Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is “unfazed” by conference foe Milwaukee, adding star guard Damian Lillard this offseason. Mazzulla was recently on with former NBA sharpshooter and media personality JJ Redick on the podcast The Old Man & The Three. Redick asked the bench boss what he thought about the Milwaukee Bucks’ blockbuster deal surrounding Lillard, and his answer surprised many.
"He's a great player. They're a great team. We don't have time to worry about that."
Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has a one-track mind.https://t.co/NVtYuotOJ9
— NESN (@NESN) October 3, 2023
“We don’t have time to worry about that,” said Mazulla regarding the Bucks acquiring the services of Damian Lillard. Mazulla emphasizes that he and the Celtics remain unfocused on things outside the team. However, The Boston frontman talked about last season’s playoffs and how not getting the one seed went from a curse to a blessing. The Celtics made the Eastern Conference Finals as the second-seed, while the Milwaukee Bucks fell to the eighth-seed Miami Heat in the first round.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics Continue to FIght for Eastern Conference Supremacy
The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have fought for Eastern Conference dominance for nearly a decade. The two Eastern juggernauts have squared off in the playoffs thrice since the 2017-2018 season. Boston edged Milwaukee in seven games in 2018 but fell to the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2019. However, Boston again took down Milwaukee in 2022. The Bucks did not face the Celtics during their championship run in 2021.
Boston has not won the NBA Finals since the 2007-2008 season when they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Joe Mazzulla enters his second season as the head coach for the Celtics, while the Bucks will deploy first-year head coach Adrian Griffin. Milwaukee’s newest head coach spent the past five seasons as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors.
Damian Lillard Trade Fallout
The Milwaukee Bucks made the biggest splash of the offseason. They traded Grayson Allen, Jrue Holiday, and a 2028, 2029, and 2030 first-round draft pick to Portland for superstar Damian Lillard. The seven-time All-NBA honoree scored 32.2 points per game last season on 46% shooting from the field. He will be paired with former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and three-time All-Star Khirs Middleton to form one of the best trios in the NBA.
Meanwhile, Boston swooped former Milwaukee Buck Jrue Holiday after he got shipped to Portland. The Celtics sent Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams, and two first-round picks to the Trail Blazers for Holiday. The five-time All-Defensive member was instrumental in the Bucks’ title run three seasons ago. He posted 19.3 points, 7.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game during the 2022-2023 season. Boston also acquired forward Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards for Marcus Smart.
Star forward Jayson Tatum, guard Jaylen Brown, Holiday, and Porzingis will provide Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics with one of the deeper core units in the NBA.