Boston Celtics

Mazzulla, Brown define what it means to play ‘Celtics basketball'

The Boston Celtics continue to come together as the season progresses.

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Following Sunday night's 114-97 win over the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics' head coach Joe Mazzulla took to the podium to discuss how his team is finally starting to find its intended identity.

"I think we’re starting to play what I would call 'Celtics basketball,'" Mazzulla said. "From a mentality standpoint, from a toughness standpoint, from a defensive standpoint, and identity -- reflecting on what it means to play like the Celtics, and I think this week we’ve shown that."

The Celtics had a tough schedule this past week. After beating the Cleveland Cavaliers twice, the Celtics then beat the Orlando Magic on the second night of a back-to-back and defeated them again on Sunday night. With Al Horford resting on the second night of back-to-backs this season, and Kristaps Porzingis dealing with a lingering calf issue, Boston's bench stepped up in a major way to contribute to the four wins.

Every player in the organization stayed ready with a next-man-up mindset and focused on playing team-first basketball -- something that Mazzulla has preached since the preseason. With the rest of the team following their lead, Celtic veterans Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown quickly bought in.

So how would Mazzulla's players define "Celtics basketball"? Brown described it as their tone on defense and playing with pace.

"I think we've got to set the tone on defense, first and foremost," Brown said of what Celtics basketball is. "I think we've got to let that lay the foundation for our success. I want to continue to push myself and also our teammates. And I think playing with a pace. I think those two are going to lead us in the right direction."

While the Celtics aren't necessarily emphasizing forcing turnovers, being near the bottom of the league in opponent turnovers per game with 12.8, they are doing a fantastic job of forcing teams to take bad shots. At 44.8 percent, the Celtics are holding their opponents to the fourth-worst shooting percentage in the league. Correlating with that, the Celtics are also allowing the third-fewest points per game in the league with just 109.

In terms of pace, the Celtics have found that their most efficient way to score is from deep. With their entire starting five of Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Porzingis, Brown, and Tatum able to shoot the 3-ball efficiently, it's clear that it has played a part in game planning, averaging a league-leading 42.6 three-point shots per game. They are letting rain from deep early and often.

The 20-5 Celtics will have a few days to recover before heading to the West Coast to take on the 11-14 Golden State Warriors on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.

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