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How Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla made history with NBA Finals appearance

How Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla made history with NBA Finals appearance originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics are headed to the 2024 NBA Finals after an impressive sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It's the team's second Finals appearance in the last three years, but it's the first with Joe Mazzulla as the head coach.

Not only is Mazzulla the youngest head coach in the league at 35 years old, he's actually the youngest head coach to lead his team to the NBA Finals since Celtics legend Bill Russell in 1969.

Russell was 35 during the 1968-69 season. It was the final year of his Hall of Fame career and his second as player/head coach. Russell's Celtics upset the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers in the 1969 NBA Finals to win their 11th title in a 13-year span, culminating with a dramatic Game 7 victory on the road.

Mazzulla also is in his second year as Celtics head coach. He led the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season. This year, the C's finished with the league's best record (64-18) during the regular season before dominating the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 12-2 record en route to the Finals.

The Celtics will take a seven-game win streak into the Finals, where they will play the Dallas Mavericks or Minnesota Timberwolves. The Mavericks hold a 3-0 series lead over the Wolves in the Western Conference Finals entering Game 4 on Tuesday night.