Boston Celtics improve league’s best record with win over Houston Rockets
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On Saturday night, the Boston Celtics extended their unbeatable home record and maintained the best record in the NBA, improving to 30-9 with a 145-113 victory against the Houston Rockets a win that many of the sports betting sites had predicted.
Despite having their star player Jayson Tatum ejected in the final quarter, the Celtics displayed exceptional teamwork as Jaylen Brown recorded 32 points and Kristaps Porzingis contributed 17.
The Celtics outperformed the Rockets in all four quarters, but truly solidified their win with a remarkable third quarter where they outscored their opponents 43-28. Unleashing a hail of 24 three-pointers, the Celtics left the Rockets trailing behind as they continued on their victorious streak.
Following their impressive victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics were in high spirits. This came as a relief for the team, who had suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks just days before.
"Last game we didn't feel like we were at our best," Brown said of their game against the Milwaukee Bucks. "We wanted to come out and make sure we stayed undefeated on the home court."
He noted, "It never felt like we were too high after the Minnesota game; it never felt like we were too low after the Milwaukee game... I think our guys just have a healthy mindset of where we're at... We always know when we're playing good basketball, we know when we're getting distracted, we knew when we're connected. That's the space you have to live in."
It was Udoka who skilfully led the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals, where they faced a tough defeat against Golden State. During his one and only season with the Boston Celtics, he orchestrated an impressive comeback. Despite a rocky start with a 23-24 record in late January, the Celtics managed to turn things around and end the regular season with an impressive 28-7 run.
This ultimately led to their first appearance in the NBA Finals since 2010, after defeating powerhouse teams such as the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat.
However, just before the start of the 2022-23 season training camp, he was suspended due to an inappropriate relationship with a team member. Former assistant coach Joe Mazzulla took over on a permanent basis last February.
Reflecting on his abrupt departure from the Boston Celtics, Udoka said, “Job not finished.”
"[I] formed a lot of relationships within a year, and obviously want to get a chance to run it back with a group you feel you can build and grow with. So, letting the people down. I talked about the players, the relationships I built with them, the coaches that came with me, and then everybody else that was impacted by it.
"So for me that's the biggest thing I would say overall is letting some people down, for sure. But we've talked it out and I've seen a lot of these people throughout the summer and talk regularly and so we move past it."
"I spent a good year and had some success," he continued. "But I just saw a few people that you're reminded of, everyone on the ramp when you walk in. So, it was a little bit different, as far as that.
Both Udoka and his former players have openly discussed the ongoing relationships they have maintained since his departure from the team. During his firing, players expressed confusion and disappointment at being left in the dark about the situation. However, when asked about it on Saturday, Udoka clarified that there was no communication breakdown.
The Celtics' star player Jayson Tatum explained that the team was focused on moving forward, but that it was good to see Udoka. Brown, however, admitted that Udoka’s departure was “kind of a weird process”.
"We kind of knew what was going on, but then there was a time when we were hearing speculation that there was like, more to it or something else was like -- and it turned to be that there wasn't anything that we already knew. But definitely a peculiar situation or whatever.”
Mazulla played down the impact of Udoka’s return with the Rockets, saying, “The fact that Ime is back is great. But I don’t think that really has anything to do with winning or losing.”
"I'm glad to see Ime back coaching on the sidelines," Brown added. "I'm glad to see a lot of the staff we spent time with over there in Houston. I wish those guys the best of luck."