Mazzulla Opens Up About Bulls Coach Conversation and In-Season Tourney Mindset

Mazzulla details conversation with Bulls coach, mindset toward In-Season Tourney originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics had their sights set high heading into Tuesday night’s In-Season Tournament game against the Chicago Bulls. They needed to win by at least 23 points and hoped the Brooklyn Nets would beat the Toronto Raptors in order to move on to the quarterfinal. Lo and behold, the Celtics delivered, blowing out the Bulls 124-97, with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum leading the charge with a combined 51 points. The Nets also did their part, ensuring the Celtics finished at the top of their group for the In-Season Tournament.

Following the game, C’s head coach Joe Mazzulla was asked if he got excited as the team came within striking distance of surpassing the 23-point mark they needed. Mazzulla responded with a focus on the bigger picture, emphasizing that winning the game is what truly excites him. “That’s what gets me excited, low points per possession, the process towards winning, finding small ways to try and win, those things are cool,” Mazzulla said.

Mazzulla’s message to his players is clear: every game counts, regardless of the tournament or preseason. He stressed the importance of maintaining the same mindset and effort level in every game, not allowing distractions or different tournament formats to impact their performance.

The Celtics took a tough loss to the Orlando Magic in the group stage, and Mazzulla is focused on preventing his team from dwelling on any one game more than another. “It’s a process,” Mazzulla added. “I took in all of the information, and I didn’t handle it emotionally. You have to eliminate distractions and focus on winning, and the process towards winning. That’s the most important thing, our team was focused on winning.”

As the game against the Bulls wound down, the Celtics made a hard foul against Andre Drummond with a commanding lead, prompting Mazzulla to meet and speak to Bulls head coach Billy Donovan at halfcourt.

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