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Mountaineers in the Pros

Joe Mazzulla’s Boston Celtics Clinch Spot in NBA Playoffs



Joe Mazzulla

It was only a matter of time, but Joe Mazzulla’s Boston Celtics have accomplished an important benchmark as the NBA season winds down.

Mazzulla and his team officially clinched a playoff spot on Saturday night. They were able to clinch their place in the postseason before their game was even over. Boston secured that they will be part of the playoffs no matter what thanks to the Miami Heat’s loss to the Bulls.

While clinching a playoff spot might be a big deal for other teams, it’s really just a blip on the radar for the Celtics. Mazzulla knows Boston has one goal in mind – winning another NBA championship, the first for the historic franchise since 2008. This means the Celtics still have plenty to play for down the stretch of the regular season before the playoffs begin. Boston currently sits one game behind the Bucks (and fellow Mountaineer Jevon Carter) for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

Mazzulla‘s success in his first season as an NBA head coach was rewarded when the Celtics named him full-time head coach, removing the interim label that he was working under last month. He initially took over the head coaching for Ime Udoka, who was suspended for violating the Celtics’ organization rules.

Mazzulla, a former guard for West Virginia from 2006-11, has worked his way up the coaching ladder over the past decade, beginning his pursuit of a coaching career following his graduation from WVU. 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.

Watch Mike Asti’s talk with someone who covers the Celtics about Mazzulla’s true impact on the defending Eastern Conference champions.

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