Joe Mazzulla stares intensely onto the court during a Celtics game

Pregame Post-Ups: C's Target Effort, Physicality as All-Star Looms

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

Eight games remain on the schedule for the Boston Celtics before they head into the NBA All-Star break. Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla knows exactly what his team needs to do in order to carry momentum into the weeklong break.

“Just continuing to do what we’ve been doing,” Mazzulla said of a Celtics team that has logged a league-best 36 wins. “I think our guys have done a great job of consistently doing what we’re doing on both ends of the floor, so it’s important to remain there. The effort’s gotta stay there. The physicality’s gotta stay there.”

If it does, Boston should be able to deposit another victory in its win column tonight. After all, it is taking on a Brooklyn Nets team that will be missing two of its top three players in Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons, and an elite bench scorer T.J. Warren. The Celtics have the clear advantage in talent, especially with the return of starting center Robert Williams, and will be seeking their second consecutive victory following a three-game losing streak.

Since breaking that streak with a victory over Los Angeles on Saturday night, Boston enjoyed three days off prior to tonight’s contest. The C’s used the first two days to rest up, before returning to the practice court for the first time in two weeks to sharpen the skills Mazzulla mentioned above.

“There’s always areas on both sides of the ball where you can get better,” said Mazzulla, “and so yesterday we were able to highlight one area on each side of the ball that’s important to us and we’ve got to continue that (improvement).”

Boston’s ability to meet Mazzulla’s expectations not only tonight, but over the next two weeks, will determine what level of momentum it will carry into the break.