Joe Mazzulla reveals how the Boston Celtics took pressure off themselves this season

Apr 5, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla works with the team
Apr 5, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla works with the team / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Media members and trolls on the X platform have odd expectations for the Boston Celtics. Simultaneously, they say Jayson Tatum is not a top star, he doesn't fit with Jaylen Brown, and the team isn't award-worthy, while also pumping them up as a super team that is a disappointment when they don't win every game by 20 points.

Joe Mazzulla, though, keeps his team focused on the task at hand by ignoring all of that and having no expectations for them and did this throughout the 2023-24 season; he revealed when asked what the biggest difference between the current group and his last group is.

“I think the value comes from not having an expectation,” Mazzulla said (h/t “I really think that’s the key to really anything. If you go into something thinking that it’s supposed to go a certain way, then your mind and your body is clouded by what is necessary to do in that moment.

“So, the one thing this team has done a good job of this season is not playing with any expectations. If you’re winning by a lot, losing by a lot, it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, it takes what it takes and you’ve got to be present. So the team has done a good job fighting for that. I think it’s important, managing our own expectations.”

Ime Udoka's lone season with Boston Celtics set up unfair expectations for Joe Mazzulla in 2022-23

Ime Udoka had the Celtics humming at the start of the 2022 calendar year, to the point of getting them into the Finals after outlasting the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in a pair of seven-game series and taking Steph Curry and Co. to six games.

His suspension and firing was a culture shock no team could ever truly prepare for. In the aftermath, Mazzulla stepped in and did such a fine job at first that he set the bar at a championship height even though the team wasn't ready to get there.

Now, Boston seems unburdened by what Udoka did for the team and is focusing on the here and now. And it's working in every conceivable way.