Joe Mazzulla has Celtics offense on pace to make NBA history

BOSTON — After Friday’s convincing win over the Denver Nuggets, the Celtics entered Saturday with not just the No. 1 offense in the NBA this season, but also on pace for the best offense in NBA history.

The Celtics are scoring 119.4 points per 100 possessions through 12 games, which is 3.4 points higher than the second ranked offense in the NBA this year (Utah). Boston’s offense through 12 games is also on pace to demolish the NBA’s best Offensive mark of the Brooklyn Nets during the 2020-21 season.

These Celtics don’t quite have the Offensive Firepower that we saw in that group (Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving) but the premium place on this team’s offense from the opening day of training camp by interim Coach Joe Mazzulla is clearly paying dividends . In the wake of cruising to a 131-112 win on Friday night, the Celtics are on the verge of averaging 120 points per game.

“Guys have done a great job trusting each other, making the right play, spacing,” Mazzulla said. “The cool thing about offense, and basketball in general to me, is you have to be able to make each other better whether you have the ball or not. And our guys are bought into making each other better, whether they have the ball or not. I think it’s cool to watch.”

Al Horford has played with plenty of elite Offensive teams from his days in Atlanta and Boston, but he repeatedly mentioned Mazzulla first and foremost for getting this group to reach another level offensively in the opening month of the year.

“I think Coach has done a good job of getting us organized on the Offensive end,” Horford said after hitting a career-high six 3s in Friday’s win. “Defensively, I felt like we would lock in a little more but on the Offensive end, I feel like he’s doing a really good job of getting us where we need to be. He’s sending the message and Marcus is getting us organized in the places that we need and we’re able to run Cleaner offense. When we get to those positions, Jayson, Jaylen, they continue to make the right reads, the right plays. I think that’s been the biggest improvement.”

Those Improvements have helped the team can past the fourth quarter lulls that plagued them at times during last year’s postseason despite missing some key Offensive weapons in this year’s Squad so far due to injuries.

“I believe that last year, that postseason run helped our group come together even more,” Horford said. “We have an understanding with each other and how we want to play and the things we want to do. I feel like it’s a carry over but we want to continue to improve. Game by game this year, I feel like Coach has done a good job of really making it clear for us in the things he wants us to work on and guys are going out and we’re executing it. It’s a really good sign for us.”

“I think we’re just really building off last season,” Jayson Tatum added. “It’s night and day the way we are playing at the start of this season, compared to the start of last season. Whenever we made that change, I just feel like we haven’t looked back. And for the most part, we got the same group. One or two new guys, but they really know how to play the game. So, from the first day of training camp, just trusting each other, trusting that whenever you move the ball, it’s going to come back, and that’s how we just continue to play and knock down shots.”

With a soft schedule on the horizon for the remainder of November, the Celtics are not likely to slow down too much from their record pace in the interim. It’s still early but Mazzulla looks like the right pick by Brad Stevens to pull the best of this group.

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