The Boston Celtics earned a gutsy overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. While it wasn't the prettiest win, a mental adjustment may have made up for inefficiencies on the court.
Celtics-Warriors matchups for the foreseeable future will be hyped up as rematches of the 2022 NBA Finals, which Golden State won in six games. Thursday's game at TD Garden was no different, and there was even more on the line for Boston considering its 123-107 loss to the reigning champs in December.
Celtics-Warriors takeaways: C's show resiliency in OT win
The C's didn't buy into that narrative heading into Thursday's game, however. Jayson Tatum admitted the team did in its first meeting this season, but it shifted its mindset this time around.
"I think the first time we played them in San Francisco, I felt like we bought into that. Rematch of the Finals, ABC game, first time back since we lost. Everybody wanted to win so bad," Tatum said. "I think that was the first time all season that we played out of character, that we played tense. And we just kind of talked about it today, like, the fact of the matter is we lost. We lost the championship. No one win can bring that back. We can't go back in time and change that.
"So we didn't look at this as a rematch of the Finals. It's just one game against a great team with great players and obviously a great coach. But it was just one game. Whether we won or lost tonight, we didn't celebrate or hang a banner or anything. We still got a game on Saturday.
"So I think just coming in with that mindset of, it's January 19, it's a Thursday, and we're playing against a really good team. No rematch of the Finals, anything like that. Not making it bigger than anything it is. It's one game. They all count as one. We learned from that early in December playing against them and just came out a little bit more relaxed today than the first time."
That "one game at a time" approach echoes what interim coach Joe Mazzulla has preached all season long. Mazzulla had more to say about his team's mindset after the hard-fought win.
Tatum shook off an inefficient shooting night (9-for-27) and led the Celtics to victory with a strong fourth quarter and OT period. The 24-year-old finished with a game-high 34 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, becoming the fifth C's player in franchise history with at least 34 points and 19 boards in a game.
Next up is a trip to Toronto as the Celtics look to extend their win streak to nine games.
You can watch Tatum's full postgame press conference below.