Joe Mazzulla was never supposed to be the head coach of the 2022-23 Boston Celtics.
Following the organization’s first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, Boston’s future plans were wiped out in the offseason when i am udoka he was suspended for the entire season for «violations of team policies.»
Mazzulla was promoted to head coach of a team with championship hopes when Boston began the season as the favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
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Mazzulla, a first-year head coach, couldn’t have asked for a better situation with a roster filled with young talent and veteran leadership.
With talent, however, comes great expectations, and Mazzulla has been the target of criticism in recent weeks as the Celtics have struggled to look like a team ready to overcome the hurdle.
Before Boston’s Game 5 victory over the Miami HeatMazzulla was asked about blocking out the noise with his team one loss away from elimination, and the first-year head coach put his team’s situation into perspective.
«Honestly? I met three girls under the age of 21 with Terminal cancer«Mazzulla said in his pregame media availability. «And I thought I was helping them by talking to them, and they were helping me. So to understand what life is really about and to see a girl die and smile and enjoy life from her, that’s what it’s really about.
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«The other thing is you always hear people give glory to God and say thank you when they’re holding up a trophy,» he continued. «But you never hear it at times like this. So for me, it’s an opportunity to sit right where I am and be faithful. That’s what it’s all about.»
It’s not the first time Mazzulla has been open about his faith this season, making headlines for his response when asked about the Pince and Princess of Wales attending a Celtics game in December.
After being asked if he had met with the royal family, Mazzulla replied: «Jesus, Mary and Joseph?»
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«Oh no, I didn’t. I’m only familiar with one royal family. I don’t know much about that one,» he continued after a reporter clarified that he was talking about the Prince and Princess of Wales.
The Celtics won Game 5 110-97, forcing a Game 6 in Miami on Saturday.
Boston is looking to become the first team in NBA history to come back from a 0-3 deficit.