NBA

Celtics 'all in this together', says Tatum after Mazzulla's winning debut

By Sports Desk October 19, 2022

The Boston Celtics left a tumultuous offseason behind them on opening night to deliver a first win for interim head coach Joe Mazzulla, as Jayson Tatum said: "We're all in this together."

Mazzulla was making his coaching bow against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday having replaced Ime Udoka for this NBA season.

Udoka, who led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first year as coach in 2021-22, was suspended by the team for the entire campaign for "violations of team policies" following an "improper" consensual relationship with a female staff member.

Assistant Mazzulla has temporarily stepped up to the top job, but there was no sign of the saga impacting the Celtics' play in their 126-117 victory over the highly fancied 76ers.

Tatum had 35 points and 12 rebounds in 39 minutes, as team-mate Jaylen Brown – reportedly part of trade talks for Kevin Durant earlier this year – also scored 35 points in 39 minutes.

Tatum and Brown became the first pair of team-mates to each score at least 35 points in a season opener since Los Angeles Lakers duo Wilt Chamberlain (35) and Jerry West (39) in 1969-70 – likewise against the 76ers.

Keeping both performing at a high level will be key to Mazzulla's hopes this year.

"He wouldn't have took any of the credit for tonight," Tatum said of Mazzulla. "But the thing that I like about Joe and admire about him is that he's very honest that he doesn't know everything.

"He wants us to help him out as much as he's helping us out. It's like we're in a relationship, and we're all on the same page and trying to accomplish the same thing. We're all in this together."

Mazzulla added: "I'm grateful for the relationship we have. These guys have been through a lot together, and they're great players, so it's just a matter of working together.

"So, I appreciate their trust and buy-in, but they come up with a lot of good stuff as well, and we kind of just figure it out."

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