Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has praised the team’s rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla after a crucial win against the 76ers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Despite struggling with his shot and scoring only 19 points, Tatum had high praise for Mazzulla’s leadership during his first year as a head coach.
The Celtics were facing elimination in Game 6 after losing two straight games against the 76ers, but they managed to secure a crucial 86-95 victory. The win was a testament to Mazzulla’s leadership, who took over a team with high expectations after the Celtics’ trip to the NBA Finals in 2022.
Despite being a rookie head coach, Mazzulla has earned the trust and respect of his players, including Tatum. “In his first year, he’s done an unbelievable job,” Tatum said about Mazzulla, via Taylor Snow. “I know there was a lot of questions and doubts. I’ve told him a lot of times like, ‘Yo, I got you. I got your back. We’re in this together.’ I love the relationship that me and Joe have.”
Mazzulla’s coaching style and ability to connect with his players have been essential to the Celtics’ success this season. The team finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, and they will now face the 76ers in a do-or-die Game 7 in Boston.
Mazzulla’s journey to becoming a head coach was also unconventional. He was hired as an assistant coach in June 2019, and after Ime Udoka was suspended for the entire 2022-23 season, he was named interim head coach. On February 16, the Celtics officially named Mazzulla as their head coach and signed him to a contract extension.
As the Celtics prepare for the crucial Game 7, they will be looking to Mazzulla to provide the leadership and guidance needed to secure a victory. With Tatum and the rest of the team fully behind him, Mazzulla will have the support he needs to lead the Celtics to victory and continue their playoff run.