Morgantown, West Virginia – The Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 126-117 and Joe Mazzulla got his first win as an NBA head coach in his debut game.
Mazzulla, a former point guard for the West Virginia Mountaineers and the former head coach at Fairmont State, was named the interim head coach of the Celtics for the season after Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for violations of team policies.
Several of the Celtics players praised Mazzulla following the game. Jaylen Brown called Mazzulla “tough as nails.” Marcus Smart said Mazzulla “oozes confidence.” Malcolm Brogdon praised Mazzulla’s “always even-keeled demeanor.”
Celtics’ star forward Jayson Tatum spoke about Mazzulla in-depth after the win: “It was always obvious that he would make a great head coach. He wouldn’t have taken any of the credit for tonight, but the thing that I like about Joe and admire about him is that he’s very honest that he doesn’t know everything,” Tatum said. “He wants us to help him out as much as he’s helping us out. It’s like we’re in a relationship, and we’re all on the same page and trying to accomplish the same thing. We’re all in this together.”
Mazzulla put the focus back on the players and the relationships that he has with them. “I’m grateful for the relationships we have,” Mazzulla said. “These guys have been through a lot together, and they’re great players. So it’s just a matter of working together. So I appreciate their trust and buy-in, but they come up with a lot of good stuff as well and we kind of just figure it out.”
Mazzulla gave a very brief post-game speech and then players showered him with Gatorade and water to celebrate the victory over the 76ers. Check out the whole scene in the locker room:
Nothing like that first win✅💦 pic.twitter.com/73dNqcg9jt
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 19, 2022