [expletive] wasn’t going our way. Joe always talks about how it’s not always going to go how we want it to or we expect it to. That’s OK. ​…Joe just kind of told us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Whatever situation we’re in, that’s the situation that we’re in. It’s on us to figure it out.”

The Celtics and Mazulla will play either the Minnesota Timberwolves or the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals, which start on June 6, according to BOTWC.

Mazzulla was an assistant to Ime Udoka when the Celtics made it to the Finals in 2022, losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games. The Rhode Island native became the head coach after Udoka was suspended the following season before being let go by the team for violating several team rules, CBS reported.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 3, 2024

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