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Joe Mazzulla’s unorthodox video clips have got attention of Celtics players

2024 NBA Finals - Game Three

DALLAS, TEXAS - JUNE 12: Head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics speaks to the media before Game Three of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on June 12, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

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Throughout the NBA Finals, Celtics players have had nothing but praise for Joe Mazzulla and how — after getting thrown into the fire last minute a season ago — he has grown into the job.

“I love Joe. Love playing for him. He’s a great basketball mind,” Derrick White said. “The way he thinks is next level. I think this year he’s just much more comfortable, and we all feel comfortable with him as our coach. It’s been great just learning from him.”

They also said Mazzulla is a little unorthodox — well, a lot unorthodox — with some of the video clips he shows the team.

“I would just say he’s like got a unique approach to the game,” Sam Hauser said. “He pulls things from, like, soccer teams, pulls things from killer whales and how they go about finding food and prey, things like that, and he ties it into the game of basketball.”

Whoa... killer whales? Hauser wouldn’t discuss this in detail, but Robert O’Connerr of the Wall Street Journal started asking Boston players about it.

“It could be anything. A lot of ocean, a lot of nature. He loves that predator-prey lifestyle,” Derrick White said.

Luke Kornet talked about the video of hyenas killing a wildebeest.

“Man, was it hard to watch. I’ll tell you what, Mother Nature…"

During the Finals, Mazzulla has turned to UFC videos to remind his players not to let up.

“He’s a big UFC fan,” Jayson Tatum said. “And you know, showing us fights of people that — I don’t know like the terminology of UFC, but put them in a chokehold and s*** like they about to tap out. You just see the guy or the woman who is winning relaxing because they feel like they are about to win, and then, you know, you give the other person life.

“Just trying to translate that to the game of basketball; that, you know, the closer you are to winning, the closer they are to surviving. Basically just trying to remind us in the group that we’ve still got a long way to go. We still have to play the right way. We’ve still got to win. They are not going to quit.”

We’ll see if that message sank in as the Celtics head into Game 4 up 3-0 in the series and with a chance to close it out. If not, who knows what Mazzulla will turn to in the next video session.