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Mountaineers in the Pros

Joe Mazzulla Turns Question Around to Preach Celtics Winning as Team

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Joe Mazzulla at NBA Finals

Joe Mazzulla is not about to let the media fuel any drama and derail his team. So when Mazzulla was asked about another player beyond the two top stars leading the way in a win, he turned the question around to preach winning as a team.

“Everybody that stepped on that court tonight made winning plays on both ends of the floor,” said Mazzulla about how the Boston Celtics are up 2-0 in the NBA Finals.

Through the first two games of the series, Boston has managed to win without needing big games from Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum. After Kristaps Porzingis return from an injury to have a monster performance in game 1, it was veteran Jrue Holiday as the driving force on Sunday night in game 2.

But no matter who is top player on any given night, the most important thing is Mazzulla and his team are two wins away from capturing the franchise’s first championship since 2008.

Despite being a heavy favorite in every series to this point, Mazzulla knows the immense pressure he’s dealing with. Boston is in a “championship or bust” mode after being upset in the Eastern Conference Finals last year to the 8-seed Miami Heat.

Mazzulla took over the interim duties for Ime Udoka before the 2022-2023 season, leading the Celtics to 57 wins during his rookie season. Mazzulla also coached in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game.

Mazzulla, who played guard at West Virginia from 2006-11, has worked his way up the coaching ladder over the past decade. Mazzulla began pursuing a coaching career following his graduation from West Virginia. Following coaching stints at Glenville State and Fairmont State, the former Mountaineer was hired as an assistant of the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s G-League team. Mazzulla went back to Fairmont State in 2017 to serve as the head coach of the Fighting Falcons.

During his WVU days, Mazzulla was most known for his 17-point performance in the 2010 Elite Eight against Kentucky. Mazzulla stepped in for an injured Truck Bryant, helping the Mountaineers reach their first Final Four since 1959. Mazzulla played 145 career games at West Virginia.

For related stories, Joe Mazzulla responds to critics who often doubt him and his team.

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