Despite Scandal, Celtics Eager To Reach Finals Again

Despite Scandal, Celtics Eager To Reach Finals Again

BOSTON (AP) — The Celtics finished in the spotlight last season for all good reasons.

A team led by homegrown talent like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown bounced back from a slow start to an unexpected NBA Finals appearance.

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Behind them was new coach Ime Udoka. Emerging as the franchise’s new-era leader, the league was closer than ever to winning his championship for the 18th time.

That was before Udoka was suspended for next season after a months-long investigation by a law firm that revealed multiple violations of team policy. A person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press that the violations were related to inappropriate relationships with women within the organization.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not disclosed.

In an instant, the Celtics’ full potential on the floor was overshadowed by scandal.

That left the team, two wins away from the NBA title, with no choice but to deal with the change in circumstances last month. And somehow, he now had to focus on capitalizing on his small chance at the championship.

“You go into this season and you feel a certain way. “I think what I want to do most is just play basketball.”

It was Udoka’s assistant, interim coach Joe Mazura, who was tasked with helping with that new approach. He is a remnant of former coach Brad on Stevens’ staff before moving into his new role as president of football operations.

Mazura is not only a familiar face, but also someone players rely on to keep Udoka close.

He plans to build those relationships while building the successful on-court culture already established by Udoka.

“I’m in a lucky situation because I’ve been here for three years and had a pre-season break to set the direction for the season,” Mazzura said. “No big changes overall. Just seeing how we can learn and improve from last season…just keep going day by day.”

I try to do it with an almost intact core. Robert Williams III may miss the first few months of the season as he recovers from surgery to repair cartilage in his injured left knee.

Free agent rookie Danilo Gallinari will also miss the season after suffering a left knee ACL injury while participating in the FIBA ​​World Cup qualifiers in Italy this summer.

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