Unexpected Label from Joe Mazzulla on Celtics’ Victory Against 76ers

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Unexpected Label from Joe Mazzulla on Celtics' Victory Against 76ers
Joe Mazzulla

On Tuesday night, the Celtics were heavy favorites against the underdog 76ers. In recent months, Philadelphia has struggled in the lineup without Joel Embiid, losing seven of their last 11 games, causing a dip in the Eastern standings. Still, on Tuesday night, the visitors gave Boston a tough challenge, staying competitive for much of the game until the hosts secured a 118-102 victory with a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter.

It marked Boston’s ninth consecutive win, keeping them eight games ahead of the Cavaliers in the Eastern standings. Despite not utilizing one of their biggest strengths, the Celtics found a way to win without relying heavily on their 3-point attempts (making 22 out of 5). Instead, they capitalized on a massive advantage in points scored from the paint (64-42) and free throws (34-11), leaving the postgame buzz filled with excitement.

Coach Nick Nurse of the 76ers made a clear effort to disrupt Boston’s 3-point frequency, but in Majulla’s view, the Celtics contributed well to that strategy. Majulla stated, “They switched and tried to take away threes, and forced us to drive the ball.” “So, until you take care of the ball, and you play with physicality, and you don’t turn it over, and you get to the free-throw line, we were really good in the paint, and once again we were able to remove some of their multiple shot possessions and get to some guys that we wanted to shoot it and make sure we contested it, and then it just kind of worked itself out. So, it’s one of those games that can be deceiving whether it’s a math thing or it’s an effort thing, and sometimes it’s both, and sometimes it’s just you got to keep trying until the math takes over, and I felt our guys did a good job of that.”

With Jason Tatum, Jalen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis doubling up their efforts from the free-throw line, it was evident from the outset that Philadelphia’s pressure points were without their top rim protector.

Porzingis remarked, “I think we played our game.” “For example, from my perspective, I saw that they’re like that… I’m popping out, and they’re quickly turning, so the guard comes with me immediately so we don’t get any advantage and I’m standing on the perimeter. So, what did I do, as the game progressed, I started rolling inside, setting screens down low, and started to get physical. And Jetty and D-White, they found me a couple of times or we got mismatches and then we kick it out or sometimes I roll and bring some guys in and then we get some kick-outs because some help is coming. So, just creating those little advantages in those situations, and that’s it. We just want to be a smart team where there’s an opportunity, we go to it. If they start doing that, then we’ll go to that and we’ll always need an answer.”

Porzingis and the Celtics will aim for their 10th consecutive win on Friday night against the Mavericks at TD Garden.

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