Joe Mazzulla has blunt take on Celtics' ‘enjoyment' in Raptors rout


With the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed locked up, Friday night was a chance for the Boston Celtics to enjoy themselves and blow off a little steam after a long regular season.

Well, for the players, anyway.

While the C's had a grand old time celebrating Sam Hauser's dunks and Payton Pritchard's 3-pointers in a comfortable 126-102 win over the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden, head coach Joe Mazzulla said he had a different mindset throughout the game.

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"I wasn't really paying attention to the enjoyment," Mazzulla told reporters when asked if there was value to having a "palate cleanser" game like this with no stakes or real drama. "I was paying attention to the mindset that we brought to start the game and that's more important.

"We had no reason to be competitive and play the way we did other than it's the right thing to do. So, you can have fun after you do that."

That may be a Scrooge-like response from Mazzulla -- Hauser dunked three times in a game for the first time since high school, Joe! -- but it's the right mindset for a head coach to have. Mazzulla's job is to make sure his team is locked in and maintaining good habits entering the postseason, and it appears he's succeeding, with Boston sweeping its back-to-back games against Toronto despite working with depleted lineups and minimal stakes.

Mazzulla also couldn't help pointing out that his team hasn't hit many rough patches this season that would require a palate cleanse.

"I don't think we had that many ups and downs this year," Mazzulla said. "We did win like 70 percent of our games."

The Celtics finish their regular season Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks, who will face the Miami Heat in the No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup in the NBA play-in tournament for the right to face Boston in the first round of the playoffs.

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