Jayson Tatum explains how Celtics' coaching staff continuity has bonded team

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Tatum explains how coaching staff continuity has helped Celtics thrive originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

For the second time in three months, the Boston Celtics abruptly lost their head coach Tuesday night.

This scenario was obviously much different from Ime Udoka's shocking suspension due to a violation of team policies back in September. Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla contracted an eye infection just before Tuesday's game against the Houston Rockets, forcing assistant coach Damon Stoudamire to take over for one game as Boston's interim (interim) head coach.

Once again, the C's didn't miss a beat, surging to a 126-102 victory at TD Garden with Stoudamire calling the shots.

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"The only difference was Joe wasn't over there chewing the s--- out of some gum," Celtics star Jayson Tatum joked when asked about the last-minute coaching change.

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That change was easier to deal with than Udoka's suspension, which rattled the team just before the offseason. But the Celtics kept the rest of the coaching staff intact back in September. While top assistant Will Hardy left to take the Utah Jazz head coach job, every other assistant from Udoka's staff stayed on board, with Mazzulla -- the lone holdover from Brad Stevens' coaching tenure -- taking over as head coach.

As Tatum explained Tuesday night, that continuity has benefited the Celtics greatly in the months after Udoka's suspension.

"I say it all the time: It just brought us together," Tatum told reporters after his 38-point effort against the Rockets, as seen in the video above. "Last year, new coaching staff, some new players and us coming together and turning the season around and getting to the Finals -- you have to be a close group to do that. Through wins and losses, getting to the (NBA) Finals and losing, we're bonded through that."

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Stevens didn't make any changes to Boston's core following that Finals loss, adding Malcolm Brogdon via trade with the Indiana Pacers without giving up any rotation players. With Brogdon's immediate buy-in, the Celtics had a roster and a coaching staff that was in lock-step both before and after Udoka's suspension.

"Everybody was on the same page coming back this year of what we were trying to accomplish," Tatum said. "I give everybody, the coaches and the team credit for not pulling apart through adversity.

"It was tough. It was tough to deal with. And everybody just kind of bought in even more. And I think everybody has benefited from that individually."

That buy-in was evident Tuesday night, when the Celtics won their third straight game and avoided a post-Christmas letdown despite Mazzulla's absence.